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On July 4, 1822, Lewis Spencer, an aging veteran of the Revolutionary War, commemorated independence by doing something he had long hesitated to do: He drafted a petition to the Virginia legislature asking for a pension.
"Your petitioner," Spencer wrote, "lost his eyes, in defence of his Country; whose happiness he is unable to behold; in whose prosperity he cannot participate; whose blessings he cannot share; but whose independence, glory and transcendent fame he is left to admire in poverty and utter darkness."
The lives of Spencer and other Revolutionary War veterans with disabilities will be explored in a book by Ben Irvin, an associate professor in the University of Arizona Department of History who is an expert in that period of U.S. history.
Tentatively titled "'I Still Have an Independent Spirit': Veterans' Disability After the Revolutionary War," the book will examine the social construction of disability in the founding era of the United States, and it also will delve into issues of masculinity, class and government bureaucracy. Irvin will write during the 2015-2016 academic year, when he takes residence at Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland, as the Patrick Henry Writing Fellow.
The title of the book is inspired by Moses Rollins, a Revolutionary War veteran who bound himself into three years of indentured servitude to pay for his medical care and later was able to have his leg amputated because a "good many" of his neighbors "throwdd in" to pay for the operation. When Rollins finally applied for a disability pension in 1812, he explained his previous reluctance: "I have both fought and bled for the Independence of our Country, and I still have an independent spirit."
Irvin began his research for the book in 2009, when he discovered a large number of online pension files underutilized by historians.
At the same time, he forged a friendship with Michael Rembis, a former graduate student who helped create the Disability Studies Initiative at the UA. Rembis, currently an associate professor of history at the University of Buffalo and president of the Society for Disability Studies, introduced Irvin to the social model of disability, which says disability does not arise from physical conditions but from the way it is accommodated. That would serve as an important framework for Irvin's research.
Access to Pension Records
Irvin said historians have tended to focus on federal pension records, most of which were created in the 1820s, when the government began awarding poverty pensions.
However, he wanted to examine soldiers such as Spencer and Rollins, who delayed applying for a pension, and also those who were badly impaired and required financial assistance right away. To do that, he needed access to the state pension records of the 1770s and 1780s.
With funds from the Magellan Circle, the donor society that supports the UA College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Irvin hired two undergraduate students to help him wade through online records.
As his project advanced, he realized he would need to do field research.
Last year, with the help of research fellowships, including the Emilia Galli Struppa Fellowship at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, Irvin traveled to Charlottesville, Virginia; Chicago and Boston to review pension records, receiving a crash course in 18th-century field medicine from the Harvard University medical library along the way.
In his book, Irvin will argue that the earliest U.S. pension administration shaped veterans' disability in a number of ways.
A pension applicant had to testify under oath that he no longer could earn a living, which, according to the gender norms of the day, was the most fundamental obligation of manhood.
"By predicating aid on lost breadwinning capacity, Revolutionary pension legislation challenged the veteran's sense of masculine attainment," Irvin said. "As a result, many veterans, like Moses Rollins, faced the prospect of a pension with shame."
Irvin also notes that the way the government determined the pension amount accentuated class distinctions among impaired veterans. Benefits were computed not only by the extent of the injury but also by salary and rank, which was a reflection of social stature. By contrast, in 1793 France's National Convention ensured that enlisted men earned pensions at the same rate as high-ranking officers.
"The U.S. government grafted the individual's class onto his very limbs and organs," Irvin said. "For example, Col. John Greene, who lost the use of his right arm, earned a pension of 100 pounds. Meanwhile, Pvt. John Morris, who lost the use of that same limb, earned a mere 18 pounds." Some states paid pensions in pounds, where one pound translated into $3.33. Veterans were expected to pay for their medical expenses out of their annual pensions.
Irvin's book also will explore the way conflict between state and federal statutes wreaked havoc on veterans' pension allocations and impacted how veterans experienced disability.
In 1776, the Continental Congress urged the states to create disability pensions for soldiers injured in the war. But because at that time Congress had no power to tax, it asked the states to pay for and administer the pensions.
Different States, Different Systems
Thirteen states meant 13 different pension systems. States broke down partial disability in different increments and had inconsistent application procedures. For example, in Virginia, veterans had to be examined by a doctor, whereas in Massachusetts veterans applied to a commissioner of pensions, a political post held by John Lucas, who earned his living as a "master baker." In Massachusetts, veterans also were granted pensions for diseases that stemmed from battle, such as rheumatism — a benefit that the federal government would restrict.
To promote a uniform entitlement for veterans, the Confederation Congress established a new schedule of monetary awards in 1785, resulting in a drastic redistribution of funds. For example, Pvt. James Davenport, who had a musket ball lodged in his left ankle, formerly received a pension of 24 pounds, but after the reform of 1785 his pension was cut to six pounds, reducing him "to the mortifying and disgraceful situation of begging."
"Slowly government centralized and standardized the pension system, but every time the new federal government took a misstep, the veterans felt it," Irvin said.
In another example, in 1792 the federal government created the Invalid Pensions Act, which was then repealed due to a tussle over the separation of legislative and judicial powers. "In the meantime, a bunch of veterans were thrust into limbo," Irvin said.
Irvin hopes his book will provide historical context for present-day veterans’ health care administration as well as illustrate how pension bureaucracies at times obstruct relief.
"This project also dispels romantic myths about the American Revolution," Irvin said. "By recovering the bodily histories of ordinary young men who enlisted in the Continental Army, it demonstrates that the Revolutionary War was, like all wars, a devastating event."Editor: dougcarrollWriter: Lori HarwoodByline: Lori HarwoodByline Affiliation: UA College of Social and Behavioral SciencesHeader image: YesNo Image: Subheading: In a forthcoming book, UA associate professor Ben Irvin will examine the long-ago history of veterans' disability benefits in the U.S., noting widespread inequities in the aftermath of war. Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image: Includes video:
If there were a way to label an asteroid after its discoverer, one out of every two space rocks tumbling about in our neighborhood of the solar system would have a big red-and-blue "A" on it. And that's because of 12,700 known near-Earth asteroids, 5,800 were discovered through the Catalina Sky Survey, an asteroid detection program founded in 1998 at the University of Arizona's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory.
To make sure humanity doesn't go the way of the dinosaurs, the Asteroid Day initiative has chosen June 30 to raise awareness — and funds — for asteroid detection programs. UANews spoke with Eric Christensen, director of the Catalina Sky Survey and staff scientist at LPL, about the real and imagined dangers of incoming rocks from outer space.
If we are to believe the Asteroid Day initiative, a mere 1 percent of about 1 million asteroids capable of destroying a city have been discovered. Is that true?
Statements like these have a grain of truth, but are extremely misleading at the same time. Population models suggest that there are about 1 million "Near-Earth Objects," or NEOs, down to around 50 meters in diameter, and yes, we have only seen about 1 percent of them. But the majority of these, while classified as NEOs because they can approach the Earth to less than 45 million kilometers — more than 100 times the distance to the moon — pose zero risk of impact. Zero. Their orbits just do not intersect the orbit of the Earth. Even for the small subset of these million objects that can potentially impact the Earth, they will strike a random place on the planet when their time comes, hundreds or thousands or millions of years down the road. Only a small fraction of the Earth’s surface is populated, so it’s just very unlikely they will impact directly over a city. We’ll most likely end up with an airburst over the ocean, or another Tunguska-like event that just knocks down a bunch of trees.
Where do we stand with respect asteroids vs. Earth? Are we doomed?
NASA was directed by Congress in 1998 to find 90 percent of asteroids measuring 1,000 meters or more. The impact of an object that size would have global consequences, potentially extinctions. It would lift up a tremendous amount of pulverized rock and water vapor into the atmosphere, causing an effect similar to nuclear winter, where the amount of sunlight that reaches the Earth would be diminished for several years, severely disrupting the global food chains. NASA-funded surveys like the Catalina Sky Survey; the Spacewatch Project, which was initiated at the UA in 1984; and other surveys have discovered almost 13,000 NEOs. The original goal to find the 1-kilometer objects has been met, giving us the confidence to essentially rule out a civilization-ending impact in the foreseeable future. The remaining risk posed by smaller NEOs continues to drop as more and more of those objects are discovered. NASA is now mandated to push the search down to smaller sizes, to NEOs measuring 140 meters or larger, which is about the size of a football stadium. An impact by an asteroid of that size would have significant regional consequences, potentially affecting an area the size of a small country or so. We believe that our inventory of objects in that category is only about 25 percent complete, so there is still significant work to be done.
Where do asteroids come from?
Asteroids are primitive remnants from the birth of the solar system. Most of the asteroids we know about harmlessly orbit the sun in relatively stable orbits in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Scientists have cataloged over 800,000 main-belt asteroids, but the full population down to small sizes likely reaches into the hundreds of millions. Under the influence of Jupiter's gravity, some asteroids are nudged into the inner solar system, where they become NEOs. On timescales of millions of years, NEO orbits are unstable, and most of them end up smashing into a planet or evolving back into more distant orbits.
