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LBC Career Newsletter 10/27-11/9
Looking for a research opportunity? There are two great positions posted in this week's LBC Career Newsletter!
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Some scientists share better than others
Some scientists share better than others. While astronomers and geneticists embrace the concept, the culture of ecology still has a ways to go.
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Dr. Arthur Ward's Academic Ice Bucket Lesson Plan
Arthur Ward teaches a unit on charitable giving in his ethics course and has come up with a way of doing so that gets the students really interested and involved.
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Dr. Mark Largent discusses Ebola hype on WILX
Dr. Mark Largent, Associate Dean of Lyman Briggs College and Associate Professor for James Madison College, comments on the recent Ebola hype.
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$5 million grant to help STEM students attain goals
Dean Simmons is helping to lead a new program called STEM Success. The program has received a $5 million grant from the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation.
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Dr. Kevin Elliott discusses industry funded research on WKAR
Federal funding for scientific research, in everything from energy to biomedical science, has flatlined in recent years. Some scientists worry that means the U.S. will fall behind other countries in scientific and technological advancements. But it also means an increasing share of the nation’s research is done by industry.
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Diversity could lead to ethical behaviors among scientists
Does belonging to a diverse research team make scientists more prone to share their data and give appropriate credit to colleagues in their publications?
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Dr. Montgomery will help create traveling exhibit showcasing women in paleontology
Beginning this October, LBC’s Dr. Georgina Montgomery will work with the Paleontological Research Institution (PRI) as well as other historians, scientists, and educators to plan and design a traveling exhibition that will share the challenges and triumphs of the women – past and present – who strived for equality in the field of paleontology.

Dr. Urquhart comments on proposed Gran Canal in Nicaragua
LBC's Dr. Jerry Urquhart explains how the proposed Gran Canal could affect Nicaragua's people and biodiversity.
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Facts and values: What’s it take to be an effective scientist?
Michigan State University’s Robert Pennock and colleagues will be using a $1 million grant from the John Templeton Foundation to explore the topic.
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LBC junior partners with public health organizations in Malawi
Morgan McLane is a junior in Lyman Briggs College studying human biology and nutritional science. She spent her summer partnering with two public health organizations in Malawi.

MSU study finds partisan politics influence public views on environmental policy
New research from Michigan State University finds Americans are becoming more divided over environmental protection and they seem to be getting their cue mainly from Congress. Aaron McCright is a sociologist at MSU and the lead author of the study. He writes that things weren’t always so partisan. In fact, many landmark environmental laws were born during the Nixon Administration.
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Humanities Strengthen Science
Dean Elizabeth Simmons describes her unique experience at the Yale School of Medicine's brain collection and discusses how the humanities strengthen science.
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Congressional rift over environmental protection sways public
American citizens are increasingly divided over the issue of environmental protection and seem to be taking their cue primarily from Congress, finds new research led by a Michigan State University scholar.

The gap between conservatives who oppose environmental protection and liberals who support it has risen drastically in the past 20 years, a trend seen among lawmakers, activists and – as the study indicates – the general public as well, said sociologist Aaron M. McCright.
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Dean Simmons recommended to serve as acting dean for College of Arts and Letters
Tapped for her strong administrative experience and appreciation for interdisciplinary studies, Elizabeth Simmons, dean of Michigan State University’s Lyman Briggs College, is being recommended to serve as acting dean of the College of Arts and Letters, effective Aug. 1.
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Dr. Valles Publishes Article in Inside Higher Ed
In order for colleges to function as inclusive communities of responsible and respected members, all of their adults must be treated as adults. Yet, many of my faculty colleagues habitually call their undergraduates “kids” by default. They should stop. In addition to usually being false, it is demeaning and it tacitly encourages the immature behaviors we all bemoan.
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Friday Harbor Study Away
Friday Harbor Laboratories is one of the oldest marine laboratories in the United States. Located north of Seattle in the San Juan Islands, Friday Harbor has been an important setting for research on marine biology, oceanography and fisheries. Its surrounding waters are clean, there is little boat traffic, and it boasts an impressive variety of terrestrial and aquatic organisms. Historically and still today, Friday Harbor Laboratories has been a place where scientists and their families have lived and learned together in community. - See more at:
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LBC junior selected as one of first MSU Beckman Scholars
LBC junior, Sara MacLachlan, is one of three MSU students selected as Beckman Scholars. MSU was chosen as a host institution for the Beckman Scholars Program in February.
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$1.5 Million Award Bolsters MSU Commitment to Math and Sciences
Michigan State University has been awarded $1.5 million from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to expand efforts for students in science to learn effectively and graduate successfully, especially those who belong to groups underrepresented in science.
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Two LBC Alumni receive National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships
Nathan Johns and Shan Kothari have been selected as 2014 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellows.
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Four LBC Faculty Members Named Inaugural Fellows of the STEM Gateway Teaching Fellows Program
Drs. Marcos Caballero, Kendra Spence Cheruvelil, Heng Wang, and Aklilu Zeleke have been named inaugural fellows of the STEM Gateway Teaching Fellows Program.
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LBC Senior Chosen as 2014-15 Homecoming Court Ambassador
Kevin Adams, a senior studying environmental geosciences in Lyman Briggs College, has been named as a member of the 2014-15 MSU Homecoming Court.
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Dr. Aaron McCright Discusses Climate Change Debate in The New York Times
Dr. Aaron McCright, Associate Professor in LBC, discusses organized climate change denial as part of a wider discussion on the climate debate in the United States.
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Dr. Kevin Elliott Co-Authors Op-Ed for Environmental Health News
LBC Associate Professor, Dr. Kevin Elliott, has co-authored an op-ed piece for "Environmental Health News" about the debate concerning endocrine-disrupting chemicals.

Four Lyman Briggs Students Receive Outstanding Senior Awards
Four Lyman Briggs students have received MSU’s 2014 Outstanding Senior Award. The awards are presented to seniors who have exemplified both personal and academic achievements at MSU. These students have demonstrated their dedication to Michigan State through their academics, leadership, and involvement on campus and in the community. Students are nominated for the award by MSU faculty, staff, and students.

Six Lyman Briggs Seniors Earn 2014 Board of Trustees' Awards
Six Lyman Briggs seniors have earned Board of Trustees' awards for receiving a 4.0 GPA. Congrats to Karishma Chopra, Jason Meldau, Jodi Meyer, Andrew Morton, Hunter Piegols, and Joshua Reside!
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LBC Physics Study Abroad Course Featured on "Physics Central" Blog
In 2008, physicist Gerd Kortemeyer and historian of physics Catherine Westfall, associate professors at Lyman Briggs College at Michigan State University, took a trip overseas with a group of undergraduate MSU students. Over the course of five weeks, the groups visited Germany, Switzerland and Denmark where they not only learned, but experienced first-hand the sights and sounds out of which modern physics grew. Kortemeyer and Westfall offered the course again in 2011.
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LBC's Kim Vi Featured as Undergraduate Student Researcher of the Week
Lyman Briggs student, Kim Vi, was recently featured as MSU's undergraduate student of the week. Read about how his experience in LB145 led him to a research position in which he studies mutations in DNA:
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Dr. Mark Largent Will Discuss "The Vaccine Debate in Modern America" at MacMurray College
Medical historian Mark A. Largent, of Lyman Briggs College, will be talking about “The Vaccine Debate in Modern America,” Wednesday, April 2 at 7 p.m. in Thoresen Recital Hall in the Putnam/Springer Center on the MacMurray campus.
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LBC Sophomore Receives Honorable Mention for Goldwater Scholarship
LBC sophomore, Megan Kechner, has received honorable mentioned for the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship. Megan is majoring in neuroscience and psychology.
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LBC Alum Prepares to Canoe Down Mississippi River
Briggs alum, Tim Muhich, will attempt to break the world record of fastest travel in a canoe down the Mississippi River in May. Muhich graduate from Lyman Briggs College in 2012 with degrees in Zoology and Biological Science.
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Dr. Kevin Elliott Will Present Science & Technology Studies Annual Lecture at St. Thomas University
Dr. Kevin Elliott, Associate Professor at Lyman Briggs College, will present his talk, titled “Love Drugs, Cheating Genes, and the Ethics of Science Communication,” at the Science and Technology Studies annual lecture at 7:00 pm on March 20th, 2014, Kinsella Auditorium, McCain Hall.
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MSU Named Beckman Scholars Award Winner
MSU has been selected as a host institution for the 2014 Beckman Scholars Program. Lyman Briggs College is a program partner.
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Dean Simmons Appointed to Association of American Colleges and Universities Board of Directors
Dr. Elizabeth Simmons, Professor of Physics and Dean of Lyman Briggs College, has been appointed to the Association of American Colleges and Universities' Board of Directors.
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LBC Student Nominated for Goldwater Scholarship
Lyman Briggs student, Megan Kechner has been nominated for the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship. She is majoring in neuroscience and psychology in Lyman Briggs College and the College of Social Science.
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Lyman Briggs Faculty Receive Excellence in Diversity Award
Groups and individuals who have exemplified diversity and inclusion in extraordinary ways will be honored with Excellence in Diversity Awards at the 2014 All-University Excellence in Diversity Awards Ceremony and Reception Feb. 3.
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Dr. Kendra Cheruvelil Publishes Paper on Collaboration in Science Research
When putting together a team of scientists to work on a problem, it makes sense to bring together the best and brightest in the field, right? Well, maybe not.
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Dr. Logan Williams Will Speak at "Questioning Technology" Forum
Dr. Logan Williams, Assistant Professor of History, Philosophy, and Sociology of Science will speak at the Sharper Focus/Wider Lens forum “Questioning Technology” at 7 p.m. Feb. 3 in the MSU Union Ballroom.
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Lyman Briggs Students Receive 2014 MLK, Jr. Research Award
A group of four Lyman Briggs students has received a 2014 MLK, Jr. Advancing Inclusion through Research Award for a website they created in a Lyman Briggs course.

