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Michigan State UniversityLyman Briggs College

Research Highlights
Updating the Two Cultures: How Structures Can Promote Interdisciplinary Cultures

February Dean's Corner

170 LBC students invited to become members of Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi!

2017 LBC Research Symposium

Spring 2017 LBC Commencement Speaker Mark Kay
Article on Commencement speaker

S3 Funds 12 New Projects for 2016-2017

LBC Student Diego Crespo Wins UURAF Grand Prize

LBC's SPRING program receives NSF Grant to support STEM students

LBC students study biology and evolution at the Chicago Field Museum

Professor Naoko Wake receives HARP development grant

Dr. Sean Valles publishes two new articles for public health journals

LBC joins The Consortium for Socially Relevant Philosophy of/in Science and Engineering

9th Annual Lyman Briggs College Research Symposium

LBC professors Logan Williams and Naoko Wake awarded an NSF workshop grant

Dr. Cheryl Murphy creates National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis working group

Dr. Georgina Montgomery is giving a talk at Wayne State University

Dr. Daniel Menchik publishes article in American Journal of Sociology

Dr. Joseph Martin has published two new articles

LBC graduate publishes in The Great Lakes Entomologist

LBC faculty receive Excellence Award in Interdisciplinary Scholarship

LBC students study the debate between evolution and creationism at the Creation Museum

Lyman Briggs College 2015 Commencement Ceremony

Polyhedron cover features research and artwork by Dr. Robert LaDuca and three LBC students

The Science of Charitable Giving

National Science Foundation Awards BEACON Center $22.5M Grant

LBC Students Attend Inaugural Meeting of the International Society for Evolutionary Medicine and Public Health

Dr. Rob Pennock interviewed for Slate article
Dr. Rob Pennock was asked to participate in a debate at an anti-evolution "Origin Summit." Slate discusses his response.

Summer 2015 Research Opportunities
Research Internship Opportunities for 2015 in Biomedical Research and Allied Health Studies

Facebook and Well-Being: A Relationship Worth Pondering?
Close to a billion people login to Facebook daily, the world’s largest online social network. And they are highly motivated to do so. Yet, we know remarkably little about how interacting with this technology influences well-being. In this talk, I will review findings from an ongoingprogram of research that is examining how interacting with Facebook influences the two components of subjective well-being: how people feel moment-to-moment and how satisfied they are with their lives.

Teaching Evolution in Action
Because evolution takes place over countless years, it can be one of the more challenging subjects to teach, especially using traditional teaching methods.

LBC Career Newsletter 10/27-11/9
Looking for a research opportunity? There are two great positions posted in this week's LBC Career Newsletter!

Some scientists share better than others
Some scientists share better than others. While astronomers and geneticists embrace the concept, the culture of ecology still has a ways to go.

Dr. Arthur Ward's Academic Ice Bucket Lesson Plan
Arthur Ward teaches a unit on charitable giving in his ethics course and has come up with a way of doing so that gets the students really interested and involved.

Dr. Mark Largent discusses Ebola hype on WILX
Dr. Mark Largent, Associate Dean of Lyman Briggs College and Associate Professor for James Madison College, comments on the recent Ebola hype.

LBC hosts Summer Undergraduate Research Institute in Experimental Mathematics
For 8 weeks during the summer, 18 students from across the country participated in the Summer Undergraduate Research Institute in Experimental Mathematics hosted by Lyman Briggs College. The program is a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) in mathematics.

$5 million grant to help STEM students attain goals
Dean Simmons is helping to lead a new program called STEM Success. The program has received a $5 million grant from the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation.

Dr. Kevin Elliott discusses industry funded research on WKAR
Federal funding for scientific research, in everything from energy to biomedical science, has flatlined in recent years. Some scientists worry that means the U.S. will fall behind other countries in scientific and technological advancements. But it also means an increasing share of the nation’s research is done by industry.

LBC Speaker Series: Engines of Knowledge or Merchants of Doubt: Can We Trust Industry-Funded Research?
Private industry now pays for about two-thirds of scientific research and development in the US, but there have been notable cases in which industry- funded research has been manipulated and designed to produce misleading results that harm the public. Prominent examples include tobacco-industry studies developed to exonerate cigarettes and second-hand smoke, pharmaceutical research strategically designed to assist with marketing, and fossil-fuel industry efforts to challenge research on climate change. This talk will explore these worries about industry-funded research, examine the conditions under which research tends to be inappropriately influenced, and offer some suggestions for promoting research that can be widely trusted.

Diversity could lead to ethical behaviors among scientists
Does belonging to a diverse research team make scientists more prone to share their data and give appropriate credit to colleagues in their publications?

Dr. Sean Valles publishes article on bioethics and the framing of climate change communications
Dr. Sean Valles, Associate Professor of HPS at Lyman Briggs College, has published a new article titled “Bioethics and the Framing of Climate Change’s Health Risks” in the journal, Bioethics. In his article, Dr. Valles discusses the potential for bioethicists to help reframe climate changes communications to focus on public health impacts.

LBC Career Newsletter 9/15-9/28
Looking for a job on campus? This week's career newsletter highlights jobs at MSU's plant pathology lab and MSU's FRIB.

LBC students study abroad in Italy
Forrest and Tyler are first-year students in Lyman Briggs College. They studied abroad in Italy this summer through MSU’s Freshman Seminar Abroad Program.

Dr. Aklilu Zeleke receives Faculty Mentoring Award
Associate Professor of Mathematics, Dr. Aklilu Zeleke, has been selected as a recipient of a 2014 Faculty Mentoring Award from the Mathematics and Computer Science Division of the Council on Undergraduate Research. This award honors faculty for their outstanding work in mentoring undergraduate students in research. The Chair of the Division of Mathematics and Computer Science writes, Dr. Zeleke “was chosen because of the success he has had in directing undergraduate research and the impact his effort has had on these students. We commend him for his great work in mentoring undergraduates.”

Dr. Catherine Westfall receives 2014-2015 Samuel von Pufendorf Visiting Research Fellowship
Dr. Catherine Westfall was named a 2014-2015 Samuel von Pufendorf Visiting Research Fellowship in June 2014.  Her award letter notes that “this highly competitive and prestigious award” is given to recognize her “research accomplishments.”  As part of the award, Prof. Westfall will spend most of her time from January to June 2015 at Lund University.  There she will contribute to a research project, “Exploring challenges for New Big Science: The realization of ESS and MAX IV in Lund,” give a public lecture and graduate seminars, and mentor graduate students. 

LBC Introduces New Writing Studio Program to Curriculum
Lyman Briggs College is partnering with MSU’s Writing Center to incorporate a writing studio pilot program into its History, Philosophy, and Sociology (HPS) curriculum. Beginning this fall semester, students enrolled in LBC’S Introductory HPS course, LB 133, will participate in a weekly 1-hour writing studio session outside of their regularly scheduled class time.

Journal of Inorganic and General Chemistry's cover features research and artwork by Dr. Robert LaDuca and three LBC students
Congrats to Dr. LaDuca and LBC students Angela Porta, Megan O'Donovan, and Maria Torres-Salgado! Their research is featured as the cover article of this month's Journal of Inorganic and General Chemistry. The full article is available on the journal's website.

Dr. Montgomery will help create traveling exhibit showcasing women in paleontology
Beginning this October, LBC’s Dr. Georgina Montgomery will work with the Paleontological Research Institution (PRI) as well as other historians, scientists, and educators to plan and design a traveling exhibition that will share the challenges and triumphs of the women – past and present – who strived for equality in the field of paleontology.

Dr. Urquhart comments on proposed Gran Canal in Nicaragua
LBC's Dr. Jerry Urquhart explains how the proposed Gran Canal could affect Nicaragua's people and biodiversity.

Facts and values: What’s it take to be an effective scientist?
Michigan State University’s Robert Pennock and colleagues will be using a $1 million grant from the John Templeton Foundation to explore the topic.

LBC junior partners with public health organizations in Malawi
Morgan McLane is a junior in Lyman Briggs College studying human biology and nutritional science. She spent her summer partnering with two public health organizations in Malawi.

MSU study finds partisan politics influence public views on environmental policy
New research from Michigan State University finds Americans are becoming more divided over environmental protection and they seem to be getting their cue mainly from Congress. Aaron McCright is a sociologist at MSU and the lead author of the study. He writes that things weren’t always so partisan. In fact, many landmark environmental laws were born during the Nixon Administration.

Humanities Strengthen Science
Dean Elizabeth Simmons describes her unique experience at the Yale School of Medicine's brain collection and discusses how the humanities strengthen science.

LBC sophomore studies simulated galaxies
Claire Kopenhafer is a Lyman Briggs sophomore studying physics. This summer she is working on a research project titled "Spatially Resolved Spectroscopy of Distant Galaxies" with Dr. Brian O'Shea of Lyman Briggs College.

LBC junior studies moths in East Lansing
Katie Glover is a Lyman Briggs junior studying human biology and following a pre-med/pre-ophthalmology track. She is working as a summer research assistant with Dr. Peter White who is an Assistant Professor of Biology in Lyman Briggs College.

Professor Naoko Wake publishes new book: Hiroshima/Nagasaki Beyond the Ocean
Professor Naoko Wake has published a co-authored book (with Shinpei Takeda) Hiroshima/Nagasaki Beyond the Ocean. Written in English and Japanese, the book combines oral histories of North American and South American survivors of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 with images of key moments in their life histories. Wake was part of a program in July at the Nagasaki National Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims that featured the book.

Dean Simmons recommended to serve as acting dean for College of Arts and Letters
Tapped for her strong administrative experience and appreciation for interdisciplinary studies, Elizabeth Simmons, dean of Michigan State University’s Lyman Briggs College, is being recommended to serve as acting dean of the College of Arts and Letters, effective Aug. 1.

LBC alumna gives back to community in Uganda
Lyman Briggs College alumna Sarah Scott first traveled to Kibale, Uganda as an undergraduate in 2013 through a study abroad program titled “Evolution of Uganda’s Forest Biodiversity: Apes to Aves.” While in Kibale, Sarah and her classmates tent camped, studied local birds and primates, and learned about rainforest conservation.

LBC sophomore interns with The National Institutes of Health
Alana O'Mara is an incoming sophomore at Lyman Briggs College. She is interning this summer with The National Institutes of Health and has shared a reflection and photos of her internship experience. Stay tuned for more reflections from LBC students about their summer adventures!

Dr. Georgina Montgomery will give talk at King's College London
Dr. Georgina Montgomery, Assistant Professor of HPS in Lyman Briggs College, has been invited to give a talk as part of the Science, Technology, and Medicine Colloquia in the Department of History at Kings College London on June 25th. The talk is titled: “What Does Inclusion Mean in the ‘Goddess Discipline:’ Expanding the Circle in Primate Studies." Below is the abstract for her talk:

Dr. Valles Publishes Article in Inside Higher Ed
In order for colleges to function as inclusive communities of responsible and respected members, all of their adults must be treated as adults. Yet, many of my faculty colleagues habitually call their undergraduates “kids” by default. They should stop. In addition to usually being false, it is demeaning and it tacitly encourages the immature behaviors we all bemoan.

