PHILANTHROPIC FOODIE - University of New Orleans

PHILANTHROPIC FOODIE - University of New Orleans
A P U B L I C AT I O N F O R A L U M N I , S T U D E N T S A N D F R I E N D S O F T H E U N I V E R S I T Y O F N E W O R L E A N S

                                                                                                                       SPRING 2021

                   For University of New Orleans student Samira Bechara,
                  charity starts at home – specifically in her kitchen where
                      she prepares gourmet meals for nonprofit causes.
PHILANTHROPIC FOODIE - University of New Orleans
This Mardi Gras banner was
one of the few signs of Carnival
2021 on campus as the Krewe of
UNO took its festivities virtual
with a shoebox parade that was
streamed live on Facebook.
PHILANTHROPIC FOODIE - University of New Orleans
PHILANTHROPIC FOODIE - University of New Orleans
2   S I LV E R & B L U E   SPRING 2021
PHILANTHROPIC FOODIE - University of New Orleans
T A B L E               O F

                                                   F E AT U R E S
                                              24   PHILANTHROPIC FOODIE
                                                   UNO student Samira Bechara cooks up
                                                   charity with gourmet flair

                                              28   LESSONS FROM LIFE’S STORMS
                                                   Restaurateur Scot Craig’s no quit attitude
                                                   helps propel his success

                                              30   NOLA’S EMERGING FITNESS GURU
                                                   Alumna April Dupré is founder of
                                                   Footprints to Fitness

                                              32   COUNTING IT ALL JOY
                                                   Alumnus Dan Crumb is executive vice
                                                   president and chief financial officer for the
                                                   NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs

                                              36   FILMMAKING DEBUT
                                                   Alumna Kd Amond releases first feature film

                                              38   OPERATION NETFLIX
                                                   Alumna Robin Rose, a mechanical engineer,
                                                   keeps operations running smoothly at
                                                   streaming giant Netflix

                                                   DEPARTMENT S
                                               5   CAMPUS SCENE
                                              10   NEWS AND EVENTS
                                              18   FACULTY FOCUS
                                              40   ATHLETICS
                                              44   DONOR SPOTLIGHT
Alumna April Dupré, founder of
Footprints to Fitness, leads a yoga session
                                              46   ALUM NOTES
at Audubon Park during a collaboration
with the National Park Service.               50   IN MEMORIAM
                                              52   THEN AND NOW
                                                            SPRING 2021     S I LV E R & B L U E   3
PHILANTHROPIC FOODIE - University of New Orleans

to remind myself to reflect on what we have endured and, more importantly, learned as a                    VOLUME 45                     s   ISSUE 1
university community. The effects of the coronavirus will be long lasting and, in some cases,
everlasting. There is plenty we will want to forget. Yet my hope is that we don’t resume our
                                                                                                                   EXECUTIVE EDITOR
pre-pandemic lives, oblivious to the wisdom we have gained. This is our challenge as resilient                        Littice Bacon-Blood
people and members of a resilient community. Determination and tenacity are part of our                                       EDITOR
                                                                                                                           Adam Norris
institutional DNA. UNO was the first—and only—New Orleans university to reopen during the
                                                                                                                 DESIGN AND LAYOUT
fall 2005 semester following Hurricane Katrina. There are moments of opportunity that only                               Eric Gernhauser
present themselves after a crisis. I believe that we are approaching one of those moments.                    CONTRIBUTING WRITERS
    In March 2020, our faculty and staff did the unimaginable. In a matter of days, they moved all                     Matthew Schaefer
                                                                                                                         Emma Seely
of our courses online and instruction continued remotely. Student support services went virtual
as well. Did everything go smoothly? Of course not. In the face of such swift and drastic change,                      Andy Antunez
                                                                                                                      Shane Banegas
our employees and students encountered daily challenges. But we proved we could do it. We
                                                                                                                         Avery Gray
solved problems, acquired new skills, became acquainted with new technology and figured it out.                    Tracie Morris Schaefer
                                                                                                                       Sean Seghers
That kind of entrepreneurial and nimble mindset should stay with us long after the pandemic has
receded. Higher education institutions are notoriously slow to change. In this case, we did not have
                                                                                                                 Send Correspondence to:
a choice. The change was thrust upon us, and we still had to serve our students. So we did. But the               Silver and Blue Editor
lessons we learned will allow us to do this much better into the future.                                        University of New Orleans
                                                                                                                Administration Building 103
    We expect our fall 2021 semester will look much more like a traditional semester on                            2000 Lakeshore Drive
                                                                                                                  New Orleans, LA 70148
campus. We will have an abundance of in-person classes and many of our customary activities
                                                                                                                   Phone: (504) 280-6832
and events will return. However, in my view, it would be a mistake to try to replicate the                     Email:
                            University of New Orleans that existed before March 2020. The pandemic
                               taught us that we need to accommodate the lives of our students
                                through remote and hybrid learning. Access to a UNO education will
                                 increase if we are flexible about how we deliver instruction. Many of
                                 our students have jobs, children or caregiver responsibilities. They
                                                                                                          Silver & Blue Magazine is published by
                                          will unquestionably benefit from their UNO degree and the       the University of New Orleans. Articles
                                               pathway to a career that it provides if we give them      represent the opinions of the authors and
                                                                                                           do not necessarily reflect the views of
                                                 options and support along the way.                               anyone but the authors.