Dr. Cheryl Murphy Discusses the Effects of Untested Chemicals on Fish Reproduction
Cheryl Murphy and her team at Michigan State University are testing a compound found in birth control pills and hormone drugs. It’s a compound that has not been studied before. "Are the fish able to uptake it into the gills and make it biologically active? We don’t know," says Murphy. "And so if it becomes biologically active, that means it will induce yolk protein in the male fish."
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East Lansing's support for Waller family terrific
This past December my wife and I made the saddest journey of our lives, leaving our home in England to attend the memorial service for our beloved grandson, Charlie Waller. There is little need to dwell on the tragedy that lies behind this story. The closeness of a good parent/child bond is clear to all and for that to be severed at such an early age is a fate to be dreaded.
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Community remembers Charlie Waller
Five-year-old Charlie Waller was remembered Thursday by friends, family and the community for his kindness, his loving nature and his gift for bringing people together. The memorial service at The Peoples Church of East Lansing drew 550 people to the sanctuary. Many children came dressed in pirate gear at the Waller family’s invitation, as Charlie loved pirates. Any child who needed one could get a bandanna, an eye patch or even a rubber duck from baskets in a nearby room.
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Dr. Mark Largent Will Discuss the Vaccine Debate on New Hampshire Public Radio
Lyman Briggs Associate Dean and Associate Professor, Dr. Mark Largent will discuss the vaccine debate on New Hampshire Public Radio.
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Charlie Waller Memorial Expected to Draw More than 1,000 in East Lansing
A memorial service for 5-year-old Charlie Waller, who captured the hearts of young and old in East Lansing, will be held at The Peoples Church of East Lansing at 4 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 19. A church official said preparations are being made with the expectation that more than 1,000 people will attend. The service is open to all and families with children are welcome.
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Briggs Student Receives Board of Trustees' Award
At the Dec. 13 Board of Trustees meeting, six students were recognized with Board of Trustees’ Awards for having the highest grade point average at the close of his or her last semester in attendance at MSU. The students will be recognized at their fall commencements Dec. 13-14.
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Dr. Andrew Case Featured on "Backstory" Radio Show
Briggs Instructor, Dr. Andrew Case, recently appeared on “Backstory,” a public radio show that brings a historical perspective to contemporary issues. In the segment titled “Precious Bodily Fluids,” Dr. Case talks about the mid 20th C. fear that a Communist conspiracy lay behind efforts to fluoridate the American water supply.
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Service Planned for 'Art for Charlie' Namesake
Despite everything he endured in his brief life, Charlie Waller was a happy little boy. The 5-year-old, who died early Thursday after battling an inoperable brain tumor for nearly three years, delighted in many things — dinosaur toys, anything to do with pirates, the family dog Boston, the simple glory of nature. Most of all, Charlie was devoted to his family, including his parents, John and Abigail, and elder sister, Esther.
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Briggs Student Pursues Research Interests Abroad
Anzar Abbas is a senior in Lyman Briggs College from Karachi, Pakistan, majoring in neuroscience with a minor in theatre. His academic interests in the history of science and medicine have led him to a research project that has occupied his undergraduate career. He spent this past summer at the University of Oxford using resources at the Bodleian Library to complete his studies on Arab medical contributions during medieval times.
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5-year-old Charlie Waller, you have made a difference
Last year, the Art for Charlie Foundation raised more than $50,000 that helped train nurses at Sparrow Hospital and created a Hospice of Michigan program providing social services, financial assistance and bereavement care for families of terminally ill children.
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Dr. Sean Valles Featured in "Bioethics in the News" Series
Briggs Professor, Dr. Sean Valles, comments on "Climate Change and Medical Risk" as part of the "Bioethics in the News" series. Dr. Valles is an Assistant Professor in Lyman Briggs College and the Department of Philosophy.
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Call for Submissions: MLK, Jr. Advancing Inclusion Through Research Award
Lyman Briggs students are encouraged to apply for the 2014 MLK, Jr. Advancing Inclusion Through Research Award. Students may submit research papers and creative projects on topics of inclusion, diversity, and marginalized population that support the MSU and MLK, Jr. ideals of inclusive excellence

Dr. Urquhart’s Graduate Student Supports Threatened Tapirs Project
Professor Jerry Urquhart’s Graduate Student, Chris Jordan, is working with Nicaraguan specialists to aid the country’s threatened tapirs. Urquhart and Jordan have done extensive research on Baird’s Tapirs and other Nicaraguan wildlife.
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Alumnus Publishes Book on Biomedical Informatics
Briggs Alumnus, Indra Neil Sarkar, has recently published a book entitled "Methods in Biomedical Informatics." Sarkar is currently the Director of Biomedical Informatics and Assistant Professor in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at the University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont.
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Briggs Helps Establish LGBTQ Studies Specialization at MSU
Lyman Briggs Professor Naoko Wake has led the effort to establish the new LGBTQ studies specialization at MSU. Lyman Briggs College is a participant unit and will offer courses that count toward this specialization. The launch of the specialization will be celebrated this Friday, 9/27.
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Are Christians Becoming More 'Green'?
Despite the wide-held perception that Christians have become more concerned about the environment, new research finds this so-called “greening of Christianity” is not evident among the religious rank-and-file.
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Teach climate change to attract science students, Michigan State researchers argue
If educators hope to increase and maintain enrollment in the STEM disciplines – science, technology, engineering and math – then they must make sure their courses feature hands-on activities that are relevant to the student’s world.

Read the entire story here
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Dean Elizabeth Simmons Named University Distinguished Professor
Four Michigan State University (MSU) College of Natural Science (CNS) professors were among nine faculty members named university distinguished professors in recognition of their achievements in the classroom, laboratory and community
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Teaching Complete Evolutionary Stories Increases Learning
Many students have difficulty understanding and explaining how evolution operates. In search of better ways to teach the subject, researchers at Michigan State University developed complete evolutionary case studies spanning the gamut from the molecular changes underlying an evolving characteristic to their genetic consequences and effects in populations.
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Briggs Professor receives American Sociological Association (ASA) Dissertation Award
Dr. Daniel Menchik, assistant professor has been selected as the recipient of the ASA Outstanding Dissertation Award. The official awards ceremony will be held in August in New York.
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Briggs Student Takes Top Spot in Undergrad Research
With research in neuroscience and biology, two Michigan State University seniors were named the grand prize winners of the annual University Undergraduate Research and Arts Forum, which was held April 12. Ari Walter, a human biology major in Lyman Briggs College, won the science, technology, engineering and math division.
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Briggs Professor Works with MIT to Develop Game to Teach Physics
Dr. Gerd Kortemeyer, associate professor of Physics in Lyman Briggs College and one of the game developers have joined with MIT in creating a game to help teach students more about the fundamentals of physics.
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Briggs Prof Has Research on Politics of Climate Change Featured in MSU Today
Dr. Aaron McCright, associate professor in Lyman Briggs College and the department of sociology, says a political divide remains on the existence of climate change despite the fact that the vast majority of scientists believe it is real. His study, published in the journal 'Climatic Change', is one of the first to examine the influence of political orientation on perceived scientific agreement and support for government action to reduce emissions.
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Briggs Prof Featured in 'Wisdom, Words, & Women' - a publication of the MSU Women's Resource Center
Dr. Cori Fata-Hartley, an assistant professor of biology at Briggs, was featured in the May edition of 'Wisdom, Words, & Women' for her work leading up to receiving the Excellence In Diversity Award. The newsletter is linked.

Research Symposium Featured in State News
On the first day of the Lyman Briggs College Research Symposium, a State News team stopped by to learn more. As the Symposium continues, we hope you will join us in learning more about the world around us through student research projects.
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Lyman Briggs College Research Symposium Featured on MSU Today News Page
Michigan State University’s Lyman Briggs College will host its seventh annual Research Forum April 22-25 in Holmes Hall. From 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on April 22 and 23 there will be special poster sessions presented by the students in the study lounges of East and West Holmes Halls. Among the topics to be discussed: Drugs and cancer research; antibiotic resistance in agriculture; bioluminescence; and factors and trends affecting interest in STEM career paths.
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Briggs Staff Member Christie Tobey to Receive Jack Breslin Award for Distinguished Service
Christie Tobey, executive staff assistant to Assistant Dean Philip Strong, will receive the Jack Breslin Distinguished Staff Award today for more than 30 years of excellent service. "Ms. Christie Tobey is so deeply deserving of this award that I hardly know where to begin; she is the heart and soul of our academic services for students, making sure that everything from enrollments to awards runs smoothly and with the educational needs of the students always put first and foremost," said Dean Elizabeth Simmons.
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Dean Simmons Op-Ed Featured on Mexican News Site, Diario de Colima
The op-ed written by Dean Elizabeth Simmons for the MSU Science Festival, which she called "Nurturing the Scientist in Every Child," has been translated and featured on a Mexican news site.
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Briggs Faculty and Staff Excited to Join In First-Ever MSU Science Festival
As MSU celebrates it's first-ever campus-wide science festival, the Briggs faculty eagerly leaps in to help. Drs. Rich Bellon, Robert LaDuca, Aaron McCright, Georgina Montgomery, Robert Pennock, Mark Waddell, and Dean Elizabeth Simmons are all taking part.
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Briggs Professor Featured in Top 25 Women Professors in Michigan
Dr. Georgina Montgomery, assistant professor of HPS at Briggs, was featured last week in the Top 25 Women Professors listing published by
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Three Briggs Faculty Featured in Book All About Darwin
Three Michigan State University faculty members have contributed to one of the largest, most comprehensive books focusing on the life, labors and influence of evolutionist Charles Darwin.
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Spring Newsletter Shows A Different Side of Briggs
In the feature Briggs International, we take a look at just some of the special programs that make Briggs a unique experience including study abroad programs based on the lives of famous scientists and authors and a group of visiting faculty from the University of Dohuk in Iraq.