What are the actual risks of a devastating asteroid impact?
Impacts of 1-kilometer asteroids happen maybe once per half-million years. Impacts of objects in the 140-meter range statistically happen every 10,000 years or so. We are not talking about events that happen on timescales of human lifetimes here, which makes the real risk a little difficult to understand. Risk is expressed in terms of predicted losses to human life and infrastructure, integrated over millions of years. Some people will spin these numbers into comparisons that sound like an asteroid is likely to kill you or someone you love, and that it's something you need to have a visceral fear of. I try to gently steer people away from that. The chances of a major impact within our lifetime or the lifetimes of our children is extremely low, but it’s easy to focus on the drastic consequences rather than the tiny probabilities.
The individuals behind Asteroid Day call for discovery efforts to be stepped up a hundredfold. Is that necessary to keep us safe?
I think there is a false sense of urgency to find every potential impactor as soon as possible. Pushing the survey completeness to smaller diameters will incur greater and greater costs, to address smaller and smaller risks. I see no reason to try and find every last one of the millions of 10-meter NEOs that will harmlessly explode in the Earth's atmosphere should they ever come our way. It would be nice to detect a few of these prior to impact, and CSS has demonstrated that this is actually possible with our current set of telescopes. But finding every single 10-meter NEO in the solar system would be a multibillion-dollar effort, and if the ultimate goal is to protect and improve human lives, then there are a lot of other things we could be doing right now with that kind of money that have immediate and guaranteed benefits for society.
How are asteroids discovered?
The business of discovering asteroids is pretty routine: We use wide-field telescopes to scan the skies, night after night, looking for things that move. Ten years ago, CSS was discovering NEOs at a rate of 300 per year. Last year, we discovered more than 600. Most of that improvement has been due to more sophisticated software. We are currently replacing the cameras in our two survey telescopes to cover more sky, and we have refurbished a one-meter telescope next to the one on Mount Lemmon, which will be mostly used for follow-up observations. One of the great benefits of searching for NEOs is that there is a tremendous amount of insight from incidental science. For example, we have detected hundreds of thousands of the main belt asteroids. Having a complete catalog of main belt asteroids allows planetary scientists to probe the development, evolution and dynamics of the solar system.
How long will it take to find the remaining objects of 140 meters or more?
At the current pace, it would probably require several more decades. NASA was given this mandate in 2005, with a deadline of 2020, but the funding necessary to complete the job has not yet been entirely allocated. With the current suite of one- to two-meter class telescopes, we are not optimized to efficiently detect the smaller asteroids at the necessary rate. The smaller they are, the fainter they are. To find the smaller objects with small telescopes, you have to wait until they are close to the Earth and favorably placed. Part of this is a waiting game — the fainter you can go, the more opportunities you have for discovery and the faster the work goes. In order to complete the goal on a timescale of 10-15 years, it would require significant new assets to be developed, including an infrared space-based survey telescope and additional large ground-based telescopes.
Could there be larger asteroids or comets out there that we don't know about?
It's possible, but we have a reasonably good understanding of the flux of long-period comets into the inner solar system. Remember that near-Earth space is a very big place and that Earth makes for a tiny target. So the risk of an impact with a long-period comet is low, only about 1 percent of the risk represented by asteroid impacts. Considering that we have found about 95 percent of the one-kilometer-plus sized objects, and every single one has been shown unambiguously to not be dangerous for the next 100 years, I would argue that the risk from the last remaining few percent of large asteroids is very small. I'm not saying the risk is zero — after all, that's why we are doing this work. But the risk has to be framed in a responsible way. I think we can do so without resorting to calling them "city killers," or expressing their hypothetical impact energies in terms of Hiroshima bombs.
Where does the UA-led OSIRIS-REx mission fit in with asteroid science?
The OSIRIS-REx mission combines a tremendous amount of asteroid science into one mission. The sample-return aspect of the mission is perhaps the most exciting, but we’ll also get direct measurements of asteroid surface properties, and we get a chance to study some of the very subtle perturbing forces that act on asteroids. When we take telescopic observations of asteroids from Earth, we can make inferences about their size and composition, but the only way to really know is to go there, study it up close and bring back a sample to analyze in our laboratories. This closes the gap between what we know about meteorites and what we infer about asteroids from telescopic observations. The mission also has implications for planetary defense. Bennu, the target asteroid, is one of the most hazardous objects we know of, though "hazardous" in this case means it has less than a 0.04 percent chance of impact in 160 years.
What are the chances of successfully diverting a rock in space that's headed our way?
Usually, an object that is going to hit the Earth will almost hit the Earth many times before the final impact. One of the most hazardous asteroids we know about is Apophis, whose impact predictions are very sensitive to the previous encounters with Earth. Let's say we discovered an object tomorrow that could hit the Earth in 2050. We might only estimate at discovery time that there is a 1-in-10,000 chance of impact, but with repeated observations that number can shrink or grow. So the question is, at what point do you launch a mission to better characterize the object or try to mitigate the threat? There are several feasible ideas being explored that could potentially divert an asteroid enough to avoid an impact. The simplest of these is the "kinetic impactor" approach, which is just a fancy way to describe a spacecraft that would run into an asteroid at high speed. An asteroid’s orbit doesn’t need to be drastically altered in order to avoid an impact — the arrival time at Earth just needs to be sped up or slowed down by a few minutes. As long as a potentially impacting asteroid is discovered and characterized with several decades of lead time, there is a good chance that we will be able to divert it.Editor: dougcarrollWriter: Daniel StolteByline: Daniel StolteByline Affiliation: University Relations – CommunicationsHeader image: YesNo Image: Subheading: Do asteroids deserve their nasty reputation? On the occasion of Asteroid Day, Eric Christensen, director of the UA's Catalina Sky Survey, talks about the odds and consequences of an asteroid wreaking havoc on Earth.Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image: Includes video:
The Healthy 2 B Me Wellness Camp, designed for children ages 7-10 and in grades 2-5, teaches aspects of wellness that include nutrition, cooking and exercise.
The annual camp, sponsored by the University of Arizona's Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, is conducted at the UA Recreation Center in three one-week sessions. Students from the college work as camp counselors.
Campers engage in yoga, Zumba, dance and swimming, and they hear from experts on sun safety, dental health and hygiene while participating in team-building experiences. They also prepare their own healthful food.
The idea to start a wellness camp for children was a mission for Dr. Iman Hakim, dean of the College of Public Health.
"The camp is designed to teach kids at an early age the importance of proper nutrition and physical activity while having fun at the same time," Hakim said. "My hope is that the children will learn skills that will last a lifetime. Like how to cook and to identify tasty vegetables, and how to keep good oral hygiene.
"Maybe the children will pass along these good habits to their children someday. Instilling healthy lifestyle practices at an early age is one more approach toward fighting childhood obesity."Video Thumbnail: Category(s): HealthTeaching and StudentsYouTube Video: Healthy 2 Be Me Video of Healthy 2 Be Me Feature Sticky: OffFeature on Front: NoMedium Summary: Teaching "skills that last a lifetime" is the goal of the Healthy 2 B Me Wellness Camp, which brings children to the UA campus every summer.UANow Image: Date of Publication: Friday, June 26, 2015Send to Never Settle Site: 0Includes video: The story include video
A journey that will stretch millions of miles and take years to complete begins with a short trip to a loading dock.
The first of five instruments for a spacecraft that will collect a sample from an asteroid and bring it back to Earth has arrived at the Lockheed Martin Space Systems facility in Littleton, Colorado, for its installation onto NASA’s Origins Spectral Interpretation Resource Identification Security-Regolith Explorer, or OSIRIS-REx, spacecraft.
Led by the University of Arizona, OSIRIS-REx is the first U.S. mission to fly to, study and retrieve a pristine sample from an asteroid and return it to Earth for study. Scheduled to launch in September 2016, the spacecraft will reach its asteroid target in 2018 and return a sample to Earth in 2023. The mission will allow scientists to investigate the composition of material from the very earliest epochs of solar system history, providing information about the source of organic materials and water on Earth.
The OSIRIS-REx Thermal Emission Spectrometer, or OTES, will conduct surveys to map mineral and chemical abundances and to take the asteroid Bennu’s temperature. OTES is the first such instrument built entirely on the Arizona State University campus.
"It is a significant milestone to have OSIRIS-REx’s first instrument completed and delivered for integration onto the spacecraft," said Dante Lauretta, principal investigator for OSIRIS-REx at the UA's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory. "The OTES team has done an excellent job on the instrument and I deeply appreciate their scientific contribution to the mission. OTES plays an essential role in characterizing the asteroid in support of sample-site selection."
OTES is one of five instruments from national and international partners. These instruments will be key to mapping and analyzing Bennu’s surface and will be critical in identifying a site from which a sample can be safely retrieved and ultimately returned to Earth.