Friday Harbor Study Away
Friday Harbor Laboratories is one of the oldest marine laboratories in the United States. Located north of Seattle in the San Juan Islands, Friday Harbor has been an important setting for research on marine biology, oceanography and fisheries. Its surrounding waters are clean, there is little boat traffic, and it boasts an impressive variety of terrestrial and aquatic organisms. Historically and still today, Friday Harbor Laboratories has been a place where scientists and their families have lived and learned together in community. - See more at:

LBC junior selected as one of first MSU Beckman Scholars
LBC junior, Sara MacLachlan, is one of three MSU students selected as Beckman Scholars. MSU was chosen as a host institution for the Beckman Scholars Program in February.

$1.5 Million Award Bolsters MSU Commitment to Math and Sciences
Michigan State University has been awarded $1.5 million from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute to expand efforts for students in science to learn effectively and graduate successfully, especially those who belong to groups underrepresented in science.

Two LBC Alumni receive National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships
Nathan Johns and Shan Kothari have been selected as 2014 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellows.

Four LBC Faculty Members Named Inaugural Fellows of the STEM Gateway Teaching Fellows Program
Drs. Marcos Caballero, Kendra Spence Cheruvelil, Heng Wang, and Aklilu Zeleke have been named inaugural fellows of the STEM Gateway Teaching Fellows Program.

New Camera Monitors Seasonal Changes of the Sanford Natural Area
You don’t need to live in Holmes Hall anymore to have a great view of the Sanford Natural Area behind our building. The Sanford Natural Area is one of 86 research sites across North America where researchers are collecting data on vegetation by using digital cameras known as “phenocams.” A phenocam mounted on the roof of Holmes Hall takes images of Sanford Natural Area and uploads them to a server at the University of New Hampshire.

LBC Senior Chosen as 2014-15 Homecoming Court Ambassador
Kevin Adams, a senior studying environmental geosciences in Lyman Briggs College, has been named as a member of the 2014-15 MSU Homecoming Court.

LBC Commencement Keynote Speech: Dr. Robert Shelton
Dr. Robert Shelton, Associate Professor of HPS at Lyman Briggs College, gave the Spring 2014 Commencement Speech at this year's commencement ceremony

Dr. Aaron McCright Discusses Climate Change Debate in The New York Times
Dr. Aaron McCright, Associate Professor in LBC, discusses organized climate change denial as part of a wider discussion on the climate debate in the United States.

Dr. Lyman Briggs Born 140 Years Ago Today
Lyman James Briggs was born 140 years ago today on a Michigan farm just a few miles north of Battle Creek. He spent most of his childhood on his family's farm until he joined Michigan Agricultural College at the age of fifteen. Though famously known for his contributions as a physicist, Briggs applied much of his work towards agriculture and soil sciences.

8th Annual Lyman Briggs College Research Symposium
Hundreds of Lyman Briggs students participated in the college’s 8th Annual Research Symposium, which was held April 21-22 in Holmes Hall. Students presented poster and oral presentations on a variety of STEM and History, Philosophy, and Sociology of Science topics.

Dr. Kevin Elliott Co-Authors Op-Ed for Environmental Health News
LBC Associate Professor, Dr. Kevin Elliott, has co-authored an op-ed piece for "Environmental Health News" about the debate concerning endocrine-disrupting chemicals.

Four Lyman Briggs Students Receive Outstanding Senior Awards
Four Lyman Briggs students have received MSU’s 2014 Outstanding Senior Award. The awards are presented to seniors who have exemplified both personal and academic achievements at MSU. These students have demonstrated their dedication to Michigan State through their academics, leadership, and involvement on campus and in the community. Students are nominated for the award by MSU faculty, staff, and students.

Six Lyman Briggs Seniors Earn 2014 Board of Trustees' Awards
Six Lyman Briggs seniors have earned Board of Trustees' awards for receiving a 4.0 GPA. Congrats to Karishma Chopra, Jason Meldau, Jodi Meyer, Andrew Morton, Hunter Piegols, and Joshua Reside!

LBC Physics Study Abroad Course Featured on "Physics Central" Blog
In 2008, physicist Gerd Kortemeyer and historian of physics Catherine Westfall, associate professors at Lyman Briggs College at Michigan State University, took a trip overseas with a group of undergraduate MSU students. Over the course of five weeks, the groups visited Germany, Switzerland and Denmark where they not only learned, but experienced first-hand the sights and sounds out of which modern physics grew. Kortemeyer and Westfall offered the course again in 2011.

Over 100 LBC Students Present Research at UURAF 2014
Over 100 Lyman Briggs students participated in the 16th annual University Undergraduate Research and Arts Forum (UURAF) this past Friday, April 4th at the MSU Union. Our students presented poster and oral presentations that they have worked on with faculty members on topics ranging from the “History of Medieval Neuroscience in Spain” to “Using Magnetic Nanoparticles to Extract Pathogenic Bacteria.” While most of our students presented research in the sciences, many students also presented research on topics in communications, social sciences and the humanities.

LBC's Kim Vi Featured as Undergraduate Student Researcher of the Week
Lyman Briggs student, Kim Vi, was recently featured as MSU's undergraduate student of the week. Read about how his experience in LB145 led him to a research position in which he studies mutations in DNA:

Lyman Briggs College Career Newsletter 4/1/14
The Center for Lyman Briggs College has created a career newsletter for Briggs students. Read to learn about the Science Blast, which will take place this Wednesday, April 2nd.

Dr. Mark Largent Will Discuss "The Vaccine Debate in Modern America" at MacMurray College
Medical historian Mark A. Largent, of Lyman Briggs College, will be talking about “The Vaccine Debate in Modern America,” Wednesday, April 2 at 7 p.m. in Thoresen Recital Hall in the Putnam/Springer Center on the MacMurray campus.

LBC Sophomore Receives Honorable Mention for Goldwater Scholarship
LBC sophomore, Megan Kechner, has received honorable mentioned for the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship. Megan is majoring in neuroscience and psychology.

LBC Alum Prepares to Canoe Down Mississippi River
Briggs alum, Tim Muhich, will attempt to break the world record of fastest travel in a canoe down the Mississippi River in May. Muhich graduate from Lyman Briggs College in 2012 with degrees in Zoology and Biological Science.

Lyman Briggs College Career Newsletter 3/25/14
The Center for Lyman Briggs College has created a career newsletter for Briggs students. Read to learn about summer research opportunities, the upcoming Science Blast, and more!

Dr. Kevin Elliott Will Present Science & Technology Studies Annual Lecture at St. Thomas University
Dr. Kevin Elliott, Associate Professor at Lyman Briggs College, will present his talk, titled “Love Drugs, Cheating Genes, and the Ethics of Science Communication,” at the Science and Technology Studies annual lecture at 7:00 pm on March 20th, 2014, Kinsella Auditorium, McCain Hall.

Lyman Briggs College Career Newsletter 3/17/14
The Center for Lyman Briggs College has created a career newsletter for Briggs students. Read to learn about summer research opportunities, UURAF, the Neighborhood Success Series and more!

MSU Named Beckman Scholars Award Winner
MSU has been selected as a host institution for the 2014 Beckman Scholars Program. Lyman Briggs College is a program partner.

Dean Simmons Appointed to Association of American Colleges and Universities Board of Directors
Dr. Elizabeth Simmons, Professor of Physics and Dean of Lyman Briggs College, has been appointed to the Association of American Colleges and Universities' Board of Directors.

LBC Student Nominated for Goldwater Scholarship
Lyman Briggs student, Megan Kechner has been nominated for the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship. She is majoring in neuroscience and psychology in Lyman Briggs College and the College of Social Science.

Lyman Briggs College Career Newsletter 2/17/14
The Center for Lyman Briggs College has created a career newsletter for Briggs students. This week's opportunities include internships with the Kellogg Biological Station, summer employment in an entomology lab, and the upcoming Health and Science Career Fest!

LBC Faculty Publication Receives PROSE Award
A recent publication of LBC faculty members Drs. Rich Bellon, Mark Largent, and Georgina Montgomery has received the PROSE Award from the American Association of Publishers. The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Darwin and Evolutionary Thought, which contains 60 essays on the life and influence of Charles Darwin, won the top prize for a single volume reference in the humanities and social sciences. To learn more about The Cambridge History of Darwin and Evolutionary Thought, visit MSU Today.

Lyman Briggs College Career Newsletter 2/10/14
The Center for Lyman Briggs College has created a career newsletter for Briggs students. This week's opportunities include internships with the Kellogg Biological Station, summer employment in an entomology lab, and the upcoming Health and Science Career Fest!

Lyman Briggs Faculty Receive Excellence in Diversity Award
Groups and individuals who have exemplified diversity and inclusion in extraordinary ways will be honored with Excellence in Diversity Awards at the 2014 All-University Excellence in Diversity Awards Ceremony and Reception Feb. 3.

Dr. Kendra Cheruvelil Publishes Paper on Collaboration in Science Research
When putting together a team of scientists to work on a problem, it makes sense to bring together the best and brightest in the field, right? Well, maybe not.

Dr. Logan Williams Will Speak at "Questioning Technology" Forum
Dr. Logan Williams, Assistant Professor of History, Philosophy, and Sociology of Science will speak at the Sharper Focus/Wider Lens forum “Questioning Technology” at 7 p.m. Feb. 3 in the MSU Union Ballroom.

133 Students Invited to Join The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi
133 students from Lyman Briggs College have been invited to become members of The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi in recognition of their outstanding academic achievements.

Dean Simmons to Give Lecture at the Michigan Women’s Historical Center & Hall of Fame
Dean Simmons will speak at the Michigan Women's Historical Center & Hall of Fame as part of their 40th Anniversary Lecture Series. Her lecture is titled “Toward Greater Equity in Science.”

Lyman Briggs Students Receive 2014 MLK, Jr. Research Award
A group of four Lyman Briggs students has received a 2014 MLK, Jr. Advancing Inclusion through Research Award for a website they created in a Lyman Briggs course.

Dr. Ryan Sweeder Receives Undergraduate Teaching Award
Dr. Ryan Sweeder, associate professor of chemistry in Lyman Briggs College, has received the 2014 MSU Alumni Club of Mid-Michigan Quality in Undergraduate Teaching Award. This award is given to current fixed term and tenure faculty “who take pride in and are committed to quality undergraduate teaching and who demonstrate substantial continuing involvement in undergraduate education.”

Dr. Cheryl Murphy Discusses the Effects of Untested Chemicals on Fish Reproduction
Cheryl Murphy and her team at Michigan State University are testing a compound found in birth control pills and hormone drugs. It’s a compound that has not been studied before. "Are the fish able to uptake it into the gills and make it biologically active? We don’t know," says Murphy. "And so if it becomes biologically active, that means it will induce yolk protein in the male fish."

East Lansing's support for Waller family terrific
This past December my wife and I made the saddest journey of our lives, leaving our home in England to attend the memorial service for our beloved grandson, Charlie Waller. There is little need to dwell on the tragedy that lies behind this story. The closeness of a good parent/child bond is clear to all and for that to be severed at such an early age is a fate to be dreaded.

