Tag Archive | "college of arts and sciences"

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Know Justice, Know Peace: A Symposium on Race, Social Justice, and the American Dream on April 1

UM News

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (March 27, 2015)—Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin, the African-American teenager from Miami Gardens who neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman fatally shot in Sanford, Fla., will be among the speakers at a symposium on race, social justice, and the concept of the American dream at  7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 1, at the Student Activities Center Ballrooms on the Coral Gables campus.

Ticekts to the symposium are free but required for entry. Faculty and staff with a valid ’Cane Card may pick up one ticket at the SAC, room 206, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Monday, March 30 through Wednesday, April 1, or while supplies last.

Fulton is the co-founder of the Trayvon Martin Foundation, a not-for-profit organization to create awareness about racial, ethnic, and gender profiling and to educate youth on conflict resolution techniques. Other speakers include:

Jasiri X, a Pittsburgh rapper who released a video for a song called “Trayvon” in May 2012. The video recounts the night Martin was killed.

Johnetta Elzie, a 25-year-old who went to the streets to protest the shooting of Mike Brown, Jr., an unarmed 18-year-old shot in Ferguson, MO. She has used her Twitter account to raise awareness about other cases like Brown’s. She now has more than 20,000 followers, and publishes a daily newsletter about events in Ferguson that has more than 7,000 subscribers.

Dr. Jelani Cobb, an American writer, author and associate professor of history and director of the Institute for African-American Studies at the University of Connecticut. Cobb reported on the trial of Zimmerman, who was acquitted in Martin’s death, for The New Yorker.

The symposium will be moderated by UM’s David Ikard, director of the Africana Studies Program and professor of English. Ikard has published extensively on racial politics in the U.S. and is currently working on a book, Lovable Racists, Magical Negroes and White Messiahs, which uses Martin’s death and related instances of racial injustice to discuss the challenges of racial relations in the 21st century.

The symposium is co-sponsored by the  Africana Studies Program and the Division of Student Affairs.


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UMindfulness Lecture with Zindel Segal: The Mindful Way Through Depression on April 7

Join UM’s Amishi Jha and the College of Arts and Sciences on Tuesday, April 7  at 5:30 p.m. for another stimulating UMindfulness lecture featuring Zindel Segal, Distinguished Professor of Psychology in Mood Disorders at the University of Toronto-Scarborough. His study of mindfulness meditation and anti-depressant medication has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, CNN Health Online, and The New York Times. The author of 10 books and more than 150 scientific publications, Segal’s latest publications, The Mindful Way Through Depression and The Mindful Way Workbook, are patient guides for dealing with stress and achieving balance in everyday life.

The lecture will be held at the Newman Alumni Center, 6200 San Amaro Drive, Coral Gables. To learn more, watch Segal’s TED talk. To RSVP for the lecture, click here.

The Mindful Way Through Depression and The Mindful Way Workbook will be on sale before and after the lecture.





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College of Arts & Sciences Labs Named ‘Lab of the Year’ for  Safety and Compliance Records

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College of Arts & Sciences Labs Named ‘Lab of the Year’ for Safety and Compliance Records

The Bachas Group includes, from left, junior William Ranson, Ph.D. student Megan Gillespie, Research Assistant Professor Elsayed Zahran, junior Jacob Levy, junior Hind Naami, Dean Leonidas Bachas, Jeramy Baum and Ed Miller. The Bachas Group receives its Lab of the Year Award. Left to right: junior William Ranson, Ph.D. student Megan Gillespie, Research Assistant Professor Elsayed Zahran, junior Jacob Levy, junior Hind Naami, Dean Leonidas Bachas, Jeramy Baum, Ed Miller.

The Bachas Group includes, from left, junior William Ranson, Ph.D. student Megan Gillespie, Research Assistant Professor Elsayed Zahran, junior Jacob Levy, junior Hind Naami, Dean Leonidas Bachas, Ph.D. student Jeramy Baum, and Ph.D. student Ed Miller.