                                                      My pledge to you is that I will take my own         To inquire about alumni events or to join
                                                                                                           the UNO Alumni Association, contact:
                                                   advice. I will contemplate the upheaval we            Office of Alumni Affairs, University of New
                                                                                                              Orleans, New Orleans, LA 70148
                                                   navigated together, examine where we triumphed                   Phone: (504) 280-2586
                                                                                                                      Fax: (504) 280-1080
                                                   and where we failed, and try to become a more                   Email:
                                                   effective leader. I firmly believe that we will               © 2021 The University of New Orleans
                                                                                                         This public document was published at a total cost
                                                   emerge a stronger and more strategic university,      of $22,559. Forty-five thousand (45,000) copies of
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                                                  one that will make you even prouder to be part of      and only printing at a cost of $22,559. There will be
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4   S I LV E R & B L U E   SPRING 2021
PHILANTHROPIC FOODIE - University of New Orleans

                           VIRTUAL GRADUATION
                              KREWE OF UNO
                           COASTAL RESTORATION

                                SPRING 2021   S I LV E R & B L U E   5
PHILANTHROPIC FOODIE - University of New Orleans
   In November, the University of
New Orleans hosted a drive-through
commencement celebration on
campus for summer and fall 2020
   As the processional of vehicles
passed slowly, with enthusiastic
waves, honking horns and thumbs up
signs from graduates and their rela-
tives, President John Nicklow handed
each graduate a souvenir box of UNO

6   S I LV E R & B L U E   SPRING 2021
PHILANTHROPIC FOODIE - University of New Orleans
   Actor Harry Shearer shared the irony of life, luck and prepara-
tion in his 10-minute commencement address at UNO’s fall 2020
virtual ceremony held on December 12.
   Shearer, who maintains a residence in New Orleans, has served
as one of the principal voice actors on “The Simpsons” for the
show’s entire 31-year run, including voicing the role of Mr. Burns.
   In closing out his address, Shearer addressed graduates in the
famed voice of “The Simpsons” character Mr. Burns, telling them
that they were “excellent.”
   President John Nicklow addressed the class of 2020 during the
fall commencement ceremony while standing on campus near the
fountain at the Robert Merrick/Latter & Blum Patio.
    Approximately 970 students participated in the ceremony,
which was streamed live on YouTube, and included a roll call of
graduates and Shearer’s keynote address.

                                  SPRING 2021    S I LV E R & B L U E   7
PHILANTHROPIC FOODIE - University of New Orleans
       The Krewe of UNO rolled virtually in 2021
    in keeping with the City of New Orleans coro-
    navirus restrictions on Mardi Gras parades.
       This year’s event was a shoebox float pa-
    rade that streamed live on Facebook with host
    commentators LeeAnne Sipe, director for the
    Office of Student Involvement and Leadership
    and Mike Esordi, UNO’s associate director for
    web strategy.
       The theme of the parade was “Oh, the
    Places You Can’t Go!” and featured color-
    fully decorated shoeboxes created by students,
    UNO campus organizations and people from
    the community.

8   S I LV E R & B L U E   SPRING 2021
                                                                              En Garde! Students
                                                                           in film and theatre
                                                                           professor David Hoover’s
                                                                           course “Combat for Stage
                                                                           and Film” practice the
                                                                           art of swordplay.