"OTES, the size of a microwave oven, has spent the last several years being designed, built, tested and calibrated," says Philip Christensen, OTES instrument scientist at ASU. "Now OTES is shipping out for the solar system."
The instrument will be powered on shortly after the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft begins its two-year trip to the asteroid Bennu. On arrival at Bennu, OTES will provide spectral data for global maps used to assess potential sample sites. It will take thermal infrared spectral data every two seconds and will be able to detect temperatures with an accuracy of 0.2 degrees Fahrenheit. It also will detect the presence of minerals on the asteroid’s surface.
The OSIRIS-REx Camera Suite (OCAMS) consists of three cameras that will image the asteroid Bennu during approach and proximity operations. Scientists and engineers at the UA's Lunar and Planetary Lab designed and built OCAMS to image Bennu over nine orders of magnitude in distance, from one million kilometers (more than 620,000 miles) down to two meters (6.5 feet). PolyCam, the largest camera of the OCAMS suite, is both a telescope — acquiring the asteroid from far away while it is still a point of light — and a microscope capable of scrutinizing the pebbles on Bennu's surface. MapCam will map the entire surface of Bennu from a distance of three miles, and the Sampling Camera, or SamCam, is designed to document the sample acquisition. The OCAMS instrument suite is scheduled to be installed on the spacecraft in September.
The OSIRIS-REx Laser Altimeter, or OLA, will scan Bennu to map the entire asteroid surface, producing local and global topographic maps. OLA is a contributed instrument from the Canadian Space Agency.
The OSIRIS-REx Visible and Infrared Spectrometer, or OVIRS, measures visible and infrared light from Bennu, which can be used to identify water and organic materials. The instrument is provided by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.
A student experiment called the Regolith X-ray Imaging Spectrometer, or REXIS, will map elemental abundances on the asteroid. REXIS is a collaboration between the students and faculty of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard College Observatory.
"The next few months will be very busy as we begin integrating the instruments and prepare for the system-level environmental testing program to begin," said Mike Donnelly, OSIRIS-REx project manager at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center provides overall mission management, systems engineering and safety and mission assurance for OSIRIS-REx. The UA's Lauretta is the mission's principal investigator. Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Denver is building the spacecraft. OSIRIS-REx is the third mission in NASA's New Frontiers Program. NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, manages New Frontiers for the agency's Science Mission Directorate in Washington, D.C.Editor: Daniel StolteWriter: Daniel StolteHeader image: YesNo Image: Subheading: The first of five instruments that will map and analyze asteroid Bennu as part of the UA-led OSIRIS-REx mission has arrive at the Lockheed Martin Space Systems facility and awaits integration into the spacecraft structure. Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image: Includes video:
Military personnel and veterans are benefiting from the University of Arizona's expansion of academic programs offered entirely online.
"Having access to online education is ideal for veterans who may have interrupted their education to join the military so that they could serve our country," said Vincent J. Del Casino Jr., vice provost of Digital Learning and Student Engagement.
"They may also be far from home, so UA Online now provides these military veterans access to a world-class UA education," he said.
The UA offers more than 40 online graduate-school degrees and certificates. Also, this spring the UA announced the introduction of 23 undergraduate degree programs offered under the UA Online campus. Additional programs have since been added, and the University is currently registering students.
All told, the UA offers online programs in areas and disciplines that include information science, health care, social services, early childhood education, business administration, Africana studies, statistics, psychology, public health, industrial engineering, communication, informatics, meteorology and sustainably built environments.
Military veteran Patricia Urquidi Alexander, who enlisted in the U.S. Air Force immediately after graduating from high school in 1978, decided to enroll in the UA College of Nursing's Online RN to MSN Clinical Systems Leadership program.
"The experience has been phenomenal," said Alexander, who began her coursework in January. "It has been challenging, but great."
The program will enable Alexander, who lives in Pennsylvania, to graduate in December 2016. She said the program's timing was ideal, and having the credentials to match her current work, as a regional chief nursing officer, was essential.
"I'm pursuing this degree for myself, which is the greatest motivator of all," Alexander said.
In addition to the degree programs, the UA offers support for students who have been or currently are affiliated with branches of the military.
In 2013, U.S. News & World Report named the UA a top-25 institution in its support of military veterans. This year, the publication ranked the College of Nursing No. 32 among the Best Online Graduate Nursing Programs for Veterans.
The UA has numerous student-led clubs and organizations supporting the needs of veterans. Also supporting them are the Disability Resources, Adaptive Athletics and campus ROTC programs and the GI Bill's education benefits assistance.
The UA was the first in the nation to launch a center specifically for military veterans pursuing health science degrees: the VETS Center at the Arizona Health Sciences Center. Additionally, the UA is a partner institution with the Pat Tillman Foundation, which provides scholarships to student veterans.
The prestige and reputation of the UA attracted veteran Maurice Jones, who now works for the Department of Defense in Germany. Jones joined the military in 2001 and, after years of service, he relocated to Arizona, where he began teaching intelligence.
"It is a perfect fit for my personality and interests. I see it as a perfect blend of business and the psychology behind it," said Jones, who is finalizing his coursework this semester. He plans to continue a career in military intelligence abroad.
Jones credited the teachings and support of Brandy A. Brown, assistant professor and program director, and the way UA courses have been structured for dialogue and interaction, along with the use of instructional technology, in helping him feel connected to his coursework and the campus.
He said Brown "has helped me to completely overlook the fact that the program is online — I have felt like I was in a classroom," said Jones, who has taken online courses at other institutions in the past. "Now there is certainly a sense of accomplishment having completed my bachelor's degree and being a Wildcat."
Maj. Pedro Oblea Jr., who earned his Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing from the UA in May, chose the UA over other schools because of its ranking and the reputation of the faculty.
Currently stationed in Texas, Oblea will relocate in July to Germany, where he will serve as a nurse scientist, a highly specialized position within the U.S. Army Nurse Corps.
"This is my dream job," said Oblea, who was born and raised in the Philippines and originally joined the U.S. Army in 2003. He credits Terry A. Badger, professor and division director of community and systems health science in the UA College of Nursing, for his academic success.
Oblea, who twice has been deployed overseas, decided to focus his dissertation research on the effects of short-term separation on the behavioral health of military wives. He received the Outstanding Ph.D. Dissertation Award during the college's convocation ceremony.
While in Germany, he will conduct research on active-duty personnel and their families.
"There is so much research about long-term separation. The problem is that there is a huge gap in our understanding of what happens with short-term separation," said Oblea who, while at the UA, has an opportunity to present his research in Switzerland. Oblea found that military wives experienced depression in ways similar to those whose partners were away from longer periods of time.
"They do have depression. They do have stress. At least now we have a baseline research that the military can use for addressing the problem," said Oblea, whose intention is to continue research while advancing efforts to build resiliency in military personnel and their families.
The Congressional Research Service in 2013 reported that the U.S. government spent about $4 billion in providing mental health care for active-duty military personnel during a period that spanned 2007 and 2012.
"The military spends so much on behavioral health. If we can tackle this problem preventively, my research would be helping," he said. "I want to thank my university, especially the College of Nursing. I would say that I am fully prepared and can compete with the best of the Ph.D. graduates."Editor: dougcarrollByline Affiliation: University Relations - CommunicationsHeader image: YesNo Image: Subheading: Across the nation and around the world, military personnel and veterans are earning their higher-education degrees through UA Online. Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image: Includes video:
Photo: Chris Scott - Focus Scout
It's funny how I am so easily able to communicate my passions and experiences via writing, but sometimes struggle to do so with friends and family.
Communication is vital to the sustained growth of any relationship, whether personal or professional.
Spouses must communicate their thoughts to each other.
Engineers must be able to effectively communicate their design and its functions to their peers, partners and superiors.
A company needs strong communication with its customers to have any chance at success. Especially now, companies need to have an up-to-date, sleek website, as well as a strong social media presence, to stay ahead with their marketing efforts. Like any relationship, communication keeps companies afloat and, during the past month at Aztera, I have helped customers with digital marketing — that is, helping them reach their own customers through effective digital communication.
Also, I recently have had the chance to start overlapping my two backgrounds in aerospace engineering and entrepreneurship.
Aztera has partnered with one of the leading solar energy providers in the photovoltaic industry and has been engineering products to increase the efficiency of solar cells. A new direction that our partnership is taking involves using small unmanned aircraft systems — also known as UASs or drones — to monitor solar farms from the sky. Our approach is to use infrared imaging systems to scan and survey solar panels to identify inefficiencies.
With new Federal Aviation Administration rules and regulations around the commercial use of unmanned aircraft systems, many entrepreneurs are forming companies that utilize remarkable UAS technologies for a variety of purposes. The applications are abundant. In agriculture, drones are used to survey crops and provide growers with useful data. In mining, they are used for search and rescue missions. They also are used in the photography and film industry, and even in the parcel and postal industry.