Briggs Professor Referenced in Article About How Computational Research Transforms the Scientific Process
At Michigan State University, Brian O'Shea, assistant professor of physics and astronomy, is simulating the formation and evolution of the Milky Way's most distant ancestors, small galaxies formed soon after the Big Bang. "We are simulating how a bunch of galaxies form and evolve over the age of the universe," O'Shea says. "It's a kind of statistics game."
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Briggs Professor Works with MSU Libraries to Make American A-Bomb Survivor Accounts Accessible
Nearly 70 years after the United States bombed Japan in 1945, Michigan State University has acquired the world’s largest collection of interviews with bomb survivors living in North and South America. Most interviews are in Japanese, but some, especially with survivors’ family members, are in English, said Naoko Wake, assistant professor in Lyman Briggs College and Department of History. All those interviewed migrated west after the bombings.
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Briggs Students Show Off Talent at 'Extravaganza'
The Briggs Multicultural Alliance (BMA) hosted last Thursday's Briggs Extravaganza, and was featured in a State News article. BMA President Vanessa Salmo said the event promotes more interaction between students, faculty and staff in a less academic environment. “This is a way for BMA to promote diversity and diversity awareness in a fun way,” Salmo said. “The people in Holmes are always studying because of the Lyman Briggs classes going on, so this is a way to get people out of the classroom in a relaxed but learning environment.”
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Dean Simmons Featured in Free Press Article about Women in STEM Professions
The Michigan Women's Historical Center & Hall of Fame is opening an exhibit this week on women working in STEM fields to celebrate their achievements, raise awareness and encourage more women to seek opportunities in those areas. One of the featured women is our Dean Simmons, who encourages women to not be discouraged and find mentors who support you. Click on her name at the end of the article for a specific story dedicated to her.
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Briggs Junior Zachary DeRade Elected President of RHA
At last Wednesday’s RHA (Residence Hall Association) meeting, DeRade was elected by the general assembly to take over as the next president of the organization. DeRade officially will take over at the RHA meeting April 10, with the 44th session officially beginning once the meeting ends, he said. “I wasn’t sure how to respond, but like I’ve said in my speech, for two years I’ve really contemplated this position and what it would mean to fill it,” DeRade said. “So now I think it’s kind of time to let it soak in (and) fully understand it.”
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Briggs Alum John Grove Receives 'Great Teacher Award'
John H. Grove (Briggs '75), professor of agronomic soil science, was one of six University of Kentucky professors recognized for excellence in the classroom with the 2013 UK Alumni Association Great Teacher Award. He received a bachelor’s degree in physical sciences/chemistry from Lyman Briggs College and a master’s degree in soil chemistry from MSU before completing a doctoral degree in agronomy from the University of Georgia.
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Dean Elizabeth Simmons Receives Robert F. Banks Award for Institutional Leadership
At the annual State of the University Address and All University Awards Ceremony, President Simon awarded Dean Simmons the Robert F. Banks Award, awarded to a member of the faculty, academic staff, or support staff in recognition of extraordinary and sustained institutional leadership that advances MSU’s commitment to connectivity, quality and inclusion.
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Briggs Students Win Second Place in the MLK Jr. Advancing Inclusion through Research Awards
Five students took part in a research project where they spent 15 days either wearing clothing or taking part in fasting according to the teaching of Islam. Their experience and reflections were turned into a film titled "Islamerica" which was submitted to the award contest and won second prize.
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Royal Society of Chemistry Features Research By Briggs Alum, Student, and Professor
On the cover of the journal CrystEngComm, the RSC features an article titled "Metal dependent dimensionality in sulfate coordination polymers containing 3-pyridylisonicotinamide3", an article about research that involved synthesizing crystals and then studying their properties using x-ray diffraction, as well as some other methods such as infrared spectroscopy and lumincenescne. The article is by Briggs alum Jacqueline Lucas ('12), senior Jacob Uebler and Dr. Robert LaDuca all from Briggs Chemistry.
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MSU Lyman Briggs College is a Great Answer to STEM Demand says Public University Honors Blog
Briggs is the feature of an article that begins, "While the state of Florida plans to charge less tuition for STEM majors, the Lyman Briggs College at MSU has been attracting students in these high-demand fields for more than 40 years without penalizing students in the humanities and social sciences. Indeed, LBC is dedicated to bridging the gap between the hard sciences and the liberal arts."
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Briggs Faculty Member Elected Chair of History of Science Society Physical Sciences Forum (PSF) at 2012 Annual Meeting
At the 2012 History of Science Society meeting, Catherine Westfall, Visiting Associate Professor of HPS at Briggs, was elected chair of the Physical Sciences Forum. In the previous year, Westfall helped found the PSF with Don Howard (Briggs 2011 Distinguished Alum and University of Notre Dame professor) and Greg Good (head of the American Institute of Physics Center for the History of Physics).

The Physical Science Forum’s focus will be to further scholarship in the history of the physical sciences as broadly understood, including but not limited to: physics; earth, space, and atmospheric science; astronomy; and materials science. It will help forge a more coherent community for those with a core specialty in these sub-fields with a particular emphasis on developing connections and exploring wider scholarship.

The ultimate goals are 1) to foster generative dialogue and interaction within such a community for the sake of refining historiography and deepening historical insights, 2) to maximize scholarly contributions to the history of science, and 3) to integrate historians of physical science more closely with the history of science community.
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Article About Briggs Published in 'Quality Approaches in Higher Education' Journal
Lyman Briggs College: An Innovative Living-Learning Community for STEM Education is an article recognizing the success of the living and learning model exhibited at Briggs.

Authored by Ryan Sweeder and Aaron McCright (Briggs associate professors), along with education student Kathleen Jeffery, the article was published in the journal which is a publication of ASQ (the education division at Grand Valley State University).

"As we look for effective quality approaches for educating the next generation of scientists, your article communicates the success of the Lyman Briggs College. It is a very significant and timely article; and we are honored to publish it," said Associate Editor Cindy Veenstra.
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Fall Newsletter Features Dr. Robert LaDuca
The fall issue of the Briggantine is printed and mailed, and this issue features Dr. Robert LaDuca, one of the faculty that embody the Briggs ideal of innovative education. Also featured in the newsletter are stories about Briggs students who study abroad, a faculty member who plans to save an endangered species, MSU Homecoming festivities, and a story about 23 freshmen who went to the zoo as part of their first HPS experience.

Briggs Award Featured by Engaged Scholar Magazine
In the article "Walking the Talk: Lyman Briggs College Receives 2012 MSU Excellence in Diversity Award" Lyman Briggs College is highlighted as one of the most innovative entities when it comes to promoting diversity.
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Dean Simmons Essay Featured by Inside Higher Ed
A comprehensive essay on the challenges faced by many administrators and facilitators of faculty in higher education, and a look at why taking part in academic administration should hold appeal for faculty leaders.
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Women Scientists in America Reviewed at Briggs
Briggs Assistant Professor Georgina Montgomery (HPS) reviews the third and final installment in a trilogy of works on women in science, written by a founding mother of the history of women in science, Margaret Rossiter from Cornell.
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Collaring Tapirs to Help Them Survive, A Research Project
Briggs Assistant Professor Gerald Urquhart has tapir research featured on His team will soon be heading into the rainforests of Nicaragua to help an endangered species known as a Baird’s tapir co-exist with local farmers whose crops are being threatened by the animals.
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Briggs Professor Gets Recognition for Creation of an Online Game that Explains Physics
Gerd Kortemeyer, a physics educator, and the folks at MIT Gamelab, including programmer Ryan Cheu and designer Ebae Kim, built the simulator to offer a closer look at the weird stuff that happens when you really and truly start thinking about faster than light travel.
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Teaching the Philosophy of (Pseudo) Science
Dr. Sebastian Normandin, a visiting instructor at Briggs, recently had his submission chosen for publication on the James Randi Educational Foundation blog. The blog is an educations resource on the paranormal, pseudoscientific, and the supernatural.
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Royal Society of Chemistry Calls Briggs Professor's Research 'Hot'
'Building MOFs with 3-Pyridylisonicotinamide Ligands' was called 'hot' in a recent blogpost on the RCS website. Professor Robert LaDuca and his team were the main feature, and several Briggs students were mentioned as well.
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BioScience Story Features Comparitive Case Study of Briggs Professor
Jim Smith, professor of biology, had his work mentioned in a recent feature called "Collaborations Grow through the Introductory Biology Project" on the BioScience website.
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Briggs Prof Publishes Study on Medical Recommendations and Race
In an article recently published in Preventive Medicine, Sean Valles looks at how race-based medical advice is often misleading and harmful. Also, check out the feature on
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Amy Pochodylo (Briggs Class of 2014) Chosen MSU Undergraduate Researcher of the Week
Amy Pochodylo ’13 came to East Lansing with a passion for chemistry. “I loved it in high school, and knew I wanted to work in chemistry for the rest of my life,” she explains. What she lacked was research experience and a chance to put theory to practice.
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Dr. Robert LaDuca Discusses Depression with the State News
When professor Robert LaDuca heard about mathematics professor John McCarthy’s public breakdown last week, he knew he had to step into the light and publicly announce a secret that has festered within his private life for more than a decade.
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LON-CAPA Celebrates 20 Years, Grows in Popularity
One of the first ever to use it, Lyman Briggs College is thrilled to announce 20 years of LON-CAPA. Now with more than 80 different universities and 1 in 5 students at MSU using it, LON-CAPA continues to grow in popularity.
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Turnitin Becoming a Campus-Wide Tool
Turnitin, a tool that has been utilized at Briggs for more than a year, is gaining popularity at MSU.
For full story please click here

Briggs student Frank Loomis selected as MSU's new drum major for fall 2012
When Frank Loomis walks out onto the football field this fall he no longer will march with the trumpet section, but will stride out in front to lead the MSU Spartan Marching Band and perform MSU’s traditional backbend.

Read the StateNews article

Briggs student Amy Pochodylo nominated as one of the twelve for 2012-13 Homecoming Court
Michigan State University has named 12 outstanding senior ambassadors to its 2012-13 Homecoming Court. Ambassadors, who were nominated by an individual or an organization, were chosen through a highly selective process. Nominees were evaluated based on leadership, community involvement, academic excellence and Spartan pride. A group of MSU faculty, staff, alumni and students conducted personal interviews with students to select the final 12 court ambassadors.

The students will begin their duties as ambassadors this summer, as they will represent the MSU student body at various alumni, community and university engagements. They will continue their commitment through the 2012-13 school year.

Read the MSU News Announcement

See the entire court

LBC along with MSU in collaboration with Iraqi university under way
Michigan State University has signed a two-year collaborative agreement with Iraq’s University of Duhok. The overall objective of the program: To strengthen the capacity of Iraqi universities to prepare students for success in a modern Iraq.

To do this, MSU faculty are working with Duhok faculty to “review and revise course curricula, explore alternate teaching styles, collaborate on research and generally exchange ideas and foster long-term relationships between the two institutions,” said Karin Dillon, an MSU outreach specialist who is the project manager.

Read the full MSU News Article

LBC S-STEM Scholar Amanda Bartenbaker wins MISOT Award
The Michigan Chapter of the Society of Toxicology (MISOT) has honored LBC student Amanda Bartenbaker with its award for best oral presentation at UURAF in the field of toxicology. In addition to a certificate and cash award,she will receive the opportunity to present her work at the MISOT annual meeting in May 2012. Amanda has undertaken her research under the supervision of Dr. John LaPres and her presentation was entitled "The Role of Epithelial-derived Hypoxia Inducible Factor 1a Signaling in Altering Cobalt-induced Gene Expression in Dendritic Cells in Co-culture."