   (RIGHT) Dinah Maygarden (pink cap), director of the UNO
Coastal Education Program at the Pontchartrain Institute for
Environmental Sciences (PIES), led a coastal restoration field
workshop as part of a partnership with the National Wildlife
Federation New Orleans.
   (ABOVE) Community leaders and legislators traveled by boat
to a critical marsh restoration area near Lake St. Catherine to
learn more about plans for restoration and ways in which to sup-
port and protect the project area.

                                                                   SPRING 2021   S I LV E R & B L U E   9
President Nicklow Recognized as NCAA Champion
of Diversity and Inclusion
UNIVERSIT Y OF NEW                        by this recognition. I am
Orleans President John Nicklow            grateful to the NCAA,
was one of five individuals               and I congratulate
recognized as Champions of                my fellow honorees,”
Diversity and Inclusion by the            Nicklow said. “I share
NCAA Minority Opportu-                    this honor with members
nities and Interests Committee            of the University of New
in February. The honorees                 Orleans team.
are selected for their work in                  “This is a reflection
supporting ethnic minorities              of our campus commu-
and other underrepresented                nity’s collective efforts
groups and individuals.                   to ensure that diversity,
    The honor was created                 equity and inclusion
in 2015 to recognize those                are more than just
who have a commitment to                  something we talk
advocating for and advancing              about—it’s something
others in inclusive efforts               we value and that we
around athletics. In addition             live each day. As I tell
to Nicklow, the other honorees            students frequently,
are Tommy Amaker, Harvard                 some of the most
men’s basketball coach; Jen               important lessons I’ve learned      University also hired a diversity    New Orleans. “They have been
Fry, community supporter                  throughout my life are from         officer focused specifically         champions for diversity and
with JenFryTalks; Allen Green,            those who are different from        on students. Nicklow created         inclusion throughout their
Auburn athletics director; and            me. Diversity brings new ideas,     the President’s Award for            careers and continue to do what
Jacqie McWilliams, commis-                cultures and experiences to the     Advancement in Diversity             is right in 2021. They have been
sioner of the Central Intercolle-         table to create better outcomes     and has built new community          inspirations to our student-
giate Athletic Association.               and solutions for us all.”          partnerships that focus on           athletes and administrators in
    Individuals were nominated                 Nicklow, who became            equity and access.                   athletics, and they play a big part
based on how they are influ-              President at UNO in 2016, has            “As we move through             in molding our industry and our
encers in promoting diversity             led an effort to make the campus    this challenging time in our         country. MOIC applauds them
and inclusion, how they are               community more diverse and          country’s history, the committee     for their intentions and bravery
assisting in diversifying pipeline        has focused on transformative       wanted to recognize five people      in such unprecedented times.
opportunities in their senior or          actions to help students feel       who lead from different seats        Leading with conviction and
influential position, how they            more welcome. He and his staff      within and around college            courage moves us all to a better
are providing support to under-           have improved hiring practices      athletics,” said Dena Freeman-       place in athletics and certainly as
represented populations, and              and conducted climate surveys       Patton, chair of the NCAA            we look to the future.”
their consistency in supporting           and listening sessions to discuss   Minority Opportunities and                The winners will be formally
diversity and inclusion initia-           key issues and bridge gaps.         Interests Committee and deputy       recognized at the 2021 Inclusion
tives.                                         In addition to employing       athletics director/chief operating   Forum, which will be held
    “I am incredibly humbled              a chief diversity officer, the      officer at the University of         virtually June 2-4.

10   S I LV E R & B L U E   SPRING 2021
UNO chemistry professor Phoebe
Zito uses the inductively coupled
plasma triple quadrupole mass
spectrometer—the ICP-QQQ.