I have been tasked with drafting our company's petition for exemption under the FAA's Section 333, which "provides operators who wish to pursue safe and legal entry into the National Aerospace System a competitive advantage in the UAS marketplace." That should in turn provide immense economic benefits. This process entails communicating to the FAA how our proposed use of a specific UAS will benefit the public as a whole and provide an equal or greater level of safety in operating our drone as the current rules and regulations do.
Again, successfully communicating our need for exemption to the FAA will lead to a petition being granted for commercial operations of our UAS to proceed. Poor communication will lead to resubmitting a petition — and a loss of vital time and, in turn, cash flow.
The ability to communicate outside of your comfort zone is crucial to success in the engineering and business worlds. Take networking, for example, which is one of the most important skills that a person can possess, no matter your field of specialty. On a Friday night, you and your friends go out to a bar. After the first round, a woman sits down beside you. Through introduction, you learn she is the CEO of a company that manufactures bathroom appliances, including showerheads. It just happens that you are part of a startup team that has designed a next-generation, smart showerhead, and you are looking for a partner to license the technology to. The situation requires you to communicate your team’s idea on the spot in a non-professional setting.
Honing personal communication skills will lead to being better prepared for such spontaneous instances — and perhaps even to life-changing opportunities. I know that I have room for improvement in this area, and most others probably do, too.
Andrew Granatstein, an Honors College student studying aerospace engineering who is also a student in the McGuire Entrepreneurship Program, is one of four students selected as a 2015 UANews student columnist. The columnist initiative was launched in June by UANews and provides students the opportunity to share insights about the work and research they will be doing over the summer in various parts of the United States and abroad. It's the UA's 100% Engagement in action, and the students' experiences will prepare them to be real-world ready upon graduation.Categories: Business and LawTeaching and StudentsThis is a Wildcat Corner feature: Images: Tags: StudentsStudent Life2015 UANews Student ColumnistByline: Andrew Granatstein, 2015 UANews Columnist |UANow Image: Editor: dougcarrollInclude in UANow: yesDate of Publication: Wednesday, June 24, 2015Medium Summary: Andrew Granatstein is working to ensure that his company is approved for commercial operations of small unmanned aircraft systems, or drones. Feature on Front: NoShort Summary: Andrew Granatstein writes about his experience at Aztera. Send to Never Settle Site: 0UA in the News Spotlight: Includes video:
To be more competitive in the field of American Indian studies, and to attract students who are invested in addressing issues affecting tribal nations, the University of Arizona has launched a new bachelor's degree program in the field.
The new undergraduate degree program makes the UA the first and only university in the state to offer bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in the discipline.
"We are excited to launch the B.A. degree, which will provide undergraduates an opportunity to learn about the resiliency, traditions and creativity of contemporary Native communities," said John Paul Jones III, dean of the UA College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.
"With our faculty's research strengths in sustainability, social justice issues and community development, the new B.A. is the logical extension of the UA’s historic and contemporary efforts to work with Native American communities to meet their needs," Jones said.
The UA's Department of American Indian Studies is committed to leadership, self-determination and American Indian sovereignty on tribal lands and strives to develop a strong understanding of the history, lands and cultures of American Indians and Alaska Natives.
Since 1982, American Indian Studies has conferred more 350 degrees through the American Indian Studies Graduate Interdisciplinary Program. In July 2014, the American Indian Studies program joined the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, becoming an academic department and setting the stage for the creation of the undergraduate program.
The new degree program has a curricular focus on the history, politics, culture, economics, natural resources and environments of Native communities in the U.S. The program also addresses regional workforce development needs by preparing Native American and non-Native students for jobs in tribal organizations, government agencies, nonprofit entities and private businesses where employees need to understand the unique Nation-to-Nation relationship that American Indians have with the federal government.
By the time students have completed their bachelor's degree in American Indian studies, they will understand the diversity of U.S. tribes' historic experiences and contemporary contexts. They also will be able to critically analyze scholarly information, treaties, government documents, legal decisions and stories; effectively communicate information both orally and in writing; understand respectful, ethical research protocols within American Indian communities; and demonstrate skills needed for careers working with or on behalf of American Indians.
Students also may gain professional development and leadership experience through community-based research and grant writing.
In alignment with the UA's commitment to 100% Engagement, the undergraduate program is designed to give students real-world experience working with Native American communities. Students will be required to complete a community-service-based internship and will assist organizations such as tribal colleges, schools, social organizations and health agencies.
"Many people are not aware of the political and economic organization of tribes," said Ofelia Zepeda, interim head of American Indian studies. "Students in AIS would potentially be better positioned in serving a reservation community. For instance, law enforcement on the reservation requires an understanding of the unique aspects of jurisdiction policies for tribes."
The bachelor's degree in American Indian studies also supports the UA's land-grant mission. As a public-supported land grant institution, the UA has a responsibility to serve all citizens of the state.
Arizona is home to 22 federally recognized tribes, and Native Americans represent five percent of the state population. American Indians, however, represent less than two percent of incoming freshmen and an even lower percentage of graduates.
The new B.A. program will offer a course designed to strengthen undergraduate student success rates by addressing social and academic issues that may impact the college experience. Additionally, having a curriculum focused on American Indian and Alaskan Natives topics could serve to attract not only Native students but anyone interested in the historic and contemporary lives of Native people.
"The need to attract and retain American Indian students through graduation is particularly compelling in Arizona," Zepeda said.Editor: dougcarrollByline Affiliation: UA College of Social and Behavioral SciencesExtra Info:
To learn more about UA programs and initiatives related to American Indian issues:
Date of Publication: Wednesday, June 24, 2015
The designation — awarded to the UA and 17 other universities by the APLU’s Commission on Innovation, Competitiveness and Economic Prosperity — acknowledges those working in their states and regions to support economic development through a variety of activities. The activities include innovation and entrepreneurship, technology transfer, talent and workforce development, and community development.
Areas of accomplishment that advanced the UA’s application for the award include: the early success of the Never Settle strategic plan; the achievements of Tech Launch Arizona in technology innovation and commercialization; and a focus on biomedical research and health care, including the Phoenix Biomedical Campus and the historic partnership agreement with Banner Health.
"The University of Arizona is not only a top-tier research institution but also an important economic engine for our state," said Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey. "The university’s recognition by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities underscores its value in both respects."
"From conducting and commercializing cutting-edge research, to providing a talented workforce to industry and serving as a magnet for new business, to fostering innovative partnerships, the University of Arizona has a long and distinguished track record of driving economic development," said Mark Killian, chairman of the Arizona Board of Regents. "The APLU designation further cements the university’s position as a leader in higher education and economic development."
"This designation is a wonderful recognition of the success that the University of Arizona is having with economic development, technology innovation and commercialization," said UA President Ann Weaver Hart. "These are vitally important parts of our mission as Arizona’s land-grant university, and they are at the heart of the UA’s Never Settle strategic plan. I am delighted with this news and look forward to the great things that will continue to come from Tech Launch Arizona and its partners at the UA and around our state."
The UA has recognized that healthy institutions need rapidly changing sources of innovation, competitiveness and economic growth in fields such as agriculture, engineering, medicine, entrepreneurship and technology.
Universities that have been awarded the Innovation and Economic Prosperity designation in the two years since it was created include Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue and Michigan.
APLU is a research, policy and advocacy organization dedicated to strengthening and advancing the work of public universities in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. It has a membership of more than 230 public research universities, land-grant institutions, state university systems and affiliated organizations, focusing on three goals: increasing degree completion and academic success, advancing scientific research, and expanding engagement.
"Public universities serve as economic engines for their local communities and states by conducting cutting-edge research to reach new breakthroughs and developing the talent to help existing businesses grow stronger and enabling new ones to develop and thrive," said Peter McPherson, president of APLU.Editor: dougcarrollByline Affiliation: University Relations — CommunicationsHeader image: YesNo Image: Subheading: The University is among a select group of 18 institutions to be designated by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities.Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image: Includes video:
The Pac-12 Conference office announced Monday that it officially has joined the Green Sports Alliance, following the lead of conference institutions such as the University of Arizona, which is regarded nationally for its sustainability efforts.
The nonprofit Green Sports Alliance promotes renewable energy, healthful food, recycling, water efficiency, species preservation, safer chemicals and other environmentally desirable practices.
As members of the alliance, the Pac-12 and university athletics programs are committed to measure their environmental performance, develop strategies and goals to reduce their footprint, monitor progress, and engage fans and communities in the process.
Most significantly, the Pac-12 and its members will support one another, and other Green Sports Alliance members, in their sports greening efforts.
"Our member universities have shown great leadership to minimize their athletics departments' negative impact on the environment, and promote green habits to their fans and campuses at large," Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said in a statement. "We as a conference are thrilled to join the alliance as we continue to push college sports in a modern, global and progressive direction."
