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UT News

In the Know

The March 9 roundup of campus kudos and press mentions.

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Campus Kudos

Two UT students receive awards for dissertation research
Tierney Ahrold Lorenza and Katherine Sanchez, two doctoral students at The University of Texas at Austin, each received the Francis Fowler Wallace Memorial Dissertation Award from the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health, which awards up to $1,500 to students conducting dissertation research related to mental health. Lorenz, a graduate student in the Department of Psychology, is seeking her doctoral degree in clinical psychology. Sanchez, a doctoral student in the School of Social Work, is a licensed clinical social worker.

Professor receives grant to research long-term care in older Mexican-American families
Jacqui Angel, professor of public affairs and sociology, received more than $680,000 from the National Institute of Health’s National Center for Minority and Health Disparity. Dr. Angel will lead a teach of researchers from the university’s Population Research Center, University of California-Los Angeles and Florida State University to study the risk of long-term care in older Mexican-American families. “The grant is the first look at the extent to which immigration-related factors and economic resources affect options and living arrangements for older Mexican Americans as they age into the third stage of their lives and their potential repercussions for families in later life,” said Angel.

Law clinic wins Supreme Court case for death row inmate
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 6-3 on March 7 that prisoners may bring a civil rights claim to try to obtain DNA evidence and assert their innocence, handing a victory to Texas death row inmate Hank Skinner who is represented by the University of Texas School of Law’s Capital Punishment Clinic. The decision in Skinner v. Switzer is also the latest in an unbroken string of victories the clinic’s faculty and students have enjoyed at the Supreme Court since 2004. Students played a major role in preparing Clinical Law Professor Rob Owen, a co-director of the clinic and Skinner’s attorney, for oral argument before the Court last October.

Astronomer and psychologist awarded Sloan Fellowships
Jenny Greene, assistant professor of astronomy, and Jonathan Pillow, assistant professor of psychology and neurobiology, received Sloan Research Fellowships for 2011. They will each receive $50,000 over two years to be used on research of their choice.

School of Nursing faculty member honored by Texas Nursing Student Association
Dr. Patricia Carter, associate professor of nursing at The University of Texas at Austin, has received the “Faculty of the Year” award from the Texas Nursing Student Association (TNSA). The award, which is given to a Texas nursing school faculty member for mentorship, involvement and professional role modeling, was presented at the association’s recent convention in Galveston.

Martinez appointed to National Committee on mental health needs of older Americans

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academy of Sciences has appointed Dr. Octavio N. Martinez Jr. to a 16-member national consensus committee that will study the mental health care needs of older Americans and how best to meet those needs. Martinez is executive director of the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health, associate vice president for the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, and a clinical professor at The University of Texas at Austin.

Collaborative Institute between engineering and natural sciences names new director

Mechanical Engineering Professor Arumugam “Ram” Manthiram, of the Cockrell School of Engineering, has been named director of the Texas Materials Institute (TMI) at The University of Texas at Austin. Manthiram, the Joe C. Walter Chair in Engineering, will take over as the institute’s director March 1, replacing outgoing director Donald R. Paul.

Graduate School recognizes faculty for advising, teaching excellence
Peter Ward of the LBJ School of Public Affairs has been named the Outstanding Graduate Adviser and Lisa Moore of the Department of English in the College of Liberal Arts has won the Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award from the Graduate School at The University of Texas at Austin. Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies Victoria Rodríguez will present the awards at a banquet co-sponsored by the University Co-op on May 18.

Press Mentions

The New York Times: Is natural gas good, or just less bad?
Feb. 22
Michael Webber, Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy, comments on the abundance of natural gas and says producing gas in a safe and clean way is a step in the right direction.

The New York Times: Genetic tests show fire ants in Asia came from U.S.
Feb. 24
Test results that show fire ants in newly invaded countries came from the U.S. are not surprising, says Larry Gilbert, Brackenridge Field Laboratory. But, he says it is the first hard evidence of the sources of worldwide fire ant spread.

The Texas Tribune via The New York Times: Nonteacher’s school pay under scrutiny
Feb. 24
Ed Fuller, special research associate at the university, says there is evidence that public school districts with more administrators may actually increase the effectiveness of schools.

The New York Times: Paying for old age
Feb. 25
Henry T.C. Hu, School of Law, co-authored this opinion piece on the risk of outliving your retirement savings and a possible solution in the form of a federally issued, inflation-adjusted annuity.

USA Today: Terrorists’ taunts may tell attack timing
Feb. 27
James Pennebaker, Department of Psychology, and his team’s work on “function” words that can reveal an author’s predisposition to dishonesty or violence is mentioned in this article on the possibility of predicting terrorists’ behaviors.

Newsweek: Tennessee Williams is back for his encore
Feb. 27
This March marks the centennial of Tennessee Williams’ birth and interest in his work is “flourishing” according to this article, which references the new “Becoming Tennessee Williams” exhibition at the Harry Ransom Center.

The New York Times: Lipstick on her collar? Men say, ‘OK’
Feb. 27
A new study by Jaime C. Confer, a doctoral student in psychology, and her father Mark D. Cloud is the topic of this story on sexual betrayal.

The New York Times: Lewitt sculpture sold
March 3
Landmarks’ recent acquisition of Sol LeWitt’s “Circle With Towers” from the Madison Park Conservancy is highlighted in a roundup of arts briefs.

The Wall Street Journal: Erasing signatures from history
March 2
This article references a chunk of wall with signatures by former prisoners of war that was saved from demolition when the Russell A. Steindam Hall was torn down last year. Col. Christopher Bowman, detachment commander and professor, is quoted.

USA Today: Study: Most plastic products trigger estrogen effect
March 7
Most plastic products leach chemicals. A study co-authored by George D. Bittner, Section of Neurobiology, suggests plastics could be reformulated to avoid the problem.

ABC News: Politics of Oil: Will high prices spur lawmakers to act?
March 8
The energy debate has become more polarized than ever before, says David Spence, Energy Management and Innovation Center.

Read the last edition of In the Know.