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Article Originally published in the April 2006 issue of CLASnotes.

Hyden Honored for Mentoring Graduate Students

Distinguished Professor of Political Science Goran Hyden has received one of five UF Dissertation/Mentoring Awards. Hyden received $3,000 and an additional $1,000 to support graduate students. Each year, the Graduate School recognizes five faculty members for excellence in mentoring doctoral students. A committee of faculty and students chose this year’s recipients from among more than 200 eligible faculty members across campus.

Since Hyden’s arrival at UF in 1988, he has served on 146 master’s and doctoral committees in numerous fields and chaired 33 doctoral committees. He also has served as a graduate coordinator in his department and on the CLAS Graduate Committee.

Going Global

As part of the university’s strong commitment to building a global campus environment, the UF International Center, Transnational and Global Studies Center and Research and Graduate Programs annually award “Internationalizing the Curriculum” grants to faculty seeking to add international components to an existing course or create new courses with substantial international content. For the 2006–2007 year, 21 awards of up to $3,000 have been granted across campus. The following have been selected from CLAS: Sue Boinski, anthropology; Richard Conley, political science; William Conwill, African American studies; Todd Hasak-Lowy, African and Asian languages and literatures; Bob Hatch, history; Jeffrey Keaffaber, chemistry; Won-ho Park, political science; Renata Serra, African studies and Anita Spring, anthropology.

Women’s Studies Art Show

Paula Ambroso
Paula Ambroso
Frog Leggs, the latest art exhibit on display at the Center for Women’s Studies and Gender Research gallery, features the creations of someone near and dear to the department—office manager Paula Ambroso. Her acrylic canvases feature insects and animals painted in bold colors and simplified lines. A special feature of her paintings is they are hung from colorful hand-strung beadwork.

The show also includes some of her fused glass pieces. Pictured above is Ambroso with one of her favorite pieces during the opening reception in March. In addition to her work at the center, Ambroso is working on her master’s degree in social work.

Dufty Receives State Department Fellowship

Physicist James Dufty has received an American Institute of Physics (AIP) fellowship from the State Department in Washington, DC. He will serve a one-year term that begins September 1. As a fellow, Dufty will choose an assignment designed to broaden the reach and visibility of scientific expertise within the State Department.

“The fellowship is a rare opportunity for me to observe and learn the process by which such difficult decisions are made and to influence some of them during my tenure,” he says. “I am honored by the expectation of my peers that I can reflect the value and expertise of scientists in the quite different forum of political policy formation.”

Through the development of the State Department fellowship program in 2001, the AIP became the first scientific society to financially support one scientist annually to work in a bureau or office of the State Department to provide scientific expertise to those who make the nation’s foreign policy.

Faculty Discuss Research on National Television

Communication Sciences and Disorders Professor and Chair Christine Sapienza appeared on NBC’s Dateline on April 16 as part of a segment on actor Michael J. Fox. She is the recipient of a $280,000 clinical discovery grant from the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research and is in the process of testing a device she invented, an expiratory muscle-strength trainer, which may have the capability of strengthening the swallowing muscles of Parkinson’s patients. Aspiration pneumonia is the leading cause of death among those with the disease. Read a transcript of the entire segment at

Associate Professor of Anthropology Michael Heckenberger was featured in an episode of The History Channel’s popular series Digging for the Truth. Heckenberger accompanied the entire filming of the episode “Lost Cities of the Amazon,” which aired April 24.

The episode focused on his research in various parts of the Amazon, specifically the research that he directs in the Upper Xingu region in Brazil that debunks the view of small primitive tribes living unchanged in virgin tropical forest. Instead, the UF research demonstrates a large, vibrant population that had a productive agricultural and fishing economy, complex settlement patterns and technology, including major roads that linked towns and villages into integrated clusters. Throughout the centuries leading up to 1492, the native Amazonians had transformed the tropical forest into complex, managed landscapes that included a mosaic of forests, parklands, agricultural production areas and managed wetlands.

Visit for more information.

New Faces in the Dean’s Office

Kimberly Browne
Kimberly Browne

Sarah Fitzpatrick
Sarah Fitzpatrick

The dean’s office welcomes two new staff members. Sarah Fitzpatrick is the administrative assistant to the dean, replacing Carol Binello, who has taken a position with the College of Engineering. Fitzpatrick previously was the alumni affairs and special events coordinator for the College of Fine Arts. Prior to her work at the university, she worked at Interbrand, a branding consultancy in New York City. She also earned a bachelor’s degree in English from UF. Fitzpatrick’s main job duties will be coordinating the college’s special events, including the staff recognition ceremony, Baccalaureate, commencement, convocation, new faculty reception, homecoming-related events and holiday activities. She also will handle elections of CLAS faculty members to the UF Faculty Senate and provide administrative support to the office.

Kimberly Browne is the college’s new budget coordinator. She has been the coordinator of university budgets in the provost’s office for more than six years and has worked at UF for almost 20 years, serving previously as a program assistant in the physics department and the office manager for the history department. Browne earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in political science from UF.

In Brief

Malaysian professor Zainal Ariffin Ahmad

Malaysian professor Zainal Ariffin Ahmad is spending four months on sabbatical at UF at the invitation of the Dial Center for Written and Oral Communication. As deputy dean for research and graduate studies in the School of Management at Universiti Sains Malaysia, the purpose of his visit is to study the operations of the McKnight Brain Institute in hopes of establishing a similar research center at his university. Ahmad also is exploring collaboration options on neuroscience research between the two universities, as well as seeking to create a possible graduate student exchange program.