8 LBC Students Win Best Poster Awards at UURAF!
Eight Lyman Briggs College students have each earned a best poster award at the 2012 University Undergraduate Research & Arts Forum. Approximately 560 undergraduate students participated in this year's UURAF and the full list of winners is here

Two of the winners are LBC students doing research with LBC faculty members: Amy Pochodylo is a Lyman Briggs Chemistry major working with Professor Rob LaDuca; her poster was entitled EFFECT OF ALIPHATIC DICARBOXYLATE TETHER ON TOPOLOGY IN LUMINESCENT CADMIUM COORDINATION POLYMERS CONTAINING BIS (4- PYRIDYLFORMYL) PIPERAZINE. Leah Creech is a Lyman Briggs Animal Science major working with Professor Ryan Sweeder; her poster was entitled GENDER PERFORMANCE DIFFERENCES IN THE LIFE SCIENCES.


Congratulations to Amy, Leah, Kevin, Ananya, Craig, Robin, Stephen, and David on their awards and to all the UURAF participants on their research accomplishments.

Five Briggs Students receive Board of Trustees's Award for having 4.0 GPA
At the April 13 Board of Trustees meeting, 37 students – the most in recent history – received Board of Trustees' Awards for having the highest scholastic average at the close of his or her last semester in attendance at Michigan State University.

They all received a 4.0 GPA.

The five Briggs students who received this outstanding award are:

Megan Climans, of Macomb, is the daughter of Charisse Oparka and Jeffrey Oparka and Steve Climans and Laura Malcolm. A member of the Honors College, Climans is a zoology major in Lyman Briggs College. She is a graduate of Lutheran High School North.

Chaun Gandolfo, of Brighton, is the son of Angele and Frank Gandolfo. A member of the Honors College, Gandolfo is double majoring in physiology and human biology, both in Lyman Briggs College. He is a graduate of Brighton High School.

Jonathan Massie, of Wixom, is the son of Paul and Cathy Massie. A member of the Honors College, Massie is a biochemistry and molecular biology major in Lyman Briggs College. He is a graduate of Walled Lake Western High School.

Allison Melkonian, of White Lake, is the daughter of Doug and Denise Melkonian. A member of the Honors College, Melkonian is a human biology major in Lyman Briggs College. She is a graduate of Waterford Kettering High School.

Thomas Wilkins, of Grosse Pointe, is the son of Ann and Paul Wilkins. A member of the Honors College, Wilkins is a biology major in Lyman Briggs College. He is a graduate of Grosse Pointe South High School.

Congratulations to each of you for your outstanding academic achievement!

Read the entire MSU News Article

Lyman Briggs Student named as Goldwater Scholar
Craig Pearson, a sophomore LBC molecular biology major, is one of two MSU students recently named as as Goldwater scholars. Pearson, a graduate of the University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Academy, is an Honors College member also majoring in English. He has conducted research with Melissa Baumann and Simon Petersen-Jones with the goal of developing a bioresorbable drug release vehicle for the controlled release of artificially derived vitamin A, with the goal of restoring sight to those suffering from a rare, congenital eye disease.

Shan Kothari, an Honors College sophomore dual major in LBC zoology and anthropology, received honorable mention for the scholarship.

View the MSU News announcement

Started in 1986, the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program, named after U.S. Senator Barry M. Goldwater, seeks scholars committed to a career in science, mathematics or engineering who display intellectual intensity and who have the potential for significant future contribution in their chosen field. The Goldwater Scholarship provides a grant toward the last year or two of undergraduate tuition and living expenses for students who are planning careers in research.

Dr. Brian O'Shea and his team begin using Blue Waters Supercomputer
Six research teams have begun using the first phase of the Blue Waters sustained-petascale supercomputer to study some of the most challenging problems in science and engineering, from supernovae to climate change to the molecular mechanism of HIV infection.

The Blue Waters Early Science System, which is made up of 48 Cray XE6 cabinets, represents about 15 percent of the total Blue Waters computational system and is currently the most powerful computing resource available through the National Science Foundation.

Read the HPCwire press release or at National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois

Dr. Robert Pennock elected AAAS HPS Section Officer
Robert Pennock has been elected as an Officer of the History and Philosophy of Science (HPS) Section of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). He had been nominated by the American Philosophical Association (APA) to be one of its two representatives and was elected in the recent national AAAS election. He will serve on the Electorate Nominating Committee through 2015.

Dr. Michael Nelson talks Moral Ground with Baltimore-Washington United Methodist Conference
Now available from the BWC - the third in the 2012 UMW Reading List podcast series, an interview with Kathleen Dean Moore and Michael P. Nelson, authors of "Moral Ground: Ethical Action for a Planet in Peril."

Listen to the podcast

Briggs student Gina Sellinger makes local Australian paper on study abroad trip
For many south-west residents, the abundance of seaweed on Warrnambool’s foreshore is little more than an eyesore and a reason to pinch their noses.

But a group of second-year Deakin University marine biology students this week found the slimy mounds to be a habitat rich with life.

In a project designed to improve their ability to sort through marine samples and identify organisms, the students were surprised to find so much activity, according to senior lecturer in marine biology and ecology Alecia Bellgrove.

Read the full article

Dr. Gerd Kortemeyer named APS Outstanding Referee
Dr. Kortemeyer is among the 149 Outstanding Referees of the Physical Review and Physical Review Letters journals, as chosen by the journal editors for 2012. Initiated in 2008, the Outstanding Referee program expresses appreciation for the essential work that anonymous peer reviewers do for American Physical Society journals. Each year a small percentage of the 60,000 active referees are selected and honored with the Outstanding Referee designation. Selections are made based on the number, quality, and timeliness of referee reports as collected in a database over the last 25 years. A full listing and further details on the program are available here:

Former Briggs student presenting talk at APS March Meeting
Ramon Steven Barthelemey is co-presenting a talk on "The State of Higher Education for STEM LGBTQQ Faculty/Staff" in the session on Sexual and Gender Diversity Issues in Physics on Tuesday February 28, 2012 at the APS March Meeting in Boston, MA. Mr. Barthelemey is presently a doctoral student in physics education at Western Michigan University.

The abstract of his talk and of other talks in the session may be found here: View Abstract

Kathie Ellis has been selected to receive the Jack Breslin Distinguished Staff Award
Kathie Ellis receiving letter of awardThe Jack Breslin Distinguished Staff Award is one of the most prestigious commendations bestowed upon employees at Michigan State University. Kathie's years of service, excellence in overall job performance, outstanding interpersonal skills, contributions to the college, and contributions to the University contributed to this special honor.

MSU News Article

Dr. Georgina Montgomery named 2012-13 Lilly Fellow
LBC's latest Lilly Fellow will spend 2012-13 studying whether the use of learning teams significantly affects student reading comprehension and synthesis of content in the history, philosophy and sociology of science (HPS) classroom.

The Lilly Teaching Fellows program provides a cohort of six-seven pre-tenure faculty with an opportunity to engage in a year-long exploration of the robust scholarship on effective practices in University teaching. The Lilly Fellows Program is designed to support Fellows who will become future faculty leaders and models for their peers as well as to inspire a broad range of faculty at all ranks to pursue excellence in teaching.

Dr. Teena Gerhardt awarded prestigious NSF CAREER award!
Dr. Gerhardt will receive 5 years of NSF support for her research in Algebraic Topology and Algebraic K-Theory and for educational projects related to broadening participation in mathematics.

The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program is a Foundation-wide activity that offers the National Science Foundation's most prestigious awards in support of 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. For more information see:

Dr. Rich Bellon and Dr. Naoko Wake to receive MSU International Awards
Two LBC faculty are receiving awards from MSU International Scholars and Programs on March 21, 2012

Please come help celebrate their achievements!
Information about the ceremony

Dr. Rich Bellon is receiving the MSU Award for Outstanding Service to Study Abroad This award recognizes faculty and staff who give their time, energy, and creativity to develop and implement study abroad programs that support MSU's commitment to providing students with high quality international education opportunities.

Dr. Naoko Wake will receive the John K. Hudzik Emerging Leader Award for Advancing International Studies and Programs. This award recognizes a faculty member who is making a significant impact early in his/her career on the advancement of international scholarship, teaching, and/or public service and outreach at MSU.

Dr. LaDuca and student Greg Farnum win American Chemical Society award
Dr. Robert LaDuca, professor in MSU's Lyman Briggs College, and Greg Farnum, an undergraduate student researcher, recently won the 2012 American Chemical Society Division of Inorganic Chemistry Award for Undergraduate Research. The award recognizes the collaborative research of an outstanding North American undergraduate student and her or his preceptor(s) in the field of inorganic chemistry.

Dr. Kendra Cheruvelil and Ms. Hanni Nichols receive All-University Awards
Dr. Kendra Cheruveli will receive the Teacher-Scholar Award and Hanni Nichols will receive the Distinguished Academic Staff Award.

The All-University Awards convocation will be held on Tuesday, February 14 from 3:30-4:30pm in the Pasant Theatre, Wharton Center

Congratulations Kendra and Hanni!!!

Dr. Gerald Urquhart works with a team of MSU and Nicaraguan scientists
Dr. Gerald Urquhart is working with a team of MSU and Nicaraguan scientists to unravel the complexities of coupled natural and human systems on Nicaragua's Caribbean Coast. Their project focuses on the impacts of globalization on small villages and natural resources as global markets, new technologies and migration increase connections with these areas. Dr. Urquhart's research has been exploring the mammalian fauna in forests surrounding the villages and has produced some very interesting findings. The project is documenting a higher than expected presence of jaguars, Baird's tapirs, and white-lipped peccaries--all species that rely upon healthy rainforest ecosystems for their existence. However, major threats to the biodiversity of the region are posed by continued deforestation along the agricultural frontier and possibly through changes in human activity due to globalization.

Check out the national newspaper article (need Google Translator)

LBC Dean Elizabeth Simmons named “February 2012 Woman Physicist of the Month” by the APS
Congratulations Dean Simmons!!

Check out the Women Physicist of the Month - 2012 article.