Resume Critique and Job Preparation Services at Lyman Briggs
Starting this semester, career advisors from The Center will be available to provide Lyman Briggs students with advice and support for every step of the job application process—from creating a resume to accepting a job offer. The Center will hold drop-in hours in the Sparty’s in Holmes Hall on Wednesdays from 1pm-5pm and Fridays from 9am-12pm. During this time, you can stop by and ask any questions about resumes, internships, undergraduate research opportunities, and applications—no appointment is necessary. Ultimately, these career advisors are here to help you land your dream job or internship!

Briggs Student Publishes Research in ReCUR Journal
Briggs student, Courtney Cox, recently published her research in the Red Cedar Undergraduate Research Journal (ReCUR). Check out her article "The Supplementary Motor Area as a Potential Neural Substrate of Beat Perception" on page 22.

Community remembers Charlie Waller
Five-year-old Charlie Waller was remembered Thursday by friends, family and the community for his kindness, his loving nature and his gift for bringing people together. The memorial service at The Peoples Church of East Lansing drew 550 people to the sanctuary. Many children came dressed in pirate gear at the Waller family’s invitation, as Charlie loved pirates. Any child who needed one could get a bandanna, an eye patch or even a rubber duck from baskets in a nearby room.

Dr. Mark Largent Will Discuss the Vaccine Debate on New Hampshire Public Radio
Lyman Briggs Associate Dean and Associate Professor, Dr. Mark Largent will discuss the vaccine debate on New Hampshire Public Radio.

Charlie Waller Memorial Expected to Draw More than 1,000 in East Lansing
A memorial service for 5-year-old Charlie Waller, who captured the hearts of young and old in East Lansing, will be held at The Peoples Church of East Lansing at 4 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 19. A church official said preparations are being made with the expectation that more than 1,000 people will attend. The service is open to all and families with children are welcome.

Students Create Science and Technology Studies Booklet
For their capstone project, Dr. Logan Williams’ students have written and designed an open sourcebooklet titled, “STS Concepts Applied inSociety.” The booklet consists of student-written essays based on discussions and readings from the course, LB133, “Introduction to the History, Philosophy, and Sociology of Science.”

Briggs Student Receives Board of Trustees' Award
At the Dec. 13 Board of Trustees meeting, six students were recognized with Board of Trustees’ Awards for having the highest grade point average at the close of his or her last semester in attendance at MSU. The students will be recognized at their fall commencements Dec. 13-14.

Dr. Andrew Case Featured on "Backstory" Radio Show
Briggs Instructor, Dr. Andrew Case, recently appeared on “Backstory,” a public radio show that brings a historical perspective to contemporary issues. In the segment titled “Precious Bodily Fluids,” Dr. Case talks about the mid 20th C. fear that a Communist conspiracy lay behind efforts to fluoridate the American water supply.

Service Planned for 'Art for Charlie' Namesake
Despite everything he endured in his brief life, Charlie Waller was a happy little boy. The 5-year-old, who died early Thursday after battling an inoperable brain tumor for nearly three years, delighted in many things — dinosaur toys, anything to do with pirates, the family dog Boston, the simple glory of nature. Most of all, Charlie was devoted to his family, including his parents, John and Abigail, and elder sister, Esther.

Dr. Rich Bellon Receives Derek Price/Rod Webster Prize
Dr. Rich Bellon, Assistant Professor of HPS in Lyman Briggs College, has received the Derek Price/Rod Webster prize for his article, “Inspiration in the Harness of Daily Labor: Darwin, Botany, and the Triumph of Evolution, 1859-1868.”

Briggs Student Pursues Research Interests Abroad
Anzar Abbas is a senior in Lyman Briggs College from Karachi, Pakistan, majoring in neuroscience with a minor in theatre. His academic interests in the history of science and medicine have led him to a research project that has occupied his undergraduate career. He spent this past summer at the University of Oxford using resources at the Bodleian Library to complete his studies on Arab medical contributions during medieval times.

MSU Researchers Receive Grant for Ethics Education Project
A team of multidisciplinary MSU researchers has received a 3-year grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for $196,759. The team, which consists of Dr. Michael O’Rourke, Dr. Thomas Dietz, Dr. Kyle Whyte, and Lyman Briggs Professor, Dr. Sean Valles, will lead the project, “Collaborative Research: Values and Policy in Interdisciplinary Environmental Science: A Dialogue-based Framework for Ethics Education.” This project addresses the lack of ethics education materials in interdisciplinary environmental science programs (IESPs).

Dr. Sweeder and Dr. Strong Publish Article in "The International Journal of Learning in Higher Education"
Briggs Associate Professor, Dr. Ryan Sweeder and Briggs Associate Dean, Dr. Philip Strong, have published an article in "The International Journal of Learning in Higher Education." Their article is titled "Supporting Undergraduate Students in Earning a STEM Degree" and it examines the experiences that help students decide to remain in a STEM major.

Dr. McCright Publishes Article in "Environmental Research Letters"
Briggs Professor, Dr. Aaron McCright, has published a new article titled "The Influence of Political Ideology on Trust in Science" in the journal, "Environmental Research Letters." The article looks at the relationship between political ideology and views about science.

Students Present at Undergraduate Science Research Conference
This Saturday, November 16, 2013, three Lyman Briggs students will be presenting posters about their original research projects at the West Michigan Regional Undergraduate Science Research Conference at the Van Andel Institute in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Dr. Williams Publishes Article in “Perspectives on Global Development”
Dr. Logan Williams, Assistant Professor of HPS at Lyman Briggs College, recently published an article in the journal “Perspectives on Global Development and Technology.” Her article, titled “Three Models of Development: Community Ophthalmology NGOs and the Appropriate Technology Movement,” describes the findings from a qualitative project analyzing 10+ months of observation field notes and 80+ semi-structured interviews in India, Kenya, Mexico, and Nepal.

Dr. Robert Pennock Speaks at Science Communication Colloquium
Dr. Robert Pennock, Lyman Briggs Professor of HPS, was an invited speaker and content expert at the National Academy of Sciences Sackler Colloquium on “The Science of Science Communication II,” held in Washington, D.C this September. The colloquium focused on the challenges that scientists, communication practitioners, policymakers, and the public face as they exchange scientific information. Over the three-day colloquium, several hundred professionals from academia, industry, journalism, and government met and discussed various topics related to science communication.

5-year-old Charlie Waller, you have made a difference
Last year, the Art for Charlie Foundation raised more than $50,000 that helped train nurses at Sparrow Hospital and created a Hospice of Michigan program providing social services, financial assistance and bereavement care for families of terminally ill children.

Dr. Cheruvelil Publishes Research on Limnology
Dr. Kendra Cheruvelil, Associate Professor of Biology at Lyman Briggs,recently published an article titled “Multi-scaled Drivers of Ecosystem State: Quantifying the Importance of the Regional Spatial Scale” in Ecological Applications. In this article, Cheruvelil and her co-authors explored the important role of the regional scale for understanding and managing lakes. They found that the region a lake is located in really matters to its chemistry and nutrient levels. In other words, lakes that are closer together have more similar levels than lakes that are farther away.

Students Create a “Periodic Table of Pumpkins”
To celebrate Halloween and their love of science, Lyman Briggs students and Holmes Hall residents carved 98 pumpkins to look like the periodic table of elements.

Dr. Sean Valles Featured in "Bioethics in the News" Series
Briggs Professor, Dr. Sean Valles, comments on "Climate Change and Medical Risk" as part of the "Bioethics in the News" series. Dr. Valles is an Assistant Professor in Lyman Briggs College and the Department of Philosophy.

Call for Submissions: MLK, Jr. Advancing Inclusion Through Research Award
Lyman Briggs students are encouraged to apply for the 2014 MLK, Jr. Advancing Inclusion Through Research Award. Students may submit research papers and creative projects on topics of inclusion, diversity, and marginalized population that support the MSU and MLK, Jr. ideals of inclusive excellence

Homecoming Parade Float Wins Award
Congratulations to all who helped create the Lyman Briggs Homecoming float! Our float won 1st Place in the “Residence Hall Groups” category and we enjoyed showing our “Briggs pride” in the parade. Thank you for all who participated in MSU’s Homecoming weekend!

Dr. Urquhart’s Graduate Student Supports Threatened Tapirs Project
Professor Jerry Urquhart’s Graduate Student, Chris Jordan, is working with Nicaraguan specialists to aid the country’s threatened tapirs. Urquhart and Jordan have done extensive research on Baird’s Tapirs and other Nicaraguan wildlife.

Alumnus Publishes Book on Biomedical Informatics
Briggs Alumnus, Indra Neil Sarkar, has recently published a book entitled "Methods in Biomedical Informatics." Sarkar is currently the Director of Biomedical Informatics and Assistant Professor in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at the University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont.

Briggs Professors take a Scientific Approach to Teaching
Five Lyman Briggs College faculty members have contributed three separate articles on STEM education to the most recent issue of the journal CBE-Life Sciences Education. Their research is based on teaching innovations in Lyman Briggs classrooms and is part of a growing field known as Discipline-Based Education Research (DBER).

Briggs Professor Elected to Chair of Forum on the History of Physics
Dr. Catherine Westfall, visiting Assistant Professor at Lyman Briggs College, was recently elected to the chair of the Forum on the History of Physics. This forum is made up of over 3,500 physicists, historians, and other members of the American Physics Society who share an interest in the history of physics.

Lyman Briggs College Holds 7th Annual Research Symposium at Holmes Hall
More than 500 students took part in last week's Research Symposium, the 7th annual event held at Holmes Hall. Students from each major discipline participated, either as a class or as individuals, by giving an oral presentation or presenting a poster of their undergraduate research project. Some chose to present research from independent study, Alternative Spring Break, and Study Abroad.

Briggs Students Visit Chicago's Field Museum
More than 50 Briggs students traveled to Chicago last week, for a behind-the-scenes look at the famed Field Museum and some professional scientists at work.

Spring Newsletter Shows A Different Side of Briggs
In the feature Briggs International, we take a look at just some of the special programs that make Briggs a unique experience including study abroad programs based on the lives of famous scientists and authors and a group of visiting faculty from the University of Dohuk in Iraq.

Briggs Summer Research Student Wins 5th in the Nation
A participant in the High School Honors Science Program (HSHSP) at MSU recently competed in the national Intel Science Talent Search with a research project completed while studying at Briggs last summer. Peter Kraft, a high school senior from Munster High School in Munster, IN, was awarded fifth place in the nation for his synthesis of 10 new coordination polymers.

HPS Student Association Hosts Grad School Panel
Faculty, students, and alum gathered together Tuesday night at a panel hosted by the HPS Student Association (HPSSA) at Briggs. The topic of discussion: "Everything You Could Want to Know About Grad School."

