Department Highlights

Gator HuntersBiological Sciences
Jack Feminella, Department Chairman

Alligator Hunters on the Prowl

The adventure typically begins shortly before sundown as three researchers from COSAM’s Department of Biological Sciences step aboard a 16-foot Jon boat, permits in hand, to search for and capture alligators in the Eufaula National Wildlife Refuge. They locate the reptiles by eye shine and stealthily float toward them. If they are successful in getting near an alligator in the water without disturbing it, they quickly slip a noose around its neck. The alligator will then react viciously and mount a valiant struggle to escape.

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OrtizChemistry & Biochemistry
Vince Ortiz, Department Chairman

Ortiz honored for his support of under-represented students

Vincent Ortiz, Ruth W. Molette Professor and chairman of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, was honored with the President’s Award at the 39th Annual Conference of the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers, for initiating and supporting the Technology Education Partnership between Auburn University and NOBCChE, and for providing increased opportunities and a more receptive environment for under-represented students to pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Auburn.

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LiGeology & Geography
Mark Steltenpohl, Department Chairman

Li uses GIS and spatial analysis skills to evaluate health disparities

How does geographic region influence economic and social inequality? That’s one of the questions newcomer Yingru Li is trying to answer. An assistant professor in the Department of Geology and Geography, Li’s prior research focused on China and its regional disparities in both economics and healthcare. Utilizing spatial statistics and Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Li visualized inequality patterns within and among three regions in China, coastal, central, and western, and worked to determine the underlying factors of socioeconomic disparities.

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reuMathematics & Statistics
Tin-Yau Tam, Department Chairman

REU program provides an Authentic Experience in Mathematics

“Square root,” “mathematical analysis,” “axiomatic proof ”: these words were tossed around like peanuts in a casual conversation between participants during the Research Experiences for Undergraduates Program in Algebra and Discrete Mathematics. The eight-week program takes place during the summer and is designed for undergraduate students pursuing a bachelor’s or associate degree in mathematics. Participants are involved in an intensive introduction to a selection of open problems and problem areas, followed by problem solving, presentations, daily seminars, and problem sessions. At the end of the workshop, each group prepares a written summary and oral presentation about workshop endeavors.

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James Hanson, Department Chairman

Auburn, Rutgers, and Purdue Universities jointly receive grant for power electronics research

The II-VI Foundation will sponsor a three-year, up to $1 million, Block Gift Cooperative Research Initiative between Auburn University, Rutgers University, and Purdue University, coordinated by John Williams, (pictured standing, second from right) Auburn University professor emeritus of physics.

Known for funding individual institutional efforts, this is the first time the II-VI Foundation has designated a gift for a Cooperative Research Initiative. Williams has maintained longtime collaborations with Sarit Dhar, (pictured standing, second from left) who is the primary Auburn investigator on the project, Leonard Feldman at Rutgers University, and James Cooper at Purdue University. It is Williams’ experience and knowledge that helped make the Cooperative Research Initiative possible.

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