Colorado State, Arkansas Each Have Two Truman Scholars in 2017

The University of Arkansas and Colorado State University each have two Truman Scholars for 2017, leading all public universities. This is the second year in a row that the University of Arkansas has had two Truman Scholars.

Twenty-six of the 62 Truman Scholars this year are students at public universities, and most are honors students. Three scholars have already served on active-duty in the military.

Yale University led with three scholars. Barnard College and Cornell had two scholars in 2017.

Truman Scholars receive up to $30,000 for graduate study. Scholars also receive priority admission and supplemental financial aid at premier graduate institutions, leadership training, career and graduate school counseling and special internship opportunities within the federal government.

Recipients must be U.S. citizens, have outstanding leadership potential and communication skills, be academically excellent and be committed to careers in government or the nonprofit sector.

The Truman program drew 768 candidates nominated by 315 colleges and universities. The 62 recipients were chosen from 199 finalists by 16 independent selection panels on the basis of the students’ academic success and leadership accomplishments, as well as their likelihood of becoming public service leaders.

The program has selected 3,139 Truman Scholars since the first awards were made in 1977.

The recipients from public universities are listed below:

Judson Adams, University of Louisville
Mussab Ali, University of Rutgers-Newark
Ryan Alonso, University of Arkansas
Taylor Cofield, University of Missouri
Francis Commercon, Colorado State University
Thomas Dowling, University of Illinois
Mohamed Elzark, University of Cincinnati
Jonathan Espinoza, West Texas A&M University
Rachel Gallina, Boise State University
Autumn Guillotte, University of Rhode Island
Sam Harris, University of Arkansas
Hanan “Alex” Hsain, North Carolina State University
Nadine Jawad, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
Rachel Johnson, University of Northern Iowa
Kilaulani Kaawa-Gonzales, Colorado State University
David Lascz, US Naval Academy
Attifa Latif, University of Virginia
Claire Lynch, City College CUNY
Killian McDonald, Clemson University
Athena McNinch, University of Guam
Mikaela Meyer, Purdue University
Karen Rosario-Ortiz, University of Puerto Rico
Joseph Russell, George Mason University
Matthew Salm, University of Texas at Dallas
Taylor Zabel, University of Kansas

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Univ of Arkansas Chancellor to Teach Honors College Course

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Few undergraduate students get to sit down and discuss big issues with campus leaders. Next spring, 14 students at the University of Arkansas will get an unparalleled opportunity to do just that, thanks to a new Honors College course, Flagship U!, to be led by Chancellor Joseph Steinmetz.

Chancellor Joseph Steinmetz brings a great deal of leadership expertise to the table. Care to join him?

Photo of Chancellor Steinmetz, by Russell Cothren

“I’ve missed teaching and I look forward to working with these top students,” Steinmetz said. “I’d like to share what I’ve learned so far, and I’m interested in getting their perspective on issues that I deal with on a day-to-day basis.”

Steinmetz also will lead a public forum on “The Fate of theFlagship U,” at 5:15 p.m. Wednesday, April 5, 2017, in Gearhart Hall Auditorium (GEAR 26).

It is rare for a university chancellor or president to teach any type of course, given the demands of their position. This course is especially unique.

“I don’t know of any other chancellors who have invited undergraduate students into their home to discuss pressing, and in some cases, controversial campus issues,” said Lynda Coon, dean of the Honors College. “What a fantastic opportunity for our students – we are very grateful to Chancellor Steinmetz for sharing his valuable time and expertise.”

Flagship U! is second in the Honors College Forum series, which brings top faculty and honors students together to discuss trending issues, from the 2016 presidential election to diversity in design.

Each student in Flagship U! will research and present on topics that shape academe, such as inclusion and access, Title IX, substance abuse, and enrollment growth. Leaders in Steinmetz’ administration will partner with the students; for example, Jeff Long, vice chancellor for intercollegiate athletics, will advise the student presenting on athletics. Each student also will track developments at another flagship university, selecting from a list of schools that includes the University of Texas, the University of Michigan and Penn State.

Honors students interested in leadership – whether in academe, a Fortune 500 company, public service, or another endeavor – are encouraged to apply. For more information, visit the Forum: Flagship U! page on the Honors College website.

“We hope to draw exceptional students from every college on campus,” Dean Coon said.

