The University of Texas at Arlington
College of Science
July 2018
Foss honored for teaching excellence with UT Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award
Frank Foss
Frank Foss, associate professor in the UTA Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, is among University of Texas System educators recognized with the Board of Regents highest honor, the Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Awards for excellence in the classroom.
    Winners are chosen based on rigorous evaluations by students, peer faculty and external reviewers of teaching performance, including classroom expertise, curricula quality, innovative course development and student learning outcomes.
    “It’s an honor to receive the Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award,” Foss said. “Many colleagues in the department, college, and across campus have mentored me over the years, sharing their experiences, discussing pedagogy, and talking about education at UTA. I know their dedication to education is reflected in the best parts of my teaching and I’m really enjoying the work we’re doing now to improve the educational experience and preparation of chemistry and biochemistry students.”
    Read more of this story here.
West receives 2018 Outstanding Alumnus Award from national UTeach organization

Jennifer West, left, receives the 2018 UTeach Alumnus Award from Paige Evans, president of the USEA executive board.

An alumna of The University of Texas at Arlington and the UTeach Arlington program has been honored for her outstanding efforts to improve science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education.
    Jennifer West, who graduated from UTA in 2014 with a B.S. in Biology with a genetics option as well as a teaching certification through UTeach Arlington, received the Outstanding Alumnus Award from the UTeach STEM Education Association (USEA) at the UTeach STEM Educators Conference, held June 28-29 in Austin.
    West is the third person from UTA to receive awards from the USEA this summer. Greg Hale, co-director of UTeach Arlington and assistant dean of science, received the USEA 2018 Outstanding Faculty Teaching Award, while Sara Mate, a UTA senior in biology and UTeach Arlington student, received the top prize in the research poster competition. Both awards were presented at the 12th Annual UTeach National Conference in Austin in May.
    Read the full story here.
Physics doctoral student receives National Radio Astronomy Observatory fellowship

Marialis Rosario-Franco

Marialis Rosario-Franco, a UTA doctoral student in physics, has been awarded a prestigious fellowship to continue her Ph.D. studies in exomoons — moons which orbit planets located in other stellar systems.
    Rosario-Franco received the Gröte Reber Doctoral Fellowship from the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), a facility of the National Science Foundation. Radio astronomy — the study of celestial objects that give off radio waves — allows scientists to study astronomical phenomena that are often invisible or hidden in other portions of the electromagnetic spectrum.
    “This is a great opportunity and I’m very happy and grateful to receive this fellowship,” Rosario-Franco said. “I was really surprised and humbled to hear back from the admissions committee so soon, two weeks after applying!”
    Read the full story here.
Clark publication on ways to regulate protein caspase-3 is highlighted in commentary article
Clay Clark
A recent publication co-authored by Clay Clark, professor and chair of the UTA Department of Biology, was featured in a commentary in the July 1 edition of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology’s ASBMB Today.
    The commentary discusses the paper, published in the April 13 edition of the Journal of Biological Chemistry and titled “Modifications to a common phosphorylation network provide individualized control in caspases”. The commentary describes how Clark and his fellow researchers gained new insight into how the protein caspase-3 is regulated. Caspase-3 activation and function in the process of programmed cell death has been well-documented, but caspase activity, at low levels, is also required for developmental processes.
    The researchers found that phosphorylation — the chemical addition of a phosphoryl group to an organic molecule — of different sites in the protein had different effects on its activity. They hypothesized that different types of switches allow the enzyme to be regulated to the right level of activity for different functions.
    Melvin Thomas III, a former student in Clark’s lab and now a postdoctoral researcher at North Carolina State University, was lead author of the article. Other co-authors included Robert Grinshpon and Paul Swartz.
    Read the ASBMB Today commentary here. Read the Journal of Biological Chemistry article here
Medeiros co-authors journal article about measuring idea evaluation’s effectiveness

