Attend the Faculty Senate Awards Ceremony April 3

Members of the University community and guests are invited to join in honoring this year’s recipients of the Faculty Senate Awards Ceremony at 5 p.m. on Monday, April 3 in the Robert and Judi Prokop Newman Alumni Center. This year’s honorees are Patricia A. Whitely, vice president for student affairs, who will receive the James W. McLamore Outstanding Service Award; Gaetano Ciancio, professor of surgery and chief academic officer for the Miami Transplant Institute at the Miller School of Medicine, who will receive the Outstanding Teaching Award; and June Teufel Dreyer, professor of political science, who will receive the Distinguished Faculty Scholar Award before presenting her lecture, “Whither China?


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Physics Professor Wins Air Force Grant

By Andrew Boryga
Special to UM News


He Wang

He Wang, an assistant professor of physics, joined the University of Miami College of Arts and Sciences just last August but she is already making big waves.

Late last year, Wang was notified that she won a grant from the prestigious 2017 Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFSOR) Young Investigator Research Program (YIP) to continue investigating the potential application of next-generation LEDs, solar cells, transistors, and lasers.

YIP is a research grant award that is open to scientists and engineers at research institutions across the United States who received a Ph.D. or an equivalent degree in the last five years and who show exceptional ability and promise for conducting research.

The objective of the grant is to foster creative research in science and engineering, enhance career development of talented young researchers, and increase their opportunities to recognize and tackle significant challenges in the fields of science and engineering.

Wang’s winning proposal was titled “Structure-Photophysics-Function Relationship of Perovskite Materials.”

Her research focuses on investigating device physics and photophysics of organic and organic-inorganic hybrid optoelectronic materials. In layman’s terms, optoelectronics is the study and application of electronic devices and systems that source, detect, and control light. An example would be solar cells or LED devices.

Wang said she is excited about the award.

“I have been studying these subjects for some time and I look forward to using the resources of this grant to gain even more insight,” she said.

She tunes the structure of thin films comprised of these materials, uses laser spectroscopy to understand dynamics, and combines her knowledge of physics and engineering to think about the potential application of next-generation LEDs, solar cells, transistors, and lasers.

In her proposal for YIP, she focused on studying a new classification of materials associated with this field: organic-inorganic hybrid perovskite materials. Perovskite is a specific type of crystal structure found in materials that can be used for solar cells and LED technology.

Over the course of the next three years, she will use aspects of physics, chemistry, materials science, and engineering to study the fundamental behavior of these materials and what they could possibly be used for in the future.

This will be a continuation of the research she began when she entered Princeton University as a graduate student in 2008. After receiving her Ph.D. in electrical engineering at Princeton in 2013, she was a postdoctoral fellow in physical chemistry at UC Berkeley for nearly three years before joining the College of Arts and Sciences’ physics department.

There were over 230 proposals for the YIP last year and grants were awarded to just 58 scientists and engineers. In total, these young researchers received $20 million, or $360,000 per winner. The grant is spread out over the course of three years and can be used to support research, hire personnel, and acquire any necessary lab equipment.




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The Iron Arrow Tribe Expands

2017 Iron Arrow Spring Tappings

Click on photo to enlarge.

With the telltale beating of a drum, the approach of a solemn procession, and a tap on the shoulder with an iron arrow, 41 members of the University of Miami community were inducted last week into the University’s most prestigious honor society, which recognizes those who exemplify love of alma mater, character, leadership, scholarship, and humility.

Pictured above are members of Iron Arrow’s Spring 2017 Tapping Class, which includes:

Vedant Achraya
Suzanne Aldahan
Norman Altman
Susanna Alvarez-Diaz
Christa Anderson
Mary Balise
Nathan Bates
Jacob Beck
Braxton Berrios
Alexandra Bicki
Adam Bright
Megan Brown
Michael Gittelman
Avisha Gopalakrishna
Peri Green
Valerie Halstead
Demetrius Jackson
Lee Kaplan
Natalie Laboy
Chiara Lazzereschi
Rick Lin
Megan Lipsky
Gerard Loisel
Karyn Meshbane
Nidhi Patel
Coleman Reardon
Ana Regalado
Robert Renfro
Nigel Richardson
Arrix Ryce
Amanda Saab
Jackie Safstrom
Alessandria San Roman
Jennifer Shiroky
Yash Soni
David Steinberg
Linet Suarez
Stephen Symes
Kay Tatum
Phallon Tullis-Joyce
Andrea Vorlicek

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Celebrate National Student Employment Week April 10-14

The University of Miami will celebrate National Student Employment Week in conjunction with universities nationwide during the week of April 10. Please join the Office of Student Financial Assistance and Employment in celebrating and recognizing the valuable contributions student-employees make with their labor, knowledge, and energy.

On Monday, April 10, from 2 to 3:30 p.m., an Energy Break will take place at the UC Breezeway. Please encourage student-employees to stop by the table to enjoy prizes and snacks (while supplies last).

