Colorado College News: Biology, Avukile Zoya ’17 Named Princeton in Africa Fellow Mon, 10 Apr 2017 09:45:00 MDT ]]> <p><strong>Avukile Zoya &rsquo;17</strong>, an international student from South Africa, has received a highly competitive, yearlong <a href="">Princeton in Africa</a> fellowship. Zoya, a molecular biology major and Spanish minor at Colorado College, will be working with the Baylor International Pediatric AIDS Initiative (BIPAI) in Gaborone, Botswana.<br /><br />She is one of 49 graduating seniors and young alumni from a host of schools around the country who will be working with 31 organizations in 15 African countries next year.<br /><br />The organization she will be working with is the largest provider of pediatric HIV care and treatment in the world. BIPAI treats more than 300,000 children and adolescents in more than a dozen countries and continues to expand its treatment of other conditions that impact the health and the well-being of children and families worldwide. The Botswana-Baylor Children's Clinical Center of Excellence, an extension of BIPAI, is the first of its kind on the African continent. It provides state-of-the-art care and treatment for more than 4,000 HIV-infected children and families from Botswana, both at the center and through its decentralized clinical mentoring program.<br /><br />&ldquo;I have always been certain that I would return to Africa after CC and give back to the nation that has given and provided me with so much,&rdquo; says Zoya. &ldquo;I am so excited to return and work in the field that I am most passionate about, i.e., public health, and to work with HIV and AIDS adolescents by empowering them to surpass their circumstances and harness their true potential.&rdquo; Zoya says her passion was solidified during previous summers when she worked with youth on public health-related issues in South Africa and Colombia. &ldquo;I think the fellowship will be a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the public health field in Africa and broaden my perspective, culturally and professionally,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;Additionally, this experience will be the platform on which I can build when I attend public health school in the near future.&rdquo;<br />&nbsp;<br />Zoya is the third Colorado College student to receive the prestigious fellowship. <strong>Anu Atre &rsquo;13 </strong>was a fellow in Ethiopia and<strong> Lauren Schmidt &rsquo;16</strong> currently is a fellow in Uganda.<br /><br />Princeton in Africa, which has a strong service and leadership focus, seeks to develop young leaders committed to Africa&rsquo;s advancement. Each year, approximately 50 yearlong fellows are paired with organizations that focus on everything from education and public health to civil advocacy and humanitarian aid. The program was founded in 1999 and has placed 500 fellows in a range of career fields in 36 countries.</p> Jane Lubchenco ’69 Awarded Public Welfare Medal Tue, 07 Feb 2017 10:45:00 MST ]]> <p><strong>By Laurie Laker &rsquo;12<br /><br /></strong>Colorado College alumna Jane Lubchenco &rsquo;69 has been awarded the Public Welfare Medal by the National Academy of Sciences. The award, announced on Jan. 30, is the Academy's most prestigious, presented annually to honor individuals who have continued to demonstrate the extraordinary use of science for the public good.<br /><br />Lubchenco, currently the Distinguished Professor of Marine Science at Oregon State University, majored in biology at Colorado College. Since her time at CC, the Denver native has had a prolific career in the sciences, as a researcher, educator, and public servant. With a master&rsquo;s degree in zoology from the University of Washington and a Ph.D. in ecology from Harvard University, she is an internationally renowned authority on oceans, biodiversity, climate change, and human-environmental interaction.<br /><br />The first woman administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration from 2009 to 2013, Lubchenco also has served as the president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the president of the International Council for Science, and the president of the Ecological Society of America. Additionally, she was a board member of the National Science Board for 10 years, was appointed to the Board of Trustees of the National Geographic Society in 2013, and took a position on the Harvard Board of Overseers in 2014. Lubchenco also completed a two-year term as the first U.S. Science Envoy for the Oceans and Atmosphere, for which she was appointed by President Barack Obama in 2009.