By Melissa Peerless
Special to UM News

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (March 11, 2015)—For the second year in a row, the chemistry lab of College of Arts & Sciences Dean Leonidas Bachas was named Lab of the Year by the  Office of Environmental Health and Safety. Associate Professor of Chemistry Burjor Captain was also recognized for his lab’s record of excellence in safety and compliance.

Jairo Betancourt, biosafety manager for the Office of Environmental Health and Safety, said this is the first time a lab has been honored two years in a row, adding, “When you have a lab this consistent, this is what you are looking for.”

More than 1,500 labs on the three UM campuses were evaluated, with two winners also selected at the Miller School of Medicine: the lab of Grace Zhai, associate professor of molecular and cellular pharmacology who uses the fruit fly to study the genetic and cellular basis of neural development, degeneration, and protection; and the lab of Theodore Lampidis, professor of cell biology and anatomy, who is investigating the mechanisms of tumor cell resistance to chemotherapy.

Betancourt said the premise of the awards is twofold. “No. 1 is the safety of the laboratorians, and No. 2 is compliance with federal, local, and state regulations.”

He added that the award is intended to “stimulate all people in the University to improve.”

Speaking to the Bachas Lab team—which includes Bachas; Research Assistant Professor Elsayed Zahran; Ph.D. students Jeramy Baum, Megan Gillespie, and Ed Miller; and undergraduates Jacob Levy, Hind Naami, and William Ranson—Betancourt called Bachas “not only a dean, but an exemplary scientist.”

Bachas, who came to UM from the University of Kentucky, where he served as the Frank J. Derbyshire Professor of Chemistry and the chair of the Department of Chemistry, holds a Ph.D. in bioanalytical chemistry and an M.S. in engineering from the University of Michigan.

Betancourt further explained that when he began inspecting UM’s labs several years ago, principal investigators were reluctant to adopt the safety standards he proposed. However, recent years have brought “big changes,” he said, with widespread recognition of the importance of safety in the lab.

Zahran, who manages day-to-day operations in the Bachas Lab, said, “We teach our students everything about the regulations, how to avoid accidents, how to deal with chemical waste and hazardous waste, and keeping everything organized and in its place.”

The Bachas Group is working to develop new nanoparticles to break down environmental pollutants. They build the tiny catalysts, and then place them in contaminated water. When the nanoparticles are exposed to solar energy, they drive reactions that breakdown contaminants, such as PCBs.

Junior Jacob Levy, a chemistry major from the Philadelphia area on the pre-health track, creates the nanoparticles in solution, a key piece of the lab’s work.

“This research further broadens my experience in science,” he said.

With Lizzeth Meza, far left, from the Office of Environmental Health and Safety, are Ph.D. student Nathaniel Westfall; Associate Professor Burjor Captain and post-doctoral student Anjanejulu Koppaka, and the Office of Environmental Health and Safety's  Melanie Peapell.

With Lizzeth Meza, far left, from the Office of Environmental Health and Safety, are Ph.D. student Nathaniel Westfall; Associate Professor Burjor Captain, and postdoctoral student Anjanejulu Koppaka, and the Office of Environmental Health and Safety’s Melanie Peapell.

Describing Captain’s lab  as “very complicated,” Betancourt said it is “nose to nose with Bachas.”

The Captain Group works with transition metal complexes, which are used to activate hydrogen and small molecules. Captain and his students create the complexes using several different methods.

Captain earned his Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of South Carolina, where he also pursued postdoctoral work.


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Poet Denise Duhamel Performs at USpeak on March 19

uSpeakDenise Duhamel March 19Denise Duhamel, whose most recent book of poetry, Blowout (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2013), was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and winner of a 2014 Paterson Poetry Prize, performs at the next USpeak Flash Fiction & Poetry Performance Series on Thursday, March 19, at 7 p.m. at the CAS Gallery/Wesley House, 1210 Stanford Drive, Coral Gables campus. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

Duhamel’s other books include Ka-Ching! (Pittsburgh, 2009), Two and Two (Pittsburgh, 2005), Queen for a Day: Selected and New Poems (Pittsburgh, 2001), The Star-Spangled Banner (Southern Illinois University Press, 1999), and Kinky (Orchises Press, 1997). She has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. The guest editor for The Best American Poetry 2013, she is a professor at Florida International University in Miami.

