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This article was originally printed in the February 2006 issue of CLASnotes.

CLAS Honors Top Teachers and Advisors

Amy Ongiri
Amy Ongiri

John Krigbaum
John Krigbaum

Yoonseok Lee
Yoonseok Lee

CLAS recently presented 11 awards to its top teachers and advisors for 2005-2006. Students, faculty and staff nominated the winners, who exhibited qualities such as innovation, dedication and the ability to engage students. Three of the professors have been chosen to advance to the university-wide competition.

Yoonseok Lee, an assistant professor of physics who was named Physics Teacher of the Year in 2004, will compete for the UF Advisor of the Year award. Since Lee began teaching at UF in 2001, he has received several awards and grants, including a $450,000 grant to support his research from the National Science Foundation’s CAREER program. Lee teaches Applied Physics 2 and Advanced Laboratory 1.

John Krigbaum, an assistant professor of anthropology, began teaching at UF in 2002 and earned his PhD in biological anthropology from New York University. Krigbaum, who teaches Introduction to Biological Anthropology and a graduate course on lab methods, Biological Anthropology Laboratory, was chosen as a candidate for the campus-wide Teacher of the Year Award. Amy Ongiri, an assistant professor of English, also will compete for UF Teacher of the Year. Before coming to UF in 2003, Ongiri received a PhD from Cornell University and was an assistant professor at the University of California, Riverside. Her research interests include gender and sexuality studies, as well as African-American literature. She teaches African-American Literature and also has taught courses through UF’s Paris Research Center.

The other CLAS advising award winner was Keith Berg from psychology. The college teaching award winners also include: Jeffrey Keaffaber, chemistry; Khandker Mutalib, physics; Kathy Navajas, Romance languages and literatures; Nicole Piquero, criminology, law and society; Nigel Richards, chemistry; Ewa Wampuszyc, Germanic and Slavic studies; and Barbara Zsembik, sociology.

Straight From the (Prehistoric) Horse’s Mouth

Sarah VeeckSarah Veeck, a high school junior from Kalamazoo, Michigan, spent a week conducting research in Anthropology Assistant Professor John Krigbaum’s lab in December as part of a science project she is entering in the 2006 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. Working with Western Michigan University anthropologist Robert Anemone, she obtained 55 million-year-old primitive horse teeth recovered from the Great Divide Basin in Wyoming. At UF, she ran stable isotope analysis on the tooth enamel from these teeth to elucidate the horses’ past diet and ecology. Krigbaum and Anemone plan to use Veeck’s findings in a pilot study that will also contribute to collaborative work on Paleocene-Eocene fauna with Jonathan Bloch at the Florida Museum of Natural History.

“The methods and techniques are being done here because they don’t have the right equipment at Western Michigan,” says Krigbaum. “When Sarah gets back to Michigan, Bob will help her analyze the data.”

Veek is a 17-year-old student at Loy Norriz High School and a member of the Kalamazoo Area Math and Science Center, which paid for her trip to Gainesville. The fair will be held in Indianapolis in May and the top prize is a $50,000 college scholarship. “I have had a great experience here at UF,” Veeck says. “Dr. Krigbaum has been wonderful.” A biological anthropologist, Krigbaum uses methods of bone chemistry to address paleodiet and paleoecological questions in human evolution. He recently received a CLAS Teacher of the Year Award and has been nominated for the university-wide competition.

Woodrow Wilson International Scholar

Brenda ChalfinBrenda Chalfin, an assistant professor of anthropology, is a Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars this semester. Chalfin, who works in the center’s African Program, is finishing a book on bureaucrats and neoliberal reform in Ghana and is researching a new project examining the politics, technologies and systems of meaning shaping international standards of border control.

The center was established by an act of Congress in 1968 and is the official living memorial to President Wilson, who emphasized the “common enterprise” of scholars and policymakers. The center awards approximately 20–25 residential fellowships annually to individuals with outstanding project proposals in a broad range of the social sciences and humanities on national and/or international issues.

CLAS Employee Excellence Award Nominations Due March 3

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has established a program to honor support staff (USPS/TEAMS employees) for outstanding and meritorious service. Two $1,500 (pre-tax) awards and plaques will be presented this spring. Nominations will be accepted from any faculty, staff or student in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Self-nominations also will be accepted. Nominations are due to Mary Anne Morgan in the CLAS Dean’s Office no later than Friday, March 3. Nomination forms and award guidelines are available online at

Department News

African and Asian Languages and Literatures

Cynthia Chennault (Chinese) delivered a paper titled “The Making of Buddhist Landscapes in Poems of the Liang to Sui Dynasties” at a conference on medieval China’s intellectual history and culture, held January 6–8 at the National University of Singapore. In December, she spoke on a related topic at the Department of East Asian Studies at Princeton University.

Communication Sciences and Disorders

Pat Kricos was elected chair of the Board of Governors of the American Board of Audiology. The ABA is dedicated to enhancing audiologic services to the public by promoting universally recognized standards in professional practice. The board consists of seven elected members whose work settings represent the diversity of audiology practice. She will serve a two-year term.