UNO’s Chemistry Department Acquires New Mass
Spectrometer Capable of Advanced Sample Analysis
THE UNIVERSIT Y OF NEW              chemistry professor Phoebe Zito       sample elements.                       nanometals in environmental
Orleans’ chemistry department       says. She refers to the tool by its         Think about being near a         samples such as soil and
has acquired a new research         initials: ICP-QQQ.                    neighborhood that has a bakery         seawater, the ICP-QQQ is
tool that allows researchers             “The triple quadrupole is        that makes king cakes, Zito            necessary in order to get the
to analyze and identify trace       used to separate two overlapping      explains. The more sensitive           sensitivity needed to detect and
samples with more accuracy.         elemental signals which makes         your sense of smell, the farther       measure nanometals.
    The state-of-the-art tool       it more sensitive. The ICP-QQQ        you can be from the bakery and              The new instrument is able
comes with a $1 million price       can determine low concentra-          still smell it, she says. Once you     to detect and measure near
tag and a name that’s a mouthful    tions of elements in complex          detect the smell, you can trace        miniscule concentrations in a
to say. The inductively coupled     samples,” Zito says. “The             it and as the smell becomes            liquid or gas sample.
plasma triple quadrupole mass       laser accessory allows for the        strongest, you will find the                “It is capable of measuring
spectrometer coupled with an        detection of elements on solid        bakery.                                down to femtomolar which
interchangeable excimer laser       surfaces like ancient pottery, fish         “Our new instrument is           is extremely sensitive,” Zito
ablation system is the only one     bones, rocks and teeth making it      like the nose,” Zito says. “For        says. “It would be equivalent
in the Southeast United States.     extremely versatile.”                 example, our instrument can            to detecting 100 drops of food
    The closest machine with             Zito uses the human nose to      detect and trace small concen-         coloring in an Olympic sized
similar capabilities is at Auburn   explain the machine’s advanced        trations of metals, such as            pool.”
University, but it doesn’t have     abilities to sift, measure,           arsenic, lead, mercury that                 The instrument was funded
the triple quadrupole, UNO          categorize, track and identify        can be toxic to human and              from a major research instru-
                                                                          organisms, to its source.”             mentation grant through the
                                                Zito explains how               “There are many environ-         National Science Foundation
                                                the machine is used       mental applications … An               and will be housed in the
                                                to detect elements on     anthropologist will use this           Chemical Sciences Building as
                                                solid surfaces.           instrument to measure the              part of the Chemical Analysis
                                                                          elements in pottery to determine       & Mass Spectrometry (CAMS)
                                                                          how long they were in the              facility at UNO.
                                                                          ground prior to excavation. A               “We want to bring
                                                                          biologist will use it to measure       researchers from many disci-
                                                                          the concentration of calcium           plines together to use this
                                                                          in reptile egg shells to obtain        cutting-edge technology,” Zito
                                                                          information about their growth         says. “Furthermore, it will
                                                                          patterns,” Zito says.                  provide underrepresented
                                                                                For Zito, whose research         students a chance to use
                                                                          focuses on detecting extremely         advanced analytical instruments
                                                                          small concentrations of                even if it’s not in their field.”

                                                                                                               SPRING 2021   S I LV E R & B L U E   11
Professor Pat Austin Receives Light Up for Literacy Humanities Award
professor of children’s literature
and curator of the University
of New Orleans Children’s
and Young Adult Library,
has received the Light Up
for Literacy award from the
Louisiana Endowment for
the Humanities. The LEH
announced the award on Dec. 3.
     The award, which is
presented in partnership with
the State Library of Louisiana’s
Center for the Book, honors
individuals who have made
significant and lasting contribu-
tions to literacy efforts in the
     After 16 years as an
elementary school teacher,
Austin earned a doctorate in
curriculum and instruction
from the University of New
Orleans, where she went on to             Beabout says. “The most              thousands of students in the       Pat Austin was professor of
serve as a faculty member for             impressive element of Pat’s          area as she mentors, educates      children’s literature at the
26 years. She retired from UNO            commitment to building literacy      and certifies educators who        University of New Orleans and a
in 2020.                                  awareness is her unmatched           make a huge impact on our          faculty member for 26 years. She
     Austin, who has said one of          record of community service.         diverse region,” Douglas says.     retired in 2020.
her all-time favorite activities               “Dr. Austin served as the       “Meanwhile, at Hynes, our
is reading to children, served            curator of the UNO Children’s        students are such successful           In addition to the literacy
as curator of UNO’s Children’s            and Young Adult Library for          readers because they have          award, the LEH announced
and Young Adult Library for               20 years. She has worked with        equitable access to our amazing    eight other Humanities Awards
two decades and mentored                  publishers to secure thousands       collection of books and            recipients on Dec. 3. Each
countless student library volun-          of books, process them and add       materials.”                        award is selected by a special
teers and librarians in training.         them to the library’s collection.”        Most recently, Austin         committee made up of experts
She has authored more than 40                  Austin trained student          created the collection for         in the field and LEH staff and
articles in educational journals,         library volunteers and worked        the newly opened Children’s        board members.
hundreds of book reviews and              with her students to create          Museum in City Park. She               Austin, along with the
a picture book, “The Cat Who              library collections for Hynes        also has led African-American      other award recipients, will
Loved Mozart.”                            Charter School, Medard Nelson        literature read-ins and Best New   be highlighted in 64 Parishes
     Over the course of her               Elementary School and Morris         Books for Children sessions at     magazine, published by the
more than 40-year career as               Jeff Community School whose          dozens of schools across south     LEH, and they will be recog-
an educator, Austin helped                library collections had to be        Louisiana.                         nized during the Bright Lights
develop the literacy teaching             completely re-created after               “For 11 years, she            Awards ceremony.
skills of thousands of Louisiana          Hurricane Katrina, Beabout says.     sponsored the Literary                 The LEH Humanities
educators.                                     Michelle Douglas, chief         Lagniappe, a quarterly             Awards offer a collective
     “Dr. Austin is truly a               executive officer at Hynes           newsletter that provided           opportunity to celebrate all the
woman of the book and I                   Charter School, credits Austin       undergraduate and graduate         humanities have to offer and
can’t imagine a more fitting              for the academic achievement         students the opportunity to        honor those who have made
candidate for this award,”                that 91% of her students are         publish reviews of recently        great contributions to the
University of New Orleans                 reading at or above grade level.     released children’s books,”        understanding of Louisiana’s
education professor Brian                      “Her outreach has impacted      Beabout says.                      history and culture.

