Volume 16 | April 22, 2020
Students, Staff, Faculty, Alumni and Friends,

As we all navigate through these unprecedented times, the well-being of everyone in our College community is our top priority. We hope that no matter where you are, you and your loved ones are safe and healthy.

Our newsletter has been a place to celebrate the excellence of the College and the strengths of our public research University have never been more important. Our mission will always be to master existing knowledge, create new knowledge through our research, scholarship and creative activity and to put those newfound understandings of the natural environment and human condition to work to make communities stronger. While the current situation has necessitated that we teach and work through remote means, our collaborative spirit endures. In this newsletter, you will find stories of how members of our College are facing challenges with creativity and dedication to our mission and how we are helping our State during this pandemic. As always, we also included updates on groundbreaking research and scholarship and highlighted the achievements of our students, faculty and staff.

We will continue to provide updates across our College platforms. Stay safe and thank you for everything you do to support the College. 
SOONERS HELPING SOONERS
The OU family is stepping up to help students in need. Sooners Helping Sooners is an emergency fund that offers limited emergency financial assistance to current OU students who are unable to meet immediate, essential expenses because of temporary hardship related to the COVID-19 crisis.

Thanks to a generous contribution from country music star Luke Bryan and gifts from the OU family across the country, Sooners Helping Sooners has raised more than $125,000 to help students and other emergency needs during the crisis. Additional support for Sooners Helping Sooners comes from the University’s commitment of $200,000 in unrestricted private funds and donors who are re-directing their prior gifts to support student emergencies.

The fund was launched after many alumni and friends reached out to the University asking how they could help. To donate, visit link.ou.edu/shsgive .
COVID-19 TESTING KITS AVAILABLE DUE TO PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP
OU associate professor of microbiology Bradley Stevenson and graduate students Emily Junkins and James Floyd have contributed to the advancement of a new, validated COVID-19 testing protocol with a local diagnostic development company and are working to develop alternative COVID-19 testing methods. Norman-based lab, IMMY, develops, manufactures and distributes diagnostic tests for pathogens and has been assisting with COVID-19 testing. Read more about how OU shared reagent kits and supplies to help IMMY increase the amount of COVID-19 testing that could be done within the state and how Stevenson and his team are researching alternative testing approaches.
RESEARCHERS TO STUDY THE IMPACT OF FALSE INFORMATION ON THE PUBLIC'S RESPONSE TO COVID-19
As the world grapples to understand and contain the COVID-19 virus, a team of researchers at the University of Oklahoma received a $200,000 National Science Foundation award to study in real time how Americans perceive COVID-19 and how false information shared through social media influences their behavior. The project is a collaborative effort between faculty and researchers in several areas at OU: National Institute for Risk and Resilience co-directors Hank Jenkins-Smith and Carol Silva, deputy director Joe Ripberger , research scientist Kuhika Gupta and postdoctoral researcher Andrew Fox; Department of Political Science professor and chair Scott Robinson; and Public and Community Health Programs coordinator Jen Ross.
OU RESEARCHERS RECEIVE INTERNAL FUNDING TO STUDY IMPACT OF COVID-19
Ten research projects led by University of Oklahoma researchers, including four in the College of Arts and Sciences, will receive funding to address the COVID-19 pandemic . The recipients were selected from 72 proposals submitted in one week.