Lyman Briggs College Wins MSU Excellence in Diversity Award
Lyman Briggs College was recently named a recipient of a 2012 "Excellence in Diversity Award” (EIDA). The college was nominated in the Unit category, "Excellent Progress toward Advancing Diversity within Community.” EIDA is an award program that recognizes outstanding efforts of faculty, students and staff at MSU that are committed to the principles of diversity and inclusion and who actively engage in activities that demonstrate their commitment to these principles. Dean Simmons will accept a special plaque at the award ceremony on Friday, February 17, 2012. The program will be held at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center, Big 10 B/C at 4:00 p.m. The event is open to the public and members of the LBC community are welcome to attend.

Video coverage of LBC's 2012 Excellence in Diversity Award

For more information visit

Dean Simmons named AAAS Fellow
Dean Elizabeth Simmons was recently named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Election as a Fellow of AAAS is an honor bestowed upon members by their peers. Fellows are recognized for meritorious efforts to advance science or its applications. Dean Simmons' husband and colleague, Dr. Sekhar Chivukula, was also named as a AAAS Fellow.
View the official news release

For more information about AAAS and the Fellows visit

Toward an ethical understanding of the environment
University Outreach and Engagement Engaged Scholar E-Newsletter

Environmental scientists and environmental ethicists are two groups who share the goal of understanding how we ought to relate to nature, but who employ very different methods and philosophies. And, according to Michael Nelson (Lyman Briggs, Fisheries and Wildlife, Philosophy) there has been little collaboration between these groups. So in 2007, Nelson, along with colleague John Vucetich, a professor of wildlife ecology at Michigan Technological University, created the Conservation Ethics Group (CEG), to help address this situation. CEG's vision has been to create a community of natural resource professionals who are equipped to deal with the ethical aspects of natural resource management. In the future, Nelson and Vucetich are hoping to take the CEG to the next level by creating an Institute for Conservation Ethics, co-hosted by MSU and Michigan Technological University.

Lyman Briggs Dean Simmons named AAAS Fellow!!
“Election as a Fellow of AAAS is an honor bestowed upon members by their peers. Fellows are recognized for meritorious efforts to advance science or its applications.”

On another great note, her husband Dr. Sekhar Chivukula was also named as a AAAS Fellow.

Amazing!! Congratulations Dean Elizabeth Simmons and Dr. Sekhar for getting that highly prestigious honor.

For more information about AAAS and the Fellows visit

Briggs Ashleigh Winkelmann tells about Rainforests and Reality, Nicaragua, Spring Break 2011
I began this adventure with little expectations as to what it would entail. I had been to Antarctica the year before on study abroad, but this experience was going to be so different that I did not want to make comparisons. The week in Nicaragua ended up being one of the best weeks of my life.

Continue reading Ashleigh's story...

Dr. Robert Pennock gives invited talk for National Academies of Science convocation
Dr. Pennock gave an invited plenary talk for a national convocation on Thinking Evolutionarily: Evolution across the Life Sciences that was held in Washington DC (10/25/11). Organized by National Research Council and National Academies of Science, this major event launched a national initiative to infuse evolutionary science into introductory college courses in the life sciences and upper-level biology courses in high schools across the United States. The convocation brought together educational leaders, members of professional scientific societies, and members of other scientific and science education organizations to develop a strategic plan to help faculty make evolutionary science a central focus of introductory biology survey courses and other courses across the life sciences curriculum.

Dr. Pennock was asked to synthesize and reflect on the ideas that emerged over the first day of the convocation and to give recommendations for ways to move forward. A video of his talk was posted on the NAS site.

Dr. Kortemeyer organizes an activity at MIT to get dorm residents meeting others through community competition.
To the untrained eye, it may have seemed that dozens of MIT students broke into uncontrolled feuds across Greater Boston over Columbus Day weekend. Across the Charles, passersby allegedly spotted students engaged in epic battles at the site of the Boston Massacre. Back on campus, local residents reportedly witnessed a group of students ferociously tugging at opposing ends of a rope.

Continue to read the MIT News Article >>

Briggs Alumnus Mary Schroth Named Volunteer of the Month
The Sparrow Women's Board of Managers and Sparrow Volunteer Services Department has named Mary Schroth of Charlotte the November volunteer of the month.

After being diagnosed with cancer six years ago, Schroth was amazed at the quality of care she received and the dedication of the oncology doctors, nurses, support staff and TLC Oncology volunteers. She knew immediately she would like to be a part of the wonderful support system for those patients and their families who are dealing with cancer.

Read the LSJ article about Mary Schroth >>

Briggs Alumnus Joe Gorz - MSU SPARTAN SAGAS - Medical Mission
Every day, Spartans are making a difference in ways big and small. "Medicine is not more glamorous than anything else anyone else does," says Joe Gorz, a 2007 alumnus and third-year osteopathic medicine student. "We're here to serve the patients and the people and do a job. And if you forget that, you've really missed the ball and everything they're teaching us." Spartans Will.

Watch his saga>>

Dr. Nelson Featured in MSU Engaged Scholars
Environmental scientists and environmental ethicists are two groups who share the goal of understanding how we ought to relate to nature, but who employ very different methods and philosophies. And, according to associate professor Michael Nelson, who holds a joint appointment in MSU's Lyman Briggs College, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, and Department of Philosophy, there has been little collaboration between these groups.

View the E-Newsletter

Briggs student Andrew Johnson wins car with 40-yard field goal at Spartans' game
Andrew Johnson The Michigan State sophomore kicked a 40-yard field goal to win a $32,605 2012 GMC Acadia crossover sport utility vehicle in the 2011 GMC Field Goal Challenge promotion between the third and fourth quarters of the Michigan-Michigan State game in East Lansing on Saturday.

The Spartans beat Michigan 28-14 in the rivalry at Spartan Stadium, but Johnson and his friends had a lot more to celebrate.

“I was a little nervous with the wind, but once I hit the field, I lost complete consciousness of anything around me and just focused on kicking the ball,” he said. “It was great. I was so filled with adrenaline, and now, I’m crashed.”

Read the complete article or
Watch the YouTube video

Congratulations Andrew!!

The Summer Undergraduate Research Institute in Experimental Mathematics (SURIEM)
The Second Summer Undergraduate Research Institute in Experimental Mathematics (SURIEM) was held at Lyman Briggs College from June 6 to July 30, 2011. Mathematics faculty Drs. Daniel Dougherty, Bruce Sagan and Aklilu Zeleke served as research seminar advisors to eleven students who participated in this year's program. The seminar topics were: Inverse Modeling Dynamical Systems, Patterns in Permutation and Generalized Fibonacci Polynomials. Pictures and additional information can be found at SURIEM.

SURIEM is a two year summer research program for undergraduates funded by a National Security Agency (NSA) Grant H98230-11-1-0222. A similar program will be conducted in summer 2012.

Lyman Briggs College will also host a three year NSF funded (Grant # DMS-1062817) summer research experience for undergraduates (REU) in applied and discrete mathematics beginning the summer of 2012.

Dean Simmons writes article in Inside Higher Ed about Academic Finance Demystified
Faculty members are continually proposing exciting new ideas for integrating research, education, and community life across the disciplines. Then they are confronted with the reality of budget constraints, usually through a conversation with an administrator. Many times it is possible to find a way to move an idea forward; at other times, substantial rethinking is required. This article is intended to make faculty aware of a few basic principles of academic finance, in order to help them mold their creative ideas into more logistically feasible forms from the start.

Read the article

Briggs senior Jordan Honeysett named to 2011-12 Homecoming Court
Michigan State University has named 10 outstanding seniors to its 2011-12 Homecoming Court.

This year's homecoming theme is "Glow Green, Go White" to help kick off MSU's newest homecoming tradition, "Green Glow," which calls for Spartans all over to switch out their porch or house lights to green ones during homecoming week, Oct 17-22.

Congratulations Jordan!

View the MSU News release

Two Briggs courses listed -Spice up your schedule with MSU’s one-of-a-kind courses
Read the State News article to view which two classes were selected. State News Article

LBC faculty member writes op-ed for New York Times
Dr. Helen Zoe Veit, assistant professor of history and HPS faculty member in Lyman Briggs, wrote an op-ed piece for the New York Times entitled "Time to Revive Home Ec" (published September 5, 2011). The piece, which is related to Dr. Veit's research on the history of food and nutrition, discusses how a renewed interest in home economics could be used to address current concerns about chronic disease and obesity.

Read the article

Listen to NPR talk

Michael Nelson and Elizabeth Simmons write about
As interest in interdisciplinary research increases on college and university campuses, interdisciplinary faculty positions housed in more than one department, college, or program are likewise increasing. While this may be seen as a heartening development, encouraging scholars to work across boundaries and develop new intellectual connections, it also creates challenges for faculty in these positions, for administrators required to oversee them, and for both internal and external peers expected to evaluate their performance. To encourage interdisciplinarity and limit the conflict that can ensue, we recommend the establishment of a written Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between all relevant parties.

Read the Inside Higher Ed article

View our Memoranda of Understanding for Faculty Joint Appointments page.

Director of math, science education research institute named
Joseph Krajcik, a well-known science education expert, has been named director of the Institute for Research on Mathematics and Science Education at Michigan State University.

The interdisciplinary center, launched during a Washington, D.C., conference last fall, is designed to address some of the most pressing challenges related to teaching science and mathematics by bringing together top scholars from the education- and science-based fields.

Read the entire MSU News article

Cheruvelil and colleagues awarded NSF Grant
Lakes, streams and wetlands are not isolated ecosystems, and a Michigan State University professor and her colleagues (Dr. Kendra Cheruvelil) are pioneering a new field of research to show just how interconnected they are to their surroundings.

Patricia Soranno, Associate Professor of Fisheries and Wildlife, Kendra Spence Cheruvelil, Assistant Professor of Lyman Briggs College and the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, and Pang-Ning Tan, Associate Professor of Computer Science, have been awarded a $2.2 million research grant from the National Science Foundation to study the effects of cross-scale interactions on freshwater ecosystems across space and time. An abstract of the awarded project is available here: The Effects of Cross-Scale Interactions on Freshwater Ecosystem State Across Space and Time .

MSU Press releases about the project and National Science Foundation Press Release 11-160.

Moral Ground Wins Two ForeWord Awards
ForeWord Reviews announced the winners on their 2010 Best Book of the Year Awards during the American Library Association Conference last weekend. Moral Ground won Gold in the Anthology category and Bronze in the Environment category. Thank You Foreword for this wonderful recognition.