12   S I LV E R & B L U E   SPRING 2021
news in brief
                                                                              UNO Student Affairs Earns 2021 NASPA
                                                                              Excellence Gold Award
                                                                                The University of New Orleans has earned the 2021 NASPA
                                                                              Excellence Gold Award for its student orientation program, called
                                                                              MAMBO. The four-day orientation is designed to immerse new
                                                                              freshmen in the Privateer experience.
                                                                                The acronym stands for Move-In, Academic preparation, Making
                                                                              memories, Building connections and Orientation. LeeAnne Sipe,
                                                                              interim assistant dean for Student Affairs, coordinates the program
                                                                              along with April Gremillion, who is assistant director for New Stu-
                                                                              dent Experience.
The master’s degree in cybersecurity and operations is designed to provide      “The University of New Orleans MAMBO Week Program has
a deep conceptual understanding of the modern cybersecurity landscape         proven to be an outstanding program that contributes to the success
and advanced practical skills in a broad range of areas.                      of students and the continued growth of the student affairs profes-
                                                                              sion,” National Association of Student Personnel Administrators
                                                                              said in announcing the award.

UNO Offers New Master’s Degree                                                UNO Student Melanie Casey’s Team
in Cybersecurity and Operations                                               Wins MIT Hackathon
                                                                                University of New Orleans healthcare management graduate
     The University of New                  The program is part of            student Melanie Casey was part of a five-member team that placed
Orleans is now offering a              the Department of Computer             first in MIT’s healthcare hackathon challenge, which sought ways to
master’s degree in cybersecurity       Science and is supported by            deliver healthcare in a more equitable fashion.
and operations. The program is         the UNO Cyber Center, a                   The theme of the competition, held virtually Oct.16-18 because of
designed to provide graduates          research unit recognized by the        the coronavirus pandemic, was “Hacking Racism in Healthcare.”
with both a deep conceptual            Louisiana Board of Regents and           Casey’s team, Hook, Line and Linker, focused on bringing commu-
understanding of the modern            NSA/DHS National Center in             nities and healthcare resources together as part of the social justice
cybersecurity landscape and            Cyber Defense Research.                and policy track.
advanced practical skills in                “Graduates have a wide              The team’s idea centered on using aggregate data to focus on
a broad range of areas, such           variety of employment choices          community need and redirecting services to the most needed popu-
as digital forensics, malware          in both private industry               lations using geo-mapping software, Casey says.
analysis, network penetration          and government agencies;                 The hackathon participants form impromptu multi-disciplinary
testing and defense.                   nearly every modern organi-            teams of up to seven people who collaborate, research and then ad-
     The degree curriculum             zation requires cybersecurity          dress effects of structural racism in healthcare in the United States
is flexible and offers oppor-          expertise,” Abdelguerfi says.          over the two-day competition. The goal, according to organizers, is
tunities for students with a           “Career options include                to connect teams to tools, resources and supporters that will foster
variety of academic and work           security analyst, malware              motivated partnerships to bring solutions to life through open in-
backgrounds to specialize in           expert, forensic investigator,         novation after the event.
cybersecurity. This includes           penetration tester, security
ones with non-STEM under-              consultant, security architect,        Chemistry Student Katherine Humpal Awarded
graduate degrees and working           chief information security             Arctic Science Research Fellowship
professionals, says Mahdi              officer among many.”
                                                                                University of New Orleans chemistry student Katherine Humpal
Abdelguerfi, University of                  Alumni of the department