As specified in the call for proposals, the Office of the Vice President for Research and Partnerships on the OU Norman campus is funding these Rapid Response Research Seed Grants for short-term projects that position OU faculty and their collaborators to effectively compete for significant external funding opportunities related to COVID-19 prevention, mitigation, diagnosis, treatment, social factors and disparities, risk assessment and decision-making and societal impacts.
COLLEGE ADAPTS TO ONLINE ENVIRONMENT
In March, the University of Oklahoma announced it was transitioning all in-person classes to an online learning environment for the remainder of the semester. This marked a significant adjustment for our faculty and students and the College of Arts and Sciences, so we reached out to our community members to share their experiences and advice. Visit our College web site to view photos and stories from our faculty and students about their experiences in their own words .
UNIVERSITY ANNOUNCES PLANS TO CELEBRATE COMMENCEMENT
The final few months of this semester were challenging, but the Class of 2020 has risen to the occasion. Celebrating their graduation will provide yet one more opportunity for them to show the world their resilience and perseverance! The University is looking forward to celebrating graduation by providing a virtual and in-person ceremony to safely celebrate their academic accomplishments! OU will hold a virtual ceremony at 7 p.m. on Friday, May 8. All May 2020 graduation candidates – whether they participate in the virtual ceremony or not – may attend the rescheduled Spring 2020 graduation ceremonies, scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 8, and Sunday, Aug. 9, in Lloyd Noble Center. Click here for more information .
UNIVERSITY AND COLLEGE AWARD WINNERS ANNOUNCED
Aurelius Miles Francisco of Oklahoma City, a University of Oklahoma student double majoring in political science and in African and African-American Studies, has been named the recipient of the 2020 Carl Albert Award , presented each year to the outstanding senior in the OU College of Arts and Sciences.

In addition to graduating in May with two bachelor’s degrees, Francisco will also earn minors in women’s and gender studies and in international studies. After graduation, he plans to partake in a year-long fellowship revolving around his passions for justice, policy and community before carrying his education forward in graduate school.

His research focuses on various phenomena impacting marginalized communities, including the criminal punishment system and food sovereignty. He spent the summer of 2019 working as a public health research intern with the Government Accountability Project’s Food Integrity Campaign in Washington, D.C. He has been an honors research assistant for OU Associate Professor Julia Ehrhardt and a research intern for culinary historian Adrian Miller.

The Carl Albert Award, the most prestigious honor given to a student by the OU College of Arts and Sciences, is based on academic performance, moral force of character and promise of future service to the state and nation. First presented in 1966, the award was established to honor Carl Albert, the late OU alumnus and U.S. Speaker of the House, for his distinguished undergraduate career and national service. Julian Rothbaum, former state regent and longtime friend of Albert, endowed the award in 1965.
COLLEGE ANNOUNCES OUTSTANDING SENIORS
The College congratulates our 2020 Outstanding Seniors. Each year, the University presents awards of merit to the outstanding seniors of each undergraduate college as selected by the college dean.
Leanne is an English Literary and Cultural Studies double major. They are a 2020 Rhodes Scholar and after college they plan to study at the University of Oxford before attending medical school.
Isha is graduating with a bachelor's in chemical biosciences with double minors in Spanish and pre-health social sciences. Following graduation, she plans to take a gap year to focus on public health before attending medical school.
Emily is a political science major and will graduate with an accelerated master of public administration. She plans to attend the University of Indiana, O'Neill School of Public Affairs to pursue her doctorate and continue a career in academia.
Andrew is graduating with a health and exercise science degree with a minor in biology. After graduation, he plans to work as a medical scribe and teach introductory biology labs for the biology department at OU before applying to medical school.
SARAH OLZAWSKI NAMED PROVOST'S OUTSTANDING ACADEMIC ADVISER
The College congratulates Sarah Olzawski who received the Provost's Outstanding Academic Advising Award. Olzawski is a senior academic counselor in the College for the Department of History and the Clara Luper Department of African and African-American Studies.

The award was established in spring 1991 to recognize outstanding contributions made by OU professionals and faculty academic advisors who demonstrate the qualities associated with outstanding academic advising of students. Such qualities reflect perspective, initiative and efforts that transcend the boundaries of the adviser’s designated advising responsibilities.
CATHERINE HALL NAMED DEAN'S OUTSTANDING ACADEMIC ADVISER
Please join the College of Arts and Sciences in congratulating Catherine Hall on being named the Dean’s Outstanding Academic Adviser for 2020. The purpose of this award is to annually recognize college advisors who have demonstrated the qualities associated with outstanding academic advising.
 