Kent Workman article in MSU Alumni Magazine
Kent Workman, Lyman Briggs Director of Student Affairs, has been at MSU for 24 years. During that time Kent has gone on 24+ service trips with students, throughout the U.S. and internationally; including post Katrina New Orleans, Washinton D.C., Jamaica, Mexico and South Africa. Read all about these Alternative Break Trips in the MSU Alumni Magazine.

View the magazine Article starts on page 22.

Briggs Jordan Honeysett on Homecoming Court
This year we have a Briggies who is on the Homecoming count. Take a look at the listing of students who made it on the court listing.

View the Homecoming Court

Dr. Tess Tavormina Receives Honors College Award
Lyman Briggs College Assistant Dean Tess Tavormina, Ph.D. was recognized on May 5th with a 2011 Honors College Award for Distinguished Contributions to Honors Students. Tavormina, who is also an LBC alumna (1973 Mathematics), joins former Lyman Briggs School Director Edward Ingraham (2002) as a recipient of this award that honors individuals who teach, advise and mentor Honors College students.

Aaron McCright: Political parties increasingly divided over global warming (
Despite the growing scientific consensus that global warming is real, Americans have become increasingly polarized on the environmental issue, according to a first-of-its-kind study led by a Michigan State University researcher.

The gap between Democrats and Republicans who believe global warming is happening increased 30 percent between 2001 and 2010 – a “depressing” trend that’s essentially keeping meaningful national energy policies from being considered, argues sociologist Aaron M. McCright.

Read the article

2011 New Phi Kappa Phi Members Honored
Lyman Briggs Dean Simmons was recently honored with becoming a 2011 Phi Kappa Member. Briggs also had three students initiated into the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi. Erin Milne, Julian Thwainey, and Nelson Winkler are our 2011 undergraduate recipients. Congratulations to all!!

Founded in 1897, the primary objective of the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi is the recognition and encouragement of superior scholarship in all academic disciplines. The society believes that by recognizing and honoring those persons of good character, who have excelled in scholarship, that others will be stimulated to similar goals of excellence.

Dr. Nelson's Conservation Ethics Group receives Phi Kappa Phi Excellence Award in Interdisciplinary Scholarship
Natural resource policy and decision making inescapably involves the fusion of ecological and social sciences with philosophical ethics. Whereas a policy or decision itself assumes the form of an argument prescribing a certain course of action, the premises underlying that argument are, as a matter of logic, a fusion of factual claims derived from the ecological or social sciences, or value claims derived from philosophical ethics. Any sort of assertion that we ought to engage in a given policy will, therefore and inescapably, involve both empirical and normative claims. It is only through the consideration of both empirical and normative claims, but by neither alone, that we can fully and wisely prescribe courses of action. There are very few examples, however, of where natural resource policy is systematically, deliberately, and rigorously treated in this fashion. In 2007, Dr. Nelson and Dr. John Vucetich created the Conservation Ethics Group ( to address this tragic shortcoming. Drs. Meredith Gore and Joseph Bump joined CEG in 2009.

Through their long-standing professional collaboration at the intersection of ecology and ethics, Nelson and Vucetich came to see that environmental scientists and environmental ethicists have a similar goal: to better understand how we ought to relate to nature. Despite a common goal, these groups employ profoundly different methods and theories in their efforts. Disappointingly, there is precious little collaboration between environmental scientists and environmental ethicists. The aim of ethics, as an academic discipline, is the use of argument analysis for the purpose of formally assessing propositions that may be expressed as: "I (or we) ought to ... " Natural resource management is largely about the assessment of proposition that may be expressed as: "We ought to behave in this way (toward some aspect of the natural world) ... " Despite the convergence of ethic's purview and natural resource management's responsibility, formal ethical reasoning is rarely, if ever, utilized in natural resource management decisions. The future of natural resource management and conservation will, they believe, increasingly focus on the conservation ethics of decision-making.

The vision of CEG has been to create a community (state-wide, national, international) of natural resource professionals with an ability to wisely handle the ethical dimensions of natural resource management. The strategy for achieving this vision has been: (i) to deliver to students and professionals the skills necessary for wisely handling the ethical dimensions of natural resource management, (ii) to create opportunities and venues for ethical discourse on natural resource topics, and (iii) to publish high-quality research for both professional and public audiences that demonstrates conservation ethics thinking at work. The mission of the CEG has been to be internationally recognized leaders in bringing that vision to reality.

Students show popcorn findings to ConAgra (
OMAHA, April 18 (UPI) -- Eight students enrolled in a Michigan State University class aimed at perfecting popcorn presented their findings to officials at ConAgra Foods. The students finished their semester with a visit Thursday to ConAgra headquarters in Omaha, where they presented their findings from the so-called "popcorn course" to help ConAgra improve Orville Redenbacher's popcorn, the Detroit Free Press reported Monday.


Dr. Aaron M. McCright Finds Political Polarization on Climate Change in US Over Past Decade
In a study published recently in The Sociological Quarterly (volume 52, issue 2), Dr. McCright and Riley E. Dunlap analyzed survey data from ten years of nationally representative Gallup Polls (2001-2010). Among other things, they found that significant ideological and partisan polarization has occurred in the American public on the issue of climate change over the past decade. Also, they found that having a college degree increases the likelihood of reporting beliefs consistent with the scientific consensus and expressing concern about global warming among liberals and Democrats. Yet, having a college degree often decreases these likelihoods among conservatives and Republicans.

MSU press release:

Dr. Walt Benenson wins the Faculty Emeriti Association Outstanding Contributions by an Individual Award
Dr. Benenson was one of the first experimental nuclear physicists at the original MSU cyclotron lab when he arrived at MSU in 1963. About ten years ago Prof. Benenson switched his appointment first informally and then later formally to Lyman Briggs College. In this new role, Prof. Benenson’s major unique contribution to the Lyman Briggs curriculum has been developing and updating the very inventive computer-based physics laboratory course. The lab emphasizes modern computer usage for data collection and analysis, along with scientific writing skills, as consistent with the Lyman Briggs stress on writing across all disciplines. When Dr. Benenson retired in 2008 as a Lyman Briggs University Distinguished Professor, he announced that he planned to continue to help Lyman Briggs however and whenever he could. He has carried through this promise faithfully and the college has benefitted enormously.

MSU students seek perfect popcorn (Detroit Free Press)
Fluffier. Bigger. Flavorful. And no unpopped or burnt kernels.

That's the goal of scientists at ConAgra Foods as they seek perfect Orville Redenbacher popcorn.

For a semester, it was also the goal of eight Michigan State University students enrolled in what quickly became known as the "popcorn course."

Read the Detroit Free Press article

Paper chase: MSU, ConAgra team for 'Popcorn Course'
In the inaugural "Popcorn Course," eight Michigan State University science students have spent this semester conducting experiments on improving the humble popcorn kernel.

"Believe it or not, you can make a living doing research to answer questions such as these," says the three-credit course's description.

From The Detroit News: Read the article

Lyman Briggs College Celebration 2011
2011 marks the 40th anniversary of the first graduating class. While the distinction for the first Briggs graduate goes to Mary Ruwart ('70), the first full group of 76 students graduated in 1971.

This year Briggs will also honor Steven Spees, Ph.D., who will retire after over 40 years of dedicated service to the College.

The combination of these 2 celebrations provides an excellent opportunity for all Briggsies to gather for a Mini-Reunion scheduled for May 6 & 7, 2011.

Guests are also invited to celebrate with the 2011 graduates by attending the LBC Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, May 7, at 3:30 PM in the MSU Auditorium. A reception will follow in Shaw Hall.

Visit the Celebration 2011 site

Amy Pochodylo, an LBC sophomore chemistry major and member of the Honors College has been named a Goldwater Scholar
Amy PochodyloAmy is also a member of the LaDuca Group, an undergraduate research team that has recently received recognition for their discoveries. The Goldwater Foundation seeks scholars who are committed to careers in science, mathematics, or engineering who display intellectual intensity and who have the potential for significant future contributions in their chosen field. The Scholarship provides a grant towards the last year or two of undergraduate tuition and living expenses for students who are planning careers in research. Congratulations Amy!

Read the MSU News article

LBC University Distinguished Professor of physics Walter Benenson, Ph.D. spoke during a community forum to educate about nuclear disasters in Japan.
The forums were sponsored by the Asian Studies Center and addressed the effects the natural disasters in Japan have had on the MSU community. Also in attendance was the deputy consul general of the Consulate-General of Japan in Detroit, Midori Takeuchi.

Read more about it

How did life begin on Earth and other plants?
This is a combined art and science question that LBC instructor Maxine Davis is helping to answer. The study is led by MSU professor of electronic art and intermedia Adam Brown and simulates what is thought to be Earth's original atmosphere by combining hydrogen, ammonia and methane in a glass chamber.

Read more about the story

MSU Physics and Astronomy newsletter contains 3 articles mentioning LBC professors and Dean Elizabeth Simmons.
Brian O'Shea, Ph.D. is featured in: From Galaxy Formation to Nuclear Proliferation and Comparing Models with Data Sets; Gerd Kortemeyer Ph.D. is featured in: LON-CAPA Grows and Improves Student Learning; and Elizabeth Simmons, Ph.D. is highlighted in a story about a recent workshop and alumni reception in Taiwan - a visit she made with her husband and fellow physics professor R. Sekhar Chivukula.

Read the article

Rob LaDuca, Ph.D. has been named a 2011 Michigan Distinguished Professor of the Year
Rob LaDuca, Ph.D. has been named a 2011 Michigan Distinguished Professor of the Year by the Presidents Council, State Universities of Michigan. LaDuca is a Professor Chemistry for LBC with a joint assignment in the Department of Chemistry. The Presidents Council serves as a forum for the presidents and chancellor os Michigan's 15 public universities.

Read the article

Healthcare Reform: LBC senior Erick Moberg gets a call from the president.
This is a White House produced video that addresses the Affordable Care Act that allows young adults to stay on their parent's health insurance plan up to the age of 26. Erick talks about how this has made a difference for his mother and him. (click on the image to view YouTube video)

Erick is a Human Biology major from Ypsilanti, MI. The video follows him through a typical day that includes some great campus sights.

Two Briggs students among those nominated for Goldwater and Udall Scholarships
Amy Pochodylo, a sophomore chemistry major and member of the Honors College has been nominated for a Goldwater Scholarship. The Goldwater Foundation seeks scholars committed to a career in science, mathematics, or engineering who display intellectual intensity and who have the potential for significant future contributions in their chosen field. The Scholarship provides a grant towards the last year or two of undergraduate tuition and living expenses for students who are planning careers in research.

