Dear UH Students, Faculty, and Staff:
Great things are happening at the University of Houston. I hope you enjoy reading about them in this latest issue of Cougar Milestones.
Paula Myrick Short
Engineering and NSM Faculty Obtain NSF CAREER Award
Megan Robertson, assistant professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, and Jeremy May, assistant professor of Chemistry, have attained a National Science Foundation CAREER Award, the most prestigious honor given to a junior faculty member. The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) awards support junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education, and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations.
Dr. Robertson's award will help support her research in addressing key scientific challenges enabling the broad implementation of triglyceride vegetable oils as an environmentally beneficial source for polymers with tunable physical properties. Polymers are the key component of rubbers and plastics encountered in everyday life.
Professor Megan Robertson
Dr. May's award will support the goals of his May Research Group to develop a general method to make molecules of interest and utility. This effort has a broader impact on disease mechanisms, natural product biology, and several fields of chemistry. For example, the target compounds, such as the aglains, are promising leads for the development of new pharmaceuticals, and their biological activity allows the study of cancer mechanisms by identifying the biomolecules that interact with them.
May Research Group
Maureen Croft Appointed Interim Associate Provost
Provost Short is pleased to announce the appointment of Maureen Grimes Croft, Ph.D., as Interim Associate Provost for Strategic Enrollment Planning. Dr. Croft is responsible for the development, implementation, and management of undergraduate strategic enrollment planning. In this role, Dr. Croft leads efforts to develop strategic application, admission, enrollment, and financial aid policies for undergraduates that serve to advance university enrollment and retention goals and reach targeted audiences. She will work with the Deans and Department Chairs to develop a multi-year, university-wide undergraduate strategic enrollment management plan. Dr. Croft will also continue her work as director of Institutional Analysis and Performance Measurement. Please visit the Provost's website for more information.
Dr. Maureen Croft with students
Professor Karen Stokes by Photographer Les Campbell
Karen Stokes Named Houston's #1 Choreographer by Houston Press
In January, the Houston Press selected School of Theatre and Dance Professor Karen Stokes as the number one choreographer for their "Houston's Top 10 Choreographers" list. Professor Stokes was favored for the longevity of her multifaceted career as a choreographer, teacher, dancer, and filmmaker. The Houston Press highlighted Stokes' ability to be visually striking but also able to insert humor, whimsy, and drama in her work. They also noted her ability to push the envelope of what is currently accepted as contemporary dance while remaining accessible to audiences of all interest levels.
Aside from being UH's head of the Dance Program, Karen Stokes is the Artistic Director of Karen Stokes Dance, a non-profit that connects diverse populations through dance education and team building programs. In 2013, Karen Stokes Dance was the first contemporary dance company in Houston to receive a Masterminds Award by the Houston Press. The award is presented to individuals or organizations that have made an impact in the local arts community.
First Pizza with the Provost a Success
Provost Short addressing a student's question
About 40 students attended the first Pizza with the Provost on Feb. 14 in the University Center's SGA Senate Chamber. The monthly event gives students an opportunity to meet the Provost and provide their suggestions on improving their experiences at the University of Houston. Provost Short had the opportunity to walk around the room and speak to each student as well as take questions from the group after her presentation on the role of the Provost and current student success initiatives. The dialogue brought about suggestions such as the need for a personal finance course, improved career services, and more peer teaching and cultural programs to help increase student success.
Students appreciated the opportunity to voice their concerns. "We are fortunate to have a Provost that is student-orientated and takes the time to listen to students' ideas for UH," said graduate student Charles Haston. When asked about his opinion of the event, Cedric Bandoh, president of the Student Government Association said, “Our first Pizza with the Provost event was a huge success! It was amazing to see a great and lively discussion around how we can improve student success. The discussion was so engaging that we went way over time. I look forward to the next one and seeing how this new tradition continues to grow.” The next Pizza with the Provost will be held March 27 in Cougar Village II.