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Professors, teaching assistants, and student advisers at the University of Missouri often receive accolades for their work—from their school or college, from campus administration, or from the university system. Instructors and advisers in the College of Arts and Science consistently say the award that means the most to them is the one from students—the Chalk Awards, presented by the College of Arts and Science Student Council each semester.

Mark Fauser and Burt Reynolds

Mark Fauser on stage with his long-time friend and mentor Burt Reynolds. Fauser says he wrote his book Because of Burt to "let the world know what a generous heart he had."

For people growing up in the 1970’s, Burt Reynolds was ubiquitous, starring in popular movies, appearing on nightly talk shows, and popping up in a variety of commercials. For a five-year period, Reynolds was the nation’s biggest box office star, anchoring hits like Deliverance, The Longest Yard, and Smokey and the Bandit.

MU columns

Each year, the University of Missouri System President’s Awards are presented on behalf of President Mun Choi to faculty members across the four campuses of the UM System. These highly competitive awards recognize faculty who have made exceptional contributions in advancing the mission of the university.

Haley Kranstuber Horstman

Haley Kranstuber Horstman and her team hope the study’s findings will encourage couples to “co-cope” with the experience by using metaphors and other descriptive phrases when talking about miscarriage.

COLUMBIA, Mo. – “Lost gift.” “Cataclysm.” “Death of a loved one.” “Emptiness.” “Chaotic movement.” “Rock.” “Guard.” “Repairman. “Secondary character.” Researchers at the University of Missouri say men often use descriptions such as these to cope with their partner’s miscarriage and to describe their role in the experience.

Curators’ Distinguished Professor James Birchler

James Birchler is a Curators’ Distinguished Professor in the Division of Biological Sciences.

The Maize Genetics Executive Committee has announced that University of Missouri Professor James Birchler will receive the 2020 Barbara McClintock Prize for Plant Genetics and Genome Studies.

The announcement was made in St. Louis, MO, on March 15 during the 61st annual Maize Genetics Conference.

Shawn Christ

Shawn Christ, an associate professor of psychological sciences in the MU College of Arts and Science, and his team saw in previous studies that younger children with autism had more difficulty with visual distractions as compared to their same-aged peers without autism. This impairment was not observed for older adolescents and adults with autism. In the current study, the team was able to narrow the age range and confirm the previous findings.

COLUMBIA, Mo. – The ability to block out the noise and focus on a specific task is a crucial skill in daily life. Now, researchers at the University of Missouri have found that early childhood, before the age of 10, represents a critical time when children with autism have particular difficulty with this ability and would benefit from intervention addressing this weakness.

Associate Professor Brian Silvey

Brian Silvey has led a dedicated and outstanding career by educating a diverse set of students for almost a decade at the University of Missouri. Silvey’s commitment to his students’ success has created strong relationships with those he has inspired over the years. He has taught an array of classes while at MU and stands out as someone who adapts easily when going from teaching graduate music education courses to basic music skills for non-majors.

CAFNR/A&S Career Fair 2019

Hundreds of MU students, dressed in professional business attire and carrying their résumés, visited the Spring 2019 CAFNR/Arts and Science Career Fair in Brewer Fieldhouse this afternoon to talk to the more than 120 employer representatives about internships, fellowships, or future employment.

Esterhazy Quartet

Assistant Professor of Cello Eli Lara (left), Assistant Professor of Violin Julie Rosenfeld, Professor of Violin Eva Szekely, and Professor of Viola Leslie Perna are the current members of MU’s Esterhazy Quartet, which celebrates its 50th anniversary March 4 at Whitmore Recital Hall.   

On Monday, March 4, the School of Music’s Esterhazy Quartet will mark its 50th anniversary on the MU campus with a concert at the Whitmore Recital Hall in the Fine Arts Building beginning at 7:30 p.m. Two of the composers the quartet has collaborated with for many years have written original pieces for the evening.

Tarkow, Middleton, Okker, Wojak, Dennis

Distinguished Service Honoree Ted Tarkow (left), Distinguished Alumnus Michael Middleton, Dean Patricia Okker, Distinguished Alumna Angie Wojack, and Distinguished Alumnus Gregory Dennis pose for a group photo at the 38th Annual Arts and Science Banquet at the Reynolds Alumni Center Feb. 22.

