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Home > People > Awards and appointments, January 2010

Awards and appointments, January 2010

By Adam Overland

Ali Momeni
Ali Momeni has been awarded a $50,000 grant from Chicago's Joyce Foundation.

January 27

To submit U of M staff or faculty for consideration in People, contact the Brief editor.

University of Minnesota art professor Ali Momeni has been awarded a $50,000 grant from Chicago's Joyce Foundation.

The award is among five $50,000 Joyce grants to arts organizations in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois. Each will support new work by an artist of color. Momeni, an Iranian-born musician and technology artist, working with colleague Jenny Schmid and a team of Minneapolis artists and teens, will project images about war and its global effects onto the exterior of the MIA. The performance will include original music, computer-manipulated drawings, and audience participation. For more information, see the story in the Star Tribune

Becky Bohm, associate director of athletic communications, will receive the Girls’ and Women’s Sports in the Media Award at a ceremony Feb. 3.

Bohm has spent over 20 years in the athletic communications profession and is in her 14th year at Minnesota. Prior to coming to Minnesota, she was the sports information director at Wisconsin-Platteville. Bohm has promoted women’s sports by telling their stories so fans know them as people, not just athletes. Her coverage of women’s athletics has allowed young women to be portrayed in a positive light, showing them as the excellent role models they are. As an athlete, Bohm was a four-time varsity track letter-winner and four-time academic-all conference honoree at Wisconsin-Oshkosh. Bohm has won several publication awards from CoSIDA (College Sports Information Directors of America) for her work in the sports information field.

The award ceremony will be conducted in conjunction with the 24th annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day, a nationwide celebration recognizing the accomplishments of individuals in the promotion and advancement of girls' and women’s sports. The 2010 ceremony will be honoring 25 individuals who will be receiving awards in five separate categories.

David Ghere, associate professor in the Department of Postsecondary Teaching and Learning, died suddenly Jan. 17, at the age of 59. He taught history at the U for the past 19 years, originally in the former General College. Ghere loved teaching and was passionate about helping students learn. He was attracted to the college because of its focus on developmental education. His historical research focused on American Indians during the colonial period.

Ghere is survived by his loving wife, Gail; his devoted children, Erin (Aaron), Christopher and his fiancé Alessandra and Shannon; his adoring grandson, Aidan; sisters, Dee McCollum (Jerry) of River Falls, WI and Dianne Cherry (Steve) of Arcola, IL; and a large, loving extended family. Dave was a gentle, kind man of integrity who loved being with family. He was a Captain in the U.S. Army. He was born and raised in Arcola, IL.

In lieu of flowers, memorials preferred to the University of Minnesota TRiO Program. In memoriam checks made to University of Minnesota Foundation. Specify in memo line: TRIO Program Fund. Send to University of Minnesota Foundation, C-M 3854, P.O. Box 70870, St. Paul, MN, 55170-3854. Bradshaw 2800 Curve Crest Boulevard, Stillwater 651-439-5511. For more information, see David Ghere.

U in the News: A selection of U faculty in the news

The Science of Romance: Why We Flirt
Contrary to widespread belief, only two very specific types of people flirt: those who are single and those who are married. "A lot of people feel flirting is part of the universal language of how we communicate, especially nonverbally," says Jeffry Simpson, director of the social psychology program at the University of Minnesota. TIME Magazine.

Future Ed: Remote learning, 3D screens
When students wake up in the late 2030s, they won't have to take many steps to go to "class." "The biggest thing holding back the future of the classroom is the future of the classroom," said Arthur Harkins, a professor at the University of Minnesota who specializes in technology and education. Star Tribune.

Save the tiger: Pressure mounts for tougher action
After trudging through the wilds of western Thailand for several hours, the forest rangers thought they were finally onto something: the distant sound of crunching leaves… David Smith, a tiger expert at the University of Minnesota who will attend the meeting action "has got to be now. We are at that critical stage." Washington Post.

The turmoil within: Somali families try to fit in, struggle to forget
Ismail Osman had Hollywood dreams when he escaped Somalia's civil war and arrived in the United States eleven years ago… It's difficult to say if Somali women are truly faring better than men in America, according to Professor Cawo Abdi, who has researched the gender question within her community But Abdi, who teaches sociology at the University of Minnesota, says the patriarchal Somali culture may have inadvertently helped girls here in the long run. Minnesota Public Radio NewsQ.