Hall was nominated by the Department of Mathematics, where she serves as the undergraduate advisor for majors and minors. In addition, she handles enrollment management of approximately 5,000 OU undergraduate students in mathematics’ classes each semester. Her attention to detail and willingness to go above and beyond for her students are among the qualities that set her apart.
 
The College values the role of all academic advisors and congratulates Hall for her exceptional performance not only as an advisor, but as a role model to all students.
COLLEGE GRADUATE ASSISTANTS HONORED BY PROVOST
Congratulations to all College of Arts and Sciences graduate assistants who were recently honored with the Provost's Certificate of Distinction in Teaching. The 2019 fall semester recipients of the award represent the top 10% of all graduate assistants across campus as determined by student evaluations. The following graduate assistants in the college earned the distinction:
Esther Andres Montecatini (Spanish)
John Ashley (Health and Exercise Science)
Anna Barritt (English)
Jessica Becerra (Psychology)
Ryan Bensen (Chemistry)     
Rebecca Bertholf (Health and Exercise Science)
Brett Bonine (Astronomy)
Douglas Bryant (Political Science)
Anthony Burrow (Astronomy)
Nanzhong Deng (Chemistry)
Ashley Dioguardi (Health and Exercise Science)
Dena Doyle (Microbiology)
Stephen Foster (Psychology)
Britney Gilmore (Communication)
Micah Godfrey (Mathematics)
Jessica Jensen (Chemistry)
Coulton Johnson (Physics)
Pavitra Kavya (Communication)
Abraham La Montagne (Chemistry)
Jennifer Londono Salazar (Chemistry)
Anthony Machette (Communication)
Ana Marques Garcia (Spanish)
Alexis McCauslin (German)
Luvia Morales Rodriguez (Spanish)
Isaiah Morgenstern (Physics)
Savannah Morris (Chemistry)
Adam Moss (Astronomy)
Heidi Noneman (Chemistry)
Madhuri Ramasubramanian (Psychology)
Travis Richardson (Health and Exercise Science)
Maria Schutte (Astronomy)
Zachary Severance (Chemistry)
Jaspreet Singh (Chemistry)
Richard Van (Chemistry)
Ashley Venturini ( Health and Exercise Science)
Alexia Walton ( Microbiology)
Braylon Warrior ( Health and Exercise Science)
Ashley Waterman (English)
Shannon Wiser (Biology)
Liwei Zhang (Chemistry)
FACULTY AND DEPARTMENT NEWS
Honorée Fanonne Jeffers , OU professor of English, was one of seven distinguished authors inducted into the 2020 Alabama Writers Hall of Fame March 9 at the University of Alabama’s Bryant Conference Center.
 
The Alabama Writers Hall of Fame was created in 2014 by a partnership between the  Alabama Center for the Book UA Libraries  and the  Alabama Writers’ Forum . Donald Gilstrap, dean of UA Libraries, said the gala showcased Alabama’s literary heritage as well as its contemporary prize-winning authors.
 
