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2017 December Newsletter

picture of header and students of COAS newsletter

December, 2017

Dear Friends,

Dean Tony RoarkWith the impending turn of the calendar, Boise State is preparing for a monumental transition in 2018.  As you have no doubt seen in many media outlets, President Bob Kustra has announced that, after 15 years of service, he is retiring from that post on June 30.

It’s impossible to convey in a space as small as this just how significant President Kustra’s vision and effectiveness have been for the university.  If one had to sum it up in a single word, only “transformative” would begin to do justice to the facts. Whoever succeeds President Kustra will be both incredibly lucky (to be taking the helm of such a vibrant institution with strong national visibility) and more than a little unlucky (to be following one of the toughest acts to follow).  I encourage you to follow the news regarding the recruitment of Boise State’s seventh president.

Coinciding with President Kustra’s retirement, Provost Marty Schimpf has announced that he will step down from his post at the end of the academic year to re-join the faculty in Chemistry.  Provost Schimpf’s leadership has been pivotal for the academic mission of the university during his eight years in that office, and I know that President Kustra credits much of the university’s success to his fine efforts.

In the wake of Provost Schimpf’s departure from that office, I have been asked to serve as interim provost under the new president, and I have appointed Dr. Leslie Durham, COAS Associate Dean and inaugural Director of the School of the Arts, to serve as interim dean of the college, both effective June 1.  I have the greatest confidence in Leslie, and we are both looking forward to taking on the challenges and opportunities of our respective roles.

Warmest wishes to you and your loved ones this holiday season.


Tony Roark

Dean, College of Arts and Sciences
Boise State University

Boise State, COAS Student Elena Gallina Named Rhodes Scholar Finalist

picture of Rhodes Scholarship finalish Elina GallinaBoise State University student Elena Gallina has been named a Rhodes Scholar finalist.

“The Boise State family is so proud of Elena Gallina for her incredible achievement,” said Boise State University President Bob Kustra. “We have worked diligently to create an academic environment at Boise State University that encourages our students to pursue their passions and aim high. I can’t say enough about the quality of our Honors College and academic leaders across campus, and the high-caliber students they attract, support and challenge. Elena’s selection as a Rhodes Scholar finalist is incredibly inspiring.”

The Rhodes Scholarships are the oldest and most celebrated international fellowship awards in the world. Applicants come from more than 320 American colleges and universities.

Gallina, who will graduate in May 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in multidisciplinary studies and a minor in Arabic studies, is passionate about changing the way international governing bodies respond to disaster and the post-conflict reconstruction process. Growing up the child of humanitarian aid workers in the aftermath of the Balkan wars, she witnessed first-hand the ill effects mishandled aid can have on society and the ways in which communities struggle to recover from disaster. She plans to pursue graduate degrees in public policy and international development, eventually working to uncover how to best modify systems to mitigate violence against women in the midst of conflict.


Intermountain Bird Observatory Earns Competitive Grant to Study Imperiled Owls

picture of a short eared owl flying

The researchers at Boise State’s Intermountain Bird Observatory (IBO) are known as global leaders in migratory bird research and for their ability to ignite a passion for bird research and preservation among a curious public.

IBO researchers soon will be combining these strengths: the organization will receive a significant portion of a three-year, $500,000 competitive state wildlife grant, awarded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA). The team will survey imperiled short-eared owls (Asio flammeus) across eight western states, utilizing a team of citizen scientist volunteers.

The grant will allow IBO and its partnering organizations – WAFWA, eight state fish and wildlife agencies, and six non-profit science and conservation organizations – to continue important survey work focused on short-eared owls in Idaho, California, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.


Talkin’ Broncos Win Two Major Tournaments in a Row

FY17 Talkin'Broncos

The Pi Kappa Delta National Championship Boise State Speech and Debate team continue their 2017-18 conference season with their seventh-consecutive win at the annual Mahaffey Memorial Tournament in McMinville, Oregon, Nov. 10-12 as well as a first-time win at the Hofstra University and Nassau Community College Off Broadway Swing Dec. 2-3 in Garden City and Hempstead, New York.




English Professor Harvey Featured on BBC Radio

picture of English professor Samantha HarveySamantha Harvey will be featured on a radio program for the BBC Worldwide Service for its flagship discussion program, “The Forum,” which has an audience of more than 140 million listeners across the world.

Harvey will discuss Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem “Kubla Khan” with several other academics, including Richard Holmes, biographer of Coleridge and author of “The Age of Wonder: The Romantic Generation and the Discovery of the Beauty and Terror of Science,” Peter Anderson, professor of English at University of Cape Town in South Africa, and Chinese historian Kent Deng from the London School of Economics and Political Science in England.