<br /><br />Returning to her undergraduate alma mater in 2014, Lubchenco gave the address at the 132<sup>nd</sup> Commencement ceremony.</p> Professor Emeritus of Biology Jim Enderson Passes Away Thu, 12 Jan 2017 11:15:00 MST ]]> <p>We&rsquo;re sad to announce Professor Emeritus of Biology Jim Enderson passed away on Jan 10. Enderson taught at CC for 39 years, from 1962 to 2001. In 2004, he received the Gresham Riley Award in recognition of his profound impact on the Colorado College community. A prolific scholar and pillar of the Department of Biology, his contributions will be deeply missed. His legacy of dedicated research and passionate scholarship continues through the Enderson Award in Conservation Biology, which is awarded to CC students involved in research that addresses biological conservation issues. Jim&rsquo;s family is planning a celebration of his life.</p> 3 Biology Majors Net NSF Graduate Research Fellowships Wed, 11 May 2016 11:45:00 MDT <p>The National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program recently announced its 2016 awardees, and three of the recipients are Colorado College biology majors, all of whom graduated <em>magna cum laude</em>. Receiving the NSF Graduate Research Fellowships are <strong>Kristen Wells &rsquo;13,</strong> <strong>Phoebe Parker-Shames &rsquo;13</strong>, and <strong>Isabel Jones &rsquo;12</strong>.&nbsp;Additionally, six recent CC alumni received honorable mentions.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;These individuals are wonderful examples of students with exceptional skills, motivation, and creativity,&rdquo; says Brian Linkhart, associate professor of organismal biology and ecology. &ldquo;Their research interests were sparked and nurtured through CC&rsquo;s unique brand of faculty support and mentoring, and they have propelled themselves into amazing opportunities after leaving CC.&rdquo;<br /> <br /> Wells is in the life sciences&ndash;genetics program at Stanford University&rsquo;s School of Medicine. She graduated <em>magna cum laude</em> with distinction with a Bachelor of Arts in biology. Distinction at Colorado College requires the completion and presentation of a thesis. Wells was awarded the Mary Alice Hamilton Award for outstanding biology major, William C. Champion Prize for outstanding organic chemistry student, and the Frank Henry John Figge Award for outstanding leadership in the Pre-Health Club.</p> <p>Parker-Shames received the James Enderson Award in Conservation Biology in 2013. The award honors a biology major who shows commitment and productivity in an original research project in conservation biology. Following graduation from CC, Parker-Shames worked as a research assistant for Kay Holekamp&rsquo;s spotted hyena research in Maasai Mara, Kenya, assisting graduate students with behavioral and ecological research. She plans to attend UC Berkeley in the Environmental Science Policy and Management Department, most likely working on a project focusing on the ecology and conservation of predators in human-impacted landscapes.</p> <p>Jones is a first-year Ph.D. student at Stanford University in the ecology and evolution track in the biology department. She did an honors thesis on the breeding ecology of flammulated owls after working on Linkhart&rsquo;s field crew while at CC and spent a summer working on a student-faculty collaborative research grant from the NSF for mathematical biology. &ldquo;My summer research positions greatly helped launch me into graduate school,&rdquo; Jones says. Jones was the recipient of the 2012 Richard and Reba Beidleman Award, which is presented to the student showing the greatest potential for becoming a professional ecologist or field biologist. Since graduation she has worked at the University of Colorado&mdash;Boulder studying disease ecology, specifically diseases affecting amphibians, which are of high conservation concern, and at a microbiology startup in the San Francisco area.<br /><br />Those receiving honorable mentions are <strong>Devon Cole &rsquo;13</strong>, geology; <strong>Skye McClure Greenler &rsquo;14</strong>, <em>cum laude</em> biology; <strong>Kyle Seewald Hemes &rsquo;11</strong>, <em>magna cum laude</em> environmental science; <strong>Jon Jacob Kirksey &rsquo;15</strong>, economics and education; <strong>Kira Olsen &rsquo;11</strong>, <em>cum laude</em> geology; and <strong>Kathryn Louise Reichard &rsquo;12</strong>, <em>cum laude</em> biology.</p> <p>The NSF received close to 17,000 applications this year, and made 2,000 award offers. Its Graduate Research Fellowship Program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based master&rsquo;s and doctoral degrees at accredited United States institutions.