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2018 May Newsletter

picture of header and students of COAS newsletter

May, 2018

Dear friends,

As the wind-down month of the academic calendar, May is a time when there’s some temptation for faculty, staff, and students to rest on our laurels.  The accomplishments of the fall and spring semesters, the grandeur of our twin spring commencement ceremonies, awards and accolades… There is so much to be proud of and to celebrate.

Despite that temptation, the urgency of our mission in research, education, and community engagement doesn’t allow us to take more than a momentary break from projects and classes.  (Indeed, the first summer session began on the Monday immediately following finals week.)

But we do celebrate, and I invite you to join us.

Thank you for your interest in the College of Arts and Sciences.


Tony Roark

Dean, College of Arts and Sciences
Boise State University

Boise State Celebrates Record-Breaking Commencement

picture of spring commencement 2018 graduates

Boise State University honored spring graduates during two commencement ceremonies May 5 in Taco Bell Arena. Together they drew a record 1,966 students.

In total, 2,682 students were eligible to receive 2,935 degrees and certificates. Of those, 647 were eligible for honors: 383 cum laude, 203 magna cum laude, and 61 summa cum laude. Twenty-one doctoral degrees were awarded.

list of graduates by state and hometown is available here.

Boise State’s spring commencement was the final one under the leadership of President Bob Kustra. Spring numbers are expected to bring the total number of Boise State graduates to around 4,400 for this academic year. The university has graduated a record-setting number of undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students in each of the past nine years.

“President Kustra has led this university as president through an unprecedented era of growth, development and student-centered accomplishment, and his leadership has brought an increase in the national and international recognition of this very excellent institution,” said Idaho State Board of Education trustee Andrew Scoggin, who delivered remarks on behalf of the board. “Bob Kustra has left an indelible mark on the history of Boise State University.”

READ THE FULL STORY HERE: Boise State Celebrates…>

Boise State Team Awarded Grant to Combat Breast Cancer Metastasis in Bone

picture of bio-chem grant team

A Boise State University research team comprised of Cheryl Jorcyk, a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and the director of clinical translational research, professor Don Warner and assistant professor Matt King from the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, recently was awarded a $200,000 METAvivor grant to develop a potential therapeutic for advanced breast cancer metastasis to bone.

As Jorcyk explained, despite new breast cancer therapies and improved screening and detection methods, the survival rate for Stage IV metastatic breast cancer patients remains low. Many patients with metastatic disease suffer from bone metastases, which is why Jorcyk and her team are working to develop an anti-inflammatory therapy with minimal side-effects that would reduce or eliminate breast cancer bone metastasis and prolong lives.

“Almost 80 percent of all women with metastatic breast cancer have metastasis to bone, so a novel therapeutic with a low side-effect profile would be beneficial for patients by reducing or eliminating breast cancer bone metastases and prolonging lives,” Jorcyk said.

The Boise State team received one of 12 national grants totaling $1.65 million from the metastatic breast cancer research, awareness and support organization. Since its founding in 2009, METAvivor has put 100 percent of donations into its peer-reviewed research grant program.

READ THE FULL STORY HERE: Boise State Team Awarded Grant…>

Boise State Student Translators Share Their Talents With Make-A-Wish Idaho

picture of spanish studentsMake-A-Wish Idaho, a nonprofit that provides meaningful experiences for children facing life-threatening medical conditions, recently partnered with 22 students from Boise State’s Spanish 381 Introduction to Court Interpretation class to translate 30 forms and documents into Spanish.

The organization’s forms had been available only in English, limiting the number of families who could use Make-A-Wish services.

The students translated the documents free of charge. Instructor Fatima Cornwall from Boise State’s World Languages Department approved the translations that had been proofread by other students.

READ THE FULL STORY HERE: Boise State Student Translators…>

Chemistry Dept.’s Karen Hammond is Boise State’s Professional Staff of the Year

picture of Chemisty staff member Karen Hammond

Boise State’s Professional Staff Association has selected Karen Hammond, student support manager from the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, as the winner the 2018 Professional Staff of the Year Award.

Hammond earned her degree at Boise State and has been a Boise State employee for 14 years. Staffers from across the university, as well as community members, school children, former students and departmental colleagues, all submitted letters on Hammond’s behalf. Colleagues described her as “passionate,” “generous,” “bright,” “selfless” and “simply exceptional.”

A statement from the Professional Staff Association reads:

“An individual who puts students first in every interaction, Karen is dedicated to not only meeting the needs of our students at Boise State, but is engaging future generations, sparking a love and interest in science in them as well. In her department, she has served as an instructor, advisor, student advocate and is a leader, keeping all aspects of the department running from managing the concurrent enrollment program and service on committees, to coordination of classes and instructors, HR initiatives and department finances. Her outreach activities not only involve tours and meetings with prospective students and transfer students, but also increasing the accessibility of her science field to kids and underserved populations.”