MFA Candidate Ariel Delgado Dixon Wins 2017 Glenn Balch Award

picture of MFA student Ariel Dixon

Ariel Delgado Dixon, a second-year fiction student in the Boise State University MFA in creative writing program, won the 2017 Glenn Balch Award for her short story titled “Current.” She will receive $1,000. Natalie Disney, a third-year Boise State MFA candidate in fiction, will receive $500 for second place, and Tim Griffith, who graduated in May 2017 from the MFA program, will receive $200 for third.

The Glenn Balch Award is an annual fiction competition open to fiction students in the MFA program in creative writing at Boise State. The family of the late Glenn Balch, author of thirty-four books, funds this award in honor of their father.

Dixon is a native of Trenton, New Jersey. Her writing also has been shortlisted for The Masters Review Anthology Prize.


Biology Professor Hampikian Chairs First Forensic DNA meeting in Abu D’habi

word scramble of linguistics and language

Presenters from the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL), police laboratories, private companies and universities participated in the first Gulf Cooperation Council Forensic DNA meetings in Abu D’habi during the week of Nov. 13. Greg Hampikian chaired the two days of DNA sessions.

One of the key aims of the meetings was to promote international data cooperation to solve crimes and prevent terrorism. Hampikian presented work done in his Boise State University lab that has led to exonerations in China, Taiwan, Italy and the U.S.; highlighting practices to prevent miscarriages of justice.


MDS Student Wins Service Learning Exhibition Award

picture of MDS student Hayley HudsteadHayley Hudstead earned  the ‘Best in College’ Service Learning award for the Fall 2017 Service Learning Exhibition.

Hudstead will graduate with her B.A. in Multidisciplinary Studies in December, 2017. Her capstone project included working with adults with special needs, partnering with a program called STEP. She developed a meal planning guide for students with special needs based on her work with them and the research she did on this topic.

After graduation, Hudstead will pursue her master’s degree in Behavior Management and her teaching certification, as she hopes to continue working in the special needs field in the future.

First Translation of Delibes Book Authored by World Language Professor Boucher

picture of newly translated book by Teresa BoucherSpanish author Miguel Delibes was born and died in the same city: Valladolid, Spain. Yet in the span of 80 years, he was a professor, father of seven, newspaper editor, journalist and author who penned 20 novels and won nearly every literary prize awarded in his native country.

Despite his literary success, his name is unfamiliar to most American audiences, as only 11 of his works have been translated into English. World Language professor Teresa Boucher wants to change that. “Love Letters from a Voluptuous Sexagenarian” is the first English translation of “Cartas de Amor de un Sexagenario Voluptuoso,” originally published in 1983.


list of Hemingway Center events for the 17-18 school year

picture of professor Emily WakildEmily Wakild

Department of History

Emily Wakild presented a  paper and chaired a panel at an invited conference in Guadalajara, Mexico, Nov. 23-24.  The conference, sponsored by the University of Guadalajara and the University of Bielefeld in Germany, was titled “The Colonial Side of Natural Patrimony.”  Wakild contributed a paper about the role of extinction in creating national monuments in southern Patagonia, especially the extinct giant ground sloth, the Mylodon.

The conference forms part of an exciting new center for advanced study based out of the University of Guadalajara.


picture of WL professorsFatima Cornwall, Kelly Arispe, Amber Hoye

Department of World Languages

Fátima Cornwall, Spanish language coordinator, and Amber Hoye, World Languages Resource Center director, delivered a one-hour presentation titled “Best of PNCFL: A Teacher’s Toolbox: Comprehensible Input Strategies for Language Educators.” Their presentation was nominated by the Pacific Northwest Council for Foreign Languages (PNCFL) and the Executive Board of the Idaho Association of Teachers of Language and Culture (IATLC) to represent the organizations at the American Council for the Teaching of Foreign languages (ACTFL) annual conference in Nashville, Tennessee. The presentation was selected from the IATLC conference, which took place in Pocatello, last October.


picture of professor Michael CallahanMichael Callahan

Assistant Professor
Department of Chemistry

Michael Callahan was co-author on an article recently published in the prestigious journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America titled “Early Neolithic wine of Georgia in the South Caucasus.”

The research involved an international collaboration that took place over multiple years and provides the earliest biomolecular archaeological evidence of winemaking in the Near East, ca. 5900-5500 BC.

The article has sparked national and international media attention and its findings have been published in National Geographic, The New York Times, The Guardian and Newsweek, among others.


The College of Arts and Sciences enhances the scientific, ethical, and cultural foundation of our society through education, research, creative activity, and community engagement, thereby improving individual and collective quality of life.  Our faculty, staff, and students discover and share knowledge, understand and appreciate diversity, create and analyze art, and engage and enrich our local and global communities. The College of Arts and Sciences is made up of sixteen departments, fiveinterdisciplinary programs and six research units.