Jeffers was born in Kokomo, Indiana, and grew up in Durham, North Carolina, and Atlanta. She holds degrees from Talladega College and the University of Alabama. Jeffers has published widely in poetry, fiction and essays, and she has five poetry collections. Her most current book project,  The Age of Phillis , imagines the life and times of the Revolutionary-era poet Phillis Wheatley, a formerly enslaved person who was the first woman of African descent to publish a book in North America. 
Congratulations to Erin Freeman , associate professor of psychology, who won the Doug Bernstein Award at the 2020 National Institute on the Teaching of Psychology Conference, held earlier this semester. The award is given to the poster judged as the most humorous, creative or original, or as making the strongest contribution to the teaching of introductory psychology. Each year, NITOP only gives out three awards. Freeman’s award-winning poster was titled “The United Stats of America: How Politics Can Inspire the Teaching of Undergraduate Statistics.”
Congratulations to Michael Kaspari for being selected as a 2020 ESA Fellow . Kaspari is a George Lynn Cross Research Professor in the Department of Biology. He was elected for his work bridging macro-ecology, ant biology and ecosystems ecology that has led to fundamental insights into the contributions of invertebrates to the brown food web and also paved the way for studying biogeochemistry across the periodic table; and for being an inspiring researcher, teacher, mentor and friend.
The College congratulates William L. Shelton , professor emeritus of biology, who received the Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award at the annual meeting of the World Aquaculture Society. This award is given for his contributions and broad impacts in the U.S. aquaculture industry through his significant and enduring leadership through research, education, extension and industry development of aquaculture. Shelton’s research has focused on fish culture, a field that has a positive impact on society and a major impact on world food availability.
In a new book, Meredith G. F. Worthen , professor of sociology, presents a groundbreaking theory of LGBTQ stigma – the first-ever theory about stigma that is both testable and well-positioned in existing stigma scholarship. 
In Queers, Bis, and Straight Lies: An Intersectional Examination of LGBTQ Stigma , Worthen introduces Norm-Centered Stigma Theory, which stresses the importance of the interplay between social norms, norm violations and social power.  Based on research with more than 3,000 respondents, hetero-cis-normativity and intersectionality are highlighted as fundamental in understanding separate but interconnected discussions about LGBTQ individuals’ experiences with discrimination, harassment and violence. With chapters dedicated to lesbian women, gay men, bisexual women, bisexual men, trans women, trans men, non-binary/genderqueer people, queer women and queer men,  Queers, Bis, and Straight Lies  brings together empirically driven findings that work toward dismantling "straight lies" in an innovative and impactful manner. Through   its novel and critical approach,  Queers, Bis, and Straight Lies  is the ideal resource for those who want to learn about LGBTQ stigma more broadly and for those who seek a nuanced, theory-driven and intersectional examination of how LGBTQ prejudices and prejudicial experiences differ by gender identity, sexual identity, race/ethnicity and class.
Brian Burkhart , associate professor of philosophy, has authored I ndigenizing Philosophy through the Land: A Trickster Methodology for Decolonizing Environmental Ethics and Indigenous Futures . It is an attempt to articulate for both Indigenous and Western audiences the nature of land as a material, conceptual and ontological foundation for Indigenous ways of knowing, being and valuing. As a foundation of valuing, land forms the framework for a conceptualization of Indigenous environmental ethics as an anticolonial force for sovereign Indigenous futures. This text is an important contribution in the efforts to Indigenize Western philosophy, particularly in the context of settler colonialism in the United States. Humorous and eye-opening, the trickster device turns the tables on the Westerner, demonstrating how flawed their perception of Indigenous philosophy can be.
Amy Olberding , President's Associates Presidential Professor of Philosophy, has published The Wrong of Rudeness: Learning Modern Civility from Ancient Chinese Philosophy . In a time of fractious politics, being rude can feel wickedly gratifying, while being polite can feel simple-minded or willfully naive. The book draws on the wisdom of early Chinese philosophers who lived through great political turmoil, but nonetheless avidly sought to "mind their manners," encouraging us to see that because we are social, neglecting social and political courtesies comes at perilous cost. In an honest and heartfelt voice, Olberding argues “that the pain of politeness is worth it, that it is better to be polite than not, even, and maybe especially, when it hurts.”
Earlier this semester, the Department of Communication hosted a Showcase Seminar with guest speaker Adam Richards , associate professor in the Bob Schieffer College of Communication at Texas Christian University. Click here for a full schedule of the event and visit the department Facebook page for photos and highlights from the event.
FACULTY SPOTLIGHT
OU PROFESSOR HONORED BY FORBES FOR NONPROFIT SERVICE IN THE MIDDLE EAST
Janette Habashi , a Human Relations professor in the College of Arts and Sciences, was recognized in Forbes Middle East for her leadership and service in her nonprofit, Child’s Cup Full. Habashi was featured in a recent issue among the list of “Women Behind Middle Eastern Brands.” Habashi started Child’s Cup Full in 2009 with the help of several graduate students. After traveling to a conference in Bethlehem and realizing the need of the students on the West Bank, Habashi and her students set out to raise funds so they would be able to provide supplies. Child’s Cup Full aims to provide women with a source of income to sustain their family’s economic growth. They recognize the importance of paying a fair wage and providing generous benefits to their employees. By teaching women the necessary skills to create, Habashi has helped countless numbers of women lift themselves out of poverty while also insuring the skills needed for future endeavors.

