NSM Faculty/Staff Newsletter

From the Office of the Dean

Recognition & Honors

Staff Council Election Results

Congratulations to the three NSM staff members elected to UH Staff Council: Seth Evans (Physics), Elsie Myers (Chemistry), and Shanequea White (Physics). They will serve three-year terms beginning on September 1, 2022.

Javier Diaz (NSM-IT) recently earned the AWS Certified Solution Architect - Associate credential. This credential helps organizations identify and develop talent with critical skills for implementing cloud initiatives. Earning AWS Certified Solutions Architect - Associate validates the ability to design and implement distributed systems on AWS.

Brianna Johnson (Mathematics) and Emily Merrell (NSM College Business Office) received the College Business Management Institute’s certificate of completion. The event, hosted by the Southern Association of College and University Business Officers, offers an intensive course of study in business and financial management for administrators of colleges and universities. Individuals participate in one week of instruction each summer for three years to earn a certificate of completion.

Andreas Mang (Mathematics) received a prestigious, five-year, $499,997 CAREER award from the National Science Foundation. Mang and his lab will work on inverse problems. This is a particular class of problems in which scientists try to infer unknown causes based on observations of their effects. The ultimate aspiration of his group’s research is to use computer simulations to aid decision-making or enable model-based predictions. To make these predictions useful in practice, his group wants to be able to quantify the level of confidence they have in the generated predictions.

Zhifeng Ren (TcSUH, Physics) and collaborators have for the first time experimentally discovered that a cubic boron arsenide crystal offers high carrier mobility for both electrons and holes – the two ways in which a charge is carried in a semiconducting material – suggesting a major advance for next-generation electronics. One of two papers published in the journal Science shows that researchers were able to experimentally validate the high carrier mobility at room temperature, expanding its potential use in commercial applications. Researchers from across the U.S., including UH, MIT, UT Austin and Boston College, were involved in the work. An accompanying paper in Science describes the use of transient reflectivity microscopy to measure the crystal, demonstrating the high mobility and in some cases, when a higher-energy laser beam was used, exceeding previous predictions. That work was done by researchers from UH and the National Center for Nanoscience and Technology in Beijing, along with several other institutions in China.

Jiajia Sun (Earth & Atmospheric Sciences) is principal investigator of a $390,602, three-year grant from the National Science Foundation to study the origin of oceanic plateaus using machine learning, a type of artificial intelligence. Will Sager (EAS) is co-principal investigator on the grant. Understanding the formation of oceanic plateaus could help scientists get a clearer picture of Earth’s magmatic processes. Read More

Babu Sundaram (Director of Technology, NSM-IT) and Fred McGhee (Executive Director, Academic Affairs) were awarded a global EchoInnovations grant of $5,000. Through the grant program, Echo360 sought proposals from universities outlining innovative practices to improve learning engagement and equitability. Echo360 offers a dynamic software suite of learning solutions with focus on content creation/management, participant engagement, effective authoring, and multi-modal assessments. With this grant, the NSM team will deploy value-added tools and insightful extensions to enhance the learning management systems (LMS) in place at UH. Given that UH is about to implement the next-generation LMS, this project will be beneficial in providing the NSM faculty with novel mechanisms to develop effective course content in various modalities (in-person, virtual, and self-paced), to derive helpful insights into student participation and progress, and assure equitable and accessible means for learning. The system is expected to go into production in Fall 2022 as part of specific teaching activities within NSM, and the results will be available campuswide as part of broader dissemination plans. The grant funding will be used for software licensing and complete technical support to getting the environment operational.