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KU geologists join rapid response team for Mexican quake

Two KU geologists have arrived in Baja California to help a National Science Foundation Rapid Response Team determine how and why a 7.2 magnitude quake struck the region on Easter.

Two people were killed, 233 were injured and hundreds of millions of dollars in property was damaged in the April 4 earthquake near Mexicali, Mexico. It was the strongest quake to hit the region along the U.S.-Mexico border in more than a century. Aftershocks continue to rattle the area.

Michael H. Taylor, assistant professor of geology, and A. J. Herrs, a graduate student in the department, will use LiDAR technology to create a map of the quake’s fault scarp, accurate down to a centimeter.

A fault scarp is the slope or steep bank created when a fault moves and causes an earthquake. LiDAR — Light Detection and Ranging — uses laser pulses to measure the properties of an area. Similar to radar, LiDAR uses much shorter wavelengths to create its image.

Geologists need to rapidly respond to earthquakes because erosion can quickly degrade fault scarps and make it difficult to understand how and why a fault moved.

Taylor and Herrs are joining researchers from the University of California-Davis and the Center for Scientific Research and Higher Education in Ensenada, Mexico, on the Rapid Response Team, which is being supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation.

Brill named notable alum at University of Minnesota

Ann Brill

Ann Brill, dean of the school of journalism, has been selected as a member of the 2010 class of the Alumni of Notable Achievement by the University of Minnesota's College of Liberal Arts. members are nominated by the college alumni, faculty and staff. Of the college's 115,000 graduates, only 1,200 have been selected as Alumni of Notable Achievement.

Graham inducted into literary hall of fame

Maryemma Graham, professor of English and founder and director of the Project on the History of Black Writing, was inducted into the International Literary Hall of Fame for Writers of African Descent. The induction ceremony was in Chicago April 1–3 during the 20th annual Gwendolyn Brooks Conference for Black Literature and Creative Writing at Chicago State University.

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Burke displays work at Northern Arizona University Art Museum

Large-scale wooden sculptures and drawings created by Matthew Burke, assistant professor of visual art, are showcased in a solo exhibition, "Tendrils, Tunnels and Pathways," at Northern Arizona University Art Museum in Flagstaff, Ariz. The works touch upon the various interpretations of evolution by evoking primordial life forms, as well as manipulating spatial orientation through the construction of passageways and tunnels. Burke uses mostly woven strips of wood combined to form large organic vessels and shapes. The exhibition runs April 15 through June 18.

Witczak selected for university engagement conferences

Andi Witczak, director of the Center for Service Learning, has been selected to participate this summer in two national conferences on university engagement.

From June 7 to 11, Witczak, one of 13 participants selected, will have the opportunity to network with key leaders in university and community engagement at the 2010 Engagement Academy for University Leaders in Roanoke,Va. She will also participate in workshops with university leaders from across the country, and will spend the week using both in-class and hands-on projects to strategize and develop plans to increase and assess engagement at KU.

Witczak will then spend July 13–16 in Tiburon, Calif., at the “Diving Deep: Campus Compact’s Institute for Experienced Civic and Community Engagement Practitioners” conference. As one of 36 selected participants, she will explore cutting-edge issues in civic and community engagement with other practitioners from across the country. Participants of the conference will also strategize and develop action plans for shaping the future of civic engagement at the local, state and national levels.

After returning from the conferences, Witczak will meet with university administrators to discuss ideas on how to advance KU’s plan for engagement and service-learning; how to effectively link engagement and service-learning to teaching, research and service missions; how to build KU’s commitment involving faculty, students and community partners; and how to evaluate and communicate the impact of engagement and service-learning.

In 2009, the Engagement Academy received the University Continuing Education Association’s Outreach and Engagement Program of Excellence Award for Innovation in Outreach and Engagement. For more information on the Engagement Academy, contact Jeri Childers, Director, at (540) 231-9497, or jlc@vt.edu.

Chong earns Franklin research grant

Kelly Chong

Kelly H. Chong, assistant professor of sociology, was awarded a 2010 Franklin Research Grant from the American Philosophical Society for her research project "Intermarriage and the Politics of Race and Gender Among Second Generation Asian-Americans."

Chong received $6,000, the maximum amount.

The society aims to support the research of young scholars who have recently received doctorate degrees, and the grants are made for noncommercial research.

Campus closeup
Lynn S. Villafurerte, program coordinator, Post-baccalaureate Research Education Program and Initiative for Maximizing Student Diversity
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