NOVEL BY OU'S JENNIFER BARNES SET TO BE ADAPTED INTO TV SERIES FOR AMAZON
Jennifer Lynn Barnes , a Robert Glenn Rapp Foundation Presidential Professor in Psychology and Professional Writing at the University of Oklahoma, wrote and published her first book when she was only 19. She is the author of more than a dozen young adult fiction novels, including The Inheritance Games , which is set to be adapted into a TV series for Amazon.  Barnes recently sat down with the College of Arts and Sciences to answer a few questions about her writing and her career at OU .
RESEARCH HIGHLIGHTS
NEH ANNOUNCES $22.2 MILLION FOR 224 HUMANITIES PROJECTS NATIONWIDE
The National Endowment for the Humanities on April 7 announced $22.2 million in grants for 224 humanities projects across the country. Among those receiving grants was  Raina Heaton , assistant professor of Native American Studies, for her project “Collaboration and Development for Digital Access to the Native American Languages Collection Project.” This project plans for the creation of online access to Native American language holdings at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History at OU. Planning entails a series of workshops for tribal community members, linguists, archivists and technology developers in order to share user needs and best practices in the design of language repositories.
GEMINI DETECTS MOST ENERGETIC WIND FROM DISTANT QUASAR
Researchers using the Gemini North telescope on Hawaiʻi’s Maunakea have detected the most energetic wind from any quasar ever measured . The extragalactic tempest lay hidden in plain sight for 15 years before being unveiled by innovative computer modeling and new data from the international Gemini Observatory. Karen Leighly , an OU astronomer, was one of the scientific leads for this research.
NEUROTRANSMITTERS AND MOTONEURON CONTACTS OF MULTIFUNCTIONAL AND BEHAVIORALLY SPECIALIZED TURTLE SPINAL CORD INTERNEURONS
Some multifunctional and behaviorally specialized interneurons are excitatory, while others are inhibitory, and each type can signal directly to motor neurons. OU professor of biology Ari Berkowitz and his lab are working to understand how spinal cord networks in turtles generate the right movement at the right time. Their work was recently featured in the  Journal of Neuroscience
STUDY REVEALS STRIKING 20-YEAR DECLINES IN GRASSHOPPERS ASSOCIATED WITH DECLINES IN THE QUALITY OF PRAIRIE GRASSES
An OU-led study shows that grasshopper numbers have declined over 30% in a Kansas grassland preserve over the past two decades. Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA), the paper,  “Nutrient dilution and climate cycles underlie declines in a dominant herbivore,”  reveals a new potent and potentially widespread threat to Earth’s plant feeders: the dilution of nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus and sodium in the plants themselves due to increasing levels of atmospheric CO2. Ellen Welti, of the Geographical Ecology Group in the Department of Biology at OU, led the collaboration of ecologists from OU, the University of Illinois and Kansas State University in this National Science Foundation-funded study. Michael Kaspari , George Lynn Cross Research Professor in the Biology, was the study’s senior author.
A SUB-NEPTUNE SIZED PLANET VALIDATED WITH THE HABITABLE-ZONE PLANET FINDER
A multi-university team of researchers has validated that a candidate planet signal originally detected by the Kepler space telescope is an exoplanet —a planet orbiting a star outside of our solar system. The planet, called G 9-40b, is about twice the size of the Earth and orbits its low-mass host star (an M dwarf star) only 100 light years away, making it the second-closest transiting planet discovered by the K2 mission to date. The team corroborated their findings by observing G 9-40b through the 3.5m telescope at Apache Point Observatory in New Mexico, obtained through the University of Oklahoma’s institutional access to the telescope. The details of the team’s discovery appear in the  Astronomical Journal .
JESSICA BLANCHARD - CENTER FOR APPLIED SOCIAL RESEARCH

