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August 2016 COAS Monthly Newsletter

College of Arts and Sciences monthly update

August 2016

Tony RoarkDear Friend,

With the fall semester now underway, classrooms, laboratories, and studios are humming with activity.  Familiar rhythms and routines are infused with new energy and a sense of expansive possibilities. It’s a joy to experience.

This rejuvenation of the time-tested is evident in my junior-level class on ancient Greek philosophy.  My students never fail to bring fresh perspectives to bear on Plato and Aristotle, finding ways to make ideas from antiquity relevant and applicable.  Even though I’ve been teaching the class for more than two decades, I invariably learn and benefit from our collective inquiry.

And so it is with the entire College of Arts and Sciences, the diverse intellectual community that it is.  We are always looking for new ways of engaging with the broadest possible range of phenomena and human interests — and to build meaningful connections between people as we do so.

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

Sincerely,

Tony Roark

Dean, College of Arts and Sciences
Boise State University

 

picture of seasquirts

Boise State Physicist Extracts Lessons from Sea Squirts

There are a bewildering variety of chemical processes and mechanical forces at play in a single living cell. While much remains to be learned, progress has been made in determining which molecules within cells trigger specific biochemical reactions. Researchers refer to the components of these biochemical systems as “modules.” Meanwhile, mechanical forces and the molecular signals a cell uses to regulate them remain relatively unexplored.

Now, a newly formed research team, financed by an innovative Scialog Award, will attempt to discover at least a few mechanical modules by focusing on a specific system of broad interest — cell extrusion in epithelial sheets. Epithelial tissues line organs, cavities and blood vessels throughout an animal’s body; epithelial cells form sheets by connecting to one another via their lateral membranes.

READ MORE ABOUT MATTHEW FERGUSON’S STUDY HERE>


Choral Director Adding Some Seoul to Music Program

South Korea is known for many things: electronics, automobiles Program of music professor Michael Porter's trip to Koreanand education, to name a few. Less well known is its long tradition of choral music; this small Asian country supports professional choirs in all of its major cities as well as a variety of community, school and church choirs.

Michael Porter, assistant professor and director of choral music at Boise State University, recently traveled to South Korea to work with and observe several of these groups. He was part of a seven-person delegation selected by the American Choral Directors Association to spend 10 days as guests in South Korea. While there, he worked with both children’s and professional choirs in the cities of Seoul and Cheongju.

READ MORE ABOUT ASSISTANT PROFESSOR MICHAEL PORTER HERE >


Local TV Meteorologist Finds Success in the Classroom

picture of adam behrmanHistory graduate student and local meteorologist Adam Behrman successfully defended his MA thesis on July 27, 2016.

His thesis, entitled “Selling Narratives of a Mexico in Crisis: Environmental Reporting in Excélsior  and Uno Más Uno, 1983-84,” examines the diverse environmental narratives found in stories published by two Mexican national newspapers during a period of economic and environmental crisis.

He argues that the popularity of environmental issues permitted column space for journalists, environmentalists, researchers, rural peasants, the urban poor, and government administrators to present their many different environmental narratives for the reading public’s consideration.

READ MORE ABOUT ADAM’S DEGREE JOURNEY HERE>


picture of friendship bridge

Boise State, UI Team Up to Offer Affordable Law Degree

Boise State University and University of Idaho Law School have launched a joint law degree program that affirms their commitment to creating a partnership to expedite the training of legal professionals.

The 3+3 Law Degree Program will allow qualified students to complete their undergraduate and law school education in less time: three years at Boise State, followed by the three-year juris doctor program at University of Idaho.

The agreement is similar to one signed earlier this year with Concordia Law and offers Boise State students additional expedited options to achieve their educational goals.

READ MORE ABOUT LAW SCHOOL PARTNERSHIP WITH U OF I HERE >


Team Wraps up First Year at Italian Archaeological Site

Archaeology team lead by Katie HuntleyA team headed by Katie Huntley, assistant professor of ancient history and archaeology at Boise State, has discovered a structure under an Italian field that could be the remains of a large temple.

The group, comprising students and research faculty from Boise State University, Texas Tech University and England’s Leicester University, is establishing excavation plans in the ancient Roman colony of Libarna, Italy, located near present-day Serravalle Scrivia. Huntley is directing the project with Texas Tech’s Hannah Friedman and Leicester’s Penelope Allison.

READ MORE ABOUT HISTORY PROFESSOR KATIE HUNTLEY HERE >


image of graphic flexs

Graphene Flexes its Muscles in Boise State Study

A team of researchers from Boise State University, led by Eric Krueger and David Estrada, have published an article in the American Chemical Society’s Biomaterials Science and Engineering journal.

Titled “Graphene Foam as a 3-dimensional Platform for Myotube Growth,” it focuses on a study demonstrating the suitability of graphene foam as a scaffold for growing functional muscle tissue. Graphene foam is an emerging 3D version of graphene, a layer of carbon so thin it is considered 2-dimensional.