A groundbreaking doctor, a civil rights attorney, a talent agent for artists, and a beloved professor each was honored by the College of Arts and Science at the college’s 38th Annual A&S Banquet at the Reynolds Alumni Center Feb. 22. Dean Patricia Okker presented plaques recognizing three Distinguished Alumni: Gregory Dennis, BA ’76 biological sciences; Michael Middleton, BA ’68 political science, JD ’71; and Angie Wojak, MFA ’92.

maize paints

The researchers developed paints for all ten chromosome pairs in maize and, as proof of concept, applied each chromosome-specific paint to chromosomes isolated from root tip cells. Here, chromosome 10 is painted in red, showing the specificity of the tool.

A team of scientists led by MU maize geneticist James Birchler has designed a tool for scientists to paint whole chromosomes in plants different colors. The method is described in a paper published this month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Assistant Professor Daive Dunkley

The national theme for Black History Month this February is Black Migrations, which emphasizes the movement of people of African descent to new destinations and subsequently to new social realities.

Associate Professor of Physics Gavin King

What do you know about cells, the fundamental structural unit of plant and animal life? All living cells have membranes that protect cellular integrity while controlling the flow of information and materials into and out of cells. A major component of cell membranes is lipid molecules, which form bilayered structures, while most of the work done inside cells is performed by proteins, linear molecules built from 20 different amino acids.

Associate Professor Sean Franzel

Associate Professor Sean Franzel, seen here in Budapest, Hungary, will spend a year in Germany researching his new book after receiving a Humboldt fellowship.

An associate professor of German will spend a year in Germany after receiving a Humboldt Research Fellowship for Experienced Researchers. Sean Franzel will begin part of his year-long fellowship at the Free University of Berlin this July and then complete the fellowship in 2021.

Professor of Chemistry Arthur Suits

Prof. Suits and his team found is that spin flips between magnetic and nonmagnetic forms can happen very efficiently in the course of a chemical reaction as the products separate after reaction if they are two “radicals”—molecules with at least one unpaired electron each.

An unexpected discovery in Professor Arthur Suits’ chemistry lab could have implications for manufacturing more efficient solar cells and improving photodynamic therapies for treating cancer, and it may contribute to research into quantum computing. At the heart of the discovery is the spin of electrons. Molecules are either nonmagnetic or magnetic depending on whether two electrons are paired with opposite spins or unpaired with same spins.

David Geary

David Geary and his team say a new way of measuring gender inequality is fairer to both men and women, and presents a simplified but more accurate picture of peoples’ well-being than previous calculations.

Researchers from the University of Missouri and University of Essex in the United Kingdom say a new way of measuring gender inequality is fairer to both men and women, and presents a simplified but more accurate picture of peoples’ well-being than previous calculations. The new Basic Index of Gender Inequality (BIGI) focuses on three factors – educational opportunities, healthy life expectancy and overall life satisfaction.

Carolina Heredia and Katina Bitsicas

Assistant Professor of Music Composition Carolina Heredia and Assistant Professor of Digital Storytelling Katina Bitsicas first collaborated on a piece commissioned by a Rhode Island-based music ensemble, and plan to continue working together.

Argentinian composer Carolina Heredia’s work explores the merging of music and visuals, and her current research is invested in the production of interactive audiovisual works. This semester, the assistant professor of music composition launched a new course called Intermedia, which focuses on creating collaborative, interdisciplinary works featuring poetry, music, video, and other elements.


Schroeder, Boyd, Smith, Baker

No straight line exists between Move-In Day and commencement. This December, 2,243 students will earn degrees from the University of Missouri. Their journeys are as unique as the students themselves.

Student Affairs caught up with four soon-to-be-alumni, who agreed to share a little of their path to graduation and where the road leads next.

A and S commencement

The College of Arts and Science 2018 fall commencement will be held at the Hearnes Center Dec. 15, beginning at 4:00 p.m.

Jenelle Beavers has served as counsel in the University of Missouri’s Office of General Counsel for about a year, after serving as associate director of Mizzou’s Honors College. Prior to returning to campus, Beavers, BA ’01 English, served eight years as a trial attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice, leading False Claims Act investigations and civil prosecutions in the health, technology, and defense industries.


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