Ben Champion, director of the UA's Office of Sustainability, said the University has been a Green Sports Alliance member since 2013 and has a long history of commitment to sustainable practices.
"It's very exciting to now have some friendly competition with all the other Pac-12 schools," Champion said.
"More than that, we can have bigger impact through joining together, so it's thrilling to see the Pac-12 Conference office joining the Green Sports Alliance along with us," he said.
The UA has received numerous awards and accolades for its green practices in athletics. Of note:
- The Campus Recreation Center was the first campus facility of its type in the U.S. to receive LEED Platinum designation after the completion of its expansion.
- Light fixtures at Arizona Stadium have significantly reduced light pollution and energy use during games held at night.
- The Hillenbrand Aquatic Center uses solar energy for water-heating systems.
- The Lowell-Stevens Football Facility, which is registered with U.S. Green Building Council, was designed to achieve at least LEED Silver status for a new construction project.
- With recent renovations, McKale Center now has a new state-of-the-art LED lighting system, making it one of the first collegiate sports arenas in the country with 100 percent LED lighting. The lighting is expected to dramatically improve the building's energy efficiency.
Additionally, the UA participated earlier this year in the inaugural Pac-12 Zero Waste Challenge, a first-of-its-kind, conference-wide competition organized by Pac-12 members with the support of the Green Sports Alliance.
Led by the Office of Sustainability and Students for Sustainability, the UA chose the March 5 men’s basketball game versus the University of California, Berkeley, as its home game for the competition. All told, the event leveraged three student organizations and involved 77 student volunteers, totaling 220 volunteer hours, Champion said. It was the first "zero waste" program ever organized for an athletic event at the UA, and it earned the University a runner-up spot in the competition.
"I'm proud that we were able to pull off such a large effort with such impressive results with only two weeks of planning. We'll be ready to do even better next year," Champion said.
Champion said Arizona Athletics and Facilities Management have been "outstanding partners," having worked for years with Students for Sustainability on "Greening the Game" initiatives to reduce and divert waste from Arizona Stadium during events.
"It makes so much sense for the UA to be leading the way on greening of athletics programs," Champion said.
"Tucson has tremendous water, energy and waste challenges — and Arizona Athletics is one of the few entities in the region that can really bring the entire community together, both on-campus and off-campus," he said. "That team spirit is alive and well in Tucson, and we are proud to be doing our part at the UA to find solutions for the future."Editor: dougcarrollByline Affiliation: University Relations - CommunicationsExtra Info:
In addition to efforts focused on athletics, the UA is regarded for other green initiatives and practices, including:
- Internships and job opportunities for students interested in environmental issues, also with a focus on sustainability.
- A highly diverse range of research efforts devoted to addressing state, national and international challenges related to climate, ecosystems, water and renewable energy.
- Numerous student-led clubs and organizations that work specifically on projects related to sustainability. Such groups include Students for Sustainability, Compost Cats, Solar Cats and Residence Life Eco-Reps.
- Hundreds of courses that explore technologies, research, professional practices and policies related to green initiatives.
- The Arizona Board of Regents-approved Green Fund, which provides financial backing for students and employees to test innovative solutions to challenges in renewable energy, energy and water efficiency, waste reduction, and environmental sustainability education, research and outreach.
Every year about the middle of April, depending on the temperature in southern Arizona, eggs begin to hatch on mesquite trees and small, strange, blue bugs appear in large numbers. People don't notice these tiny insects until sometime in May, when they appear as inch-long, red- and white-banded insects with antennae that have an enlarged segment toward the tip.
These odd-looking beasts are giant mesquite bug nymphs, Thasus neocalifornicus.
The term "nymph" is used to describe the juvenile growing stage of insects that develop wing pads externally during such a period. The brilliantly colored bugs stick together because their advertising is more effective in large groups. This seemingly dangerous exposure is nature's way of warning predators that these insects have some kind of defense. Each nymph has glands that produce a smelly substance normally repugnant to predators.
The giant mesquite bug lives and feeds in the top of the mesquite tree but moves toward the base of the tree as temperatures rise. The bugs are harmless to plants and people. They don't bite people because their mouthparts are designed for feeding on the mesquites. (We wouldn't taste good to them, anyway.) Their smell may not be your perfume, but it is not dangerous.Video Thumbnail: Category(s): Campus NewsScience and TechnologyYouTube Video: Giant Mesquite Bug Video of Giant Mesquite Bug Feature Sticky: OffFeature on Front: NoMedium Summary: You’re not the only one. Even insects can’t take it when it gets hot outside, and the giant mesquite bug is a case in point all over the UA campus. Entomologist Gene Hall explains.UANow Image: Date of Publication: Monday, June 22, 2015Send to Never Settle Site: 0Includes video: The story include video
Astronomers from Leiden University in the Netherlands and the University of Arizona have successfully commissioned a new type of optic that can reveal the image of an exoplanet next to its parent star. The "vector Apodizing Phase Plate," or vector-APP, coronagraph was installed at the 6.5-m Magellan Clay telescope in Chile in May, and the first observations demonstrated an unprecedented contrast performance very close to the star, where planets are more likely to reside.
Almost 2,000 exoplanets have been detected to date, but only a few of those have been imaged directly. Exoplanets are typically more than a million times fainter than and are lost in the glare of their parent star as seen from Earth. To directly image exoplanets and to characterize their atmospheres, astronomical instruments at the world's largest telescopes use coronagraphs to suppress the overwhelming halo of light from the star.
Building on technology developed at the UA's Department of Astronomy, the vector-APP coronagraph uses the wavelike nature of light to cancel out the starlight while allowing the planet’s light to shine through.
This manipulation is implemented through a complex phase pattern that can only be manufactured using advanced liquid crystal 3-D patterning techniques. This technique creates two images of the star, for which dark, D-shaped regions are located on opposite sides of each star image. In this way, the whole region around the star can be scrutinized for planets. By combining several layers of liquid crystals, the device can be used over a wide range of wavelengths, including the infrared where the contrast between planet and star is more favorable.
On May 6, a vector-APP coronagraphic device saw first light in the infrared range of the spectrum at the Magellan Advanced Optics, or MagAO, instrument, attached to the Magellan Clay telescope in Chile. The telescope's integrated adaptive optics system provided the instrument with sharp images of stars, which were consequently split up and modified by the coronagraph to exhibit dark holes in which much fainter planets could be imaged than without the vector-APP coronagraph.
"With this breakthrough, we're approaching the theoretically optimum angular resolution while performing high contrast imaging of exoplanets," said Jared Males, a NASA Sagan Fellow at the UA Department of Astronomy. "With this coronagraph, the MagAO system and its Clio infrared camera will be able to search for planets orbiting at just 0.5 AU from alpha Centauri A, the closest sunlike star."
One AU, or astronomical unit, is the average distance between the Earth and the sun.
"This allows astronomers to look for planets closer to their stars, probing distances like those of the planets in our own solar system," Males explained. "With this new coronagraph we are now looking for planets around nearby stars. We have the capacity to directly detect, or rule out, planets smaller than Jupiter. "
The advanced liquid crystal technology that the team adopted also permitted the production of extreme vector-APP designs that are not possible with more traditional manufacturing technologies. These new designs produce dark holes that cover the full 360 degrees around the target stars.
Frans Snik of Leiden University, who invented the principle behind the new vector-APP coronagraph, said: "It is fantastic to see that after all our design work and lab testing, this new approach works perfectly at the telescope on the very first night."
Gilles Otten, a doctoral student at Leiden involved in the project, added: "We knew that we were in business as soon as we saw the first picture on the screen in the telescope control room."
Matthew Kenworthy, also at Leiden, concluded: "This new coronagraph technology is also excellent news for the extremely large telescopes currently under construction. With a vector-APP coronagraph in the next generation of telescopes, we can search for planets around nearby stars with unprecedented sensitivity."
Support from the William F. and Elizabeth Lucas Junior Faculty Astronomy Award and the NASA Origins of Solar Systems program made this exciting commissioning possible at the MagAO instrument in Chile. This work was performed in part under contract with the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) funded by NASA through the Sagan Fellowship Program executed by the NASA Exoplanet Science Institute.Editor: dougcarrollWriter: Daniel StolteByline: Daniel StolteByline Affiliation: University Relations - CommunicationsHeader image: YesNo Image: Subheading: A new optical component developed by astronomers at the UA and Leiden University in the Netherlands pushes the capability of detecting alien planets closer to their host stars than ever before. Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image: Includes video:
About 200,000 years ago, our ancestors took their first steps on the African savanna. Today, 7 billion of us live across the planet. How did we beat the odds and spread from continent to continent?
"First Peoples" is a global detective story that traces the arrival of the first Homo sapiens on five continents. Airing at 9 and 10 p.m. Wednesday and July 1 and at 9 p.m. July 8, the five-part series is part of PBS' "Think Wednesday" programming block (watch a clip here).