$49,989 - HEALTH SCIENCES CENTER

DISSEMINATION OF A COLORECTAL CANCER SCREENING PROGRAM ACROSS AMERICAN INDIAN COMMUNITIES IN THE SOUTHERN PLAINS AND SOUTHWEST UNITED STATES

This work (PI Mark Doescher) is in collaboration with tribal partners in Oklahoma and is a continuation of work in progress as part of the American Indian Colorectal Cancer Screening Consortium, formed by the NCI Designated Cancer Centers at the Universities of Arizona, New Mexico and Oklahoma, and whose long-term goal is to enhance health equity through the reduction of CRC disparities in morbidity, mortality, stage-at-diagnosis and survival among AIs. 
CHRISTINA R. BOURNE - BIOCHEMISTRY

$310,000 - U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

UNLOCKING THE POTENTIAL OF BACTERIAL PARE TOXINS: DEVELOPING A BLUEPRINT FOR CO-OPTING MOLECULAR TIME BOMBS THAT IMPACT BACTERIAL CELL SURVIVAL

Antibacterial discovery is crucial to combat increasing numbers of bacterial infections, but the discovery rate for new classes and modes of treatments is not sufficient to keep pace with emerging resistance. Researchers are proposing a new way to control bacterial growth by manipulating chromosomally encoded bacterial “time bombs” called toxin-antitoxin systems. These are protein pairs used to tailor bacterial physiology toward either death (a “time bomb”) or survival, depending on the cellular target of the toxin. The current proposal is focused on co-opting the uniquely useful ParE toxin family, which can mediate detrimental DNA degradation to the expressing bacterial cells. The outcome of this proof-of-concept study will provide evidence that these toxins can be co-opted and will provide the foundation needed to translate this methodology into a viable therapeutic strategy.
XINYU DAI - HOMER L. DODGE DEPARTMENT OF PHYSICS AND ASTRONOMY

$ 31,269 - NATIONAL RADIO ASTRONOMY OBSERVATORY

THE ORIGIN OF THE UNRESOLVED RADIO EMISSION OF RADIO-QUIET QUASARS

This project utilizes the gravitational lensing effect to study the structure of radio emission around supermassive black holes, using the data gathered by the Very Large Array radio telescope. Gravitational lensing is an effect predicted by Einstein that massive objects can bend light just like a lens. With the Einstein’s natural telescope, Dai’s team can better examine the structure of the radio emission around supermassive black holes at the center of galaxies and constrain its physical origin. For the part of radio emission that can be directly resolved by our telescopes, astronomers have attributed them as ultra-relativistic outflows with almost light traveling speed; however, the origin of unresolved radio emission is still a mystery, and Dai hopes to answer this with the VLA data.
LORI JERVIS - ANTHROPOLOGY AND CENTER FOR APPLIED SOCIAL RESEARCH

$131,758 - U.S. VETERAN'S ADMINISTRATION

RURAL NATIVE VETERANS HEALTH CARE NAVIGATOR PROJECT

Lori Jervis will be leading an OU team to consult with Native veterans, families, communities and tribal organizations as part of a VA Office of Rural Health effort to develop a state-of-the-art health care navigation system for American Indian and Alaska Native veterans within the VA. The goal of the program is to increase Native veteran’s access to health care and decrease fragmentation of care across the VA and IHS/tribal health care systems. 