Wondering About Blazars? Check Out the First Friday Astronomy Lecture on June 1

picture of Boise State ObservatoryBlazars are intensely bright sources of radiation nestled deep in the hearts of galaxies billions of light-years from Earth. Typically associated with supermassive black holes at the centers of these galaxies, blazars are among the most energetic phenomena in the universe.

Join the Boise State Physics Department at 8 p.m. Friday, June 1, in the Science and Education Building, Room 112, to hear professor Daryl Macomb of the Boise State physics department speak about these exotic objects and how data collected at Boise State’s own Challis Observatory are helping unravel their mysteries.


Boise State Research Team Wins Conference Award

picture of math research teamThe Video Case Analysis of Student Thinking (VCAST) research team, led by Laurie Cavey (Mathematics), Michele Carney (Curriculum, Instruction and Foundational Studies), Patrick Lowenthal (Educational Technology), Tatia Totorica (IDoTeach), and Jason Libberton (Idaho State University), won the outstanding paper award in mathematics education with their conference paper titled, “Video Case Analysis of Students’ Mathematical Thinking: Initial Development Process.” The award was recognized at the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education conference in Washington, D.C. earlier this spring.

Boise State Remembers Errol Jones, Professor of History Emeritus


Emeritus Boise State professor Errol Jones died on Friday, April 20, at his home in the Boise Foothills.

A statement from the Department of History described Jones as “a champion of the underprivileged, a humanitarian who fought to defend people in flight from oppression, a public scholar and social progressive who never lost faith in history’s power to elevate and build.”

Jones did not want a funeral, but a “memorial toast” in his honor took place at 2 p.m. Saturday, May 5, at the Flicks Theater.

Jones earned a Ph.D. in 1971 from Texas Christian University specializing in Latin American history. From 1971-1976 he taught at the Universidad de las Amerícas in Mexico. Winner of a Latin American Teaching Fellowship for Brazil from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, he taught and did research at the Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Brazil until 1979 when he became director of the Utah History Fair at Utah State University. He joined the Department of History at Boise State in 1982. He served as department chair from 1992-1999. Jones’ many honors include receiving a Mayor’s Award for Excellence in the Field of History from the City of Boise in 2015.



picture of professor karen UehlingLisa McClain

Department of History

Lisa McClain has published a new book published by Palgrave MacMillan and titled, “Divided Loyalties? Pushing the Boundaries of Gender and Lay Roles in the Catholic Church 1534-1829.”

Here is a brief description of the book:

Since his election in 2013, Pope Francis I has engaged the estimated 1.2 billion Catholics and innumerable non-Catholics worldwide with his frank, inclusive talk on issues as diverse as poverty and homosexuality. At a time when many seem confused by the church’s apparent willingness to reconsider its traditions regarding some issues, like divorce, but not others, such as women’s ordination, McClain’s work provides history, context and insight revealing how ordinary Catholics and the Catholic Church have successfully navigated such challenges and controversies before without undermining the faith, family or society.


picture of french lecturer Hortense SagetHortense Saget

French Lecturer

Department of World Languages

Hortense Saget, a lecturer in the Department of World Languages, recently was invited to Washington, D.C. to attend a celebration April 24where French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife, Brigitte Macron, were guests.

Saget described the event:

“The cocktail celebration took place at the French Embassy. Président Macron started the ceremony by awarding the Légion d’Honneur, France’s highest order of merit for military and civil merits, to three World War II veterans: Robert Ewald who participated in D-Day at Omaha Beach, Stanley Rzudidlo who landed on Gold Beach on June 7, 1944, and William Barr who was in the Air Force and dropped bombs on German forces in Normandy and North of France.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE: French Department Lecturer invited to Washington, D.C….>

picture of Asst. Biology professor Trevor CaughlinTrevor Caughlin

Assistant Professor
Department of Biology

A new study published in the journal Global Change Biology and led by Trevor Caughlin and Anand Roopsind sheds light on how to balance timber production and carbon storage in tropical forests. The article is titled “Trade-offs between carbon stocks and timber recovery in tropical forests are mediated by logging intensity.”

Tropical forests provide critical ecosystem services for life on Earth including climate protection by storing large amounts of carbon. One big challenge is that these forests are located in poor countries where improvement of human livelihoods is paramount.




The College of Arts and Sciences enhances the cultural, ethical, artistic, and scientific foundations 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, five interdisciplinary programs and six research units.