"First Peoples" tells the story of how early Homo sapiens moved around the globe and became the dominant human species. Each episode of the series focuses on a different continent and meets the earliest Homo sapiens on that continent — the Americas, Africa, Asia, Australia and Europe. Where did they come from? How did they get there? What role did art, culture and technology play in their lives? Whom did they meet along the way? It used to be thought that our ancestors kept a distance from other types of humans. But now DNA reveals they mated with them and interbred. As a result, our species is a patchwork of modern and ancient genes — we are all hybrids.
With a camera crew winging its way around the world, "First Peoples" dives into the underwater caves of Yucatan, soars above the Australian outback and journeys to the Himalayas. In every location, key experts are on hand to reveal their findings, but the biggest breakthroughs are taking place in genetic laboratories. It is now possible to extract high-quality DNA from ancient fossils, and the sequences that emerge are rewriting the human story.
One of the experts featured in "First Peoples" is Michael Hammer, a research scientist at the Arizona Research Laboratories Division of Biotechnology at the University of Arizona, whose team is at the forefront of untangling the complex relationships among the earliest human ancestors in deep time. Hammer is featured in Wednesday's second episode of the series, which looks at our origins on the African continent.
"If you could take a time machine back 50,000 years, you'd find people looked really different," said Hammer, also a member of the UA's BIO5 Institute. "The question is, where did those features we consider anatomically modern traits come from?"
While it has now been widely accepted that anatomically modern humans of the species Homo sapiens originated in Africa and eventually spread throughout the world, it wasn't clear until very recently whether they exchanged genetic material with other, now-extinct archaic hominin varieties in Africa, through a process called admixture.
Since no one so far has been able to successfully extract DNA from early hominin fossils found in Africa, as Hammer explained, his group decided to approach the mystery by looking for "genetic fossils." Hammer's team developed a method to use genomic data and look for expected signatures of mixing, and used that to screen genomes of populations living in Africa today.
Hammer's group is one of few in the field of palaeoanthropology that have been able to trace extensive mixing among early humans before they left Africa to settle in other parts of the world.
"There has been this idea that modern humans evolved in the same place, in isolation from other forms," Hammer said, "but our research group has found evidence that deconstructs this notion of specialness. The reality, we now know, was much messier, much more complex.
"If you look at variation in the genome, you find many regions of DNA that appear to have come in from other hominin groups. When it comes to mating with different-looking forms, it turns out humans are just like most other species in nature."
John Hawks, a paleoanthropologist at University of Wisconsin, Madison, who worked as a consultant and appears in each episode, said, "'First Peoples' is the first chance most people will get to see extraordinary new research in human origins brought to life — real science, happening in remote places around the globe, with an international team of leading scientists. The series is grounded in the latest genetics, archaeology and anthropology research, yet it also shines a light on different viewpoints from an indigenous perspective."
According to series producer Tim Lambert, "We learned that our family tree is not a simple one. It looks more like a bush, with interweaving branches and tangled roots. We are the product of many species that were similar and different at the same time. Using dramatic re-enactments and movie-style prosthetics, we have tried to tell this compelling story and explain how our ancient ancestors survived and ultimately thrived."Editor: dougcarrollWriter: Daniel StolteByline: Daniel StolteByline Affiliation: University Relations – CommunicationsWhat: 'First Peoples'Where: PBSWhen: 9 and 10 p.m. Wednesday and July 1; 9 p.m. July 8Extra Info:
Episode 1: Americas
As early humans spread out across the world, their toughest challenge was colonizing the Americas because a huge ice sheet blocked the route. It has long been thought that the first Americans were Clovis people, who arrived 13,000 years ago. But an underwater discovery in Mexico suggests people arrived earlier — coming by boat, not on foot. How closely related were these early Americans to today’s Native Americans? It’s an emotive issue, involving one of the most controversial fossils in the world, Kennewick Man. (Wednesday, 9 p.m.)
Episode 2: Africa
About 200,000 years ago, a new species, Homo sapiens, appeared on the African landscape. While scientists have long imagined eastern Africa as a real-life Garden of Eden, the latest research suggests humans evolved in many places across the continent at the same time. Now the DNA of a 19th-century African-American slave reveals that during the early days of our species, our ancestors continued meeting, mating and hybridizing with other human types in Africa — creating ever-greater diversity within us. (Wednesday, 10 p.m.)
Episode 3: Asia
What happened when early humans ventured out of Africa and into Asia? Where did they go and whom did they meet along the way? The latest evidence suggests they left far earlier than previously thought and interbred with a newly discovered type of ancient human — the Denisovans, whose existence was established only four years ago when geneticists extracted DNA from a tiny fragment of finger bone. Because our ancestors mated with them, their genes found a home within our DNA. More than that, they’ve helped us survive and thrive. (July 1, 9 p.m.)
Episode 4: Australia
When humans arrived in Australia, they were, for the first time, truly alone, surrounded by wildly different flora and fauna. How did they survive and populate a continent? There is a close cultural and genetic link between early Australians and modern-day Aborigines; here the ancient and modern story intersect as nowhere else. The secret to this continuity is diversity. Intuitively, early Australians found the right balance between being separate and connected. (July 1, 10 p.m.)
Episode 5: Europe
When Homo sapiens turned up in prehistoric Europe, they ran into the Neanderthals. The two types of human were similar enough to interbreed — and both created artifacts of similar complexity. As more and more Homo sapiens moved into Europe, the balance of power shifted. Neanderthals were overwhelmed. Ever since, we’ve had Europe and the rest of the world to ourselves. (July 8, 9 p.m.)Header image: YesNo Image: Subheading: Michael Hammer appears as one of the experts in "First Peoples," a five-part series examining how Homo sapiens moved around the globe to become its dominant human species. Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image: Includes video:
With launch only 15 months away, the team of the OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample return mission, led by the University of Arizona, is preparing to deliver its instruments for integration with the spacecraft over the next several months. OSIRIS-REx, which stands for Origins Spectral Interpretation Resource Identification and Security-Regolith Explorer, is the first U.S. mission to take a sample from an asteroid and bring it to Earth for study.
OSIRIS-REx will travel to Bennu, a near-Earth asteroid, to bring back a small sample to Earth for study. The mission is scheduled for launch in September 2016. The spacecraft will reach its asteroid target in 2018 and return a sample to Earth in 2023.
"These instruments are essential to accomplishing the mission’s science goals and unlocking the secrets of Bennu," said Dante Lauretta, professor in the UA's Lunar and Planetary Laboratory and principal investigator for OSIRIS-REx. "I am proud of the dedication to excellence that each of our instrument teams brings to this mission, and I look forward to all that we will discover at the asteroid."
The spacecraft will carry five instruments from national and international partners. These instruments will be key to mapping and analyzing Bennu’s surface and will be critical in identifying a site from which a sample can be safely retrieved and ultimately returned to Earth.
The OSIRIS-REx Camera Suite, or OCAMS, consists of three cameras that will image Bennu during approach and proximity operations. Scientists and engineers at LPL designed and built OCAMS to image Bennu over nine orders of magnitude in distance, from 1 million kilometers (more than 620,000 miles) down to two meters (6.5 feet). PolyCam, the largest camera of the OCAMS suite, is both a telescope — acquiring the asteroid from far away while it is still a point of light — and a microscope capable of scrutinizing the pebbles on Bennu's surface. MapCam will map the entire surface of Bennu from a distance of three miles, and the Sampling Camera, or SamCam, is designed to document the sample acquisition. The OCAMS instrument suite is scheduled to be installed on the spacecraft in September.
The OSIRIS-REx Laser Altimeter, or OLA, will scan Bennu to map the entire asteroid surface, producing local and global topographic maps. OLA is a contributed instrument from the Canadian Space Agency.
The OSIRIS-REx Thermal Emission Spectrometer, or OTES, will conduct surveys to map mineral and chemical abundances and to take Bennu’s temperature. OTES is provided by Arizona State University.
The OSIRIS-REx Visible and Infrared Spectrometer, or OVIRS, measures visible and infrared light from Bennu, which can be used to identify water and organic materials. The instrument is provided by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.
A student experiment called the Regolith X-ray Imaging Spectrometer, or REXIS, will map elemental abundances on the asteroid. REXIS is a collaboration between the students and faculty of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard College Observatory.
"This is an exciting time for the project," said Mike Donnelly, OSIRIS-REx project manager, from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. "Years of effort are coming to culmination with the upcoming deliveries of the instruments to the spacecraft."
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt provides overall mission management, systems engineering and safety and mission assurance for OSIRIS-REx. Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Denver is building the spacecraft. OSIRIS-REx is the third mission in NASA's New Frontiers Program. NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, manages New Frontiers for the agency's Science Mission Directorate in Washington, D.C.Editor: dougcarrollWriter: Daniel StolteByline Affiliation: NASA/Goddard Space Flight CenterHeader image: YesNo Image: Subheading: The various instruments that will enable OSIRIS-REx to safely travel to asteroid Bennu, take a sample and return it to Earth are being readied for shipment to the spacecraft's assembly facility. Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noIncludes video:
Thanks to connections that span two continents and more than two decades, a group of University of Arizona undergraduate students is spending the summer in the Czech Republic, in central Europe, conducting parasitology research.
