Alumni CLASnotes Spring 2002

Around the College

Development Office Staff
The college's development office has undergone several recent personnel changes. On October 18, 2001, Jennifer Denault, director of development, delivered a baby boy named Graham Gary. Jennifer has since resigned from her position with CLAS to pursue full-time motherhood.


Della Booher replaces Jennifer as the new director of development. She previously worked as a development director for the South Florida Council of the Boy Scouts of America in Miami Lakes. Della is no stranger to CLAS. She earned her bachelor's degree from UF in criminology and law in 1999.


Amanda Delp, associate director of development, left UF in January to relocate to Sarasota after her husband's recent job promotion. Amanda plans to continue working in development.


Krista Mitchell Cornell is the new assistant director of development for CLAS. Krista has worked for Planned Parenthood of North Central Florida and the Volunteer Center of Alachua County. She has bachelor's degrees in political science and sociology from UF.

Criminologist Earns Top Rank
piquero.jpgA study published in the January/February 2002 issue of the Journal of Criminal Justice shows that UF Criminology Professor Alex R. Piquero has the most published articles in his field. The study, "The Institutional Affiliations of Authors in Leading Criminology and Criminal Justice Journals," examined the top scholars who have published in eight leading criminology and criminal justice journals between 1995 and 1999. During that time, Piquero had 16 authorships.

The study also looked at the productivity of institutions. UF ranked 16th in the number of published articles written by faculty. The University of Cincinnati ranked first, followed by the University of Maryland.

Piquero, who earned his PhD from the University of Maryland in 1996, came to UF this year after serving on the faculty at Temple and Northeastern Universities.

Religion Professor Leads American Academy of Religion
vasu3.jpgReligion Professor Vasudha Narayanan was recently named president of the American Academy of Religion (AAR) for 2002-2003. She was inaugurated at the group's annual meeting last fall and is the first person of a non-Judeo-Christian religion to serve as president since the academy was established in 1909. The 9,000-member organization is the major scholarly society and professional association for religion teachers and research scholars. Its members are mainly faculty and graduate students from more than 2,000 colleges, universities and divinity schools in North America. All of the world's major religious traditions, as well as indigenous and historical religions, are explored in the work of AAR members.

CLAS Teacher of the Year Awards

CLAS had nine college-level teaching award winners for 2001-2002. The awards recognize excellence, innovation and effectiveness in either teaching or advising. Nominations were collected from students, faculty, department chairs and administrators. The winners were then selected based on an evaluation of their teaching portfolio.

Ronald H. Carpenter, English; Marsha Bryant, English; Peter Waylen, Geography; Steven Noll, History; Pham Huu Tiep, Mathematics; Alexandre Turull, Mathematics; Lise Abrams, Psychology; Terry L. Mills, Sociology; Marta L. Wayne, Zoology.

The following CLAS professors are retiring this year: Harry Paul, History; Jonathan Shuster, Statistics; Julian Smith, English; William Stern, Botany.

CLAS Commencement
The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences will hold its inaugural spring commencement ceremony on Friday, May 3 at 6 pm in the Stephen C. O'Connell Center. In addition to recognizing spring graduates, the college will honor several individuals with Distinguished Achievement Awards. The ceremony's keynote speaker will be Robert Weisbuch, president of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation in Princeton, New Jersey.

Asian Studies Granted Room to Grow
tsin.jpgUF's Asian Studies Program has received a Freeman Foundation grant that will provide $2 million throughout a four-year span. "For the purposes of the humanities and the social sciences, this grant is quite substantial," says Michael Tsin, Asian Studies Program director. "I was thrilled when I heard we had received it. It was the work of the Asian Studies faculty that made this possible. This award couldn't have come at a better time, particularly because we are a relatively young, small program."