Cheryl McNair and Trista Perez

Cheryl McNair (left), the widow of Challenger astronaut Ronald E. McNair, visited UF for the first time April 7 and 8, serving as the keynote speaker at both the annual McNair Research Day banquet and the University Scholars Program (USP) awards banquet. Above, she meets with psychology senior Trista Perez, a student in both programs. The McNair Scholars Program, established by the US Department of Education in honor of NASA mission specialist Ronald E. McNair, who died in the 1986 shuttle explosion, supports undergraduates from low-income, first-generation backgrounds progress toward earning a PhD. Of the 20 UF students awarded the prestigious scholarship this year, 12 were CLAS majors. In addition to Perez, these include: Vera Brown, women’s studies; Krystle Cadogan, political science; Vanessa Fabien, anthropology; Latori Griffin, psychology; Andrea Hayes, psychology; Amanda Herrera, sociology; Sheila LeMarre, political science and women’s studies; Belkis Plata, criminology; Geoffrey Silvera, psychology; Lauren Thornton, microbiology and cell science and Desiree Wright, psychology

During the University Scholars banquet, zoology alumna Emily Mitchem, who graduated with her bachelor’s degree in December, was awarded a 2005–2006 Best Paper Award for her project, “Native Florida Crustacean Predator’s Preferences Regarding Non-Indigenous Green Mussel, Perna viridis (Linnaeus 1758).” She received $250 and a framed certificate. Her paper will be published in a fall issue of the online Journal of Undergraduate Research,

Department News

Academic Advising Center

Lynn O’Sickey has been elected finance committee chair of the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA). The nonprofit organization has worked since 1979 to promote quality in academic advising and the professional development of its members. Being elected to a NACADA leadership position is not only a fine tribute to O’Sickey by her peers but also a recognition of her significant professional contributions to the field of academic advising.


Julia Keller
Julia Keller, PhD student

Julia (Raymer) Keller has been named one of 60 graduate students to represent the US as part of the American student delegation at the 56th Lindau Meeting of Nobel Laureates in Germany in June. Nobel Prize winners in chemistry, physics and physiology/medicine will convene to lecture on this year’s topic of focus—chemistry—as well as host small discussion groups and informal talks with the young researchers. The student delegation is sponsored by the US Department of Energy Office of Science, the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences and Oak Ridge Associated Universities.

Kenneth Merz has been invited by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to serve as a member of the Center for Scientific Review’s Macromolecular Structure and Function A Study Section. He will be involved in reviewing grant applications submitted to the NIH and making recommendations on these to appropriate national advisory councils or boards. He also will participate in surveying the status of research in his field of science. Merz will serve for the 2006–­2009 term and was selected based on his own achievements in his research.


Two professors have received a Guggenheim Fellowship for the 2006–2007 academic year. Jill Cement will use her award to write a new novel, Take All Heroic Measures. subtropics managing editor Mark Mitchell plans to use his fellowship to write a biography of the writer Frederic Prokosch. This year’s winners include 187 artists, scholars and scientists selected from almost 3,000 applicants for awards totaling $7,500,000.

The journal Exemplaria received a substantial review in the March 10 issue of The Times Literary Supplement. The review focused on volume 16, number 2, addressing each essay in the issue, offering generally favorable commentary on each and concludes:

“...there is always enough substance to merit the most attentive reading; and the journal remains unique in encouraging new approaches in a way that is as inspiring and satisfying for fresh graduates as for more established medievalists and early modernists, and for non-specialists with an open mind as to what medieval and early modern studies can tell them about other times and other texts.” R. Allen Shoaf is the co-founding editor of the journal.

Sidney Wade has been elected as president of The Association of Writers & Writing Programs. She will be responsible for fundraising, overseeing the financial and budgetary state of the organization, advocacy issues, personnel and developing a broad-based survey of membership. Wade has been a member of the organization for 10 years, serving on the board for the past three and last year as co-vice president.


Douglas Cenzer was named an Exemplary Mentor at the 2006 Faculty Mentor Recognition Program of the South East Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (SEAGEP) on April 10. Cenzer mentors PhD student Paul Brodhead, who received a $20,000 fellowship as a SEAGEP scholar.

The SEAGEP Program includes University of Florida as the lead institution and Clemson University and the University of South Carolina as primary partners.

PhD student Hongchao Zhang, with his advisor William Hager, will receive the Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics’ student-paper prize for his paper titled “A New Active Set Algorithm for Box Constrained Optimization.” The award, including a certificate and a $1,000 cash prize, will be presented at the 2006 SIAM Annual Meeting in Boston in July. Zhang and PhD student Sujeet Bhat each have received a two-year postdoctoral position through the Institute for Mathematics and its Applications. PhD student Andriana Nenciu has received the Van Vleck Assistant Professorship at the University of Wisconsin.

Romance Languages and Literatures

At the invitation of the Louisiana Board of Regents, Emeritus Professor of French Raymond Gay-Crosier has chaired the selection committee for the “Review of Humanites Enhancement Proposals” for the fifth time in the last 15 years. This competition takes place every three years and allocates approximately $1 million to $1.5 million to winning programs in public and private institutions in Louisiana.


Jamie Gillooly has received the George A. Bartholomew Award from the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology, which is given to the best young scientist in integrative biology.

Brian Silliman received a Young Investigators’ Prize from the American Society of Naturalists. Four of these awards are presented nationally each year to recognize outstanding and promising work by scientists who have received their doctorates in the last three years.



Ahmad photo courtesy Ed Kellerman
McNair photo by Buffy Lockette
all others by Jane Dominguez

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