Kelsey Medeiros

A UTA psychology faculty member has published the results of a study which measures the effectiveness of idea evaluation in the process of creativity.
    Kelsey Medeiros, an assistant professor of psychology, co-authored the paper, titled “Looking beyond the generation of creative ideas: Confidence in evaluating ideas predicts creative outcomes”. It was published in the April 2018 edition of the journal Personality and Individual Differences. Her co-authors were Logan Steele of the University of South Florida, and Genevieve Johnson of the American Institutes for Research.
    Creative self-efficacy (CSE), which is a person’s belief that they can produce creative outcomes, is one of many constructs used to predict creativity. Since its introduction as a concept 15 years ago, numerous studies have shown that CSE is a significant predictor of creativity. However, Medeiros and her co-authors argued that previous CSE research mainly focused on the generative processes involved in creativity while excluding creativity's evaluative processes.
    “As a result of ignoring the distinction between these two processes, we are left with an incomplete understanding of how CSE influences creativity,” Medeiros said. “We sought to address these limitations by developing a new measure that focuses on idea evaluation self-efficacy in order to complement extant measures of CSE which primarily focus on idea generation.”
    Read more of this story here.
North Texas Genome Center hosts seminar on next-generation sequencing technology
The North Texas Genome Center hosted a seminar focusing on the capabilities and applications of next-generation sequencing technology (NGS) from Illumina on July 13.
    The event, held in the UTA Planetarium, drew scientists and industry professionals from around North Texas to hear guest speakers discuss an overview of NGS, including recent applications, platform updates, and an in-depth review of the Illumina library and target enrichment solutions and methodologies from a variety of sample types.
    Guest speakers included Jon Weidanz, NTGC director and UTA associate vice president for research, who gave introductory and closing remarks; Todd Castoe, NTGC associate director and assistant professor of biology, whose talk was titled “Insights into regeneration and vertebrate genome biology from an extreme model system — snakes”; Drew Hillhouse, assistant professor of vet med pathobiology at Texas A&M University; and Jonathan Rios, assistant director of molecular genetics at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children in Dallas.
    The NTGC represents a collaborative venture between multiple universities, medical centers, and corporate partners to establish a center of excellence for genomics and high throughput sequencing. It opened in March in the Engineering & Research Building and will move to the new Science & Engineering Innovation & Research (SEIR) Building in the fall.
    Learn more about the NTGC here.
Fort Worth ISD JROTC cadets learn about research and leadership at UTA STEM camp
Campers collect water samples while on a field trip during the STEMavericks Camp.
Student cadets from the Fort Worth ISD’s Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) program participated in a STEMavericks Camp at UTA July 9-13.
    The camp, with UTA students serving as camp counselors, gave cadets the chance to incorporate STEM-style learning and research with leadership and teamwork.
    The camp included field trips, engineering projects and lab experiments and gave the cadets the opportunity to learn scientific techniques while working together to solve problems.
    “This is also an opportunity for the cadets to get a sneak preview of college life,” said Greg Hale, co-director of the camp and assistant dean of the College of Science. “We’ve also had the chance to introduce the cadets to college students. First and foremost that starts with their counselors.”
    See video from the camp here.and see more photos here.
UTA physicists’ contributions to neutrino detector prototype featured in Morning News
Jae Yu, UTA professor of physics, at work on the DUNE prototype detector at CERN, the European Center for Nuclear Research in Switzerland. Photo courtesy of CERN.
UTA physicists are leading a global team to discover why the universe is full of matter, The Dallas Morning News reported in its June 28 edition.
    The UTA researchers, led by Jaehoon Yu, professor of physics, have completed a prototype detector focused on tiny particle called the neutrino, which may hold the answer to this question.
    The Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE) particle accelerator will send neutrinos hurtling through the Earth from Fermilab in Batavia, Illinois, to the underground particle detector at Sanford Lab in Lead, S.D. The final detector will be 25 times larger than the prototype when it is installed in 2027.
    “We’re doing this not just to satisfy curiosity,” Yu says in the story. “This is giving something to the next generation so that we can make our lives better ... and the first step is fixing the Standard Model.”
    Read the Dallas Morning News story here.
Seven College of Science employees among honorees at dinner for 2018 UTA retirees
Chien-Pai Han, professor of mathematics, was among the College of Science retirees honored by UTA on June 2.
UTA held a reception on June 2 for employees who retired from the University in 2017-18. The honorees included seven employees from the College of Science whose cumulative service to UTA numbers more than 100 years.
    The 23rd annual Retiree Dinner and Recognition Ceremony was held in the E.H. Hereford University Center’s Bluebonnet Ballroom and included remarks by UTA President Vistasp Karbhari and UTA Retirees Club President Rita Thompson. Duane Dimos, UTA vice president for research, delivered the keynote address.
    College of Science employees retiring in 2017-18 include: Rita Anderson, administrative assistant I in the dean’s office; Sonja Godeken, adjunct assistant professor in mathematics; Marda Gunter, support specialist II in psychology; Chien-Pai Han, professor of mathematics; Tina Poss, office assistant I in physics; Barbara Smith, administrative assistant II in chemistry; and Linda Taylor, administrative assistant II in biology.
    The retirees were recognized for their years of service to UTA and were presented with gifts.
    The UTA Retirees Club was founded in 1985 as a way to help retirees sustain their relationship with the University and stay informed about new developments on campus. The group holds monthly meetings and hosts a variety of special programs and events for club members each year.
    Read the Dallas Morning News story here.
COS Alumni