Dean Elizabeth Simmons Named 2013-14 ACE Fellow
The American Council on Education (ACE) announced today that the dean of Lyman Briggs College, Dr. Elizabeth Simmons, has been named an ACE Fellow for the 2013-14 academic year. The ACE Fellows Program, established in 1965, is designed to strengthen institutions and leadership in American higher education by identifying and preparing promising senior faculty and administrators for responsible positions in college and university administration. Fifty Fellows, nominated by the presidents or chancellors of their institutions, were selected this year following a rigorous application process.

Briggs Welcomes Dean, and Visiting Faculty from Iraq
Briggs faculty, staff, and students are happy to welcome seven faculty members from Iraq (including the dean of the faculty of science) to Holmes Hall and MSU today. From the University of Duhok in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, the group comes to Briggs to work with faculty and staff on curriculum development in biology, ecology, genetics, etc.

Briggs Student Group Hosts Science Day for Middle School Students from Flint
Last week, the Briggs Multicultural Alliance (BMA) hosted a science day for a middle school class from Potter Elementary School in Flint. This marks nearly a decade of partnership for the event held by BMA, a student organization that stands for the Briggs core values of diversity and inclusion.

Briggs Students Visit ConAgra Foods
As part of LB 494 (an upper-level Briggs course), students visited the headquarters of ConAgra foods in Omaha, NE Nov. 15-17, and learned more about the world of food science. The course, designed to explore non-medical options for students pursuing a science degree, is the brainchild of Dr. Ryan Sweeder who is an associate professor of chemistry at Briggs.

Dr. Zeleke Wins Quality of Teaching Award
Dr. Aklilu Zeleke, associate professor of mathematics at Briggs and in the department of statistics and probability, was honored at the Mid-Michigan Spartans 6th Annual Crystal Ball January 26. Nominated by Dean Elizabeth Simmons (pictured to the right with Dr. Zeleke and their spouses), Aklilu (A.K. to his colleagues and friends) received the 2013 Quality in Undergraduate Teaching Award.

Briggs Spirit Day Celebrated at Holmes
Last week, February 7 marked Briggs Spirit Day at Holmes Hall and everyone celebrated in spectacular fashion! Faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends all dressed up in Briggs gear to commemorate their time at the college, and photos were taken and posted on Facebook and the Briggs website.

2013 Undergrad Research Award Winners Announced
This week, Lyman Briggs College is proud to announce the 2013 Undergraduate Research Award winners, selected by committee over winter break. Six students were chosen from among the applicants, and were chosen for the quality of their research proposal, it's relevance to their proposed career field and/or graduate education, financial need, and grade point average.

Briggs Celebrates Diversity on MLK, Jr. Day
At Briggs, Martin Luther King Jr. Day was celebrated with a workshop on diversity, and several conversations to promote open dialogue about inclusion. More than 30 members of the college faculty and staff were in attendance for the two hour workshop, which included an idea-sharing session concerning activities that will promote diversity and inclusion in the larger community, and discussions about group and individual responsibility to promote these ideals.

Briggs Calls for New Cohort of S-STEM Scholars
As one cohort graduates, Lyman Briggs College calls for applications for the new 2013-2016 cohort for the NSF-funded Scholarship in STEM (S-STEM) program. Fourteen scholarships totalling more than $250,000 are available to sophomore science majors who are U.S. citizens (or permanent residents), and who demonstrate financial need based on their FAFSA.

Briggs Congratulates Fall Graduates
Thirty-nine seniors graduated from Briggs this fall, and were congratulated at a reception held Dec. 15 at Holmes Hall. Dean Elizabeth Simmons and faculty from every department were on hand to welcome family and friends and congratulate graduates.

Fall Newsletter Features Dr. Robert LaDuca
The fall issue of the Briggantine is printed and mailed, and this issue features Dr. Robert LaDuca, one of the faculty that embody the Briggs ideal of innovative education. Also featured in the newsletter are stories about Briggs students who study abroad, a faculty member who plans to save an endangered species, MSU Homecoming festivities, and a story about 23 freshmen who went to the zoo as part of their first HPS experience.

Briggs Freshmen Visit Potter Park Zoo
Twenty-three freshmen toured Potter Park Zoo in Lansing this week as part of their LB 133 class, a class all Briggs students take to begin the exploration of the history, philosophy, and sociology of science.

Two Briggs Faculty, One Alum, and Assistant Dean Honored for Contribution to Service Learning at MSU
The awards celebrate the work of faculty and staff who demonstrate innovative education and/or incorporate service-learning and civic engagement into the classroom.

MSU Homecoming Brings Together More Than 100 Alumni and Friends of the Residential Colleges
For the first time ever, the three residential colleges at MSU (RCAH, James Madison, and Lyman Briggs) co-hosted a homecoming event, bringing together more than 100 faculty, staff, students, and alumni.

Disney Grant Will Aid Briggs Professor in Endangered Species Research
With a recent $25,000 grant from the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund, Dr. Gerald Urquhart will be able to take a closer look at an endangered species long thought extinct in the region.

Briggs Undergrad, Professor Win National Award for Chemistry Research
Late this summer, a former Briggs undergraduate student and a current professor were honored at the American Chemical Society conference in Philadelphia, PA.

Students Receive Top Honors at Mathematics Conference
Seventeen students recently traveled to Madison, WI, to take part in the Mathematical Association of America conference, called the MathFest, where their projects won three of the five categories they entered in.

Briggs Professor Receives Excellence Award in Interdisciplinary Scholarship
Dr. Robert Pennock and his Avida-ED group were recognized for software that makes it easier for students to study the sciences.

Briggs Welcomes Back Students, 625 Freshmen
Monday, August 27, the faculty and staff at Lyman Briggs College are excited to welcome back the students of 2012-2013.

The Life of Galileo: A Study Abroad Experience
Fifteen students from Lyman Briggs College got to experience a lifetime this summer when they went to Italy for a month to look at the life of renowned scholar Galileo Galilei.

Assistant Dean Leads Freshman Seminar to Italy
Briggs' Assistant Dean Philip Strong recently co-led a 2-week long program for 30 freshmen in Italy.

Briggs Professor Awarded NSF Grant
Dr. Georgina Montgomery and doctoral candidate Amanda Lewis recently awarded a grant to study history of conservation in Kenya.

Dr. Aaron McCright interviewed by Chronicle of Higher Education
Social scientists try to break the climate-change impasse

Source: Chronicle of Higher Education
(subscription required)

Aaron M. McCright, associate professor of sociology at Michigan State University, said he grew up in a small town in Iowa where opinions at the family dinner table spanned a wide political spectrum. He has gone on to study the polarization of the American public's views on climate change.

Dean Elizabeth Simmons wins the 2012 Women's Center of Greater Lansing “Tribute to Women” award

Spartan Preprofessional Club (SPPC) wins Outstanding Professional Organization
The Department of Student Life, engages students in active learning, encourages scholarship, prepares students for leadership roles and enhances the educational environment. Every spring semester, the Department of Student Life invites the University community to apply for organization, program and impact awards and to nominate students, faculty and staff for their exceptional efforts as student activists, organization leaders and advisors.

Check out all the other winners

LBC along with MSU in collaboration with Iraqi university under way
Michigan State University has signed a two-year collaborative agreement with Iraq’s University of Duhok. The overall objective of the program: To strengthen the capacity of Iraqi universities to prepare students for success in a modern Iraq.

To do this, MSU faculty are working with Duhok faculty to “review and revise course curricula, explore alternate teaching styles, collaborate on research and generally exchange ideas and foster long-term relationships between the two institutions,” said Karin Dillon, an MSU outreach specialist who is the project manager.

Read the full MSU News Article

Dr. Brian O'Shea and his team begin using Blue Waters Supercomputer
Six research teams have begun using the first phase of the Blue Waters sustained-petascale supercomputer to study some of the most challenging problems in science and engineering, from supernovae to climate change to the molecular mechanism of HIV infection.

The Blue Waters Early Science System, which is made up of 48 Cray XE6 cabinets, represents about 15 percent of the total Blue Waters computational system and is currently the most powerful computing resource available through the National Science Foundation.

Read the HPCwire press release or at National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois

Dr. Michael Nelson talks Moral Ground with Baltimore-Washington United Methodist Conference
Now available from the BWC - the third in the 2012 UMW Reading List podcast series, an interview with Kathleen Dean Moore and Michael P. Nelson, authors of "Moral Ground: Ethical Action for a Planet in Peril."

Listen to the podcast

Briggs student Gina Sellinger makes local Australian paper on study abroad trip
For many south-west residents, the abundance of seaweed on Warrnambool’s foreshore is little more than an eyesore and a reason to pinch their noses.

But a group of second-year Deakin University marine biology students this week found the slimy mounds to be a habitat rich with life.

In a project designed to improve their ability to sort through marine samples and identify organisms, the students were surprised to find so much activity, according to senior lecturer in marine biology and ecology Alecia Bellgrove.

Read the full article

Dr. Georgina Montgomery publishes book “Making Animal Meaning”
Making Animal MeaningMaking Animal Meaning was published with Michigan State University Press in December 2011. Co-edited by HPS professor Dr. Georgina M. Montgomery and MSU sociology professor Dr. Linda Kalof, the book features 10 essays concerning human-animal relationships from disciplines such as the history of science, African Studies and Women's Studies. The chapters are based on research originally presented during the Animals conference Dr. Montgomery organized in 2009. The conference featured 53 speakers from 8 countries and was co-sponored by Lyman Briggs College and 15 other departments and centers at MSU.
For more information see: MSU University Press

Dr. Georgina Montgomery named 2012-13 Lilly Fellow
LBC's latest Lilly Fellow will spend 2012-13 studying whether the use of learning teams significantly affects student reading comprehension and synthesis of content in the history, philosophy and sociology of science (HPS) classroom.

The Lilly Teaching Fellows program provides a cohort of six-seven pre-tenure faculty with an opportunity to engage in a year-long exploration of the robust scholarship on effective practices in University teaching. The Lilly Fellows Program is designed to support Fellows who will become future faculty leaders and models for their peers as well as to inspire a broad range of faculty at all ranks to pursue excellence in teaching.

Dr. Teena Gerhardt awarded prestigious NSF CAREER award!
Dr. Gerhardt will receive 5 years of NSF support for her research in Algebraic Topology and Algebraic K-Theory and for educational projects related to broadening participation in mathematics.

The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program is a Foundation-wide activity that offers the National Science Foundation's most prestigious awards in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations. For more information see:

Dr. Rich Bellon and Dr. Naoko Wake to receive MSU International Awards
Two LBC faculty are receiving awards from MSU International Scholars and Programs on March 21, 2012

Please come help celebrate their achievements!
Information about the ceremony

Dr. Rich Bellon is receiving the MSU Award for Outstanding Service to Study Abroad This award recognizes faculty and staff who give their time, energy, and creativity to develop and implement study abroad programs that support MSU's commitment to providing students with high quality international education opportunities.

Dr. Naoko Wake will receive the John K. Hudzik Emerging Leader Award for Advancing International Studies and Programs. This award recognizes a faculty member who is making a significant impact early in his/her career on the advancement of international scholarship, teaching, and/or public service and outreach at MSU.