</p> Gretchen Hammer ’94 to Receive Livesay Award Mon, 02 May 2016 09:00:00 MDT <p><strong>Gretchen Hammer &rsquo;94</strong> is the recipient of the 2016 Livesay Award for Social Change and will receive the award at the annual <a href="">Public Interest Fellowship Program</a> (PIFP) dinner on Thursday, May 5.<br /><br />The PIFP board was extremely impressed with Hammer&rsquo;s dedication, inspiration, and vision for making a difference in Colorado in the years since her graduation from CC. Her work has included, among other things, a strong commitment to mobilizing coalitions, a vital role as a thought leader and advocate for health equity, and a passion for mentoring younger members of the nonprofit sector.<br /><br />Hammer, who graduated with a biology degree from Colorado College, currently is Colorado&rsquo;s Medicaid director, overseeing the office which administers public health insurance for more than a million low-income and disabled Coloradans, including Medicaid and the Child Health Plan Plus.&nbsp; Her career focus has been on leading change for a healthier Colorado.<br /><br />Before joining the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing in January 2015, Hammer was the executive director of the nonprofit Colorado Coalition for the Medically Underserved for six years. She also has served as chair and member of the Board of Directors for Connect for Health Colorado, on the Board of Directors for the Colorado Children&rsquo;s Health Care Access Program and the Anchor Center for Blind Children, and on the Board of Trustees for HealthONE.<br /><br />Early in her career, Hammer was a private consultant focused on leadership development, complex systems change initiatives, strategic planning, program management, and constituent engagement for numerous public serving organizations. She received a master&rsquo;s in public health from the University of Washington.<br /><br /><a href="">The Livesay Award</a> was created by the PIFP several years ago to honor &ldquo;a Colorado College alum who is living out the mission, spirit, and goals of PIFP in his or her life and career by contributing to systemic change, by increasing the capacity of the nonprofit sector, and by helping to build a new generation of nonprofit leaders.&rdquo;</p> Terry Leyden ’78 Officiates at NCAA Playoff Championship Mon, 11 Jan 2016 12:00:00 MST <p>It doesn&rsquo;t get any bigger than tonight&rsquo;s NCAA college football playoff national championship. The top two teams in college football will collide at the University of Phoenix Stadium, in Glendale, Arizona, just hours after the sun goes down. Inside that cauldron and under the brightest of floodlights, cheered on by more than 70,000 fans, Clemson University and the University of Alabama will battle it out.<br /><br />Last year&rsquo;s final drew an estimated 33.4 million viewers to ESPN, and this season&rsquo;s final is expected to do similar &ndash; if not stronger &ndash; numbers. A truly gigantic event, it is the biggest night in college football.<br /><br />One man, CC&rsquo;s own <strong>Terry Leyden &rsquo;78</strong> &ndash; the referee in the white hat accompanied by his team of officials &ndash; will be at the center of it all. Terry will be the official conducting the coin toss and announcing the penalties. He&rsquo;s been refereeing college football since 1986, and Monday&rsquo;s game will cap his 29th season of major collegiate refereeing.<br /><br />&ldquo;I&rsquo;m very, very excited &ndash; and a little anxious,&rdquo; Terry says. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s the pinnacle achievement of a college officiating career; everything about this game is huge.&rdquo;<br /><br />Growing up in a sporting family, Terry&rsquo;s father refereed high school and college football. &ldquo;I saw the passion he had for it, how much he loved it, so my own involvement felt like a natural progression,&rdquo; Terry says.<br /><br />Beginning his career in the fall of his senior year, Terry referred high school football from 1977 until 1986, when he stepped up to the college level. Working with smaller colleges, including CC, until 1995, Terry then joined the staff of the Western Athletic Conference. Following this, he worked with the Mountain West Conference until 2011, when he joined the Pac-12, the conference home to more NCAA national team championships than any other.<br /><br />&ldquo;Being a referee gives me the opportunity to be around and involved with the game without having to be a world-class athlete,&rdquo; Terry says. &ldquo;It has given me the chance to stay in touch with the game I love so much.