3 bills tackle drug costs, prescription practices
A number of states, including Pennsylvania and New York, have adopted similar education programs, as has Australia, which has saved $5 for every $1 invested in the program, according to Stephen Schondelmeyer, a University of Minnesota pharmacy professor who studies drug pricing. One of the bills calls for the commissioner of Health, along with the state Board of Pharmacy and the University of Minnesota's medical and pharmacy schools, to develop a drug-education program for doctors, pharmacists and other health care professionals. Star Tribune.

How Fast Is Your Web Connection?
When Andrew Odlyzko investigated why the Internet connection from his home in Minneapolis to his office just over two miles away was so sluggish, he found the answer: the data was taking a round trip to Denver. Professor Odlyzko, a mathematician, studies the speed and quality of Internet service at the University of Minnesota. The New York Times.

Could some areas of health-reform consensus still move forward?
Can you tell whether a Democrat or a Republican member of Congress wrote the following statements on health-care reform?. "The idea of health reform being redone in a bipartisan way for a scaled-down bill is delusional and is not possible in this Congress in this year," said Larry Jacobs, director of the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance at the University of Minnesota's Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs. MinnPost.

January 20

To submit U of M staff or faculty for consideration in People, contact the Brief editor.

Vladas Griskevicius 165Vladas Griskevicius is one of 10 UMTC faculty members to become McKnight Land-Grant Professors for 2010-12. McKnight Land-Grant Professors for 2010-12 are 10 UMTC faculty members: Vladas Griskevicius, CSOM; Ibrahim Volkan Isler, IT; Alex Jassen, CLA; Daniel Kaplan, Medical School; Kenneth Kozak, CFANS; Vuk Mandic, IT; Jennifer Marshall, CLA; Dylan Millet, CFANS; Yoichiro Mori, IT; and John Ohlfest, Medical School. The award aims to advance the careers of the U's most promising junior faculty. The recipients will be recognized by the Board of Regents March 12. For more information, see McKnight Land Grant recipients.

The American Diabetes Association, the nation’s largest and leading voluntary health organization leading the fight to Stop Diabetes, announced that Elizabeth Seaquist has been elected to its Board of Directors for a three-year term.

Seaquist is a professor of medicine at the University of Minnesota Medical School where she holds the Pennock Family Chair in Diabetes Research. She directs the University of Minnesota site for the Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes Trial, is principal investigator on the National Institutes of Health training grant for fellows in endocrinology and diabetes at the University of Minnesota, and has an active clinical practice. Seaquist also is a member of the Endocrine Society and the American Federation of Medical Research.

Seaquist has been a member of the American Diabetes Association since 1987 and has served at the national level on the Research Policy Committee, the Research Grant Review Committee, and the Scientific Sessions Meeting Planning Committee. She is currently on the editorial board for Diabetes.

At the local level, she is currently serving a two-year term as co-chair of the Diabetes EXPO in Minneapolis. Additionally, she is a clinical investigator interested in the complications of diabetes. Her research focuses on the effect of diabetes on brain metabolism, structure, and function. She was awarded a Distinguished Clinical Scientist Award by the American Diabetes Association in 2009.

Seaquist is board certified in internal medicine and endocrinology, diabetes, and metabolism. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY and a Medical Doctorate from the University of Minnesota.

U in the News: A selection of U faculty in the news

Good Question: Why Is Haiti So Poor?
The damage is devastating, but in many ways, Haiti was in shambles far before the quake hit..."Greedy dictators" and "a long line of Western imperial powers that have maldeveloped, purposely maldeveloped Haiti," said April Knutson, a senior lecturer in French who teaches the history of Haiti at the University of Minnesota. WCCO-TV.

Ex-Mpls. librarian leaves $878,000 estate
Bob Olson was a quiet fellow who cataloged books for a living before he retired to the same modest, well-kept two-story home that his parents owned before him in the Seward neighborhood of Minneapolis… The University of Minnesota libraries -- where the heiress Olson worked for 23 years -- stand to get several hundred thousand dollars, depending on his estate's worth. Star Tribune.

