Summer book discussions focus on life science

May 23, 2011

Just when you thought you could clear your calendar for the summer and spend your evenings lounging by the pool, ASU Life Sciences librarian René Tanner wants to you READ. Not just one book, but three!

Starting at 7:30 p.m., June 9, Tanner will lead a series of three monthly book discussions at the Noble Science Library, located on ASU’s Tempe campus. Download Full Image

The books are all focused on science. The first book, for June 9, is Barbara Kingsolver’s “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle,” which, Tanner said, “has a strong sustainability focus. It’s a memoir with a good measure of investigative reporting that chronicles the year she and her family made a deliberate effort to eat locally.”

The second book, to be discussed July 14, is Nick Lane’s “Life Ascending.” Tanner said, “This book takes the reader on a journey through time from chemical reactions around underwater thermal vents to life on land. Along the way Lane chronicles 10 major evolutionary developments that created life as we know it.”

The Aug. 11 discussion will focus on “Journey to the Ants” by Bert Hölldobler (ASU, Foundation Professor of Biology) and E. O. Wilson. “The authors are experts on the subject of ants and their earlier book ‘The Ants’ won a Pulitzer Prize,” Tanner said. “’Journey to the Ants’ combines autobiography and scientific discovery to explain communication among one of the smallest and most numerous organisms on the planet.”

Tanner decided to host the discussions because “summer, traditionally, is a time when many students take a break from academic life and there is less happening on campus, so I wanted to give students and the community a reason to come together,” she said. “This is a pilot project, and I’ll be curious to see how much interest there is.”

To choose the books, Tanner started by looking at other science-oriented book discussions, then read reviews of the books that looked the most interesting. “Finally I looked at what science societies were discussing. That’s how I found Nick Lane’s book, ‘Life Ascending,’” Tanner said. “He won the Royal Society Prize for Science Books for it in 2010.”

The books she chose had to tell a story and have popular appeal – “no textbooks,” Tanner said. “And they needed to be moderately priced. All of the books are under $20.”

The books needed to lend themselves to expansive thinking, according to Tanner. “I wanted books that were interesting to read and talk about – not too specific and not too general. Kind of like Goldilocks picking a chair to sit in – each book needed to be just right.”

The discussions, which are free and open to the public, will take place in room 105 of Noble Library. Free parking is available after 7 p.m., in the Tyler Street Garage, located at Tyler Street and McAllister Avenue. Light refreshments will be served. For more information, or to R.S.V.P., contact Tanner at rene.tanner">"> or go to">">http://libguides.asu.ed...

10 students win study-abroad scholarships to increase national security

May 23, 2011

Ten ASU undergraduates have won prestigious $20,000 Boren Scholarships, funded by the National Security Education Program, to study in areas of the world that are critical to the interests of the United States.

All will carry out intensive language study, increasing their knowledge of less-common languages which they began studying at ASU. Their other interests include public health, the environment, energy policy and economics. Three will be in Russia next year, two in China, and the rest in Jordan, Egypt, Kosovo, Bosnia Herzegovina and Japan. Download Full Image

The program is designed to develop the national capacity to understand foreign cultures, strengthen U.S. economic competitiveness and enhance international cooperation and security.

ASU students are unusually successful at winning these overseas study grants, because of ASU’s emphasis on global studies and foreign languages and the strong support they receive from faculty mentors. Eight of the 10 are students in Barrett, The Honors College.

Cameron">">Cameron Bean of Mesa, a senior in political science and sociology, will go to Jordan to attend an intensive Arabic language program at the University of Jordan in Amman. Bean hopes to work as a U.S. intelligence analyst.

Christian Hoyt of Mesa, a junior in economics, will participate in Russian studies at Moscow Humanities University, also researching the Russian economy. He will have a focused program dealing with business incubators, organizations and law. Hoyt plans to serve as a foreign service officer in economic affairs.

Lana">">Lana Larkin of Tucson, a junior majoring in Chinese and East Asian languages and literature, will increase her fluency with the Language Flagship program at Nanjing University. She plans a career as an international trade specialist for the U.S. government.

Adam">">Adam Starbuck of Oro Valley, a senior with a double major in biology and Slavic languages, will go to Russia to study at the GRINT Center for Education and Culture at the Moscow University for the Humanities. He also plans to study public health and to attend medical school on his return to the United States.

Galen">">Galen Lamphere-Englund of Nogales, an international relations junior, will study Serbo-Croatian at the International University of Sarajevo in Bosnia Herzegovina. A singer and instrumentalist, he also will study the use of music as a tool for peace-building. He hopes to work in the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Melissa Tse of Mesa, a senior in English literature and Chinese, will study Mandarin at the Language Flagship program at Nanjing University in China. The daughter of Chinese immigrants who has visited the country only once, she plans to attend law school to study international economic law.

Hannah LaLuzerne of Fountain Hills, a junior in environmental studies with a minor in East European and Russian studies, will study Russian and also energy policy at Moscow Humanities University in Russia. She wants to work in an international development organization such as the U.S. Agency for International Development.

William">">Wi... Pentis of Los Angeles, a senior majoring in finance and criminology with a minor in Arabic languages, will study Arabic at American University in Cairo, Egypt. He hopes for a career in U.S. law enforcement or intelligence.

Jonathan">">... Sankman of Ahwatukee, a senior in biology with a minor in East Asian languages, will study Japanese and biomedical science at Kyushu University in Japan. He is interested in the regenerative medical research being done in Japan, as that is his future career goal.

Zachary Yentzer of Tucson, an ASU junior in political science with a minor in Eastern European and Russian studies, will go to Kosovo to study Albanian at the Faculty of Islamic Studies in Prishtina. He hopes eventually to work in the U.S. Foreign Service.

Boren Scholars must complete a service requirement within three years after completion of the program, working in a federal government position with national security responsibilities for at least one year.