Through the UA program Prozkoumat!, undergraduates were selected through a competitive process to be involved in research with scientists at the Institute of Parasitology of the Czech Academy of Sciences in České Budějovice.
UA Distinguished Outreach Professor Carol Bender, director of the Undergraduate Biology Research Program, initiated the program, which translates to "explore" in English. The program builds on relationships UA faculty and Institute of Parasitology scientists have held since the early 1990s.
Bender, who also directs the Biomedical Research Abroad: Vistas Open! Program, or BRAVO!, was able to establish the program through a connection with Libor Grubhoffer, rector of the University of South Bohemia, who held a postdoctoral position at the UA during the 1990s. Grubhoffer and Bender have facilitated faculty and student exchanges between their two institutions through a series of institutional agreements.
"Dr. Grubhoffer is a true visionary who understands the importance of promoting international understanding and who promotes undergraduate research," said Bender, a longtime advocate and facilitator of undergraduate research at the UA.
In addition to conducting research abroad, the students — supported by a grant to the UA from the National Institutes of Health — receive mentoring from the scientist, participate in a professional development seminar and take part in science outreach and cultural activities. Also during the trip, students visit world heritage sites and capital cities. The students also are scheduled to meet with the U.S. Ambassador to the Czech Republic next month.
Several of the Institutes of the Czech Academy of Sciences share a campus with the University of South Bohemia. This has made it possible to invite faculty from non-science departments to address the group, Bender said.
Undergraduate researcher Ernesto Hernandez is working with a team studying Trypanosoma brucei, which is the causative agent of Human African Trypanosomiases, diseases endemic to Africa. He also is studying the nagana pest, found in domestic livestock. In both cases, he is supporting the team's efforts to identify potential drug targets.
"This program has allowed me to dive into another lab that studies cells at a much smaller scale, looking at specific proteins to determine their role in the cells," said Hernandez, a UA Honors College senior with two majors, neuroscience and cognitive science and also molecular and cellular biology.
At the UA, Hernandez works with UA Regents' Professor Leslie Tolbert and research professor Lynne A. Oland studying the anatomy of neuron-glia interactions in glial cells. He would like to pursue a medical degree, eventually working in the field of parasitology on projects with medical relevance.
"Without a program like Prozkoumat!, I don't know if I would be able to ever to experience doing research in a different country," Hernandez said.
To prepare scientifically and culturally, students took two courses during the spring semester. One was a parasitology course titled "This Wormy World," taught by Charles Sterling, a professor of public health and also animal and comparative biomedical sciences. The other was "Preparation for Prozkoumat: An International Research Experience," which Bender taught.
Undergraduate researcher Jenna Franco was trying to decide between a summer research experience and a study-abroad opportunity when she found that Prozkoumat! would provide both opportunities.
"I also liked that this program would give me an international perspective on research, allowing me to see the similarities and differences between research conducted in another country as compared to the U.S.," said Franco, a UA Honors College student and senior majoring in neuroscience and cognitive science.
At the Institute of Parasitology, Franco has been working with Ondrei Haidusek's group, conducting research with a team that is working to develop a model of how pathogens are transmitted from ticks to their hosts. Ultimately, the team aims to use this model to develop a vaccine that interrupts ticks' ability to feed and effectively prevents the transmission of pathogens, which can cause ilnesses such as Lyme disease.
"I am investigating things that are very different from what I normally work on during the year," Franco said.
"Even though this project is seemingly unrelated to my neuroscience research focus, it is still teaching me many valuable skills," she said. "Not only am I learning new lab methods, but I am developing life skills as well. Each time I face the challenge of acclimating to a new lab culture with its own ways of doing things, I gain more confidence working in different lab environments. Adaptability is an important skill to possess as a researcher."
Belen Molina said one of the most important benefits of Prozkoumat! is students' ability to improve their research skills while cultivating a global perspective, immersed in a different culture.
While abroad, Molina is part of Ryan Rego’s group, which investigates the transmission and acquisition of Borrelia, the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.
"Prozkoumat! provides the indispensable experience I need to grow both intellectually and culturally to become the well-rounded scientist I wish to be," said Molina, a UA senior who is majoring in ecology and evolutionary biology and also molecular and cellular biology.
"The program also offered a great opportunity to become aware of science in other parts of the world, allowing me to develop the skills I will need to contribute meaningful information to a growing globalized science community," said Molina, who aspires to earn a doctoral degree in ecology, with a focus on parasites.
This was the first time Alec Perkins has ever been able to travel outside of the U.S.
"To have the skills of a scientist is important," said Perkins, a molecular and cellular biology major. He is working with Tomas Scholz's group, studying parasitic worms to clarify some "confusing" taxonomy using the DNA sequence and physical characteristics of the worms.
"Asking questions and striving to answer them empirically makes one a better contributing member of society," Perkins said. "Those skills help me achieve my academic goals of learning about how this world works. As for my career goals, I plan to go into the medical field, where it is imperative to be able to look at data and make good decisions. The research I do helps hone those analytical skills."Editor: dougcarrollByline Affiliation: University Relations - CommunicationsHeader image: YesNo Image: Subheading: Carol Bender, director of the UA's Undergraduate Biology Research Program, has launched the 10-week Prozkoumat! program.Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image: Includes video:
This fall, the University of Arizona will launch an innovative degree program in Phoenix aimed at making higher education more accessible.
UA North Valley is the result of a partnership between the University and the Maricopa County Community College District to offer a Bachelor of General Studies degree from the UA. Students will be able to take upper-division courses from UA faculty members at the UA North Valley headquarters on the Paradise Valley Community College campus.
The program offers students four areas of focus: Arts, Media and Entertainment; Global and Intercultural Understanding; Social Behavior and Human Understanding; and the Study of the U.S. and the American Experience. After students select a focus area, they will have the opportunity to participate in an internship to gain real-world experience.
The overarching mission of UA North Valley is to expand the University's capability to serve Arizonans who aspire to earn a bachelor's degree and turn their interests into lifelong careers. The three inaugural UA North Valley faculty members are:
In addition to teaching courses as part of UA North Valley, Meyer also serves as director of the Bachelor of General Studies program.
The Phoenix native and UA alumna has taught at a range of schools, from small liberal arts colleges to large state universities, but said she found that UA North Valley initiative to be an intriguing opportunity.
"The new Bachelor of General Studies program at UA North Valley presented me with a unique opportunity to return to a place I still call home, to teach for a premier institution with inspiring colleagues, and to work with dedicated students," Meyer said. "UA North Valley allows me to continue to build upon my past experiences and do what I truly love: helping students expand their worldview and achieve their goals.”
Meyer's research and teaching have focused primarily on European history and on areas such as sexuality, gender, race and disease. She will teach two courses in the fall — one on multidisciplinary methods and research, and another on gender and sexuality in the modern world.
For Meyer, who watched her mother balance class and job commitments while earning an associate's degree when Meyer was in junior high school, the opportunity to work with students and build the UA North Valley program supports her belief in the value of education and the potential growth for higher education in Arizona.
"Community colleges and state universities are natural partners in responding to students' needs and goals in higher education," Meyer said. "We are creating a program that provides students of all backgrounds and goals with more opportunities that can help remove obstacles students might find in their paths."
Although his degrees are in classical jazz, Zimmer has played in a variety of bands, including pop and R&B. As part of the UA North Valley curriculum, the classically trained saxophonist will be teaching Humanities 374 (Pop Music in the Counterculture).
Zimmer has a doctorate in jazz performance from Arizona State University and has taught at Paradise Valley Community College since 2004. He has taught a variety of music history courses, including a Survey of American Music course that spans the roots of American music beginning with Native American music.
"I'm really fascinated by the unique aspects of American music and how it's contributed to music of the world," Zimmer said.
When he's not teaching, you might catch Zimmer performing around the Phoenix area with one of his bands.
For his UA North Valley course, Zimmer's curriculum will focus on the roots of rock and roll.
"The first half of the class talks about songwriting," he said. "The second half gets more into psychedelia and a lot of the politics around that."
For Zimmer, the UA North Valley program is an opportunity to be part of an innovative new facet of higher education.
"It really offers a direct route to a four-year degree," Zimmer said. "It's a general studies degree, which I think is great because it makes for a well-rounded student."
Lauro's career has taken him from studying hyper-reality in Scotland to wrangling cows in Texas. Lauro, who also currently works as creative director for a professional training company, will be teaching Humanities 375 (Globalization in Transnational Cinema) as part of the UA North Valley program.
After earning his doctorate from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, where he studied hyper-reality and culture's response to it, he worked in the film industry in Austin, Texas. While there, he performed a variety of tasks, including wrangling cows for Blue Bell commercials and helping with production of documentary films.
