Tag Archive | "college of arts and sciences"

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Recognition for ‘White Sand Black Beach’


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Greg Bush and Florida’s first lady, Ann Scott, at the Florida Book Awards ceremony.

Greg Bush, an associate professor of history, has won a prestigious silver Florida Book Award for non-fiction for his book about a pivotal struggle in Miami’s civil rights history, White Sand Black Beach: Civil Rights, Public Space and Miami’s Virginia Key.

Bush, who was honored with other winning authors from across the state in Tallahassee last month, said he never imagined his life would be consumed largely by “what I learned from our history as I became an advocate (and organizer) trying to preserve and enhance the public spaces along Miami’s waterfront.”

In White Sand Black Beach, Bush chronicles the unique story of Miami-Dade County’s “black” beach, the current state of Miami’s public waterfront, and the potential to stimulate civic engagement. As he notes, environmentalists, community leaders, and civil rights activists have come together recently to revitalize Virginia Key, which was begrudgingly designated as a beach for African-Americans in 1945 after activists protested Jim Crow-era laws that denied blacks access to the recreational waterfront.

The beach became a vitally important gathering spot for African-American families and represented a tangible victory in the continuing struggle for civil rights in public spaces. But, as white leaders responded to desegregation by decreasing attention to and funding for public spaces in general, the beach was largely ignored and eventually shut down.

Bush was one of more than 200 writers to compete for the awards, which recognize, honor, and celebrate the best books about Florida published in the previous year. The competition is coordinated by the Florida State University Libraries with assistance from across the state.

For more information on the full list of winners, visit the Florida Book Awards

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SEEDS: Reproducibility in Science


Special to UM News

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Panelists discuss one of the greatest challenges in contemporary science—the failure to reproduce or replicate research results.

MIAMI, Fla. (April 25, 2016)—One of the greatest challenges in contemporary science—the failure to reproduce or replicate research results—was tackled by a first-ever symposium that linked reproducibility and the responsible conduct of research.

The SEEDS “You Choose” Awards and the Miller School’s Institute for Bioethics and Health Policy presented “Reproducibility in Science: Writing, Data and the Growth of Knowledge” on April 24 at the Mailman Center for Children Development, with a keynote talk by Elizabeth Iorns, Ph.D., founder and CEO of the California-based Science Exchange and co-director of its Reproducibility Initiative.

“It is rare and reassuring to see institutional leadership take such a supportive role” in fostering reproducibility, Iorns said during a subsequent panel discussion with John Bixby, Ph.D., vice provost for research and professor of pharmacology and neurological surgery; Dushyantha T. Jayaweera, M.D., executive dean for research and research education and professor of medicine; and Joyce M. Slingerland, M.D., Ph.D., associate director for translational research at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, professor of medicine, and director of the Braman Family Breast Cancer Institute.

The program was chaired and the panel was moderated by SEEDS grant recipient Joanna Johnson, Ph.D., director of writing in the College of Arts and Sciences, who described her work on a project that identifies poor, boastful, and hedging scientific prose as a potential contributor to failures of reproducibility.

What has been called a “crisis” in science, repeated failures to reproduce complex and costly experiments is thought to be an obstacle to public trust in science, especially worrisome in times of budget uncertainty.

Iorns discusssed ways of measuring and incentivizing reproducible research, and included results from the first replication studies published by the Reproducibility Project: Cancer Biology. Iorns was an assistant professor at the University of Miami before starting Science Exchange in 2011. Bixby, Jayaweera, and Slingerland addressed efforts at UM to improve reproducibility and made clear that such efforts are an important component of the responsible conduct of research—and a key element of National Institutes of Health compliance rules for academic institutions.

SEEDS (A Seed for Success) “You Choose” Awards support investigator-initiated activities that enhance the awardee’s community and career. The event was co-sponsored by the Miami Clinical and Translational Science Institute.

For more information about SEEDS, please contact Marisol Capellan, SEEDS manager, at mailto:mcapellan@miami.edu.

 

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Showing Our Colors for Pride


By Meredith Camel
UM News

The University of Miami is celebrating Campus Pride Month with a colorful collection of events throughout April, including Sunday’s spirited stroll down Ocean Drive in the annual Miami Beach Gay Pride Parade.


(Parade photos by Aaliyah Weathers)

More than 60 UM students, alumni, and employees represented the U with a Candyland-themed float, handing out bags of rainbow-colored jelly beans to spectators who gathered at the ninth annual parade celebrating the culture of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) community and allies. This was UM’s fourth consecutive year as a parade participant.

“Pride is about belonging, which is something we strive for every day here at the U,” says Van Bailey, director of the UM LGBTQ Student Center, which co-sponsored the parade entry along with the Women’s and Gender Studies Program in the College of Arts and Sciences. “Not only is it about visibility, it’s about advocacy as well—standing up for those who can’t and celebrating those who have been fighting for LGBTQ equality for decades.”

The parade came on the heels of Pride Awareness Week (PAW), the signature program hosted each spring by SpectrUM, the University’s LGBTQ undergraduate student organization. PAW activities this year included a bandana tie-dye booth on the Foote Green, a “what are U proud of?” photo shoot at the U Statue, an excursion to the Pérez Art Museum Miami with a screening of the Oscar-winning film Moonlight, and a Pride Shabbat at UM Hillel.

Also last week, the University lit up the Shalala Student Center in rainbow colors as part of Pride Lights the Night, a Miami-wide tribute to the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando last year. More than 40 structures throughout the city displayed the rainbow in lights or on a flag to demonstrate support and solidarity for the LGBTQ community.

Upcoming Campus Pride Month events hosted by the LGBTQ Student Center include a “Queering the American Dream” lecture by Associate Professor Steven Butterman on Wednesday, April 12 and Rainbow Rager, a glow-themed extravaganza at the Lakeside Patio on Thursday, April 13.

 

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UM to Host RoboCup U.S. Open April 27-30


RoboCupThe University of Miami will host the RobCup U.S. Open at the Patti and Allan Herbert Wellness Center on April 27-30, when five teams, including one from Mexico, will compete in the games that pit soccer-playing robots against each other. A vehicle to promote robotics and AI research, the Robocup Federation’s ultimate goal is, by mid-century, to have  team of fully autonomous humanoid robot soccer players challenging—and beating—the most recent winner of the the FIFA World Cup.

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Physics Professor Wins Air Force Grant

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Physics Professor Wins Air Force Grant


By Andrew Boryga
Special to UM News

Wang

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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