&rdquo;<br /><br />A two-sport athlete at CC, playing both football and lacrosse, Terry graduated in 1978 with his degree in biology. &ldquo;I was really interested in wildlife biology, and anticipated returning to school after a few years of working,&rdquo; Terry says. With a wry laugh, he adds, &ldquo;That was 36 years ago!&rdquo;<br /><br />Since his graduation, Terry has been working in the employment recruitment and search industry, focusing on the scientific fields. Currently helping environmental and product safety scientists from across the country with their recruitment prospects, Terry has taken his collegiate scientific passions into his professional life. Founding The Leyden Group in 2003, Terry now &ndash; in his own words &ndash; &ldquo;lives science vicariously through recruitment, just as I live football vicariously on the weekends.&rdquo;<br /><br />Tonight, CC will be front and center in front of millions &ndash; watching, engaging, learning, listening, and deciding. As a CC grad, and proud Tiger, Terry wouldn&rsquo;t have it any other way.</p> Smithsonian Publishes Research by CC Student, Professor Thu, 10 Dec 2015 15:30:00 MST <p>An article in the <em>African Journal of Ecology</em> co-authored by <strong>Brooke Davis &rsquo;16</strong> and Professor of Organismal Biology and Ecology Jim Ebersole caught the eye of Australian freelance science writer Karl Gruber. Gruber followed up with them via email from Perth, wrote about their research, and sold the story to where it was published earlier this month.<br /><br /><a href="">&ldquo;Impalas Hang Out With Baboons for Sausage Fruits and Safety&rdquo;</a> notes that the study conducted by Davis and Ebersole &ldquo;is the first to provide solid data for an association between impalas and baboons that was originally noted more than 50 years ago,&rdquo; when researchers observed impalas eating seedpods and fruits dropped by baboons. At the time, the relationship between the Tanzanian duo was thought to be a casual affair, Gruber writes.</p> <p>Davis, a 2015 Barry Goldwater Scholar and organismal biology and ecology major at Colorado College, spent October and November of 2014 in the Tarangire National Park in Tanzania, conducting research on an Associated Colleges of the Midwest (ACM) program directed by Ebersole. Their research showed that the impalas have learned to shadow the baboons to find food and to take advantage of the extra sets of eyes looking for predators in the savannah.<br /> <br /> &ldquo;When I started my research in Tanzania, I not only noticed that impala and baboons were spending a lot of time together, but the impala were also actively following the baboons,&rdquo; Davis said. She notes that their association is not only about food; based on their behavior, it appears that the impalas feel safer when the baboons are around.&nbsp; &ldquo;When impalas were with baboons, they spent about half as much time with their heads up looking around as they did when baboons were not present,&rdquo; she said.</p> <p>The findings highlight the importance of looking at subtle relationships in the animal kingdom, said Ebersole. &ldquo;We know a fair bit about how predators affect prey and how directly-competing species influence each other, but we do not know enough about more subtle interactions such as this one. We hope that our study contributes to raising awareness of the importance of looking for and studying these types of relationships,&rdquo; he said.</p> <p>The <em>Smithsonian </em>article includes photos and video by Davis, a film studies minor. The <em>African Journal of Ecology</em> is a quarterly scientific journal focused on the ecology and conservation of the animals and plants of Africa, published by Blackwell Publishing in association with the East African Wildlife Society.&nbsp; Davis and Ebersole&rsquo;s research is available online, with the printed version due out soon.</p> Students, Alumnus Contribute to Upcoming Film Festival Fri, 30 Oct 2015 13:00:00 MDT <p>Colorado College has three connections to this year&rsquo;s <a href="">Rocky Mountain Women&rsquo;s Film Festival</a>,&nbsp;scheduled for Nov. 13-15.<br /><br />Films by two student filmmakers,<strong> Francesca Mastrianni &rsquo;18</strong>, a film and media studies major, and Jillian Banner, a visiting student from Carleton College, have been accepted into the 2015 festival. Additionally, the event includes an exclusive screening of &ldquo;Sherpa,&rdquo; Jennifer Preedom&rsquo;s film which features the high-altitude cinematography of <strong>Renan Ozturk &rsquo;02,</strong> who served as director of photography.