On Thursday, April 13, the Office of Student Financial Assistance and Employment will announce the 2017 Student Employee of the Year, Supervisor of the Year, and Miami Commitment award recipients during the annual Student Employment Award Celebration, which begins at 2 p.m. at the Shalala Student Center. An invitation will be extended to all nominees, nominators, and their departments.

U Works! banners will decorate the Coral Gables campus throughout the week. These are great photo spots to remember your student-employees.

Most importantly, we encourage YOU to celebrate and recognize your student-employees during the week. Below are some ideas to help your department in organizing a National Student Employment Week celebration. Remember, you don’t need a big budget to let your student-employees know what a great job they are doing:

·         Decorate an office bulletin board or the office door in recognition of your student-employees.
·         Have a pizza party. Designate a day when the whole staff can get together and order pizza.
·         Have a chip & dip party.
·         Build your own ice cream sundae party. Bring in a couple of different flavors and toppings.
·         Bring in a sheet cake, cupcakes, or brownies and other goodies for a dessert party.
·         Organize a potluck luncheon in the office.
·         Make a care package for your students.
·         Have the staff sign a thank you card for the students.
·         Present each student with a certificate of appreciation.

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Finding a Solution Against Violence

UM professor wins ACLS grant to continue his studies on violence and the human condition.

By Betty Chinea
Special to UM News

Louis Herns Marcelin

Louis Herns Marcelin

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (March 17, 2017)—Dr. Louis Herns Marcelin, associate professor of anthropology at the University Miami College of Arts and Sciences, has focused most of his research on understanding violence as essential to social life.

As he notes, most scholars see forms of violence in society as discrete phenomena with clear determinants, while others shed light on their (im)morality and their destructive power. “While these approaches are important in helping us make sense of identifiable acts of violence, their randomness, and epidemiology,” Marcelin says, his work “takes a holistic perspective on the topic, a view that goes beyond thinking of violence as belonging to the realm of the absurd.”

Violence, he says, is not an anonomy or outside of what make us humans.

“Instead, violence is foundational of social life and quintessential to power relations among humans. Violence is constitutive of the human condition.”

Starting this summer, Marcelin will take a full academic year of research leave to further explore this theme as a recipient of an American Council of Learned Studies (ACLS) fellowship for his proposal, Democratization Process, Violence, and Peacebuilding in Contemporary Haiti.

As an ACLS fellow, he will work on a book that focuses on violence and human insecurity in post-dictatorship and post-disaster Haiti. The book builds on a series of transdisciplinary, multistage, ethnographic, and sociological studies he has conducted in Haiti, where he was born, over the course of 25 years.

His research interrogates the standard categorization and analysis of and community responses to violence. It highlights the unique value of ethnography as a distinctive means to investigate the principles at work in the production and reproduction of violence in sociocultural contexts like Haiti.

Marcelin is aware that this award was not simply for his own work, but the result of thought-provoking collaborations and reflections with UM colleagues and students, as well as other scholars from other parts of the world, including Haiti, South Africa, Brazil, France, and Canada.

“When I found out about this, I was humbled by it,” he said. “What it means is that it pays off to think in collaborative terms. It’s a product of what other people have helped me become. I am saying this because there is more reward in academia when we work collaboratively.”

For this fellowship, Marcelin will work through the Interuniversity Institute for Research and Development (INURED), a Haiti-based institute he co-founded to better integrate various disciplinary tools and perspectives in an effort to assist the people of Haiti.

Marcelin has continued to conduct research in Haiti over the past three decades, more recently expanding the scope of his work to explore how natural disasters, such as the 2010 earthquake and Hurricane Matthew in 2016, affect communities, as these are prolonged moments of crises, when violence in all forms is most prevalent.

Despite his focus on the darkest dimensions of the human condition, Marcelin remains an optimist. He says he is able to stomach years of research on violence because of his obligation to understand it and communicate his findings to others through his research.

“Sometimes you cannot sanitize it, ” he said. “It is the ugliness of abject human suffering that I cannot stomach; however, it forces me to look at what people living in these circumstances have in terms of resources and how these resources can be channeled in order to reverse their condition.”

Marcelin’s research goes beyond focusing on victims and/or offenders by exploring unjust structures that enable violence to erupt in the first place.

In addition to his ACLS fellowship, Marcelin also has been awarded the Residency Program at Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (STIAS) in South Africa, a four-month program in South Africa, where he will write several chapters of his book based on a comparative account of the nexus between violence and democracy in two shantytowns, one in Haiti and the other in South Africa.

These two fellowships will allow Marcelin the opportunity to examine sociocultural variations between democratization processes and violence.

“Everything humans do, humans can undo,” he said. “That’s where the philosophy of hope comes into play, the possibility of you overcoming the ugliest phases and conditions in life.”




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