Tag Archive | "college of arts and sciences"

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SEEDS Launches New Mentoring Initiative to Help Students and Early-Career Professionals Thrive

UM News

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (January 28, 2015) – A new leadership and mentoring program aimed at helping undergraduate students and early-career professionals to flourish in their academic and career endeavors is being launched by the University of Miami Women’s Commission and SEEDS (Scientists and Engineers Expanding Diversity and Success).

“It Takes a Mentor” will match students and junior faculty and staff members with senior University professors, researchers, and staff, with the goal of forging relationships that enhance the former group’s personal, academic, and career development.

The UM Women’s Commission and SEEDS are encouraging senior faculty and staff members to volunteer as mentors in the initiative.

“Having a mentor is a vital component of success for undergraduate students and early-career professionals both within the university setting and after they have moved on to the next stage of their careers,” said Catherine L. Newell, assistant professor of religious studies, who, along with Jennifer Spangenberg, assistant director in Housing and Residence Life, received a SEEDS You Choose Leadership Award that made the new initiative possible. The College of Arts and Sciences is also sponsoring the new “It Takes a Mentor” program.

Spangenberg noted a recent Gallup-Purdue University study that polled more than 30,000 college graduates on their university experience and how they were affected by it. Among the findings: 22 percent of the graduates who indicated they had a faculty mentor were three times more likely to report they were “thriving” in both their career and personal life, and twice as likely to have found a career in which they felt “engaged by their work.”

“We believe facilitating these connections to a mentor is a vital step towards success,” said Spangenberg. “With this in mind, students, their mentors, and all members of the UM community are invited to participate in three leadership seminars—Leadership and Strengths, Reflection on U, and the Power of Networking—throughout the spring semester and to continue their mentor/mentee relationships long into the future.”

All students searching for a mentor and all faculty and staff who feel they have the energy and knowledge to share with students or junior faculty/staff are encouraged to apply. Applications for mentors can be found here, while applications for those seeking a mentor can be found here.

Applications are due no later than Friday, February 6.

For more information, please contact Newell (clnewell@miami.edu) or Spangenberg (jenni@miami.edu).


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Nation’s Top Zebrafish Experts Gather at UM


Nation’s Top Zebrafish Experts Gather at UM

1.14 zebrafish 2

The symposium included guided tours of UM’s state-of-the-art zebrafish facility.

Special to UM News

CORAL GABLES, FLA. (January 14, 2015 — Zebrafish are only about one inch long – but these tiny fish are helping scientists answer big questions about genetics and how diseases emerge.

Zebrafish embryos are clear, and they grow outside of the mother’s body, allowing researchers to observe their development from the moment an egg is fertilized. In just two days, cells differentiate into separate organs, and the fish are capable of many actions – all available to view in real time under a microscope.

Some of the nation’s top zebrafish researchers gathered at the University of Miami College of Arts and Sciences this week for the Tales of Discovery Symposium: Answering Cutting-Edge Research Questions with Zebrafish. It was organized by Julia Dallman and Isaac Skromne, both assistant professors of biology in the College, and Marisa Hightower, senior program manager for SEEDS (a UM-wide program aimed at fostering diversity across all three campuses).

Eight leading scientists presented their work with zebrafish during the event. Participants also had a chance to attend a poster session where undergraduate and graduate students working with these distinguished faculty members shared their work. Fourteen projects showed the promise of future research using zebrafish, such as identifying genes that cause hereditary deafness in humans.

Dallman called zebrafish “the model organism,” sharing her studies to determine how mutated genes that cause diseases differ from normal genes. She described a study on Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, which affects neurons with long axons – particularly the foot and lower leg muscles. It affects about 1 in 2,500 people in America. Watching the neurons develop in zebrafish is yielding some clues as to how this inherited neurological disorder progresses in humans.

Lisa Ganser is an assistant professor at Georgia’s Kennesaw State University. She worked with Dallman and Associate Professor John Lu while earning her Ph.D. at UM, and incorporates zebrafish in her studies on how chemicals affect the development of neural behaviors.

“Zebrafish can respond to stimuli within 24 hours,” she explained, discussing her research on the effects of Adderall – a drug that helps children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder focus. Ganser and her colleagues have found that the drug “prevents zebrafish from responding to stimuli appropriately,” and they are looking to determine: “How does it disrupt communication within the brain?”

Harvard Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology Florian Engert presented one of the keynote addresses, describing his work mapping neural activity in zebrafish. He and two students devised a novel experiment, using a laser to expose five- to seven-day-old zebrafish embryos to an unpleasant (but not dangerous) amount of heat. The fish “learned” to flick their tails in a designated direction in order to turn off the heat. The whole time, Engert and the team monitored their brain, watching as the neurons fired and the tiny subjects figured out how to achieve their desired result.

The second keynote speaker was Cecilia B. Moens, a professor at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington, who spoke about neuron cell migration. Both she and Engert gave longer presentations at the Miller School of Medicine while on campus.

Other presenters were Lu and Skromne, and Jeffrey Plunkett, associate professor at St. Thomas University.