$24,945 - HEALTH SCIENCES CENTER

UNCOVERING THE MECHANISM OF IKK BETA-MEDIATED SUPPRESSION OF HPVE6 THROUGH TRANSCRIPTOME ANALYSIS

This grant focuses on identification of genes and signaling pathways that play a role in cancer caused by high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) through RNA-Seq technology. The research journey that led to this grant includes establishment of a fruit fly model of HPV-induced cancers, which has subsequently allowed researchers to conduct a whole-genome live animal genetic screen to identify kinases that play a role in cellular abnormalities caused by oncogenes of this virus. This screen resulted in identification of several kinases, including a kinase that regulates the innate immune signaling pathway. Using this grant, researchers are focusing on transcriptomic analysis to identify genes and signaling pathways that are part of the mechanism by which this kinase contributes to the HPV-induced defects. They hope that, given the high conservation of genes between flies and humans, the identified candidate genes could potentially be considered as therapeutic targets for the HPV-induced cancers.
TASSIE HIRSCHFELD - AN THROPOLOGY

DANIEL HICKS - ECONOMICS


$148,848 - NASA HEADQUARTERS

RAPID URBANIZATION, CHANGING CROPLANDS AND INCREASING POPULATION HEALTH VULNERABILITIES IN THE CHINA-CENTRAL ASIA - WEST ASIA ECONOMIC CORRIDOR

The research group includes specialists in remote sensing and geography, economics and medical anthropology who are working together to explore the impact of China’s belt and road initiative as it moves through Central Asia. They will specifically look at the transformation of urban areas with the goal of exploring how increased regional and international connectivity and transit will impact population health and economic development. In addition, a talented team of research partners in Kazakstan and Uzbekistan will be working with the group to administer surveys in key cities. Researchers will also use satellite data to explore how changes in land use on the urban fringes may increase risks of zoonotic disease for urban populations.  
DALLAS PETTIGREW - SOCIAL WORK

$148,380 - UNIVERSITY OF DENVER

NATIONAL TRIBAL CHILD WELFARE TRAINING

The Anne and Henry Zarrow School of Social Work is focused on increasing students from Native American tribes as well as collaborating with the tribes themselves. One way they collaborate with tribes is by working with them to develop training for their child welfare workforce. Using the Simulation Center at OU-Tulsa and other methods, the School of Social Work serves tribes from all over Oklahoma and across the United States and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. This subaward from the Capacity Building Center for Tribes is ultimately valued at around $725,000 over five years. It helps prepare child welfare trainings for tribes outside Oklahoma. Besides the Capacity Building Center for Tribes grant, OU-Tulsa has received a $650,000, four-year grant that gives scholarships and other services and support to students who agree to work in a tribal child welfare organization upon graduation. Two grants from Casey Family Programs support the new Center for Tribal Social Work at OU-Tulsa. The work was originally funded by the Bureau of Indian Affairs for $150,000.
MICHAEL ASHBY - CHEMISTRY AND BIOCHEMISTRY

$23,334 - UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

INCLUSION ACROSS THE NATION OF COMMUNITIES OF LEARNERS OF UNDERREPRESENTED DISCOVERERS IN ENGINEERING AND SCIENCE (NSF INCLUDES)

The NSF INCLUDES Alliance: IGEN (Inclusive Graduate Education Network) is a partnership of over 30 societies, institutions, organizations, corporations and national laboratories that are focused on increasing the participation of underrepresented racial and ethnic minority students who enter graduate or doctorate level programs in the physical sciences. This grant funds participation in the IGEN Research Hub, which is charged with investigating best practices that increase diversity in the reserve of future scientists.
DAVID McCAULEY - BIOLOGY