About the Honors College: The University of Arkansas Honors College was established in 2002 and unites the university’s top undergraduate students and professors in a learning environment characterized by discovery, creativity and service. Each year the Honors College awards up to 90 freshman fellowships that provide $70,000 over four years, and more than $1 million in undergraduate research and study abroad grants. The Honors College is nationally recognized for the high caliber of students it admits and graduates. Honors students enjoy small, in-depth classes, and programs are offered in all disciplines, tailored to students’ academic interests, with interdisciplinary collaborations encouraged. Fifty percent of Honors College graduates have studied abroad – three times the national average – and one hundred percent of Honors College graduates have engaged in mentored research.

About the University of Arkansas: The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. The university contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while also providing service to academic and professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Arkansas among only 2 percent of universities in America that have the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Arkansas among its top American public research universities. Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring.

Univ of Arkansas Honors Student and Prof Publish Paper on Proteins Related to Alzheimer’s

Editor’s Note: The post below comes to us from Kendall Curlee, director of communications at the University of Arkansas Honors College.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — A University of Arkansas research team has published a paper in ChemBioChem, a top European journal of chemical biology, based on groundbreaking experiments led by undergraduate honors student Armin Mortazavi. The paper contributes to the understanding of the molecular properties of membrane proteins, which play critical roles in cell signaling, both for diseased states and basic biological functions.

“It could be useful in understanding how proteins aggregate, which is characteristic of some neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s – but that’s long down the line at this point,” Mortazavi said.

Armin Mortazavi and faculty mentor Roger Koeppe examine deuterium magnetic resonance (NMR) results. Photo: Matt Reynolds.

Armin Mortazavi and faculty mentor Roger Koeppe examine deuterium magnetic resonance (NMR) results. Photo: Matt Reynolds.

“Our main purpose is to understand how they interact in the body.”

Mortazavi, from Hot Springs, is an honors chemistry and physics double major, a Bodenhamer Fellow, and the recipient of the Goldwater Scholarship. He is listed as first author on the article, giving him primary credit for performing the experiments that led to the discoveries. Roger Koeppe, Distinguished Professor of chemistry and biochemistry in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, is Mortazavi’s faculty mentor and director of the study.

The paper is titled “Juxta-Terminal Helix Unwinding as a Stabilizing Factor to Modulate the Dynamics of Transmembrane Helices.” The U of A team used nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy to alter the amino acid sequences of model peptides and incorporated deuterium labels to study how the peptides move within a model for the outer membrane of a cell.

Mortazavi’s research builds on earlier work by honors student Kelsey Sparks, who studied the role aromatic rings play in the movement of the same family of peptides. Sparks was the first author on a paper published in 2014 in Biochemistry and is a coauthor on this paper.

Previous work in Koeppe’s lab found that a similar peptide helix might be unwound or “frayed” at the end. Mortazavi has confirmed that there are multiple peptides that fray at the end, limiting their extent of motion and helping to anchor them within a lipid membrane.

“What Armin has found suggests that there may be more importance to the loops within membrane signaling proteins, which have largely been ignored up to now,” Koeppe said. “His work may point us in a new direction.”

Mortazavi presented his work at the 2015 meeting of the Biophysical Society and will present his latest results at the February 2016 meeting in Los Angeles.

Koeppe has mentored more than 25 honors students, with six of them publishing their research.

“To this point, I’ve not had a student publish before they graduate,” he said. “Armin started research early, in his freshman year. ­He’s well organized, dedicated, hardworking, and he’s produced a lot of results.”

Mortazavi’s work has been supported by a State Undergraduate Research Fellowship and Honors College research and travel grants. Other members of the research team who are coauthors on the article are graduate student Venkatesan Rajagopalan and research associate professor Denise V. Greathouse.

About the Honors College: The University of Arkansas Honors College was established in 2002 and unites the university’s top undergraduate students and professors in a learning environment characterized by discovery, creativity and service. Each year the Honors College awards up to 90 freshman fellowships that provide $70,000 over four years, and more than $1 million in undergraduate research and study abroad grants. The Honors College is nationally recognized for the high caliber of students it admits and graduates. Honors students enjoy small, in-depth classes, and programs are offered in all disciplines, tailored to students’ academic interests, with interdisciplinary collaborations encouraged. Fifty percent of Honors College graduates have studied abroad – three times the national average – and one hundred percent of Honors College graduates have engaged in mentored research.