In his State of the University address last month, President Schimpf said, “I don’t think it’s in Boise State’s DNA to sit around while we wait for a new president, do you?” As you’ll see in this month’s stories, my colleagues in the College of Arts and Sciences powerfully and variously confirm the answer to his rhetorical question.
The challenge for me is not to bring you good stories each month, but to choose among the many outstanding examples of the faculty and students making new discoveries, creating new work, forging new connections, and making our campus and our community an even more vibrant place. As I look around the college, I’m deeply and genuinely impressed by the energy, the commitment, and the scale of accomplishment. It’s a great time to be at Boise State, don’t you think?
Interim Dean, College of Arts and Sciences
Boise State University
BOISE STATE PROFESSORS RECEIVE MORE THAN $1 MILLION TO UNDERSTAND NATURAL HAZARDS AND HUMAN RESPONSE
Boise State Associate Professor Brittany Brand from the Department of Geosciences recently secured two hazard and risk-related grants totaling more than $1 million from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The two grants explore diverse concepts related to hazards, risk and preparing for future natural disasters – from the science of disasters to the psychology behind disaster response.
“The overall theme of my research is understanding and reducing our risk to natural hazards,” said Brand. The volcanology project, led by Brand and Department of Geosciences Assistant Professor Dorsey Wanless, is titled “When Good Volcanoes go Bad: Exploring the Magmatic, Crustal, and Conduit Conditions Required for Mafic, Plinian Volcanism.” This project received a $519,000 grant from NSF programs within the Division of Earth Sciences.
Brand, Wanless and two Boise State Ph.D. students will explore how volcanoes that typically produce mild activity may suddenly shift behavior, resulting in devastating, explosive eruptions.
VISUAL ARTS CENTER OPENS NEW EXHIBITION SEASON
The Visual Arts Center will open its 2018-2019 season in both galleries with “Pulped Under Pressure” which will continue through Oct. 25 in the Visual Arts Center/Hemingway Center Room 110 and “Swimming and Diving” will continue through Oct. 29 in the Visual Arts Center/Liberal Arts Building Room 170.
With traditional hand papermaking at its core, “Pulped Under Pressure” encourage contemplation even as they urge acknowledgment of current issues. The artists’ multifaceted projects start simply with a foundation of pulp made from natural fibers then incorporate a rich range of printmaking, letterpress, paper cutting, sculpture and installation techniques with a diversity of recycled disposable materials. The featured artists consider paper beyond its most common function as a passive surface of record or craft, transforming it and embedding it with meaning.
The project “Swimming and Diving” by Boise artists Maria Chavez and Eli Craven started with the discovery of a set of American Red Cross safety manuals. From a contemporary point of view, the contents of the manuals contained narrow representations of safety.
BOISE STATE RECEIVES SHARE OF $6 MILLION TO UNDERSTAND, MANAGE RESISTANCE TO TOXINS
Two Boise State University researchers, in collaboration with colleagues in Nevada and Wyoming, have secured a $6 million award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to predict and manage the interactions between toxic plants and the animals that consume these plants.
Jennifer Sorensen Forbey and Eric Hayden, associate professors in the Department of Biological Sciences at Boise State, will help lead the project, titled “Genomes Underlying Toxin Tolerance,” known as GUTT. The GUTT team will reveal how herbivores and their gut microbes tolerate defensive toxins produced by the wild plants they consume.
Increased understanding of plant toxins and herbivore tolerance is important for a variety of people — conservation biologists who manage native plants and herbivores, the ranching and agricultural community that rely on plants to feed livestock and rely on chemicals to defend crops from pests, and the medical community that relies on plant-derived chemicals to manage human health, Forbey said.
CREATIVE WRITING FACULTY MEMBERS GIVING PRESENTATIONS IN KETCHUM IDAHO
“Conversations with Exceptional Women: Finding Her Voice” is a literary event presented by the Alturas Institute in partnership with The Community Library in Ketchum, Sept. 27-28 at the library, 415 Spruce Ave. N.
