Tag Archive | "college of arts and sciences"

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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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Kids Inaugurate the Lowe’s New Children’s Pavilion


Beaux-PavilionChildren happily inaugurated the newly renovated Beaux Arts Children’s Pavilion last week as Beaux Arts members and guests celebrated its grand opening with a ribbon-cutting, music, treats, pizza, and art-making activities developed by the Lowe education team.

Sebastian the Ibis was the star of the evening—posing for photos and creating masks with the kids—but Beaux Arts members who pledged $148,000 to update the pavilion were the real heroes.

Beaux Arts Co-Presidents Diana Moll and Kim Wood, above,  joined Sergio Gonzalez, senior vice president for university advancement and external affairs, College of Arts and Sciences Dean Leonidas Bachas, and Lowe Director Jill Deupi in the official ribbon cutting.

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Finding a Solution Against Violence

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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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