NCAA convention: One plan to fix college football
If big-time college presidents want to rein in athletics spending, they need to slash coaches' salaries, cut football scholarships and end the Bowl Championship Series... University of Minnesota sociologist Mary Jo Kane responded, "Hear, hear -- and good luck." The Columbus Dispatch.

The tragic geology behind Haiti's quake
Scientists assign levels of magnitude to earthquakes — a 7.0 in the case of the quake that tragically shook Haiti on Tuesday... But that single number doesn't give the full measure of the trauma a quake can cause on the Earth's surface, said Professor Justin Revenaugh, a University of Minnesota geophysicist. MinnPost.

Italian architect's work lives on at U of M exhibit
Architect Andrea Palladio may have lived half a millenium ago, but a new exhibition at the University of Minnesota shows how his design ideas live on... University of Minnesota Professor Leon Satkowski said even as Palladio looked back, he was also designing for contemporary needs. Minnesota Public Radio NewsQ.

Solar cells self-assemble in 'salad dressing'
Your salad dressing could become an electronics factory, if work from the University of Minnesota bears fruit. "Then we thought if we could concentrate them into a two-dimensional sheet and then have some kind of conveyor belt-like system we could assemble them with high yields and high speed," Heiko Jacobs of the University of Minnesota told the BBC. Your Renewable News.

January 13

To submit U of M staff or faculty for consideration in People, contact the Brief editor.

David Treuer165Diverse Magazine has named David Treuer one of its "Emerging Scholars" for 2010.Diverse Magazine has named David Treuer one of its "Emerging Scholars" for 2010. Treuer, professor of English from the University of Minnesota, is among the 12 that have been awarded this honor for 2010.

In its Jan. 7 edition, Diverse profiles 12 "under 40" scholars from around the country. Each scholar is selected based on research, educational background, publishing record, teaching record, competitiveness of field of study, and uniqueness of field of study.

Diverse is America’s pre-eminent newsmagazine that covers news and information about the ever-changing world of higher education. It is the most widely read magazine in the nation on issues about and affecting under-represented groups in higher education.

U in the News: A selection of U faculty in the news

Good Question: Who Gets Credit For Lower Crime?
When crime spikes, we demand answers. "Crime is dropping in communities that are not using these approaches as well," said Chris Uggen, chair of the sociology department and an expert on crime and justice at the University of Minnesota. WCCO-TV.

Using a Virus’s Knack for Mutating to Wipe It Out
Evolution is a virus’s secret weapon. “People have thought about this idea for many years,” said Louis Mansky, a virologist at the University of Minnesota. New York Times.

Calling Greedy Wall Street Bankers Fat Cats Is an Insult to Cats
It's a good thing my long-haired calico Hyacinth can't read the newspaper. The University of Minnesota studied more than 4,000 Americans for 10 years and found that cat ownership reduced the risk of heart attack by nearly one third. Alternet.

The Loudness Wars: Why Music Sounds Worse

As we come to the end of the decade, we turn to one of the more dramatic changes we've heard in music over those 10 years: It seems to have gotten louder. Andrew Oxenham is a professor in the psychology department at the University of Minnesota. National Public Radio

Mental health isn't the issue-stigma is
There was a time when the public admission of mental illness could derail a candidate's political career. "It's just a disability," said Steve Miles, a bioethicist at the University of Minnesota and former candidate for the U.S. Senate who has bipolar disorder. Star Tribune.

In New Way to Edit DNA, Hope for Treating Disease
Only one man seems to have ever been cured of AIDS, a patient who also had leukemia. Daniel Voytas, a plant geneticist at the University of Minnesota, said the zinc finger technique would allow breeders to change the oil composition of any plant, the types of carbohydrates produced or the way carbon dioxide is captured. New York Times.

Feds Investigating Prescription Drug Price Increases
Health and Human Services Inspector General Daniel Levinson has agreed to a request from Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) to look into charges that 96% of wholesale prices of brand-name prescription drugs were sharply increased in anticipation of healthcare reform. Overall, generic drugs have had an average decline in price every year since 2004, with decreases averaging between -0.6% and -11.5%, testified Stephen Schondelmeyer, PhD, professor of pharmaceutical management and economics at the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy. Health Leaders Media.