Emily Ruskovich, author of the novel “Idaho” and an assistant professor of creative writing, and Elizabeth Gutting, a lecturer of creative writing, are among the featured speakers, including Jody Williams, Nobel Peace Prize recipient, and Diane McWhorter, recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.
Ruskovich has garnered glowing reviews for “Idaho” by the New York Times and the Guardian, among other publications.
Ruskovich was raised in northern Idaho and received her MFA from the prestigious Iowa Writers’ Workshop. In 2015, her short story “Owl” appeared in The O. Henry Prize Stories. In addition, her short stories and essays have appeared in Virginia Quarterly Review, One Story, Zoetrope, The Atlantic, Paris Review and elsewhere. Her novel recently has been optioned for television. She previously taught at the University of Colorado, Denver. More information about her and her work can be found on her website.
Gutting has an MFA in fiction writing from George Mason University. She was the program director of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation. She is now the program coordinator of the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Boise State University. Her essays have appeared in The New York Times and The Washington Post, and her fiction has been published by Juked and Paper Darts, among others.
Scholarships for the Ketchum event are available. Tickets are free for students. General ticket price is $110.
DID BATS INVENT FIREFLIES? NEW STUDY FROM BARBER LAB SUGGESTS THEY DID
Imagine a warm summer evening on the porch. Flashing fireflies float across the darkening landscape. These lights are mating signals exchanged between males and females. Now, a new study from the Barber Lab at Boise State University has uncovered an additional purpose for these impressive light displays and slow flight patterns: they act as bat deterrents.
Beneath their glowing exterior, many fireflies (which are actually beetles, not flies) contain toxic compounds that make them taste bad to bats. When researchers offered bats chemically defended fireflies, the bats shook their heads and coughed after taking just one bite. To test how fireflies (Photinus pyralis) warn their nocturnal predators that they will not make a good meal, researchers staged battles in a dark flight room on Boise State University’s campus between fireflies and bats that had never previously encountered this prey.
High-speed video footage and ultrasonic acoustic recordings revealed that after four nights of hunting fireflies, bats no longer attempted to catch this prey.
“Since at least the 19th century, naturalists have hypothesized that fireflies warn bats of their offensiveness, and now, we provide definitive evidence,” said Brian Leavell, former manager of the Barber Lab, a Ph.D. student at Purdue University, and lead author of a paper on the study RECENTLY PUBLISHED IN SCIENCE ADVANCES.
RARE AMAZON TRIBE EXHIBITION COMES TO BOISE STATE
An exciting and rare glimpse into one of the world’s last remaining Amazonian tribes comes to Boise State from October 18, 2018 to February 1, 2019 at the Ron and Linda Yanke Research Center gallery.
“The Ese’Eja People of the Amazon: Connected By A Thread” shares one of the few extant foraging societies of the Amazon basin and the ways the tribe is endangered by environmental degradation due to illegal gold mining and deforestation.
The Ese’Eja (EH-see-AY-ha), are a hunter-gatherer-fisher group in southwestern Peru. Their name derives from their autonym, Ece’je, which means “people” and they are also known as The True People. This fascinating exhibit speaks to many university areas such as art, anthropology, environmental science and global culture.
LITERATURE FOR LUNCH READING SERIES TACKLES THE ULTIMATE CLASSIC
The Hemingway Literary Center of the English Department at Boise State is celebrating 200 years since the birth of Herman Melville, author of the much-celebrated “Moby-Dick.” The center invites the community to watch for talks and readings throughout the upcoming fall and spring celebrating Melville@200 and the influence of his work on art and culture.
In addition, Literature for Lunch, the popular and long-lived public reading series, also will focus on Melville. The group will meet once a month at the Boise Public Library to discuss “Moby-Dick” — so if you’ve always wanted to read the classic, here’s your chance to do it, section by section, enhanced by inspired conversation.
Here’s the schedule:
- Friday, Sept. 28, chapter 1 “Loomings” to chapter 39 “First Night-Watch”
- Friday, Oct. 26, chapter 40 “Midnight, Forecastle” to chapter 72 “The Monkey-Rope”
- Friday, Nov. 16, chapter 73 “Stub and Flask Kill a Right Whale; and Then Have a Talk Over Him” to chapter 105 “Does the Whale’s Magnitude Diminish? — Will He Perish?”
