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Bill Burk’s New Book: Putting Down Roots

March 30, 2023

Newly released and available on Amazon:

Putting Down Roots: Foundations of Botany at Carolina
February 20, 2023
$54.00 – 616 pages
by William R. Burk (Author)

This book traces the development of the academic discipline of botany at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill from 1792 to 1982. Coverage of the professors who taught botany during UNC’s first century includes their biographical background, pedagogical style, scientific instruction, and contributions to science. The academic influences that each of these educators had on Carolina are also noted. The concluding chapter, constituting about one-sixth of the volume, describes the UNC Department of Botany, established in 1908. The principal focus of this chapter is the department’s accomplishments, its faculty, and its graduate students. Several significant themes are woven through the text, particularly for the 1800s: the University Museum, the idea of establishing a model farm, the Elisha Mitchell Scientific Society, the emergence of laboratory practice in the curriculum, the University Library and the sciences, and the campus landscape and its beautification. Included among the noteworthy milestones of the university and of Chapel Hill are the first woman to teach botany, the early history of the freedmen’s school for Black children, and the establishment of the campus’s first chemical teaching laboratory. The book should be of interest to historians of botany and science. Other potential audiences include individuals interested in the history of UNC, the pioneering role of women in science, the education of the freedmen, and the role of scientific societies in advancing scientific knowledge.

William R. Burk is a retired life science librarian. His early service was at academic libraries of the University of Utah, the University of Guam, and the University of California–Santa Barbara. Subsequently, he was the Botany (later Biology) Librarian at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for thirty years.

Amy Gladfelter Elected into the American Academy of Microbiology!

February 16, 2023

Congratulations to Dr. Amy Gladfelter for being one of 65 to be elected into the American Academy of Microbiology! From the website, “Fellows of the American Academy of Microbiology, an honorific leadership group and a think tank within the ASM, are elected annually through a highly selective, peer-review process, based on their records of scientific achievement and original contributions that have advanced microbiology. The Academy received 148 nominations this year and elected 65 into the 2023 Fellowship Class. There are over 2,600 Fellows in the Academy representing all subspecialties of the microbial sciences and involved in basic and applied research, teaching, public health, industry and government service.” Read it all here.

Congratulations, Amy!

Professor Emeritus Peter White book wins a 2023 Dartmouth Medal!

January 31, 2023

Congratulations to Professor Emeritus Peter White, whose new book The World Atlas of Trees and Forests: Exploring Earth’s Forest Ecosystems wins the 2023 Dartmouth Medal for most outstanding reference work via the American Library Association! Read the full announcement here.

Sophie McCoy awarded NSF CAREER Grant!

January 19, 2023

Congratulations to Sophie McCoy for receiving an NSF CAREER Grant! From the Chair: “Professional success of our junior faculty is a key way that our department stays vibrant. So I’m excited to share that Sophie McCoy has just been officially awarded an NSF CAREER grant, which is entitled “Species Interactions of Coral Reef Benthic Cyanobacterial Mats: Within-Mat Diversity Promotes Both Facilitation and Top-Down Control.” These are highly competitive awards, and so it’s a great honor and testament to Sophie’s exciting research. Congrats Sophie and we’ll look forward to hearing about this work in the future.”

Seth Alexander wins Tanner Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching!

January 10, 2023

Congratulations to Seth Alexander for winning the Tanner Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching by Graduate Teaching Assistants!

From the announcement:

Seth teaches courses in biology, teaching many pre-med students. He took a gap year to get a Master’s in teaching before returning to school, and his students are outspoken in their respect and admiration for him. A few comments from his nominations: “Seth reminded the entire class through his story of why he teaches, that it is most important to pursue a career that you enjoy and to have a reason why you get up and go to work each day.” “He’s a force for good and will touch a lot of lives and they will be better for it.” “Whether he knows it or not, Seth played a large role in reaffirming my interests in medicine.” “With this class, I set my future as a physician.” “Mr. Alexander prioritized creating a positive learning environment in order to instill a sense of inclusion and belonging.”

From Dr. Corey Johnson:

Seth was an undergraduate student of mine in BIOL 252, 252L, and BIOL 205 back in 2016 (all the same semester). Seth was one of those once-in-a-lifetime students… incredibly bright, gregarious, and very eager to learn. I did what anyone would do, I put him to work! He served as a SI instructor for 3 semesters. Like other former students of mine, Seth became a Teaching Assistant in my anatomy labs during his time in medical school. He quickly became my head TA, helping me out with some admin duties in the class. While I was serving as associate chair, Seth took over the administration of the ~25 sections of BIOL 252L for two semesters, and several summer sessions. This is quite a job, overseeing graduate/medical TAs, Undergraduate peer mentors, and making sure everybody is on the same page of the curriculum, approach to teaching, and working toward common goals in reaching our students.
We worked together in developing the BIOL 252L lab curriculum over COVID, and have published a paper together on ultrasound imaging in anatomy education. A second manuscript is in the works. After completing his Masters at the prestigious Harvard Graduate School of Education, Seth taught Biology of Blood Diseases over the summer. Thus, he’s been a student, a peer mentor, a TA, a head TA, and has lead his own lecture courses. That’s quite a list of accomplishments. As he wraps up his 4th year of medical school, Seth is currently interviewing for residency, where he intends to continue pursuing his interest in medical education alongside clinical practice.
It’s clear that Seth is quite active! Not only is he a busy guy, he’s actually quite a great educator. Winning this award acknowledges his dedication to students learning (and to pre-health advising).

Congratulations, Seth!

Savannah Ryburn awarded Galapagos Seed Grant!

January 5, 2023

Congratulations to Savannah Ryburn for being awarded funding for her proposal “Movement patterns and habitat use of juvenile scalloped hammerhead sharks!” From the award letter: “On behalf of Amanda Thompson and Diego Riveros-Iregui, I’m happy to report that you have been awarded [funding] for your proposal, Movement patterns and habitat use of juvenile scalloped hammerhead sharks… The funding for your work is from the UNC Center for Galapagos Studies and the UNC Vice Chancellor for Research.”

Printmaking and Biology Art Show!

January 5, 2023

Be sure to check out Printmaking and Biology’s one-day art show in the bottom floor lobby of the Genome Science Building on January 13th from 4 to 6 pm! More info is below:

Artist/Scientist: Printmaking and Biology
A one-day show of science-themed art
Friday, Jan 13, 4-6 pm
Genome Science Building, bottom floor lobby
UNC-Chapel Hill’s unusual course merging studio art and biology hosts a one-day show of science-themed art.

Senay Yitbarek Awarded First Competitive Grant!

December 13, 2022

Congratulations to Senay Yitbarek for being awarded his first competitive grant! This seed grant is from the Center for Galapagos Studies and is entitled “The interplay between global change and host-pathogen dynamics.” Congratulations, Senay!

Isabel Silva-Romero featured by UNC Endeavors!

November 17, 2022

Congratulations to Isabel Silva-Romero, whose research has been featured on UNC Endeavor’s website! Isabel, a member of John Bruno’s lab, “studies how ocean temperatures affect the food web on rocky reefs around the Galápagos Islands.” Be sure to check out this article and the accompanying video!