And other faculty news

Scholar to Study, Teach in Ecuador

Cindy Shellito (above) was awarded a Fulbright grant to study and teach Andean climate and weather in Ecuador, a country with a diverse ecological landscape that’s highly sensitive to climate variability and change.

The associate professor of Meteorology will collaborate with colleagues at the University of Cuenca in developing new weather and climate curriculum there connected to research. As part of that research, she’ll analyze data collected from the university’s new observation stations just outside of Cuenca to better understand weather and cycles of climate change in the high-altitude Andes. She’ll also establish a partnership between UNC and the University
of Cuenca. Shellito’s Fulbright project begins in 2015.


Separate Studies on Cattle, Potatoes Part of USDA Grant-Funded Projects

UNC biologists Patrick Burns and Susana “Karen” Gomez were recently awarded multiyear grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
Burns was awarded a $495,975 grant through August 2017 for a project to address early pregnancy loss in beef and dairy cattle, a major problem that translates to millions of dollars lost in meat and milk production.

Gomez, who received a $149,930 award through January 2016, is studying three-way interactions involving potatoes, soil fungi and insects. Potato is the fourth most consumed food crop in the world and is a leading vegetable crop in the United States. In Colorado, it is grown year-round in the San Luis Valley and northeastern plains.

The project outcomes will serve as a foundation to achieve the long-term goals of determining how this ancient symbiosis modulates crop resistance against insects, which could potentially lead to the discovery of genes useful in developing insect-resistant crops.


USGS Awards Prestigious Grant to Graduate Student

researchFirst-year graduate student Amy Burzynski (above) received the most prestigious student award for volcanology research in the United States.

Pursuing a master’s degree in earth science, she will use her Kleinman Grant for Volcano Research from the U.S. Geological Survey to support her work as part of a team developing a methodology to capture high-speed, high-resolution surface topography of an active lava lake at the summit of Hawaii’s Kilauea Volcano.

The team will include UNC Professor of Earth Sciences Steve Anderson (above, center), her thesis advisor, and staff members at the USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. Burzynski, who received $1,300, was the second UNC student to receive a Kleinman Grant. Earth Sciences graduate student Adam LeWinter (above, left) received the grant in 2013.


Once-Homeless Undergrad Researches Homeless Youth

Senior Sociology major Seth Morones’ experiences as a homeless youth provided the impetus for his award-winning undergraduate research on at-risk and homeless students in higher education.

Morones, whose project won a UNC Research Excellence Award and a McNair Scholars Program scholarship, interviewed formerly homeless college students to identify what he refers to as “resource relationships for homeless youth who are seeking to gain access to higher education opportunities.”

After winning the UNC awards, Morones presented his research at the 2013 National Conference on Undergraduate Research at the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse and the 2013 National McNair Research Conference at the University of Buffalo.


Audiology Student Earns $5,000 Research Award

The National Hearing Conservation Foundation awarded Alyssa Lerner a $5,000 Student Research Award. The award is designed to assist student research studies related to hearing loss prevention and hearing conservation. Lerner is researching how ear impressions taken in open and closed jaw positions affect noise reduction in custom-fit hearing protection devices for individuals. Lerner will return to the association’s meeting in 2015 to present her findings.

“This is a highly competitive scholarship and included competition from Ph.D. students from other disciplines and universities; both nationally and internationally,” said UNC professor of Audiology and research adviser Deanna Meinke, who also co-directs Dangerous Decibels, an award-winning public health campaign to reduce the incidence and prevalence of noise-induced hearing loss and tinnitus.


Freshman Among Business Finalists in E-Challenge

researchThe 18-year-old founder of a digital entertainment company made his pitch for funding in front of 9News viewers during UNC’s Entrepreneurial Challenge in March. UNC freshman Raj Reddy presented his business, Omirown Entertainment, which produces games for Apple iOS, Google Android and the Windows Phone. Its first major project “Short Order Slam,” a game featuring new chefs who must manage food from the field and bring it to the table in their restaurant, will be sold worldwide. Reddy employs 50 people, including UNC students as interns, at his corporate office near campus. Otterbox founder Curt Richardson is among the company’s investors.

For more, including the list of winners, and video of the presentations, visit


Student Group Wins Award for Video About Outreach Effort

The UNC chapter of the Student Academy of Audiology was the winner of a national contest to detail efforts of raising awareness and promoting prevention of noise-induced hearing loss using mannequins they built equipped with sound-level meters. The group received a $250 cash prize at the American Academy of Audiology conference in Orlando. Noise exposure is the greatest contributor to acquired hearing loss in the United States, according to the academy.

Watch the video at


Other Faculty News

Band Leader Named to Educators Hall of Fame

UNC Director of Bands Kenneth Singleton was inducted to the Colorado Music Educators Association Hall of Fame. The honor recognized the professor of Music for demonstrated passion for and excellence in education and teaching students, his contribution to the betterment of the profession and his status as a role model to students, colleagues, future teachers, students, parents and community members.

At UNC, Singleton directs the UNC Wind Ensemble and Concert Band, and is chair of the Wind Conducting Program. An avid transcriber of brass music (more than 1,000 titles) and a music editor for the Charles Ives Society, Singleton has nearly 50 publications to his credit, mainly for band and wind ensemble. He is also conductor of the Denver Brass, the region’s premier brass ensemble.


Monfort Institute Director Earns Second Straight National Quality Award

John Latham, director of UNC’s Monfort Institute, received the American Society for Quality’s Gryna Award for the second consecutive year at the society’s annual world conference in Dallas. Latham was honored for authoring the paper “A Framework for Leading the Transformation to Performance Excellence Part II: CEO Perspectives on Leadership Behaviors, Individual Leader Characteristics, and Organizational Culture,” which appeared in the January Quality Management Journal. The Gryna Award is presented for the paper that has made the largest single contribution to the extension of understanding and knowledge of the philosophy, principles or methods of quality management during the past year. Latham’s study produced a framework for leading organizational transformation from the top.


Professor Named President of International Special Education Organization

Robin D. Brewer has been elected the 2014 president of the Council for Exceptional Children, an international membership organization supporting 28,000 special education professionals. The associate professor of Special Education will serve as a voting member and presiding officer of the CEC board of directors as well as the leader of the Representative Assembly, which includes two representatives from each state and provincial unit, division and the student membership of CEC.


Sample Acclaimed Jazz Album

An album by a group of jazz musicians that includes UNC faculty musicians Erik Applegate (bass), Dana Landry (piano), Jim White (drums) and Steve Kovalcheck, (guitar) cracked the top 50 on the U.S. national jazz radio airplay chart.

Sample the music from “Back When It Was Fun” at




Transformative Education through ‘Calvin and Hobbes’
UNC Students in Educational Psychology Classes Develop Intervention Strategies to Reach Difficult Pupils

Read more


Did You Know?
In 2012-13, UNC researchers collectively received $6.4 million in grant funding. Read more at