Since coming to Arizona, he has taught cinema, entertainment and media courses at Scottsdale Community College.
"My favorite part of teaching is being able to talk about topics I'm passionate about," Lauro said.
His UA North Valley course will explore the topic of globalization, or the integration of different worldviews, and how it is reflected in cinema and society.
"Globalization has given rise to this interesting concept of transnationalism, which is basically the permeability of national borders and national identities," Lauro said. "We will be analyzing works of cinema to better understand this concept of transnationalism."
Lauro said his goal for the UA North Valley program is to help students learn to take a more integrated approach to learning.
"The most exciting part of this program is that it very much reflects on the nature of learning today," he said. "The UA is both expanding and diversifying its reach.... I hope I have future architects, future lawyers or corporate executives in my class. Hopefully the people taking my class don't just approach it as a film class, but as students who are interested in applying broad ranges of knowledge to investigation. That's what's going to make the program and these courses a real benefit."
Read more about UA North Valley in this UANews article.
UA North Valley enrollment for the fall semester is now open. To learn more, visit uanv.arizona.edu.Editor: dougcarrollByline: Amanda BallardByline Affiliation: University Relations - CommunicationsHeader image: YesNo Image: Subheading: Program starts in the fall and offers four areas of focus for students, who will attend classes at Paradise Valley Community College toward a Bachelor of General Studies degree.Include in UANow: 0Include in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noIncludes video:
As part of Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey's inaugural visit to Mexico, University of Arizona President Ann Weaver Hart and the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, or UNAM, have signed a memorandum of understanding to establish a new Center for Mexican Studies at the UA.
Earlier this year, Hart announced that the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, which translates to the National Autonomous University of Mexico, had selected the UA to serve as the site of a branch center that would be focused on fostering collaborative research.
"The UNAM Center for Mexican Studies at the UA will be a unique expression of the depth of our relationship with one of Latin America's premier research institutions," Hart said.
UNAM is known as one of the top universities in Latin America for academic excellence. Its main campus is located in Mexico City, although it serves more than 345,000 students across its campuses throughout Mexico. Of that number, 110,000 are enrolled in an affiliated high school system.
This week's visit is Ducey's first to Mexico since taking office. During his visit, the governor also met with various officials and business leaders in an effort to identify ways to enhance economic and diplomatic relationships between Arizona and Mexico.
According to a study commissioned by the Arizona Office of Tourism and conducted by the UA Eller College of Management Economic and Business Research Center, visitors from Mexico contribute $7.3 million to Arizona's economy per day.
Since 2007, the UA has operated an office in Mexico City. It was created to help encourage collaboration between the University and businesses in Mexico. The UA's Office of Western Hemispheric Programs was created the same year and is dedicated to identifying collaborative opportunities between the University and agencies in Canada, Mexico and Latin America.
In addition to the UNAM Center of Mexican Studies, the UA has collaborated with multiple Mexican institutions on various projects. For example, a binational research consortium on arid lands was established in partnership between the UA's Mexico City office and the National University of Mexico. The consortium is funded by Mexico's National Council for Science and Technology, also known as CONACyT, the country's equivalent of the National Science Foundation.Editor: dougcarrollByline Affiliation: University Relations - CommunicationsHeader image: YesNo Image: Subheading: The UNAM Center for Mexican Studies at the UA will be focused on fostering collaborative research.Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image: Includes video:
What year was President Barack Obama's first inauguration? 2009.
What is the name of Jada Pinkett-Smith's band? Wicked Wisdom.
In 1863, who issued the Emancipation Proclamation symbolically freeing all slaves? Abraham Lincoln. Two years later marked the beginning of Juneteenth, which is now the oldest known event established to commemorate the end of slavery in the U.S.
Kysha and D'Anna Mounia
These are the types of questions presented in the mobile app Quiztory, launched by University of Arizona alumna Kysha Mounia and her sister, D'Anna Mounia.
As the nation prepares to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Juneteenth, the Mounias are continuing their commitment to bolster educational resources that expand public knowledge about the contributions and achievements of African-Americans. In fact, "This Day in Quiztory," which will air during Juneteenth celebrations on June 19, will air on iHeartRadio with American actor Tom Wright narrating. The segment will be available online.
Quiztory, originally launched during Black History Month, is "a little bit of pop culture mixed with a little bit of history," Kysha said. The app, which tests what users know about African-Americans in music, politics, athletics, science and pop culture, is available for OS and Android mobile devices.
"We definitely benefited from launching the app during Black History Month, but it is our belief that the information we are providing should be considered important every day, not just one month per year," said Kysha, president of Creative Educational Products, who graduated from the UA in 1998 with a degree in communication. "We hope it will be used as a tool to help establish a connection between the youth of today and their history."
Through Creative Educational Products, launched in 2013, the Mounias also introduced "This Day in Quiztory," by which they share narratives about significant events in African-American history. They also have created the Quiztory Ambassador Program, engaging students, and have begun connecting with teachers across the nation to help them amplify their teachings on African-Americans.
Ultimately, the two are working to train people to be advocates for African-American history, Kysha said.
Kysha is a 16-year veteran in television production, working on documentary programs such as Fox Sports Net's "Beyond the Glory" and BET's "American Gangster." She is currently the supervising producer on the TV One series "Unsung" and its spin-off series "Unsung Hollywood," which has won four NAACP Image Awards.
D'Anna has spent more than 15 years working in digital media and marketing. She has managed several music artists and is currently serving the advertising and digital media departments for Premiere Networks' nationally syndicated shows, including "The Steve Harvey Morning Show," "On Air With Ryan Seacrest" and "On With Mario Lopez."
Photos courtesy of Kysha Mounia
Kysha Mounia is president of Creative Educational Products, Inc. She may be reached at 818-621-5482 or firstname.lastname@example.org.Categories: Social Sciences and EducationThis is a Wildcat Corner feature: Images: Tags: AlumniEducationByline: Kysha Mounia |Editor: dougcarrollInclude in UANow: 0Date of Publication: Thursday, June 18, 2015Medium Summary: UA alumna Kysha Mounia has collaborated with her sister to expand educational resources across the U.S., focusing on the contributions of African-Americans. Feature on Front: NoShort Summary: UA alumna Kysha Mounia helped Creative Educational Products with a focus on student engagement. Send to Never Settle Site: 0UA in the News Spotlight: Includes video:
UA Presents, the University of Arizona's professional performing arts group, has contracted with the Nederlander Organization to oversee operations and marketing starting July 1.
Jory Hancock, dean of the UA's College of Fine Arts who also oversees UA Presents, said the move will enhance the organization's ability to focus on the season's programming and fundraising by supporting its staff with a proven management team.
"The Nederlander Organization and Broadway in Tucson general manager Lendre Kearns have extensive experience and a track record of success in presenting shows and reaching audiences. Under the UA Presents banner, our audiences will continue to enjoy world-class performing artists and a diverse array of artistic events. This new relationship gives UA Presents the best of both worlds — strong marketing and management combined with exciting programming," Hancock said.
Kearns will oversee day-to-day operations of UA Presents and all productions hosted in Centennial Hall. Broadway in Tucson has called Centennial Hall home for the past two years, presenting its programming in collaboration with UA Presents. In addition, UA Presents and Broadway in Tucson have undertaken several successful co-presentations, including "American Idiot," "Alton Brown" and "Carol Burnett."
"The UA Presents staff who support production, along with the front of house personnel, are truly the best in the business. It is a pleasure to work with the Centennial Hall team, knowing that artists will receive the best technical and production support possible and that audiences will be treated with respect and courtesy," Kearns said.
UA Presents has offered southern Arizona a diverse menu of performing arts and artists for more than 75 years. The Nederlander Organization is a Broadway producer of plays and musicals; owns and operates theaters in New York, London, Chicago and seven other cities: and presents Broadway tours in nine markets. It has been bringing Broadway national tours to Tucson since 2004.Editor: dougcarrollByline Affiliation: University Relations — CommunicationsHeader image: YesNo Image: Subheading: The Nederlander Organization has "a track record of success," says Jory Hancock, dean of the UA's College of Fine Arts.Include in UANow: yesInclude in Olympic Coverage: noFeature on Olympic Page: noUANow Image: Includes video:
There's no offseason for men's basketball at the University of Arizona, or at least a very short one, and this compilation of dunks from the 2014-2015 season will make you forget the scorching heat outside.Video Thumbnail: Category(s): SportsYouTube Video: University of Arizona Wildcats 2015 Dunk Fest Video of University of Arizona Wildcats 2015 Dunk Fest Feature Sticky: OffFeature on Front: NoMedium Summary: There's no basketball offseason at the UA — even the NBA champion Golden State Warriors have Wildcats — and this compilation of dunks from last season keeps the highlights coming.UANow Image: Date of Publication: Wednesday, June 17, 2015Send to Never Settle Site: 0Includes video: The story include video