Alumni Spotlight
Thien Bui

Thien Bui doesn’t have a lot of free time, but he wouldn’t have it any other way. This fall, Bui is entering his third semester as a UTA Student Government senator representing the College of Science. He says his favorite part of the job is working with others to affect positive changes for students. “I have always wanted to represent all of my fellow students to the best of my ability, regardless of differences in ideas, and make positive changes here in Maverick country,” he said. “I have fallen in love with my position and with Student Government, and the reason is that I have truly seen changes on campus that senators fought really hard for, such as expanding the Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) program here at UTA.” Bui, a junior majoring in biology with minors in chemistry and business, has been active in campus life since arriving at UTA in the fall 2016 semester. He was a Freshman Leader on Campus (FLOC) and has also served in the Maverick Mentor program, which helps foster positive mentoring relationships for new students in their transition to college by matching them with a returning student who offers support and resources throughout their first year at UTA. This summer he has served as a camp leader for Maventure Camp, which is a fun way for new students to be introduced to UTA traditions and school spirit. Bui is also a member of the Honors College, Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity, the Medical Dental Preparatory Association, and the Joint Admission Medical Program (JAMP). He plans to go to medical school after graduating in spring 2020. Bui says he has always had an interest in biology and how the body works, and he decided in high school that he wanted to go into the medical field. This summer he completed a five-week internship at Texas A&M Health Science Center in Bryan, where he took anatomy, physiology, and histology classes in a program that simulates medical school, including clinical rotations at hospitals of different specialties in Bryan, College Station, Temple, and Houston. “We even had a white coat ceremony,” he said. “The program also provided an MCAT prep course on the critical analysis and reasoning section. I truly gained a tremendous amount of knowledge in just six weeks, and I would recommend every incoming pre-med sophomore to apply for this program.” Although extracurricular activities place a lot of demands on his time, Bui has excelled academically. He’s been a regular fixture on the Dean’s List and has received the College of Science Dean’s Excellence Scholarship, the Lawrence E. Baker Memorial Scholarship, an Honors College Scholarship, an Outstanding Freshman Scholarship, as well as the Jeff Butler Award for Outstanding Student Congress Member. This fall he’d like to become involved in lab research. In addition to all that, Bui has his own photo and art business, Thien Bui Photography, which he started as a high school senior. His services include shooting weddings, portraits and special events, as well as artwork commissions. “Photography has not only been my job, but also my passion and my escape after all of the difficult studies of the week,” Bui says.
Birthplace: Dalat, Vietnam; he moved to the U.S. when he was 13.
Major: Biology; minors in Chemistry and Business
Current status: Junior
Favorite professor: Jimmy Rogers, associate professor of practice in chemistry and biochemistry. “Without a doubt, he is one of my all-time favorite professors. The man truly has a good heart and cares about his students, and he is passionate about teaching and chemistry. One day I came to his office disclosing that I was so distressed about my science classes and not sure if medical school was the right place for me. He said it was natural to be stressed, not just as a pre-med student, but as a college student. He said that I was young and I had time to explore and decide whatever field that my calling was in. He mentioned that he was in the same place as me in college, but he allowed himself to find his calling in chemistry and the teaching of it. Thereafter, I listened to his advice, tried out new things, and I soon realized my calling has always been in the medical field.”
Where he hopes to be in 5 years: “I hope to see myself completing my fourth year at a medical school in Texas and applying for residency.”

UTA student organizations

We invite you to become involved with the College of Science

Nu ñez

Hello, I'm Dr. Ignacio Nunez, chair of the College of Science Advisory Council and a proud UTA alumnus (B.S. in Biology, 1975). I would love to help get you involved on campus again. I was a first-generation college student, and UTA made it possible for me to attend medical school and create a life vastly different than that of my parents. Did UTA change your life too? Let's work together to help the next generation of Mavericks. To learn more,please contact College of Science Director of Development Christie Eckler, LMSW, CFRE, at 817-272-1497 or cmeckler@uta.edu.

UTA Alumni Relations

Calendar of events

Thursday, August 9
Final day of classes for Summer 2018, all sessions
Monday-Tuesday, August 13-14
Final exams for Summer 2018 semester
August 20-31
Maverick Stampede 2018
A host of fun events to welcome students back to campus! See the full schedule here.
Wednesday, August 22
First day of classes for Fall 2018 semester
Friday, August 31
Mav Stampede COS Ice Cream Social
11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., LSB lobby
Monday-Friday, November 5-9
COS Science Week
A full week of events and activities celebrating all things science! Full details coming soon.
Wednesday-Friday, November 21-23
Thanksgiving holidays
Friday, December 14
COS Fall 2018 Commencement
7-9 p.m., College Park Center
Full details coming soon.

Planetarium at UTA

The Planetarium at UTA, one of the finest facilities in the nation, is equipped with a state of the art Digistar 5 DLP Projection system. The facility hosts shows, school field trips, special events and private functions. For show schedule, tickets, reservations and more, visit The Planetarium at UT Arlington and plan your trip to the stars today!

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