Dr. LaDuca and student Greg Farnum win American Chemical Society award
Dr. Robert LaDuca, professor in MSU's Lyman Briggs College, and Greg Farnum, an undergraduate student researcher, recently won the 2012 American Chemical Society Division of Inorganic Chemistry Award for Undergraduate Research. The award recognizes the collaborative research of an outstanding North American undergraduate student and her or his preceptor(s) in the field of inorganic chemistry.

Dr. Michael Nelson gives MPR an interview about wolves in Michigan
Gray wolves in the western Great Lakes were recently taken off the endangered species list. Now, the state of Michigan is responsible for managing the wolf population.

Click to view page and listen to the interview

Dr. Gerald Urquhart works with a team of MSU and Nicaraguan scientists
Dr. Gerald Urquhart is working with a team of MSU and Nicaraguan scientists to unravel the complexities of coupled natural and human systems on Nicaragua's Caribbean Coast. Their project focuses on the impacts of globalization on small villages and natural resources as global markets, new technologies and migration increase connections with these areas. Dr. Urquhart's research has been exploring the mammalian fauna in forests surrounding the villages and has produced some very interesting findings. The project is documenting a higher than expected presence of jaguars, Baird's tapirs, and white-lipped peccaries--all species that rely upon healthy rainforest ecosystems for their existence. However, major threats to the biodiversity of the region are posed by continued deforestation along the agricultural frontier and possibly through changes in human activity due to globalization.

Check out the national newspaper article (need Google Translator)

LBC – National Science Foundation Scholarships Available
Deadline: March 1, 2012

Lyman Briggs College in conjunction with the Office of Financial Aid and the National Science Foundation (NSF) is seeking applicants who entered LBC in the Fall 2011 semester to participate in a renewable multi-year scholarship program. Participating students will receive a three-year scholarship to help them achieve a degree as a step in their pursuit of a career in a science field.

More information and how to apply view the flyer

LBC Dean Elizabeth Simmons named “February 2012 Woman Physicist of the Month” by the APS
Congratulations Dean Simmons!!

Check out the Women Physicist of the Month - 2012 article.

Lyman Briggs College Wins MSU Excellence in Diversity Award
Lyman Briggs College was recently named a recipient of a 2012 "Excellence in Diversity Award” (EIDA). The college was nominated in the Unit category, "Excellent Progress toward Advancing Diversity within Community.” EIDA is an award program that recognizes outstanding efforts of faculty, students and staff at MSU that are committed to the principles of diversity and inclusion and who actively engage in activities that demonstrate their commitment to these principles. Dean Simmons will accept a special plaque at the award ceremony on Friday, February 17, 2012. The program will be held at the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center, Big 10 B/C at 4:00 p.m. The event is open to the public and members of the LBC community are welcome to attend.

Video coverage of LBC's 2012 Excellence in Diversity Award

For more information visit

Dr. Robert Pennock speaks at 17th annual What is a City? Conference in St. Louis
Dr. Pennock gave an invited plenary talk at the 17th What is a City? Conference, which is the signature annual event of the Center for the Humanities at Univ. of Missouri-St. Louis. The conference theme this year was Science in the City. Dr. Pennock’s talk was titled “City Life: On Thinking of the City as an Artificial Organism.”

Toward an ethical understanding of the environment
University Outreach and Engagement Engaged Scholar E-Newsletter

Environmental scientists and environmental ethicists are two groups who share the goal of understanding how we ought to relate to nature, but who employ very different methods and philosophies. And, according to Michael Nelson (Lyman Briggs, Fisheries and Wildlife, Philosophy) there has been little collaboration between these groups. So in 2007, Nelson, along with colleague John Vucetich, a professor of wildlife ecology at Michigan Technological University, created the Conservation Ethics Group (CEG), to help address this situation. CEG's vision has been to create a community of natural resource professionals who are equipped to deal with the ethical aspects of natural resource management. In the future, Nelson and Vucetich are hoping to take the CEG to the next level by creating an Institute for Conservation Ethics, co-hosted by MSU and Michigan Technological University.

Lyman Briggs Dean Simmons named AAAS Fellow!!
“Election as a Fellow of AAAS is an honor bestowed upon members by their peers. Fellows are recognized for meritorious efforts to advance science or its applications.”

On another great note, her husband Dr. Sekhar Chivukula was also named as a AAAS Fellow.

Amazing!! Congratulations Dean Elizabeth Simmons and Dr. Sekhar for getting that highly prestigious honor.

For more information about AAAS and the Fellows visit

Briggs Ashleigh Winkelmann tells about Rainforests and Reality, Nicaragua, Spring Break 2011
I began this adventure with little expectations as to what it would entail. I had been to Antarctica the year before on study abroad, but this experience was going to be so different that I did not want to make comparisons. The week in Nicaragua ended up being one of the best weeks of my life.

Continue reading Ashleigh's story...

Dr. Robert Pennock gives invited talk for National Academies of Science convocation
Dr. Pennock gave an invited plenary talk for a national convocation on Thinking Evolutionarily: Evolution across the Life Sciences that was held in Washington DC (10/25/11). Organized by National Research Council and National Academies of Science, this major event launched a national initiative to infuse evolutionary science into introductory college courses in the life sciences and upper-level biology courses in high schools across the United States. The convocation brought together educational leaders, members of professional scientific societies, and members of other scientific and science education organizations to develop a strategic plan to help faculty make evolutionary science a central focus of introductory biology survey courses and other courses across the life sciences curriculum.

Dr. Pennock was asked to synthesize and reflect on the ideas that emerged over the first day of the convocation and to give recommendations for ways to move forward. A video of his talk was posted on the NAS site.

“Not In Our Hall” program kicks off
BMA (Briggs Multiracial Alliance) has started the “Not In Our Hall” program to pledge to take a stand against any and all hateful actions.

Signs and pledged signatures are located throughout the building.

The Not In Our Hall pledge:
As a member of the Holmes Hall/Lyman Briggs College community, I pledge to take a stand against any and all hateful actions, I feel negative actions toward any person is not acceptable. In acts of hate and intolerance, I feel that my silence is acceptance and in order to combat hateful actions, I will do what I can to remedy the situation. I will express that this sort of action is not acceptable in Holmes Hall/Lyman Briggs College.

Briggs Alumnus Joe Gorz - MSU SPARTAN SAGAS - Medical Mission
Every day, Spartans are making a difference in ways big and small. "Medicine is not more glamorous than anything else anyone else does," says Joe Gorz, a 2007 alumnus and third-year osteopathic medicine student. "We're here to serve the patients and the people and do a job. And if you forget that, you've really missed the ball and everything they're teaching us." Spartans Will.

Watch his saga>>

Dr. Nelson Featured in MSU Engaged Scholars
Environmental scientists and environmental ethicists are two groups who share the goal of understanding how we ought to relate to nature, but who employ very different methods and philosophies. And, according to associate professor Michael Nelson, who holds a joint appointment in MSU's Lyman Briggs College, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, and Department of Philosophy, there has been little collaboration between these groups.

View the E-Newsletter

Briggs student Andrew Johnson wins car with 40-yard field goal at Spartans' game
Andrew Johnson The Michigan State sophomore kicked a 40-yard field goal to win a $32,605 2012 GMC Acadia crossover sport utility vehicle in the 2011 GMC Field Goal Challenge promotion between the third and fourth quarters of the Michigan-Michigan State game in East Lansing on Saturday.

The Spartans beat Michigan 28-14 in the rivalry at Spartan Stadium, but Johnson and his friends had a lot more to celebrate.

“I was a little nervous with the wind, but once I hit the field, I lost complete consciousness of anything around me and just focused on kicking the ball,” he said. “It was great. I was so filled with adrenaline, and now, I’m crashed.”

Read the complete article or
Watch the YouTube video

Congratulations Andrew!!

The Summer Undergraduate Research Institute in Experimental Mathematics (SURIEM)
The Second Summer Undergraduate Research Institute in Experimental Mathematics (SURIEM) was held at Lyman Briggs College from June 6 to July 30, 2011. Mathematics faculty Drs. Daniel Dougherty, Bruce Sagan and Aklilu Zeleke served as research seminar advisors to eleven students who participated in this year's program. The seminar topics were: Inverse Modeling Dynamical Systems, Patterns in Permutation and Generalized Fibonacci Polynomials. Pictures and additional information can be found at SURIEM.

SURIEM is a two year summer research program for undergraduates funded by a National Security Agency (NSA) Grant H98230-11-1-0222. A similar program will be conducted in summer 2012.

Lyman Briggs College will also host a three year NSF funded (Grant # DMS-1062817) summer research experience for undergraduates (REU) in applied and discrete mathematics beginning the summer of 2012.

Announcing the 2nd MLK Advancing Inclusion through Research Award
Do you believe in inclusion and diversity? Do you support the ideals of Martin Luther King, Jr.? Are you interested in receiving an award for a research project? If you answered YES to these questions, the MLK, Jr. Advancing Inclusion through Research Award may be just for YOU!

In an effort to build the body of work authored by students that supports the MSU and MLK, Jr. ideals of inclusive excellence, we encourage submission of MSU student research papers and creative projects on topics of inclusion, diversity, and marginalized populations. Students from Honors College (all majors), James Madison College, Lyman Briggs College, and Res College in the Arts & Humanities are eligible to apply for the Award. Submissions are due November 18!

View the award flyer

More information about award can be found at

Briggs senior Jordan Honeysett named to 2011-12 Homecoming Court
Michigan State University has named 10 outstanding seniors to its 2011-12 Homecoming Court.

This year's homecoming theme is "Glow Green, Go White" to help kick off MSU's newest homecoming tradition, "Green Glow," which calls for Spartans all over to switch out their porch or house lights to green ones during homecoming week, Oct 17-22.

Congratulations Jordan!

View the MSU News release

LBC faculty member writes op-ed for New York Times
Dr. Helen Zoe Veit, assistant professor of history and HPS faculty member in Lyman Briggs, wrote an op-ed piece for the New York Times entitled "Time to Revive Home Ec" (published September 5, 2011). The piece, which is related to Dr. Veit's research on the history of food and nutrition, discusses how a renewed interest in home economics could be used to address current concerns about chronic disease and obesity.

Read the article

Listen to NPR talk

Michael Nelson and Elizabeth Simmons write about
As interest in interdisciplinary research increases on college and university campuses, interdisciplinary faculty positions housed in more than one department, college, or program are likewise increasing. While this may be seen as a heartening development, encouraging scholars to work across boundaries and develop new intellectual connections, it also creates challenges for faculty in these positions, for administrators required to oversee them, and for both internal and external peers expected to evaluate their performance. To encourage interdisciplinarity and limit the conflict that can ensue, we recommend the establishment of a written Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between all relevant parties.

Read the Inside Higher Ed article

View our Memoranda of Understanding for Faculty Joint Appointments page.

Director of math, science education research institute named
Joseph Krajcik, a well-known science education expert, has been named director of the Institute for Research on Mathematics and Science Education at Michigan State University.