William Logan’s book The Undiscovered Country: Poetry in the Age of Tin is a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle award in the criticism category. It was named among the books of the year in Newsday and The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. His new book of poems, The Whispering Gallery, was named among the books of the year in The Times Literary Supplement. The National Book Critics Circle, founded in 1974, consists of nearly 700 active book reviewers, and the centerpiece of the group’s activities is the annual awards for the best book in five categories, which will be announced on March 3.

Mark A. Reid presented a paper titled “Challenging and Resisting the Everyday Narratives of the Arab Male in Recent French Cinema” as part of the “Arab Pop Culture Speaks Back” panel at the Modern Language Association’s annual convention in Washington, DC in late December. Barbara Mennel, who is jointly appointed in the Department of Germanic and Slavic Studies, presented a paper at the convention titled “The Global Elsewhere: Ursula Biemann’s Multimedia Countergeography.”


Cesar N. Caviedes, a professor emeritus, is spending two semesters at the University of Heidelberg, Germany, at the Heidelberg Center for American Studies and the Institute of Geography. The Alexander von Humboldt Foundation is sponsoring his stay, and he also has given lectures at the universities of Stuttgart (Germany), Innsbruck (Austria), Basle (Switzerland) and the Austrian Geographical Society in Vienna.


Jim Channell received the William Gilbert Award of the Geomagnetism and Paleomagnetism Section of the American Geophysical Union at the group’s annual meeting in San Francisco in December. The award recognizes “outstanding work in magnetism of Earth materials, and of the Earth and planets,” and consists of a certificate and a “terrella,” or little earth. The award is named for William Gilbert (1544–1603), who can arguably be called the founder of both experimental rock magnetism and geomagnetism.

Germanic and Slavic Studies

Nora Alter presented a paper titled “From Film Theater to Art Gallery” at the Modern Language Association’s annual meeting in late December. Dragan Kujundzic also presented several papers at the MLA meeting, including “Kieslowski as a Franco-Polish Film Director” at the session on Franco-Polish Relations and “Absalute” at the Salute to Jacques Derrida session. Kujundzic was a roundtable participant at the American Association of Teachers of Slavic and Eastern European Languages’ “Are We Post-Colonial Yet?” Hana Filip also was a roundtable discussant for “Czech Studies in American Higher Education” and a panelist for Negative Yes/No-Questions with the Positive Epistemic Implicature at the same conference.

Ingrid Kleespies presented “Russia’s Wild East: Images of the Russian Frontier in Goncharov’s ‘Fregat Pallada’” on the panel East and West: Literary Explorations of Imperial Russia’s Boundaries at the annual conference of the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies in Salt Lake City in November. Galina Rylkova also gave a presentation at the conference titled “Limits of Representation in Semyon Aranovich’s ‘The Anna Akhmatova File.’” Rylkova presented “The Anxiety of Non-influence: Blok, Chekhov and Akhmatova” at the Aleksandr Blok 125th Anniversary Conference in Pushkinskii Dom, St. Petersburg, Russia.

Eric Kligerman presented a paper titled “Waiting for the Word: Reading Heidegger Through Celan” at the Association for Jewish Studies in Washington, DC, on December 20.

Hal Rennert presented a talk on “Friedrich Schiller’s Use of Figures of European History in His Plays and Poems” at a meeting of a chapter of the Europa-Union in Backnang, Germany in December.


Chair Krishnaswami Alladi played a key role in the creation of the SASTRA Ramanujan Prize, which was awarded for the first time in December during the International Conference on Number Theory and Mathematical Physics in Kumbakonam, India. The international award is given to mathematicians not exceeding the age of 32 for outstanding contributions to areas influenced by the Indian mathematical genius Srinivasa Ramanujan. Based on Alladi’s suggestion, the Shanmugha Arts, Science, Technology, Research Academy, known as SASTRA, is funding this annual $10,000 prize, and Alladi chaired the selection committee this year. He is closely associated with SASTRA as one of the main organizers of its international conferences each December, and is also the principal investigator on a grant from the Indo-US Forum of Science and Technology that supports these conferences.

Alladi was one of four leaders of the Chairs Workshop conducted by the American Mathematical Society on January 11, in conjunction with the annual meeting of the society in San Antonio, Texas. This year’s workshop discussed topics such as budget management, strategic planning, self assessment, and outreach. This is the second consecutive year that Alladi was invited by the AMS to lead the workshop.


Elizabeth Athens, a doctoral student, was named the 2006 recipient of the prestigious Bijou Fellowship from the Association for Behavior Analysis International. The fellowship is awarded to graduate students studying child development from a standpoint of behavior analysis, and only one or two awards are given annually. Athens’ advisor is Timothy Vollmer.

Manfred Diehl was elected a Fellow of the American Psychological Association’s Adult Development and Aging Division. Fellow status is awarded on the basis of evaluated evidence of outstanding contributions to the field of psychology.

Bethany Raiff, a doctoral student in psychology, has received the Experimental Analysis of Behavior Fellowship from the Society for the Advancement of Behavior Analysis. This honor is given annually to one graduate student who displays exemplary promise for conducting experimental research in behavior analysis. Raiff’s advisor is Jesse Dallery, and she also collaborates with Timothy Hackenberg.



Chalfin photo courtesy Brenda Chalfin
all others by Jane Dominguez

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