Tsin, who came to UF January 2001, says the grant will enable the program to expand. "We want to use the money to further develop a bachelor's degree in Asian studies, and maybe introduce a master's degree as well. We're also going to hire new faculty, increase our library resources, support students studying abroad, encourage curriculum development among faculty and bring in speakers to enhance the visibility of the program." The majority of the classes in UF's Asian Studies Program focus on the language, culture, religion and history of East Asia, primarily China and Japan. Other offerings include courses on South, Southeast and West Asia.

The New York-based Freeman Foundation focuses its donations on fostering an understanding and enhancing relationships between the US and the countries of East Asia. Schools must be invited by the foundation to apply for funds.

Enriching Botany's Garden
dougsoltis.jpgAs part of the National Science Foundation-funded Floral Genome Project (FGP), a couple of recent additions to UF are working to pinpoint the origins of flowers. Husband-and-wife team Doug and Pam Soltis, who joined the UF faculty last fall, bring their reputations as top researchers to the botany department and the Florida Museum of Natural History.


In addition to their work with the FGP, the couple is involved in other projects at UF and will co-teach classes in molecular systematics through the botany department this fall. "In molecular systematics, we use DNA sequences to try and unravel the family tree of plants. Using the same type of data that is used in the FGP, we're trying to figure out how different species are related to each other," Florida Museum of Natural History Curator Pam Soltis says.

Botany Professor Doug Soltis says coming to UF is a great opportunity. "We'd like to be the first to sequence the entire genome of a flowering plant. Hopefully we can put together a whole picture for how the flower evolved and diverged," he says. "These are things that can be important for crop improvement, and we think we can do that at UF. We wouldn't have been able to do it at Washington State University, where we were before."

CLAS Junior Wins Prestigious Scholarships
gale.jpgZoology junior Michael Gale has received a 2002 Harry S. Truman Scholarship. Gale was one of 64 scholars selected from 590 candidates for his leadership potential, intellectual ability and likelihood of making a difference. The scholarship provides $30,000 for graduate studies, and scholars also receive priority admission, leadership training and special internship opportunities within the federal government.

Gale has also received a $5,000 scholarship from the Morris K. Udall Foundation. The program recognizes outstanding juniors and seniors in fields related to the environment, and Gale was one of 80 winners nationwide.

In addition to receiving these scholarships, Gale was selected as a finalist for the 2002 Florida College Student of the Year award given by Florida Leader magazine. This competition honors Florida college students who excel academically, support themselves financially and volunteer in the community. Gale was one of seven finalists selected out of 150 applicants.

Gale is from Charleston, West Virginia and has a minor in wildlife ecology and conservation as well as music performance. He is the director of the Student Government Environmental Affairs Cabinet and volunteers at the Florida Museum of Natural History at UF. Gale also serves as a resident advisor and works with student associations within the residence halls on campus.

Political Science Student Travels to Slovenia for NATO Conference
tinnesz.jpgTimothy Tinnesz, a senior majoring in political science and minoring in Spanish and education, was one of four US college students selected to attend the week-long 47th Annual Atlantic Treaty Association conference last October in Bled, Slovenia. The association is the public-relations arm of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, or NATO. "I was able to learn quite a bit about the important issues confronting many different European nations. I really enjoyed being a representative of my country and American culture."

Tinnesz, who volunteers with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Gainesville and the Civitan Regional Blood Center, is also president of the CLAS Student Council. "Our group works as an advocate and representative for all CLAS students. We fund about 30 different student groups, provide travel assistance for conferences and host programs, and have members on various CLAS committees. I served as the CLAS Student Council student representative on the Dean Search Committee last year,"

Tinnesz, who graduates this spring, recently received a James Madison Junior Fellowship to pursue graduate studies in political science. He is also this year's CLAS Valedictorian and will speak at the college's graduation ceremony on May 3.

Jane Dominguez (Booher, Cornell, Delp, Gale, Piquero, Tinnesz, Tsin)
Jeff Gage (Soltis) Courtesy Vasudha Narayanan (Narayanan)

[an error occurred while processing this directive]