Jenna Parker, a junior zoology major and member of the Honors College has been nominated for a Udall Scholarship. This scholarship honors Arizona U.S.> Congressman Morris K. Udall's legacy of public service by supporting students planning careers focused on the environment and Native American students planning careers in tribal health or public policy. The Udall Foundation annually awards $5,000 scholarships to 80 students throughout the U.S.

View the MSU Press Release >>>

MSU students to take part in major science conference
About 40 Michigan State University undergraduate students will travel to Washington, D.C. this weekend to take part in one of the world’s most prestigious science conferences.

The students, mostly from MSU’s Lyman Briggs College, will travel to the nation’s capital for a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, an annual gathering that brings together scientists from all over the world to present their latest research findings.

While there, the students will get a feel for the conference, which will include taking part in a symposium organized by Jim Smith, a Lyman Briggs biology professor and organizer of the trip.

Continue to read the MSU News Story >>>

Faculty Awards - MSU Distinguished Faculty and Excellence-in-Teaching Citation
Dr. Pennock received an MSU Distinguished Faculty Award for his outstanding contributions to scholarship, teaching and public service. Pennock's work on the philosophy of evolutionary biology is a critical assessment of the "New Creationism," or "Intelligent Design," theory; his book Tower of Babel: The Evidence Against New Creationism has been lauded by his peers. In addition, Pennock's theoretical and empirical research with biologists and computer scientists on artificial life and evolving digital organisms supports the NSF's Science and Technology Center Bio/computational Evolution in Action CONsortium, known as BEACON. He is also the founder of the public interest group Michigan Citizens for Science.

Lissy Goralnik, a graduate teaching assistant in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife was awarded an Excellence-in-Teaching Citation for her commitment to students and innovative learning and research. Goralnik teaches interdisciplinary courses in the environmental humanities for LBC, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife and Natural Science Study Away.

History of Science in Europe (Study Abroad)
What is the program all about?

During the first half of the twentieth century, two major new theories shook the foundations of physics: relativity and quantum mechanics.

In this program, we will follow the footsteps of the main characters in this drama: Planck, Heisenberg, Bohr and Einstein. The stations on our journey will include Munich, Bern, Zürich, Göttingen, and Berlin.

Students will come away from this program with an understanding of both the history and the physics of these two fundamental theories, and will have experienced the environment in which they developed.

Check out the flyer for more information

For LBC Study Abroad scholarship info, contact Dr. Westfall

That which doesn’t kill perch makes them stronger. Or does it?
Dr. Cheryl Murphy among a team of researchers study how increasing doses of toxic substances affect yellow perch, a species of economic and ecological importance to the Great Lakes.

Read the MSU News Release

MSU Neighborhoods pilot program promotes student success
Assistant Dean Philip Strong leads the East Neighborhood Engagement Center, the hub for the pilot of MSU's Neighborhood initiative.

Check out the story and video.

Michael Nelson Ph.D. continues to receive attention for co-editing Moral Ground: Ethical Action for a Planet in Peril
Moral Ground book image(Trinity University Press, 2010). The book is now the #1 selling environmental book on Presently touring to promote the book, Nelson has been interviewed on WJR's The Greening of the Great Lakes and will be on an upcoming segment of WNPR's Here on Earth. Nelson is associate profess holding joint appointments in Lyman Briggs College and the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife. He is also a member of the STEPPS (Science, Technology, Environment, and Public Policy Specialization) faculty. Nelson's work is also reviewed by The Yale Forum on Climate Change & the Media

Listen to the WJR interview

MSU Goes Altruistic
MSU research has gotten the attention of U.S. News & World Report, with their new digital evolution techniques, giving scientists the ability to watch evolution in action. BEACON research paper and co-author, Robert Pennock and team members Charles Ofria and Jeff Clune were among the researchers of this project. Their research is being used to shed some new light on what it takes to make a species altruistic.

Read more about this story

Lyman Briggs students Go Abroad
Paris, France. Known for its elegant beauty, high fashion, prestigious people, romantic atmosphere and timeless architecture, it is indeed a place of dreams to most people. Certainly these may have been the initial views that a team of Lyman Briggs ladies held about the notorious City of Lights. However, these Briggsies didn’t go to Paris simply for a vacation. They were participants in LBC’s senior seminar course titled "Paris 2010” where they were required to propose and pursue a "30 Days” research element in Paris during the summer of 2010. Their research topic: homelessness in Paris. Homelessness is not usually something that comes to mind when people think of this romantic city. But the short documentary titled, "Beg Your Way to the Top” the team of students highlighted this epidemic that is very common in the city of Paris. Read the rest of this Parisian voyage here.

View film projects from Summer 2010 in Paris

LBC/MSU professors collaborating on Modeling and Data Analysis Initiative (MADAI)
A collaboration between MSU, Duke, the Renaissance Computing Institute and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is working together to develop new visual and statistical analytics tools for a range of scientific disciplines and to deploy them in a unified scientists’ workbench. LBC professors Daniel Dougherty, Brian O’Shea are among a large team that includes scientists studying universe formation, galaxy formation, supernovae, weather simulation, and high-energy particle collision as well as a multi-institutional team of statisticians and a multi-institutional visualization team.

More information (PDF)

Mark Waddell, Ph.D., speaks at the University of Central Florida (UCF) College of Medicine and interviewed by MSNBC
Waddell spoke at a the opening of an exhibit entitled: "Harry Potter's World: Renaissance Science, Magic and Medicine." The exhibit shows how Harry Potter's adventures at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry actually have their basis in the early history of science and medicine. Waddell is a historian of early modern science and medicine in Lyman Briggs College. A Harry Potter fan, Waddell has read both the English and Latin versions of the books.

Check out article on UCF Today

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MSU undergraduate programs rank among nation’s best
EAST LANSING, Mich. -- From overseas study to supply chain management, Michigan State University has some of the best undergraduate programs in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report’s 2011 edition of Best Colleges.

For the third straight year, the magazine ranked MSU’s supply chain management program No. 2 – behind only the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s program. The supply chain program is located in MSU’s Eli Broad College of Business, which ranked 28th among U.S. business schools.

The magazine also recognized three “outstanding programs” at MSU designed to foster student success: study abroad, service learning (in which students volunteer in the community) and learning communities (or residential colleges).

Read the State News Article

Philip Strong to Lead Hubbard Hall Neighborhood Initiative
Philip Strong will lead Michigan State University’s Neighborhood pilot project in Hubbard Hall this fall, an initiative designed to create a new model of integrated services to students. His responsibilities begin Aug. 1. In his new role, Strong will oversee the Neighborhood’s Engagement Center staff, coordinate programmatic efforts within the Neighborhood, and manage assessment of the pilot initiative. Strong currently serves as assistant dean for Lyman Briggs College and will maintain his affiliation with the college. Prior to serving as assistant dean, Strong served as assistant director of the Lyman Briggs School of Science from May 1999 to June 2007.

Read the MSU News Release
For more information about the Neighborhood Initiative

Briggsie Daniel J. DiBardino, M.D. to be featured on a new ABC News eight-part series called Boston Med
DiBardino is a cardiac surgeon at Harvard Medical's Children's Hospital in Boston, MA., who specializes in neonatal cardiac surgery He is a 1989 Physiology graduate. He received his MD from Wayne State University School of Medicine in 2000. DiBardino says, "It seems like forever ago that I walked Holmes Hall as an energetic kid interested in human physiology. I have such fond memories of the education I received in Lyman Briggs. I was fascinated by cardiac physiology especially and that interest also took on a life of its own. The first few episodes of Boston Med will focus on recent experiences with heart/lung transplantation that myself and my colleague Dr. Jonathan Daniel did last year. It is not a "doctored up" scripted show - it is, instead, a good insiders look into the human side of what it is really like to do this for a living. The series airs Thursday, June 24, 10 pm EST.

4th Annual Lyman Briggs Reseach Symposium
The 4th Annual Lyman Briggs Research Symposium will be held on April 26th and 27th from 9am up to 9pm each day.

The research symposium will include poster and presentations by hundreds of students or groups of students. Many of the Briggs faculty will have their research students presenting work so you can discover what they do.

View the schedule.

Briggs Faculty Celebrate Awards and Recognitions
Kendra Cheruvelil, Ph.D.,
is an associate professor in Lyman Briggs College and the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife. As an early career faculty member she was recently named both a Lilly Teaching Fellow and Environmental Faculty Fellow.

Robert L. LaDuca Jr., Ph.D.,
is an associate professor in Lyman Briggs College and the Department of Chemistry. An exemplary teacher both in the classroom and in the research laboratory, Dr. LaDuca is a recipient of the MSU Alumni CLub of Mid-Micigan Quality in Undergraduate Teaching Award.

John C. Waller, Ph.D.,
is an associate professor in Lyman Briggs College and the Department of History. Through his unique blend of classroom teaching, academic scholarship and public engagement, Dr. Waller truly deserves receiving the Michigan State University Teacher-Scholar Award.

Professor Brian O'Shea wins a National Science Foundation Petascale Computing Resources Allocations award.
One of the first researchers to win this award, Dr. O'Shea was recently interviewed for the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) article on Leaving the Dark Days. For more than a decade he has been using the NCSA supercomputing resources to simulate how galaxies form in the early universe. "Those were dark days," he says with a chuckle. "We could run a simulation on 128 processors, and I believe I shepherded a single simulation through the machine for an entire year. There were maybe 1,000 galaxies in the entire simulation."

Read the Article

Catherine Westfall, PhD has been elected an American Physical Society Fellow
Election to Fellowship in the American Physical Society is limited to no more than one half of one percent of the membership. Election to APS Fellowship is given to recognize outstanding contributions to physics. The citation, which will appear on her Fellowship Certificate, reads: "For her pioneering historical research on five American national laboratories, and for her organizational work in the history of physics, especially in the productive ongoing series of Laboratory History Conferences.”

Dr. Kendra Cheruvelil selected as Lilly Teaching fellow for 2009-10 year.
Twenty Michigan State University faculty members have been selected as Lilly and Adams Fellows for the 2009-10 academic year. The fellowships support excellence in and recognize commitment to the teaching profession.