The interdisciplinary center, launched during a Washington, D.C., conference last fall, is designed to address some of the most pressing challenges related to teaching science and mathematics by bringing together top scholars from the education- and science-based fields.

Read the entire MSU News article

Cheruvelil and colleagues awarded NSF Grant
Lakes, streams and wetlands are not isolated ecosystems, and a Michigan State University professor and her colleagues (Dr. Kendra Cheruvelil) are pioneering a new field of research to show just how interconnected they are to their surroundings.

Patricia Soranno, Associate Professor of Fisheries and Wildlife, Kendra Spence Cheruvelil, Assistant Professor of Lyman Briggs College and the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, and Pang-Ning Tan, Associate Professor of Computer Science, have been awarded a $2.2 million research grant from the National Science Foundation to study the effects of cross-scale interactions on freshwater ecosystems across space and time. An abstract of the awarded project is available here: The Effects of Cross-Scale Interactions on Freshwater Ecosystem State Across Space and Time .

MSU Press releases about the project and National Science Foundation Press Release 11-160.

Moral Ground Wins Two ForeWord Awards
ForeWord Reviews announced the winners on their 2010 Best Book of the Year Awards during the American Library Association Conference last weekend. Moral Ground won Gold in the Anthology category and Bronze in the Environment category. Thank You Foreword for this wonderful recognition.

Researchers examine federal delisting of wolves issue
A team of researchers from MSU, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Michigan Technological University is looking into the potential removal of wolves from federal protection under the Endangered Species Act and what that removal means for Michigan’s residents – both people and wolves. MSU researchers involved are Fisheries and Wildlife graduate student Michelle Lute and faculty Meredith Gore and Michael Nelson.

View the MSU News Article

Kent Workman article in MSU Alumni Magazine
Kent Workman, Lyman Briggs Director of Student Affairs, has been at MSU for 24 years. During that time Kent has gone on 24+ service trips with students, throughout the U.S. and internationally; including post Katrina New Orleans, Washinton D.C., Jamaica, Mexico and South Africa. Read all about these Alternative Break Trips in the MSU Alumni Magazine.

View the magazine Article starts on page 22.

Briggs Jordan Honeysett on Homecoming Court
This year we have a Briggies who is on the Homecoming count. Take a look at the listing of students who made it on the court listing.

View the Homecoming Court

Moral Ground netted a Grist review
Moral Ground grabs a Grist review and creates an open forum of discussion.

Read the review

Dr. Tess Tavormina Receives Honors College Award
Lyman Briggs College Assistant Dean Tess Tavormina, Ph.D. was recognized on May 5th with a 2011 Honors College Award for Distinguished Contributions to Honors Students. Tavormina, who is also an LBC alumna (1973 Mathematics), joins former Lyman Briggs School Director Edward Ingraham (2002) as a recipient of this award that honors individuals who teach, advise and mentor Honors College students.

Dr. Nelson's Conservation Ethics Group receives Phi Kappa Phi Excellence Award in Interdisciplinary Scholarship
Natural resource policy and decision making inescapably involves the fusion of ecological and social sciences with philosophical ethics. Whereas a policy or decision itself assumes the form of an argument prescribing a certain course of action, the premises underlying that argument are, as a matter of logic, a fusion of factual claims derived from the ecological or social sciences, or value claims derived from philosophical ethics. Any sort of assertion that we ought to engage in a given policy will, therefore and inescapably, involve both empirical and normative claims. It is only through the consideration of both empirical and normative claims, but by neither alone, that we can fully and wisely prescribe courses of action. There are very few examples, however, of where natural resource policy is systematically, deliberately, and rigorously treated in this fashion. In 2007, Dr. Nelson and Dr. John Vucetich created the Conservation Ethics Group ( to address this tragic shortcoming. Drs. Meredith Gore and Joseph Bump joined CEG in 2009.

Through their long-standing professional collaboration at the intersection of ecology and ethics, Nelson and Vucetich came to see that environmental scientists and environmental ethicists have a similar goal: to better understand how we ought to relate to nature. Despite a common goal, these groups employ profoundly different methods and theories in their efforts. Disappointingly, there is precious little collaboration between environmental scientists and environmental ethicists. The aim of ethics, as an academic discipline, is the use of argument analysis for the purpose of formally assessing propositions that may be expressed as: "I (or we) ought to ... " Natural resource management is largely about the assessment of proposition that may be expressed as: "We ought to behave in this way (toward some aspect of the natural world) ... " Despite the convergence of ethic's purview and natural resource management's responsibility, formal ethical reasoning is rarely, if ever, utilized in natural resource management decisions. The future of natural resource management and conservation will, they believe, increasingly focus on the conservation ethics of decision-making.

The vision of CEG has been to create a community (state-wide, national, international) of natural resource professionals with an ability to wisely handle the ethical dimensions of natural resource management. The strategy for achieving this vision has been: (i) to deliver to students and professionals the skills necessary for wisely handling the ethical dimensions of natural resource management, (ii) to create opportunities and venues for ethical discourse on natural resource topics, and (iii) to publish high-quality research for both professional and public audiences that demonstrates conservation ethics thinking at work. The mission of the CEG has been to be internationally recognized leaders in bringing that vision to reality.

5th Annual Research Symposium April 25-26
The Lyman Briggs Research Symposium is a yearly college wide event where students and faculty have the opportunity to present their work to the college community.Through poster and oral presentations, students and faculty share the results of research projects from independent research, honors option projects or classroom projects.

The complete schedule can be found here: Complete Schedule

Dr. Aaron M. McCright Finds Political Polarization on Climate Change in US Over Past Decade
In a study published recently in The Sociological Quarterly (volume 52, issue 2), Dr. McCright and Riley E. Dunlap analyzed survey data from ten years of nationally representative Gallup Polls (2001-2010). Among other things, they found that significant ideological and partisan polarization has occurred in the American public on the issue of climate change over the past decade. Also, they found that having a college degree increases the likelihood of reporting beliefs consistent with the scientific consensus and expressing concern about global warming among liberals and Democrats. Yet, having a college degree often decreases these likelihoods among conservatives and Republicans.

MSU press release:

Paper chase: MSU, ConAgra team for 'Popcorn Course'
In the inaugural "Popcorn Course," eight Michigan State University science students have spent this semester conducting experiments on improving the humble popcorn kernel.

"Believe it or not, you can make a living doing research to answer questions such as these," says the three-credit course's description.

From The Detroit News: Read the article

Lyman Briggs College Celebration 2011
2011 marks the 40th anniversary of the first graduating class. While the distinction for the first Briggs graduate goes to Mary Ruwart ('70), the first full group of 76 students graduated in 1971.

This year Briggs will also honor Steven Spees, Ph.D., who will retire after over 40 years of dedicated service to the College.

The combination of these 2 celebrations provides an excellent opportunity for all Briggsies to gather for a Mini-Reunion scheduled for May 6 & 7, 2011.

Guests are also invited to celebrate with the 2011 graduates by attending the LBC Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, May 7, at 3:30 PM in the MSU Auditorium. A reception will follow in Shaw Hall.

Visit the Celebration 2011 site

Gender and the Sustainable Brain
While not a lot of significant gender-difference research has been done related to sustainability-promoting traits and characteristics, a study published in late 2010 on climate change belief seems telling. Using data from 2001-2008 Gallup Polls focusing specifically on environmental issues,Dr. Aaron McCright (Sociology and Lyman Briggs) found that women were more likely to accept climate change science than men.

Read the Reuters article >>>

Amy Pochodylo, an LBC sophomore chemistry major and member of the Honors College has been named a Goldwater Scholar
Amy PochodyloAmy is also a member of the LaDuca Group, an undergraduate research team that has recently received recognition for their discoveries. The Goldwater Foundation seeks scholars who are committed to careers in science, mathematics, or engineering who display intellectual intensity and who have the potential for significant future contributions in their chosen field. The Scholarship provides a grant towards the last year or two of undergraduate tuition and living expenses for students who are planning careers in research. Congratulations Amy!

Read the MSU News article

LBC University Distinguished Professor of physics Walter Benenson, Ph.D. spoke during a community forum to educate about nuclear disasters in Japan.
The forums were sponsored by the Asian Studies Center and addressed the effects the natural disasters in Japan have had on the MSU community. Also in attendance was the deputy consul general of the Consulate-General of Japan in Detroit, Midori Takeuchi.

Read more about it

How did life begin on Earth and other plants?
This is a combined art and science question that LBC instructor Maxine Davis is helping to answer. The study is led by MSU professor of electronic art and intermedia Adam Brown and simulates what is thought to be Earth's original atmosphere by combining hydrogen, ammonia and methane in a glass chamber.

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MSU Physics and Astronomy newsletter contains 3 articles mentioning LBC professors and Dean Elizabeth Simmons.
Brian O'Shea, Ph.D. is featured in: From Galaxy Formation to Nuclear Proliferation and Comparing Models with Data Sets; Gerd Kortemeyer Ph.D. is featured in: LON-CAPA Grows and Improves Student Learning; and Elizabeth Simmons, Ph.D. is highlighted in a story about a recent workshop and alumni reception in Taiwan - a visit she made with her husband and fellow physics professor R. Sekhar Chivukula.

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Rob LaDuca, Ph.D. has been named a 2011 Michigan Distinguished Professor of the Year
Rob LaDuca, Ph.D. has been named a 2011 Michigan Distinguished Professor of the Year by the Presidents Council, State Universities of Michigan. LaDuca is a Professor Chemistry for LBC with a joint assignment in the Department of Chemistry. The Presidents Council serves as a forum for the presidents and chancellor os Michigan's 15 public universities.

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Healthcare Reform: LBC senior Erick Moberg gets a call from the president.
This is a White House produced video that addresses the Affordable Care Act that allows young adults to stay on their parent's health insurance plan up to the age of 26. Erick talks about how this has made a difference for his mother and him. (click on the image to view YouTube video)

Erick is a Human Biology major from Ypsilanti, MI. The video follows him through a typical day that includes some great campus sights.

Science of the foods you love
Through a partnership with ConAgra Foods, Inc. students in LB494 are learning about scientists in industry and writing research proposals just like academic scientists do. As in academia, the purpose of the research project is to convince the reader (here, your boss) that you have a research question worth answering and an experimental plan to answer that question. ConAgra Foods, Inc. has supplied the students with the materials and guidance they need to develop proposals on topics related to popcorn - with the goal being a better understanding of the dynamics of the popping process. In April, the students will visit ConAgra Foods in Omaha, NB to present the results of their research. Professor Jim Smith, Ph.D., who is teaching the class has worked with ConAgra Foods scientists to refine the topics and help students learn and understand how scientific methods apply to real-world industry topics.

Two Briggs students among those nominated for Goldwater and Udall Scholarships
Amy Pochodylo, a sophomore chemistry major and member of the Honors College has been nominated for a Goldwater Scholarship. The Goldwater Foundation seeks scholars committed to a career in science, mathematics, or engineering who display intellectual intensity and who have the potential for significant future contributions in their chosen field. The Scholarship provides a grant towards the last year or two of undergraduate tuition and living expenses for students who are planning careers in research.