The event concluded with guided tours of UM’s state-of-the-art zebrafish facility.

The symposium was sponsored by a SEEDS You Choose Award to Dallman and Skromne; the UM College of Arts & Sciences and its Department of Biology, and the Miller School of Medicine’s Neuroscience Program; the Society for Developmental Biology; and Pentair Aquatic Eco-Systems, which sells equipment for planning and maintaining zebrafish colonies in labs.

Attendees included researchers and faculty from local universities and Miami-Dade high schools.

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Ibis Literary Reading and Performance Series Opens with Three Poets

Special to UM News

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (January 5, 2015)–Poets Michael Burkard, Staceyann Chin, and Mary Ruefle will share a stage at the first major event in the 2015 Ibis Literary Reading & Performance Series at 7 p.m. on Thursday, January 15, at the College of Arts and Sciences Gallery at the Wesley Foundation House, 1210 Stanford Drive, Coral Gables.

Burkard’s books of poetry include My Secret Boat (W. W. Norton), Entire Dilemma, and Unsleeping (Sarabande Books). His poems appear in many journals and magazines, including The American Poetry Review, Chicago Review, Verse, Fence, and Black Clock. He has twice received fellowships from both the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York State Foundation for the Arts, and in 2008, he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship. He also received the Alice diFay di Castagmola Award from the Poetry Society of America, and a Whiting Writer’s Prize. His poetry has appeared in four separate Best Anthologies. He is associate professor of English at Syracuse University, where he teaches in the M.F.A. Program in Creative Writing.

A fulltime artist, Chin is a resident of New York City and a Jamaican national who has been an “out poet and political activist” since 1998. From the Nuyorican Poets’ Cafe to one-woman shows Off- Broadway to acting in Julie Taymor’s Across the Universe and performing in both the stage and film versions of Howard Zinn’s Voices of a People’s History of the United States, to starring in the Tony-nominated Russell Simmons Def Poetry Jam on Broadway, Chin credits the long list of “things she has done” to her grandmother’s history of hard work and the pain of her mother’s absence.

Ruefle is the author of Trances of the Blast (Wave Books, 2013), Madness, Rack, and Honey: Collected Lectures (Wave Books, 2012), a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Criticism, and Selected Poems (Wave Books, 2010), winner of the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America. She has published ten books of poetry, a book of prose (The Most of It, Wave Books, 2008), and a comic book, Go Home and Go to Bed!, (Pilot Books/Orange Table Comics, 2007). She is also an erasure artist, whose treatments of 19th century texts have been exhibited in museums and galleries and published in A Little White Shadow (Wave Books, 2006). She is the recipient of numerous honors, including the Robert Creeley Award, an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Guggenheim fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, and a Whiting Award. She lives in Bennington, Vermont, and teaches in the M.F.A. program at Vermont College.

The IBIS Literary Reading Series, sponsored in part by the University of Miami’s College of Arts and Sciences, the English Department’s Creative Writing Program, and Women’s and Gender Studies, is free and open to the public. For more information, contact UM Creative Writing Director M. Evelina Galang at mgalang@miami.edu or Melissa Burley, creative writing events and community outreach coordinator, at m.burley1@umiami.edu.

For information about parking, please see UM Parking Information.


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Rod Wellens, Longtime Chair of Psychology, Passes Away

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Rod Wellens, Longtime Chair of Psychology, Passes Away

By Annette Gallagher
UM News

UM's Department of Psychology experienced tremendous growth during Rod Wellens' tenure as chair.

Rod Wellens

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (December 19, 2014) — Albert Rodney “Rod” Wellens, professor and longtime chair of the Department of Psychology who left an indelible mark on the University, the community, and the people he mentored, passed away at home and surrounded by his family on December 17 after an illness. He was 68.

Wellens, who joined the University in 1972, became a full professor in 1988 and chair of the psychology department in 1992—a post he held with distinction until 2013. Read the full story

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VizUM Picks Up Where Places & Spaces Leaves Off

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VizUM Picks Up Where Places & Spaces Leaves Off

By Annette Gallagher
UM News

Places & Spaces: Mapping Science. Closing Reception: Juhong Park, Victor Milenkovic, & Alberto Cairo at the Stanley and Jewell Glasgow Hall at the University of Miami School of Architecture

Alberto Cairo, the Knight Chair in Visual Journalism and director of CCS’s Visualization Program, says VizUM will provide new ways to deal with “oceans of data.”

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (December 12, 2014)—Places & Spaces: Mapping Science, the extraordinary Indiana University exhibition of 100 artistic big-data visualizations that debuted on the University of Miami campus in September, held its capstone event last week. But it signaled a beginning, not an end.

“There are no endings,” said Sawsan Khuri, chair of the Places & Spaces committee and director of engagement for the Center for Computational Science (CCS), which joined with the College of Arts and Sciences, School of Communication, School of Architecture, and Otto G. Richter Library to bring the exhibit to campus. “Places & Spaces may be leaving, but this is also the beginning of VizUM, a visualization project that will connect the visualization efforts already in place on the campus and initiate new efforts as well.” Read the full story

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