USpeak is an open mic event in a friendly environment where attendees can read their work, play their music, and listen to the art of others. Open mic slots are limited; arrive early if you intend to perform.

The USpeak Open Mic Flash Fiction & Poetry Performance Series, sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences, the English Department’s Creative Writing Program, and Mangrove Literary Journal, is free and open to the public. For information about parking, please see UM Parking Information.

For more information on USpeak events, please visit http://www.miami.edu/uspeak, which also offers podcasts of previous USpeaks, or contact University of Miami Creative Writing Director M. Evelina Galang at mgalang@miami.edu or Creative Writing Community Outreach and Events Coordinator Melissa Burley at m.burley1@umiami.edu.


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The Lowe Dedicates New Art Research Center to Hands-On Learning

Special to UM News


UM alumna Stella Holmes, third from left, is honored at the dedication ceremony for the new Art Research Center made possible by her generosity. Standing with her are, from left, Senior Director of Development Adriana F. Verdeja, UM President Donna E. Shalala, and Lowe Art Museum Director Jill Deupi.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (February 19, 2015)—The new Stella M. Holmes Art Research Center (ARC) was officially dedicated in the heart of the College of Arts and Sciences’ Lowe Art Museum last Thursday, giving UM students even more unique opportunities for hands-on learning about the museum’s world-class collection.

“The Art Research Center will allow student curators in ArtLab to see and feel artifacts from the cultures they are studying more intimately than ever before,” said Holmes, a UM alumna and supporter whose generosity launched the museum’s innovative ArtLab series in 2009. “First-hand experience is a very valuable tool in museum studies programs, because it helps students to understand the soul of the art through investigation of its origins.”

The ARC’s walls are lined with built-in, museum-grade display cases that showcase a variety of objects, while smart technology makes the most of electronic resources and the Internet. More cases line the corridor adjacent to a classroom, engaging visitors before they enter the ARC. The area also has been redesigned to allow a direct view into the Lowe’s object storage, allowing guests to see a large number of pieces that are not currently on display. Designed for active learning, the ARC will host enhanced programming for all of the Lowe’s visitors.

“It’s a new capstone in our educational offerings,” said Jill Deupi, Beaux Arts director and chief curator. “We are thrilled with the ARC, which allows us to continue to expand and enhance our capacity to engage directly with our audiences.”

Home to a world-class collection of nearly 19,000 objects spanning 5,000 years of human history, the Lowe has long been committed to providing opportunities for the firsthand experience of works of art and enrichment of the community through education about arts and culture.

The phenomenal success of ArtLab, which touches the students involved, the Lowe’s 40,000 visitors each year, and countless others who access digital copies of the catalogs online, inspired the Lowe and Holmes to create the ARC, allowing even greater interaction and experience with the museum’s remarkable cultural and educational assets.

Led by a UM faculty member, ArtLab participants spend a full academic year delving into designated themes, which have included Spanish Colonial Art, the art of indigenous Panama, the convergence of Eastern and Western ideas in contemporary Japanese art, differing points of view in Islamic art, and the history of printmaking.

In addition to the direct study of objects in the Lowe’s collections, ArtLab students enjoy off-site immersive experiences, which in the past have included field research in Panama and Peru.

ArtLab culminates each spring with the curation and installation of a focus exhibition and a companion catalog authored by the students. This show remains on view in a prominent gallery in the Lowe (the Richard B. Bermont Family Focus Gallery) for a full year, allowing museum visitors to learn from participants’ investigative efforts.

In addition to Holmes’ generosity, support for the ARC was provided by Beaux Arts, the Rubin – Ladd Foundation, the Jensen Endowment, and the Coleman Foundation.

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