Jenna Parker, a junior zoology major and member of the Honors College has been nominated for a Udall Scholarship. This scholarship honors Arizona U.S.> Congressman Morris K. Udall's legacy of public service by supporting students planning careers focused on the environment and Native American students planning careers in tribal health or public policy. The Udall Foundation annually awards $5,000 scholarships to 80 students throughout the U.S.

View the MSU Press Release >>>

LaDuca Group published in Crystal Growth and Design
This isn't the first recognition that the LaDuca Group has received for their research discoveries, but they are honored to be published in the highest-ranked crystallography journal in the world. The Group is particularly proud to have as first author and African-American female LBC student. The article is entitled: Zinc Pyromellitate Coordination Polymers with Bis(pyridylmethyl)-piperazine Tethers: A Rare Binodal Network and a New Simple Self-Penetrated Topology The LaDuca group is a research collaboration between LBC Professor Robert LaDuca, Ph.D. and undergraduates in Lyman Briggs College and chemistry major undergraduates. Their work involves investigation of synthesis and structural characterization of new inorganic/organic hybrid materials that may possess interesting optical, magnetic and gas-absorptive properties. Over the past three years they have prepared nearly 100 new coordination polymers, many with never-before-seen and beautiful structures.

View the article >>>

Conference aims at increasing diversity in STEM fields
The fourth annual Strengthening the Pipeline: The Need for Diversity in STEM Fields forum scheduled for tonight hopes to strengthen the number of minority students in graduate schools and professional outlets.

The forum — representing fields in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM — began as a conversation starter among students and corporate officials about minorities and now is a tool in retaining and recruiting underrepresented students, said Tonisha Lane, an academic specialist for the Office of Supportive Services.

It will be held at 6:30 p.m. in the Union parlor rooms B and C.

Continue to read the MSU News Article >>>

MSU students to take part in major science conference
About 40 Michigan State University undergraduate students will travel to Washington, D.C. this weekend to take part in one of the world’s most prestigious science conferences.

The students, mostly from MSU’s Lyman Briggs College, will travel to the nation’s capital for a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, an annual gathering that brings together scientists from all over the world to present their latest research findings.

While there, the students will get a feel for the conference, which will include taking part in a symposium organized by Jim Smith, a Lyman Briggs biology professor and organizer of the trip.

Continue to read the MSU News Story >>>

LBC Students Visit Fibertec, Inc. Analytical Laboratories and Industrial Hygiene Operations
Students participating in the NSF Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (S-STEM) program were treated to a tour of one of the best-equipped laboratories in the State of Michigan. The lab is located in a custom-built 17,000 sq. ft. facility in Holt, MI. The building contains seven individual specialized laboratories designed to support the analytical services of the company. Fibertec founder Matt Frisch spoke to the students about career opportunities in environmental science.

For full story and pictures>>>
Faculty Awards - MSU Distinguished Faculty and Excellence-in-Teaching Citation
Dr. Pennock received an MSU Distinguished Faculty Award for his outstanding contributions to scholarship, teaching and public service. Pennock's work on the philosophy of evolutionary biology is a critical assessment of the "New Creationism," or "Intelligent Design," theory; his book Tower of Babel: The Evidence Against New Creationism has been lauded by his peers. In addition, Pennock's theoretical and empirical research with biologists and computer scientists on artificial life and evolving digital organisms supports the NSF's Science and Technology Center Bio/computational Evolution in Action CONsortium, known as BEACON. He is also the founder of the public interest group Michigan Citizens for Science.

Lissy Goralnik, a graduate teaching assistant in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife was awarded an Excellence-in-Teaching Citation for her commitment to students and innovative learning and research. Goralnik teaches interdisciplinary courses in the environmental humanities for LBC, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife and Natural Science Study Away.

History of Science in Europe (Study Abroad)
What is the program all about?

During the first half of the twentieth century, two major new theories shook the foundations of physics: relativity and quantum mechanics.

In this program, we will follow the footsteps of the main characters in this drama: Planck, Heisenberg, Bohr and Einstein. The stations on our journey will include Munich, Bern, Zürich, Göttingen, and Berlin.

Students will come away from this program with an understanding of both the history and the physics of these two fundamental theories, and will have experienced the environment in which they developed.

Check out the flyer for more information

For LBC Study Abroad scholarship info, contact Dr. Westfall

That which doesn’t kill perch makes them stronger. Or does it?
Dr. Cheryl Murphy among a team of researchers study how increasing doses of toxic substances affect yellow perch, a species of economic and ecological importance to the Great Lakes.

Read the MSU News Release

MSU Receives Federal Grant for Research
WWJ 950 News Radio reported that a group of MSU researches have been awarded more than $3 million in federal grants in their efforts in restoring Great Lakes waterways. One of the leaders in this research study is LBC's own Dr. Cheryl Murphy. Her particular area will focus on the impact that methylmercury exposure has on yellow perch, which is a species of great economic and ecological importance to the Great Lakes.


Michael Nelson Ph.D. continues to receive attention for co-editing Moral Ground: Ethical Action for a Planet in Peril
Moral Ground book image(Trinity University Press, 2010). The book is now the #1 selling environmental book on Presently touring to promote the book, Nelson has been interviewed on WJR's The Greening of the Great Lakes and will be on an upcoming segment of WNPR's Here on Earth. Nelson is associate profess holding joint appointments in Lyman Briggs College and the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife. He is also a member of the STEPPS (Science, Technology, Environment, and Public Policy Specialization) faculty. Nelson's work is also reviewed by The Yale Forum on Climate Change & the Media

Listen to the WJR interview

MSU Goes Altruistic
MSU research has gotten the attention of U.S. News & World Report, with their new digital evolution techniques, giving scientists the ability to watch evolution in action. BEACON research paper and co-author, Robert Pennock and team members Charles Ofria and Jeff Clune were among the researchers of this project. Their research is being used to shed some new light on what it takes to make a species altruistic.

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Tutorials in Introductory Physics
Tutorials in Introductory Physics - For students whose studies are outside of the science realm, the mere thought of the word "physics" may make them cringe. Even science students themselves may shudder at the thought of encountering such a subject. But have no fear; the MSU LBC professors are here. LBC professors , Gerd Kortemeyer and Brian O'Shea, recently published a research paper highlighting tutorials in introductory physics for students that just may not have the slightest experience in physics. You can read more about the tutorial

LBC Offers Spring Course on the Science of Popcorn
For most students popcorn is merely a mid-day or even midnight snack to help curb an appetite until they can get their hands on a more sufficient meal. But in the spring this year, those kernels will become more than just a dorm room snack. Next semester LBC students will be able to experience a course that gives them a new perspective on popcorn. They will be able to enroll in the course LB 494 titled, "The Science of Food You Love: Making Better Microwave Popcorn." Read the course description here.

Lyman Briggs students Go Abroad
Paris, France. Known for its elegant beauty, high fashion, prestigious people, romantic atmosphere and timeless architecture, it is indeed a place of dreams to most people. Certainly these may have been the initial views that a team of Lyman Briggs ladies held about the notorious City of Lights. However, these Briggsies didn’t go to Paris simply for a vacation. They were participants in LBC’s senior seminar course titled "Paris 2010” where they were required to propose and pursue a "30 Days” research element in Paris during the summer of 2010. Their research topic: homelessness in Paris. Homelessness is not usually something that comes to mind when people think of this romantic city. But the short documentary titled, "Beg Your Way to the Top” the team of students highlighted this epidemic that is very common in the city of Paris. Read the rest of this Parisian voyage here.

View film projects from Summer 2010 in Paris

Women tend to believe the scientific consensus on global warming more than men, according to a study by a Michigan State University researcher.
The findings, published in the September issue of the journal Population and Environment, challenge common perceptions that men are more scientifically literate, said sociologist Aaron M. McCright.

"Men still claim they have a better understanding of global warming than women, even though women’s beliefs align much more closely with the scientific consensus,” said McCright, an associate professor with appointments in MSU’s Department of Sociology, Lyman Briggs College and Environmental Science and Policy Program.

The study is one of the first to focus in-depth on how the genders think about climate change. The findings also reinforce past research that suggests women lack confidence in their science comprehension.

Read the article
InsideHigherEd blog

Cori Fata-Hartley is among 23 exemplary biologists chosen to participate in the 2010 American Society for Microbiology/NSF Biology Scholars Program
The Biology Scholars Program is a national leadership program established in 2008 to empower faculty to improve student learning in the laboratory or classroom based on evidence and to lead colleagues in national efforts to sustain undergraduate biology education reform.

7 of the 18 MSU's newest Alumni Distinguished Scholars (ADS) for 2010 have chosen to attend Lyman Briggs College
The ADS scholarships, which are considered among the most competitive in the country, are valued at about $90,000 for in-state students and $150,000 for out-of-state students. ADS were selected from more than 1,100 of the top high school seniors who applied to MSU and took an intensive general knowledge exam in February. These students are also members of the Honors College. Lyman Briggs College is proud to have these students in the class of 2014.

More on the ADS

LBC/MSU professors collaborating on Modeling and Data Analysis Initiative (MADAI)
A collaboration between MSU, Duke, the Renaissance Computing Institute and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is working together to develop new visual and statistical analytics tools for a range of scientific disciplines and to deploy them in a unified scientists’ workbench. LBC professors Daniel Dougherty, Brian O’Shea are among a large team that includes scientists studying universe formation, galaxy formation, supernovae, weather simulation, and high-energy particle collision as well as a multi-institutional team of statisticians and a multi-institutional visualization team.

More information (PDF)

Dr. Robert Pennock's Research on Evolving Intelligence Featured in New Scientist
The August 7 issue of New Scientist included a major article "The Genesis Machine" describing research done by Lyman Briggs professor Robert Pennock and his Evolving Intelligence (EI) project. Pennock and his graduate students Laura Grabowski and Jeff Clune used evolving digital organisms to see whether and how evolution could produce some of the simple cognitive components for intelligent behavior. The article was stimulated by newly published work that Dr. Pennock presented at the Artificial Life conference in Denmark in August, which showed the evolution of dynamic memory abilities in populations of digital organisms that were evolved in maze environments. To gain resources, organisms evolved to be able to control their movements in response to a sequence of signposts along various food paths. The article also describes additional recent research where the EI group evolved movement controllers for a quadruped robot and other tasks in order to test how simple brains evolve under different kinds of developmental processes. In addition to the New Scientist article, reports of this research were also published in Russia, Singapore and elsewhere.

Mark Waddell, Ph.D., speaks at the University of Central Florida (UCF) College of Medicine and interviewed by MSNBC
Waddell spoke at a the opening of an exhibit entitled: "Harry Potter's World: Renaissance Science, Magic and Medicine." The exhibit shows how Harry Potter's adventures at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry actually have their basis in the early history of science and medicine. Waddell is a historian of early modern science and medicine in Lyman Briggs College. A Harry Potter fan, Waddell has read both the English and Latin versions of the books.