The Lilly Teaching Fellows Program, now in its 18th year, is designed to advance MSU’s continuing efforts to support excellence in teaching and learning. It provides a cohort of up to eight assistant professors in the tenure system from across the disciplines with an opportunity to engage in a year-long exploration of university-level teaching and learning with their peers.

Read the MSU Newsrelease.

Dean Elizabeth Simmons and Sekhar Chivukula
Aren't just spouses, they're coworkers. They were recently interviewed by the MSU Office of Diversity and Inclusion. They acknowledge that balancing family responsibilities with faculty responsibilities is never easy. It takes a lot of communications and planning.

View the interview

Catherine Westfall interviewed by New England radio station on The History of Fermilab: Physics; the Frontier and Megascience
Fermilab in Batavia, Illinois is home to the largest proton accelerator in the United States. Here scientists conduct cutting edge high-energy physics experiments to learn about the ultimate structure of matter and learn more about particles like quarks. How does a megascience facility like this get built? How do you manage a place so big it contains a restored prairie and a herd of buffalo? Is America still on the cutting edge of “big science”? Tonight on Inquiry we talk about the history of Fermilab with LILLIAN HODDESON, Professor of History of Science at the University of Illinois; ADRIENNE W. KOLB, Fermilab Archivist; and CATHERINE WESTFALL, Visiting Associate Professor at Lyman Briggs College. Together they have written one of the great histories of American science: FERMILAB: PHYSICS; THE FRONTIER AND MEGASCIENCE.

Listen to the radio interview

Faculty Conversation with Robert Shelton
Robert Shelton refers to himself as the “eccentric person” among his faculty colleagues in Michigan State University's Lyman Briggs College. About half of LBC's faculty teach the sciences while the other half teach what's known as HPS – history, philosophy and sociology. “However,” Shelton said, “I am neither an H, a P nor an S.” Shelton has an undergraduate degree is in chemistry and English, and his Ph.D. is in English. He teaches, among other things, an introduction to HPS. “Essentially we're teaching students how to ask questions about what it means to understand a problem historically, sociologically and philosophically,” he said. Among Shelton's many areas of interests are late-19th and early-20th century British literature; the philosophy, sociology, and history of science; the American Renaissance; and science fiction and literary utopias.

Watch the video

MSU/LBC students are participating in a study abroad in Auckland, New Zealand
Accompanied by Dr. Philip Strong, LBC's Assistant Dean, the group is looking at sustainability policies and practices on the North Island, and also getting some volcanic, Kiwi soil under their fingernails. Students are helping to plant native New Zealand tree species associated with wetland reclamation at a project near Rotorua, as well as visiting a progressive, rotational grazing-based dairy farm and kiwi/avocado orchards. According to MSU professor and Director of Agriculture and Natural Resources Communications, Kirk Heinze, the students are seeing first-hand the extent to which New Zealanders have embraced an ethic of sustainability.

Follow them as they blog their trip:
Posting 1:View Blog
Posting 2:View Blog
Posting 3:View Blog

LBC professor James Smith successfully completed the Research Residency component of the Biology Scholars Program (BSP)
LBC professor James Smith is one of twenty biology educators from around the country and internationally who have successfully completed the Research Residency component of the Biology Scholars Program (BSP), a national interdisciplinary program for biologists committed to improving undergraduate biology education based upon evidence of effective student learning. Sponsored by the American Society for Microbiology and the National Science Federation, BSP Scholars are chosen through a competitive process that identifies teaching excellence and national leadership.

Conjuring the real history behind 'Harry Potter's' magic
Author J.K. Rowling's young wizard Hary Potter might be fiction, but the historical basis of his "magic" is not. Mark Waddell, a visiting assistant professor at LBC weaves popular culture such as the "Harry Potter" series into his lectures on science history. He was the historical consultant for the National Library of Medicine's (NLM) traveling exhibition linking J.K. Rowling's magic infused Harry Potter books to real historical beliefs and people.

Read the MSU News Article

Filmmakers feature LBC senior seminar students’ Letter on Sustainability
Working with Briggs Professor Michael Nelson, the students addressed the letter to the Columbia River Quorum, a gathering of sixteen environmental scientists, social scientists, philosophers, communications experts, and creative writers. Sponsored by the Spring Creek Project (Oregon State University) with the support of the US Forest Service, the Quorum seeks to bring science and moral imagination together to communicate about climate destabilization. Originally delivered during the opening comments of the gathering, the filmmakers edited and produced the video.

View the video

Lyman Briggs professor studies the first stars
Lyman Briggs physics Professor Brian O'Shea and his collaborators, Matthew Turk and Tom Abel of Stanford University, have just published a paper in the journal Science (appearing today in Science Express) showing that the first generations of stars could form as twins, not just individuals. They learned this using simulations which provide the most detailed understanding of the formation of the first generation of stars in the universe to date.

"Understanding the first stars in the universe is very important, since they have such a huge impact," said O'Shea. "The first stars were born very early on, when the universe was less than 1 percent of its present age, and are the seeds for all of galaxy formation. If you want to understand how galaxies like our own Milky Way formed, you need to start with the first stars." This result is a part of Dr. O'Shea's overall goal of understanding how galaxies evolve over the life of the universe by using simulations on the largest supercomputers in the world.

To make this discovery, O'Shea and his collaborators created extremely detailed computer models of how the universe evolved. They traced the growth of the universe, and the structure within it, from shortly after the Big Bang until more than 100 million years later, when the first star in the universe formed. They ran several different models, and discovered that one of the models formed a pair of stars instead of a lone star.

"This is very exciting," said O'Shea. "The astrophysical community has thought that these first stars formed singly for a long time, and this seemed to contradict recent observations from people like Tim Beers" (an astronomer at Michigan State University). "If a large number of these first stars formed in pairs, it solves quite a few problems, and the implications are profound. These paired stars could possibly make binary black holes or gamma-ray bursts (very energetic explosions that can be detected from billions of light-years away), or possibly even leave remnants that could be detected in our very own galaxy!"

Read the MSU News Article

LBC Medical Historian John Waller, interviewed by Claudia Hammond of the BBC Health Check
Waller discusses the strange case of the dancing plague which struck Strasbourg in the 16th century and its modern day equivalents of psychogenic illness and hysteria. The interview springs from Waller's book, A Time to Dance, A Time to Die, which reveals how people from the Medieval German city danced themselves to death.

Listen to the interview (begins at the 17:30 min. point of the interview

Dr. Robert T. Pennock receives the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS) Distinguished Service Award
The award recognizes noteworthy service to the biological sciences. Dr. Pennock is on the faculty of MSU's Lyman Briggs College, the Philosophy Department, and the Department of Computer Science, as well as the Center for Ethics and Humanities in the Life Sciences and the Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, and Behavior graduate program. His research interests include the philosophy of biology and the relationship of epistemic and ethical values in science. He is the author of Tower of Babel: The Evidence Against the New Creationism and Intelligent Design Creationism and Its Critics: Philosophical, Theological, and Scientific Perspectives. He testified in the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District federal court case that found that intelligent design is no different than creationism and should not be taught in science classes. Pennock serves on numerous advisory boards and committees and is the chair of the Education Committee of the Society for the Study of Evolution and is currently working on a book examining how Darwinian evolution, as an abstract theoretical model, can be applied practically beyond biology.

AIBS Press Release

Professor Michael Nelson is busy schedule sharing his research on environmental issues.
Dr. Nelson has recently concluded a tour promoting his book The Great New Wilderness Debate. The March issue of The Ecologist will include an article written with MTU colleague John Vucetich, tentatively entitled "How Hope Destroys our Love for Nature." He has contributed to several other articles about to be published. "On Advocacy by Environmental Scientists: What, Whether, Why, and How," will appear in the forthcoming Conservation Biology. It is a systematic review of reasons why some favor and others oppose advocacy by environmental scientists.

"Can We have our Animal Rights and Eat them Too" will be in The Wildlife Professional. This essay focuses on what is required to properly engage in a conversation about the ethics of hunting; making a case that animal welfare ethicists and hunters may not really be at odds with one another as much as they think.

Dr. Nelson can be viewed on a PBS recorded teach-in on global warming. View Ethical and Justice Issues of Climate Change

Briggs students wish Charles Darwin a 200th Happy Birthday
A group of Briggs students took part in a national video to wish Charles Darwin a Happy 200th Birthday.

Professor Kendra Cheruvelil becomes latest Briggs faculty to be named Lilly Teaching Fellow
The MSU Lilly Teaching Fellow Program provides a diverse group of tenure-stream faculty with the opportunity to enhance their teaching abilities through series of activities. The program encourages teaching fellows to become future faculty leaders and models for their peers. Dr. Cheruvelil joins recent LBC Lilly Fellows Cori Fata-Hartley and Aaron McCright, and past Fellow Doug Luckie.

Two Briggs faculty honored by MSU
Professor Aaron McCright has received MSU's Teacher-Scholar Award - present to those who have earned the respect of students and colleagues for their devotion and skill in teaching. The award provides recognition to the best teachers who have served at MSU for seven years or less. Dr. McCright is the sixth LBC faculty member to receive this award since it was first given in 1969, and the fifth LBC faculty member since 2000.

Alison Reiheld has been presented with the Excellence in Teaching Citation. Nominated by LBC, Reiheld's teaches in the HPS program. Her award recognizes her teaching in the area of philosophy.

HPS Professor Robert Pennock gets book mentioned in Wall Street Journal
HPS professor Robert Pennock gets book mentioned in Wall Street Journal about Books That Emphatically Debunk Pseudohistory. See complete list.

Briggs Professors Kendra Cheruvelil, John Waller and Michael Nelson have all been awarded an Intramural Research Grant Proposal(IRGP)
IRGP invests in MSU faculty who are conducting work that addresses important research questions or produces significant creative products. Projects that are selected enhance the reputation of the researcher and the university. Dr. Cheruvelil will study the effects of lake shoreline development on painted and map turtle populations. Dr. Nelson's research involves the history of the Isle Royale Wolf-Moose study. Dr. Waller's grant theme is: Bred in the Bone: Ideas of Heredity, Race and Eugenics in Western Thought. Lyman Briggs College faculty won 3 of the 44 available grants!

Professor Aaron McCright selected to participate in MSU's Lilly Teaching Fellows Program
The program seeks to give a diverse group of instructors a chance to hone their teaching skills, and to prepare Fellows for faculty leadership roles. He will mentor with fellow Briggs professor Robert Shelton.