<br /><br />Mastrianni&rsquo;s 8-minute film, &ldquo;Labor of Love,&rdquo; chronicles the experiences of two very different Arkansas Valley farmers; one a fourth-generation farmer, the other in his first year of farming. Banner&rsquo;s 9-minute film, &ldquo;Life by the Horns,&rdquo; explores the world of professional rodeo clowns. Both films were created in Colorado College&rsquo;s two-block summer course, <a href="">The Colorado Documentary Project</a>, taught by Assistant Professors of Film and Media Clay Haskell and Dylan Nelson. The two films will be shown in the same viewing block at the festival, which starts at 9:15 a.m., Sunday, Nov. 15, in the Celeste Theatre in the Edith Kinney Gaylord Cornerstone Arts Center, 825 N. Cascade Ave.<br /><br />CC&rsquo;s Colorado Documentary Project is dedicated to gripping storytelling, original research, and community-building through the production and distribution of documentary films about the region. Mastrianni worked with the Arkansas Valley Growers Association and the local Venetucci Farms, and Banner worked with the ProRodeo Hall of Fame to help find their stories.<br /><br />Ozturk, a biology major who discovered his passion for climbing while at CC, is fluent in Nepali, a globally recognized expedition climber, landscape artist, and filmmaker. He was one of the cinematographers for &ldquo;Meru,&rdquo; a documentary about the first ascent of the &ldquo;Shark&rsquo;s Fin&rdquo; route on Meru Peak in the Indian Himalayas.<br /><br />&ldquo;Sherpa,&rdquo; a 96-minute documentary, is Ozturk&rsquo;s first Everest climbing/filming trip. The director set out to uncover tension in the 2014 Everest climbing season from the Sherpas' point of view, and instead captured a tragedy when an avalanche struck, killing 16 Sherpas. The film shows how the Sherpas united after the tragedy in the face of fierce opposition. The 96-minute film is part of a double-feature that opens with &ldquo;Duke Riley Goes to China&rdquo; at 7 p.m.; Sherpa is scheduled to start at 8:20 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 14, in the Celeste Theatre in the Edith Kinney Gaylord Cornerstone Arts Center, 825 N. Cascade Ave.<br /><br />The Rocky Mountain Women&rsquo;s Film Festival is the oldest film festival in the country dedicated solely to films by and about women; it is very selective and highly regarded in the national film community. The festival takes place at Colorado College venues and the nearby Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center.</p> 'Genius Award' Goes to CC Alumnus Tue, 29 Sep 2015 14:30:00 MDT ]]> <p>John Novembre, a computational biologist who graduated <em>cum laude</em> from Colorado College in 2000, has been awarded a MacArthur Fellowship, the so-called &ldquo;genius award.&rdquo;&nbsp; In announcing this year&rsquo;s award recipients, the<a href=""> MacArthur Foundation</a> described them as &ldquo;24 Extraordinarily Creative People Who Inspire Us All.&rdquo;</p> <p>Novembre, an associate professor in the Department of Human Genetics at the University of Chicago, develops novel data visualization and analysis techniques to investigate the correlations among genomic diversity, geography, and demographic structure. His work sheds new light on human evolutionary history, population structure and migration, and the etiology of genetic diseases.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;I'm tremendously honored to have received the award,&rdquo; Novembre said.&nbsp;&ldquo;One of the first things I did this morning was to email Ralph Bertrand (professor of molecular biology) and Jim Ebersole (professor of organismal biology and ecology) to thank them for the mentorship they gave me at Colorado College and beyond.&rdquo;</p> <p>Novembre said it was at CC, doing projects on the genetics of oaks in Colorado, that he developed the interest in population genetics that he pursues today. &ldquo;When I reflect on what is special about Colorado College and how it has served me two great things jump to mind: &nbsp;The liberal arts tradition &mdash; with its emphasis on broad learning, problem solving, and clear writing &mdash;has been a bedrock for me.&nbsp; The second is the adventurous spirit of CC.&nbsp; It is a continual inspiration to think outside the box and live more creatively.&rdquo;</p> <p>In early work, Novembre uncovered vulnerabilities in a classic approach to analyzing the geographic distribution of genetic diversity &mdash; principal component analysis (PCA) &mdash; and upended a long-standing interpretation of PCA waves as indicators of large-scale migration events. He went on to leverage this finding and, with collaborators, established a strong correlation between shared ancestral geography and genetic similarity among Europeans. This research affirmed the importance of place in determining DNA patterns and showed that it is often possible for ancestry to be pinpointed within a couple hundred miles through genetic sequencing.