Check out article on UCF Today

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Michael Nelson: Moral Ground: Ethical Actions for a Planet in Peril
MORAL GROUND brings together the testimony of over eighty visionaries-theologians and religious leaders, naturalists, scientists, elected officials, business leaders, activists, and writers-to present a compelling call to honor our individual and collective moral responsibilities to the planet. In the face of environmental degradation, species extinction, and climate change, scientific knowledge alone does not tell us what we ought to do. Nor can political processes or economic incentives give us all the answers. The missing premise of the argument and the much-needed centerpiece in the debate to date has been the need for ethical values, moral guidance, and principled reasons for doing the right thing for the future of the planet, its animals, its plants, and its people. Nelson is an associate professor in Lyman Briggs College, as well as the departments of Fisheries and Wildlife and Philosophy.

Briggsie Daniel J. DiBardino, M.D. to be featured on a new ABC News eight-part series called Boston Med
DiBardino is a cardiac surgeon at Harvard Medical's Children's Hospital in Boston, MA., who specializes in neonatal cardiac surgery He is a 1989 Physiology graduate. He received his MD from Wayne State University School of Medicine in 2000. DiBardino says, "It seems like forever ago that I walked Holmes Hall as an energetic kid interested in human physiology. I have such fond memories of the education I received in Lyman Briggs. I was fascinated by cardiac physiology especially and that interest also took on a life of its own. The first few episodes of Boston Med will focus on recent experiences with heart/lung transplantation that myself and my colleague Dr. Jonathan Daniel did last year. It is not a "doctored up" scripted show - it is, instead, a good insiders look into the human side of what it is really like to do this for a living. The series airs Thursday, June 24, 10 pm EST.

Innovative MSU research makes lake and stream conservation more effective
Kendra Cheruvelil, Ph.D. is among a group of MSU scientists who have developed a pioneering comprehensive approach that makes conserving and managing freshwater lakes, streams and wetlands more integrated and effective. "We call our approach landscape limnology," said Patricia Soranno, MSU associate professor fisheries and wildlife. "It's a new way to study freshwater that considers all freshwaters together - lakes, rivers and wetlands - as they interact with one another and with natural and human landscapes. Our goal is to improve our brad understanding of the diversity of freshwater resources and to give freshwater managers science-based tools to manage and protect these bodies of water."


4th Annual Lyman Briggs Reseach Symposium
The 4th Annual Lyman Briggs Research Symposium will be held on April 26th and 27th from 9am up to 9pm each day.

The research symposium will include poster and presentations by hundreds of students or groups of students. Many of the Briggs faculty will have their research students presenting work so you can discover what they do.

View the schedule.

Briggs Faculty Celebrate Awards and Recognitions
Kendra Cheruvelil, Ph.D.,
is an associate professor in Lyman Briggs College and the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife. As an early career faculty member she was recently named both a Lilly Teaching Fellow and Environmental Faculty Fellow.

Robert L. LaDuca Jr., Ph.D.,
is an associate professor in Lyman Briggs College and the Department of Chemistry. An exemplary teacher both in the classroom and in the research laboratory, Dr. LaDuca is a recipient of the MSU Alumni CLub of Mid-Micigan Quality in Undergraduate Teaching Award.

John C. Waller, Ph.D.,
is an associate professor in Lyman Briggs College and the Department of History. Through his unique blend of classroom teaching, academic scholarship and public engagement, Dr. Waller truly deserves receiving the Michigan State University Teacher-Scholar Award.

MSU/Lyman Briggs College awarded $25 million for NSF center to study evolution in Action
Lyman Briggs professor Dr. Robert Pennock is one of five Principal Investigators who was awarded a $25 million grant from the National Science Foundation to establish BEACON, an interdisciplinary science and technology center to study evolution in action in both natural and virtual settings. BEACON is short for "Bio/computational Evolution in Action CONsortium”. In addition to being on the BEACON Executive Committee, Pennock will co-direct one of the three research thrust groups that will focus on the evolution of behavior and intelligence, and also help direct education and outreach efforts. BEACON includes thirty-five other senior personnel from across the university, including LBC associate professor Jim Smith who will be involved in evolution education research. The grant builds in part on some of Dr. Pennock's earlier research that used digital evolution to investigate the evolution of intelligent behavior, and on his Avida-ED project, which developed an educational platform that allows students to do experimental evolution using populations of digital organisms.

Briggs students already participate in this research and BEACON will open up new opportunities for other students and faculty in MSU's College of Engineering, College of Natural Science, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and Lyman Briggs College. BEACON is a consortium of universities led by Michigan State University with partner institutions of North Carolina A&T State University, the University of Idaho, the University of Texas at Austin, and the University of Washington.

BEACON Website
MSU Press Release

Professor Brian O'Shea wins a National Science Foundation Petascale Computing Resources Allocations award.
One of the first researchers to win this award, Dr. O'Shea was recently interviewed for the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) article on Leaving the Dark Days. For more than a decade he has been using the NCSA supercomputing resources to simulate how galaxies form in the early universe. "Those were dark days," he says with a chuckle. "We could run a simulation on 128 processors, and I believe I shepherded a single simulation through the machine for an entire year. There were maybe 1,000 galaxies in the entire simulation."

Read the Article

Undergraduate research at the core of the Briggs experience
Participating in science research at MSU gives students practical skills and knowledge that will jump-start their career after graduation or as a graduate student. Working in a research laboratory provides a deep understanding in a scientific area while gaining hands-on experience working in a laboratory. 2009 LBC biology graduate Steph Dawes, was recently featured in a 2008 video presentation of her undergraduate research.

View Video

LBC professor James Smith successfully completed the Research Residency component of the Biology Scholars Program (BSP)
LBC professor James Smith is one of twenty biology educators from around the country and internationally who have successfully completed the Research Residency component of the Biology Scholars Program (BSP), a national interdisciplinary program for biologists committed to improving undergraduate biology education based upon evidence of effective student learning. Sponsored by the American Society for Microbiology and the National Science Federation, BSP Scholars are chosen through a competitive process that identifies teaching excellence and national leadership.

Lyman Briggs professor studies the first stars
Lyman Briggs physics Professor Brian O'Shea and his collaborators, Matthew Turk and Tom Abel of Stanford University, have just published a paper in the journal Science (appearing today in Science Express) showing that the first generations of stars could form as twins, not just individuals. They learned this using simulations which provide the most detailed understanding of the formation of the first generation of stars in the universe to date.

"Understanding the first stars in the universe is very important, since they have such a huge impact," said O'Shea. "The first stars were born very early on, when the universe was less than 1 percent of its present age, and are the seeds for all of galaxy formation. If you want to understand how galaxies like our own Milky Way formed, you need to start with the first stars." This result is a part of Dr. O'Shea's overall goal of understanding how galaxies evolve over the life of the universe by using simulations on the largest supercomputers in the world.

To make this discovery, O'Shea and his collaborators created extremely detailed computer models of how the universe evolved. They traced the growth of the universe, and the structure within it, from shortly after the Big Bang until more than 100 million years later, when the first star in the universe formed. They ran several different models, and discovered that one of the models formed a pair of stars instead of a lone star.

"This is very exciting," said O'Shea. "The astrophysical community has thought that these first stars formed singly for a long time, and this seemed to contradict recent observations from people like Tim Beers" (an astronomer at Michigan State University). "If a large number of these first stars formed in pairs, it solves quite a few problems, and the implications are profound. These paired stars could possibly make binary black holes or gamma-ray bursts (very energetic explosions that can be detected from billions of light-years away), or possibly even leave remnants that could be detected in our very own galaxy!"

Read the MSU News Article

Dr. Robert T. Pennock receives the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS) Distinguished Service Award
The award recognizes noteworthy service to the biological sciences. Dr. Pennock is on the faculty of MSU's Lyman Briggs College, the Philosophy Department, and the Department of Computer Science, as well as the Center for Ethics and Humanities in the Life Sciences and the Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, and Behavior graduate program. His research interests include the philosophy of biology and the relationship of epistemic and ethical values in science. He is the author of Tower of Babel: The Evidence Against the New Creationism and Intelligent Design Creationism and Its Critics: Philosophical, Theological, and Scientific Perspectives. He testified in the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District federal court case that found that intelligent design is no different than creationism and should not be taught in science classes. Pennock serves on numerous advisory boards and committees and is the chair of the Education Committee of the Society for the Study of Evolution and is currently working on a book examining how Darwinian evolution, as an abstract theoretical model, can be applied practically beyond biology.

AIBS Press Release

LBC has been awarded a $600,000 grant from the NSF Scholarships for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Program
Briggs will work with the MSU Office of Financial Aid to administer 3 year scholarships ranging from $3,000 to $9,000 to LBC majors. Recipients will also be required to participate in regularly scheduled activities providing a wide-ranging introduction to opportunities in science. These will include the participation of Briggs alumni through seminars, mentoring and internship opportunities. Since 2000, Michigan researchers brougn in more than $1.3 billion in NSF Funding into the state.

Professor Michael Nelson is busy schedule sharing his research on environmental issues.
Dr. Nelson has recently concluded a tour promoting his book The Great New Wilderness Debate. The March issue of The Ecologist will include an article written with MTU colleague John Vucetich, tentatively entitled "How Hope Destroys our Love for Nature." He has contributed to several other articles about to be published. "On Advocacy by Environmental Scientists: What, Whether, Why, and How," will appear in the forthcoming Conservation Biology. It is a systematic review of reasons why some favor and others oppose advocacy by environmental scientists.

"Can We have our Animal Rights and Eat them Too" will be in The Wildlife Professional. This essay focuses on what is required to properly engage in a conversation about the ethics of hunting; making a case that animal welfare ethicists and hunters may not really be at odds with one another as much as they think.

Dr. Nelson can be viewed on a PBS recorded teach-in on global warming. View Ethical and Justice Issues of Climate Change

Briggs Professors Kendra Cheruvelil, John Waller and Michael Nelson have all been awarded an Intramural Research Grant Proposal(IRGP)
IRGP invests in MSU faculty who are conducting work that addresses important research questions or produces significant creative products. Projects that are selected enhance the reputation of the researcher and the university. Dr. Cheruvelil will study the effects of lake shoreline development on painted and map turtle populations. Dr. Nelson's research involves the history of the Isle Royale Wolf-Moose study. Dr. Waller's grant theme is: Bred in the Bone: Ideas of Heredity, Race and Eugenics in Western Thought. Lyman Briggs College faculty won 3 of the 44 available grants!

Professor Brian O'Shea has received a grant from the NASA Astrophysics Theory and Fundamental Physics (ATFP) program
The grant will fund a study of a variety of physics processes relating to the formation of galaxy clusters. A "galaxy cluster" is the largest structure in the universe - these are big collections of tens or hundreds of galaxies that are all pulled together by gravity, along with a huge amount of diffuse gas, some weighing more than a million billion times the mass of our sun, or more than 1,000 times the mass of the Milky Way. They act as cosmic vacuum cleaners, and pull everything around them in. As a result they are interesting because one can study them to find out about more general properties of the universe as a whole (e.g. dark matter, dark energy). For more information visit Wikipedia: galaxy clusters.