$102,835 - THE GREAT LAKES FISHERY COMMISSION

TECHNICAL FEASIBILITY OF GENOME EDITING FOR DEVELOPING GENETIC STRATEGIES TO CONTROL INVASIVE SEA LAMPREY

The Great Lakes fishing industry is estimated to generate $7 billion annually, supporting 5 million recreation anglers, and employing over 75,000 people. Sea lampreys threaten this industry, having invaded the Great Lakes from the Atlantic through the canal system, and it is estimated that one small sea lamprey can kill over 40 lbs. of fish during its lifetime. This two-year study is in collaboration with Weiming Li at Michigan State University This is the initial phase of what is expected to be a larger study to determine if genome-editing technology can be developed for biocontrol of invasive parasitic sea lamprey that are now found throughout the North American Great Lakes. Current control methods include the use of chemicals that kill larvae before they become parasitic, and barriers and traps to prevent migration of lamprey to their spawning habitat. However, with interest in restoration of the Great Lakes ecosystem, there is pressure to reduce their use. With the development of CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing technology, and the expertise that McCauley’s lab has developed for using it to investigate embryonic development in sea lamprey, the GLFC has provided funds to adapt gene editing tools for use in lamprey to determine the feasibility of using genetically modified sea lamprey to reduce their numbers. The idea is that transmitting modified genes to the next generation of offspring could reduce their ability to reproduce. In the long term, modification of genes that might reduce production of eggs in the female, or reduce the viability of sperm in males, may enable managers to reduce the size of the reproductive population of sea lamprey throughout the Great Lakes. During this initial funding period, researchers will determine if it will be practical to modify genes in specific target tissues such as the neural crest, or the developing sea lamprey gonad, and whether genetically modified lamprey can be reared long term. To prevent the escape of modified sea lamprey, it will also be necessary to develop the husbandry techniques to rear larvae in isolation since regulatory approval and social license in using genetically modified sea lamprey remain to be addressed. 
AMY GOODIN
POLITICAL SCIENCE

$1,269 - STATE OF OKLAHOMA, HIGHWAY SAFETY OFFICE

ATES UTILIZATION ASSESMENT

The Oklahoma Highway Safety Office is required to report to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on the use of automated traffic enforcement systems; these include automated red light and speed enforcement cameras for issuing citations. This requires contacting every municipal and county and Tribal jurisdiction in the state. For those jurisdictions utilizing such systems, additional questions are also asked such as ownership of the systems, compliance with federal guidelines, and auditing of the information, including the frequency of such audits.
STUDENT NEWS
THREE OU STUDENTS NAMED GOLDWATER SCHOLARS
Devon Colby was one of three OU students  named 2020 Goldwater Scholars Colby, of Oklahoma City, is majoring in life sciences with a specialization in biochemistry and plans to earn a doctorate in biochemistry. His research includes working with University of Central Oklahoma associate professor of chemistry John Bowen on detecting glyphosates in water and developing mass spectrometry techniques for tissue imaging with OU associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry Zhibo Yang. Colby’s research has been published in Analytical Chemistry , and he presented at the 2018 ACS Pentasectional Meeting. Named for former U.S. Sen. Barry Goldwater, the Goldwater Scholarships are awarded to college sophomores and juniors on the basis of potential and intent to pursue research careers in the fields of the natural sciences, engineering and mathematics The OU students are among 396 students nationwide to be selected this year out of more than 1,300 nominees representing 461 institutions.
ALUMNI NEWS
AUSTIN COFFEY NAMED LUCE SCHOLAR
University of Oklahoma alumnus Austin Coffey was one of 18 nationwide to be named a 2020-2021 Luce Scholar. Coffey is the first Luce winner from OU since 2009.  

The Luce Scholars Program, which is intended for young Americans with little or no prior experience in Asia, provides stipends and one-year internships for recipients from a variety of fields. Internships are based on recipients’ academic and career interests and are intended primarily as learning opportunities and cultural immersion experiences.

A native of Austin, Texas, Coffey is the son of Lisa Leonard and David Jourdan and Tim Coffey and Page Oliver. A National Merit Scholar, he graduated summa cum laude from OU in December 2018 as a letters and economics double major.