</p> <p>Novembre also developed a new approach for estimating recombination rates using ancestry blocks of admixed populations. Recombination is the fundamental biological process by which genetic material from parents is combined in an individual before being passed to offspring; the recombination rate describes how many recombination events &mdash; or points on the genome where the genetic material switches from one parent to another &mdash; are happening over time in a group. Novembre and colleagues were able to infer recombination rates across African American genomes (representing a largely West African and European admixture only several hundred years old) by identifying the breakpoints of African and European ancestry. This work has led to a highly detailed genetic map for African Americans, which provides a tool for improving studies of the genetic origins of disease and is inspiring new inquiry into genetic diversity across the globe.</p> <p>Novembre also made key insights concerning the impact of natural selection on both positive and negative genetic variants, as well as the link between the population explosion of the last few centuries and the inordinate plethora of rare, deleterious variations in the contemporary genome. &nbsp;The MacArthur Foundation noted that &ldquo;through his unique approach to important biological questions, Novembre is producing a more finely grained picture of human genetic history and differentiating the impact of genetic and nongenetic factors in the features of current populations.&rdquo;</p> <p>After graduating from Colorado College, Novembre went on to earn his Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley. Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Chicago, he was affiliated with the University of California at Los Angeles (2008&ndash;13) and was a National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellow in bioinformatics at the University of Chicago (2006&ndash;08).</p> <p>His articles have appeared in such journals as <em>Science, Nature, Nature Genetics,</em> the<em> American Journal of Human Genetics, </em>and <em>Bioinformatics,</em> among others.</p> CC, Forest Service Give a Hoot! Fri, 04 Sep 2015 10:00:00 MDT ]]> <p>Colorado College Associate Professor of Biology Brian Linkhart, known as &ldquo;<a href="">the owl man of Colorado College</a>,&rdquo; and the U.S. Forest Service have embarked on a five-year $148,000 &ldquo;challenge cost-share agreement&rdquo; to study the response of flammulated owls to prescribed fire treatments in the Rio Grande National Forest. Linkhart is an ornithologist concentrating on sensitive raptor species, particularly the small forest owl known as the flammulated owl, so named because of its red hue.<br /><br />The agreement between Colorado College and the Forest Service features contributions from the Forest Service in the form of grant funding and labor on the project, as well as contributions from CC in the form of Linkhart&rsquo;s expertise and student involvement. Approximately five Colorado College students will participate in the study each summer, working with Linkhart during three breeding periods prior to the prescribed fire treatments and two breeding periods post-fire treatment.<br /><br />The project&rsquo;s primary objective is to assess existing baseline conditions for an old growth ponderosa pine associated species &ndash; the flammulated owl &ndash; using demographic study parameters to compare species responses to potential differences in habitat in the pre- and post-treatment condition. This will include locating owl nesting territories and nest locations, and assessing home range size and seasonal movement using radio transmitter devices. If possible, geo-locators also will be used on owls to determine migratory movements to and from the study site.<br /><br />The project will help obtain important baseline information regarding habitat utilization, distribution, seasonal movements, productivity, and survival of flammulated owls in a research natural area. That information will help the Forest Service in using prescribed fire as a habitat restoration tool elsewhere. Additionally, the partnership provides training and field-related experience for CC biology students.<br /><br />Linkhart&rsquo;s research interests include determining the long-term impacts of the Hayman fire, the effects of forest thinning, and the effects of climate change on breeding populations of flammulated owls.</p> <p></p>