Ultimately, researchers hope that the unique properties of graphene and graphene foam can be used to regenerate 3-dimensional tissues and organs for implantation into the human body. Past studies have confirmed bone and cartilage growth on graphene foam, but this is the first known study of its compatibility with muscle growth.

READ MORE ABOUT THE BOISE STATE STUDY HERE >


New Direction, Vision for Idaho Center for History and Politics

picture of the state capitol dome and the Boise State B flagIn July, associate professor of political science Justin Vaughn and history professor Jill Gill became acting co-directors of the Idaho Center for History and Politics, taking the reigns from its founder, history professor Todd Shallat. The co-directors have big plans for the 12-year-old center, which include bringing more focus on the essential interaction between politics and history.

The center will officially kick off its new vision with a free screening of the film “Lincoln,” from 6-9:30 p.m. Sept. 7 in the Student Union Special Events Center.
In a Q & A, Gill and Vaughn describe their plans for the center:

READ THE Q & A  ABOUT THE CENTER FOR HISTORY AND POLITICS HERE >


Multi-agency Project Uses Lidar to Assess Risks, Ecosystem Restoration

picture of a mapBoise State University (lead), along with Nez Perce County, Nez Perce Tribe and the Idaho Office of Emergency Management, was awarded $244,000 from the U.S. Geological Survey 3D Elevation Program for a project titled “Multi-hazard Risk Assessment and Ecosystem Restoration in Idaho: Nez Perce Tribe, Nez Perce County, and Clearwater Watershed.”

The project will collect lidar (three-dimensional information about the land surface) to assess post-fire hazards, including landslides and floods, and ecosystem rehabilitation in the Clearwater region in North Idaho.

READ MORE ABOUT THE MULTI-AGENCY PROJECT HERE >


Researchers Using Aerial Systems to Map ‘Tasty’ Sagebrush

A joint research team from Boise State University, the picture of professor Jen ForbeyUniversity of Idaho, Idaho State University and Washington State University will conduct research on sagebrush habitat using unmanned aerial systems (UAS) in Lemhi County July 18-20.

The work is part of collaborative research programs funded by the National Science Foundation, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Idaho Department of Fish and Game to understand why pygmy rabbits and sage-grouse choose certain types of sagebrush for food and not others, and how those choices influence how these animals use habitats.

The researchers will fly a small quad-copter over sagebrush patches at 25-50 feet above ground on BLM lands to capture images of sagebrush plants. The copter will carry a camera that records reflected light in many different color bands in contrast to the three bands of color (red, green and blue) that make up regular photos.

READ MORE ABOUT ARIAL SYSTEMS MAPPING HERE >


Boise State University Fine Arts Building. A state-of-the-art facility for fine arts that complements and deepens Boise State's involvement in the city and region's celebrated arts and culture community. Click here to learn more.


COAS IN ACTION

Michal Temkin MartinezPhoto of Michal Temkin Martinez

Associate Professor
Department of English

Michal Temkin Martinez, associate professor of English and director of the Mary Ellen Ryder Linguistics Lab, participated in the 2016 Institute of Collaborative Language Research (CoLang) June 20-July 1. In addition to teaching a course on “Integrating experimental methods, language documentation, and (linguistic) theory,” she delivered a plenary talk, titled “Language documentation in our own front yard: working on documentation projects with refugees and students in the U.S.”

READ MORE ABOUT MICHAL’S PRESENTATION HERE>


Jennifer Piercepicture of Jennifer Pierce

Associate Professor
Department of Geosciences

A guest opinion piece written by Jennifer Pierce titled “Idaho needs to focus on preventable fires” was published in the Idaho Statesman. Pierce noted that while global climate change is driving longer fire seasons and hotter summers, many fires are human caused and preventable. She proposes a series of discussions with land managers, public health workers, the National Interagency Fire Center, researchers, government officials and the public to address ways to reduce human-caused fires. To join the discussion, mail jenpierce@boisestate.edu.


Marla Hansenpicture of Marla Hansen

Associate Professor
Department of Theatre Arts 

Marla Hansen, head of the dance program in the Department of Theatre Arts and artistic director of Idaho Dance Theatre (IDT), was profiled in a story in Boise Weekly looking at some of the city’s “Artists of Stage, Screen and Book Shelf.” IDT is a professional company in residence at the university and was founded in 1989 by Hansen and her husband. Also profiled in the story are alumnus and adjunct professor Christian Winn, who was named Writer in Residence by the Idaho Commission on the Arts; and playwright Heidi Kraay, a graduate of Boise State’s Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program.

READ MORE ABOUT MARLA’S PROFILE HERE


UPCOMING EVENTS


ABOUT THE COLLEGE OF ARTS AND SCIENCES
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, six interdisciplinary programs and six research units.