- Friday, Dec. 7, chapter 106 “Ahab’s Leg” to the Epilogue.
FIRST FRIDAY ASTRONOMY LECTURE: OCT. 5
“HiRISE: Ultra-High-Resolution Images of Mars” with Nicole Baugh, University of Arizona.
HiRISE (High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment) is the most powerful camera ever sent to another planet, one of six instruments onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Launched in 2005, it arrived at Mars in 2006 and has been imaging ever since. The camera’s high-resolution capability (imaging up to 30 centimeters per pixel) has helped select landing sites for robotic and future human exploration, captured rovers in mid-descent, imaged avalanches in progress, and discovered dark flows that may be briny seeps.
Join Boise State Physics on Oct 5 at 7:30p in the Science and Education Building, room 112 (goo.gl/maps/3Pw2Kno5DAK2) to hear Nicole Baugh, HiRISE Uplink Planning Lead, discuss details of HiRISE image planning and discoveries from the HiRISE instrument. After the lecture, at 8:30 p.m., we will stargaze (weather permitting). This event is free and open to the public.
— Bio —
Nicole Baugh is the Uplink Planning Lead for the HiRISE instrument. After earning an MS in Planetary Science from the University of Arizona, Nicole joined the HiRISE operations team in 2008. She collaborates with team scientists and MRO mission personnel to acquire high-quality data products (and beautiful imagery).
BOISE STATE MUSIC FACULTY PUBLISHES BOOK
Brian Hodges co-authored a book titled “Cello Secrets: Over 100 Performance Strategies for the Advanced Cellist.” It was published by Rowman and Littlefield in July.
A summary of the book: “Cello Secrets” explains over 100 of the most helpful insider tricks cellists use to master the instrument. With each technique carefully explained and illustrated, the book serves as an accessible textbook for all advanced cello players, from talented teenagers to college students, to conservatory pre-professionals. This book guides advanced students through technical maintenance and performance preparation, helping them beyond what can be covered in lessons. Co-written by Brian Hodges and Jo Nardolillo, these tips grow from extensive study of the art of high-level teaching with many of today’s leading pedagogues and have been developed into strategies, tricks, and techniques that are taught in masterclasses and seminars around the country.
COAS IN ACTION
Department of Art
Anika Smulovitz marks several accomplishments in 2018.
The Idaho Commission on the Arts awarded Smulovitz a Fellowship in Visual Arts. Smulovitz spent a residency at the Smitten Forum at Ghost Ranch in New Mexico and was chosen by a jury to become an artisan member of the Society of American Silversmiths.
Her work was featured in several past exhibitions.
Department of English
Ralph Clare published the essay, “Metaffective Fiction: Structuring Feeling in Contemporary American Literature,” in the journal Textual Practice. The essay explores the role of affect in Vladimir Nabokov’s 1962 novel “Pale Fire” and Doug Dorst and J.J. Abram’s 2013 novel “S.” and argues that contemporary fiction heralds a unique, self-aware treatment of affect and emotion that is distinct from that of its postmodern predecessor. The essay is the seed of Clare’s latest book project, “Metaffective Fiction.”
Jill Heney, Heidi Naylor and Debra Purdy
Department of English
Jill Heney, Heidi Naylor and Debra Purdy gave a panel presentation at the Computers and Writing Conference at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, in May. Their talk was titled “Engaging Pedagogies for Student Success in Undergraduate Service Courses: Using Practical Wisdom to Make Good Courses Great.” It presented findings from two studies, one funded by the National Science Foundation, both investigating student participation and engagement in introductory service courses. The studies helped shed light on instructional factors that foster persistence, engagement, and success in early-stage college study.
- 28: Literature for Lunch
- Oct 7: Boise State Fall Choral Collage Concert
- 17: Graduate School and Career Fair
- Oct. 28: Boise State Symphony Orchestra and Jazz Orchestra “Spook-tacula” Concert
ABOUT THE COLLEGE OF ARTS AND SCIENCES
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, fiveinterdisciplinary programs and six research units