                                                                              has been awarded a graduate research fellowship from the Arctic
New Orleans computer science           have established cyber
                                                                              Domain Awareness Center. The center, housed at the University
professor and department chair.        careers in local and inter-            of Alaska Anchorage, is part of the U.S. Department of Homeland
     Relevant experience also          national companies such as             Security.
can be used to satisfy specific        Google, Amazon, Microsoft                The fellowship will support Humpal’s tuition and stipend for the
academic prerequisites, Abdel-         and Facebook, as well as               next three years as she works with the lead principal investigator
guerfi says.                           banks, software companies              Patrick Tomco, an assistant professor of chemistry at the University
     The new degree integrates         and a variety of government            of Alaska Anchorage. The two will work on a project titled, “Photo-
with the University’s bachelor’s       contractors, Abdelguerfi says.         Enhanced Toxicity of Dispersed and Burned Crude Oil to Arctic
degree in computer science                  Others have joined                Mussels.”
to allow students with strong          federal agencies and security            The project explores the increase in toxicity associated with the
academic performance to enroll         contractors, such as Booz              presence of sunlight and the potential impact it has on bay mussels,
in the accelerated master of           Allen Hamilton and Lockheed            which are an integral component of coastal ecosystems and an
science and complete both              Martin, to directly contribute         important food source for both wildlife and humans.
degrees in five years, Abdel-          to the nation’s cyber defense,
guerfi says.                           he says.
                                                                                     To read more about these stories, visit
                                                                                                             SPRING 2021    S I LV E R & B L U E   13
UNO Student, Alumni Produced Film Screens at Sundance Film Festival
University of New Orleans
film student Kelsey Scult and
alumni Ben Matheny and Lizzie
Guitreau screened at the presti-
gious Sundance Film Festival on
Jan. 30. A third UNO alumnus,
Lee Garcia, worked as a sound
editor for the feature film titled,
“Ma Belle, My Beauty.”
     Sundance, which was
started in part by legendary
Hollywood actor Robert
Redford, is considered the most
prestigious independent film
festival in the United States and
one of the top in the world. It
has launched countless careers,
including Quentin Tarantino
and Steven Soderbergh, as well
as forecasted many academy                    “Others have won accolades      relationship of two recently          A current UNO film student
award winners.                            at many festivals … To now          married musicians adjusting           and three film school graduates
     “This is a clear sign                have our students and alumni        to life in France when “their         helped make the movie, “Ma
of continued growth and                   compete in the Sundance Film        beloved ex, who abruptly disap-       Belle, My Beauty,” that screened
excellence at the UNO film                Festival is fantastic and we        peared from their relationship        at Sundance.
program,” says professor Hamp             couldn’t be prouder.”               years ago, finally visits.”
Overton, director of the film                 Scult, currently pursuing            Garcia earned a bachelor’s       Matheny says. “We all feel very
program at UNO. “In the past              an MFA; Matheny, who earned         degree in 2013.                       lucky.
we have had alumni go on as               a bachelor’s degree in 2011;             “Sundance is the apogee of           “I’m excited for folks to
executives at networks such as            and Guitreau, who earned a          the independent filmmaker’s           see the movie. Marion Hill,
the SyFy Network and writers              bachelor’s degree in 2014, are      ambition. So, I was honored           our writer/director, is brilliant
for television shows such as              producers on the film that          and a bit startled to get in—let’s    and this is just the beginning
NCIS New Orleans.                         explores the polyamorous            just say this wasn’t my first try,”   for her.”

UNO Expands The Privateer Pledge to Jefferson Parish Students
STARTING IN THE FALL                      Parish residents who graduate       enrolled full time by June 1 for      is the pledge will make that
2021 semester, the University of          from a public or private high       the fall 2021 semester.               degree more attainable.
New Orleans will begin offering           school in the parish. In order           “We’ve had such a wonderful           “It’s our promise to eligible
the Privateer Pledge, a promise           to qualify, students must be        response to The Privateer             students in both parishes that
that the University will fill the         admitted as a freshman to the       Pledge with Orleans Parish            we will marshal all of the federal,
unmet financial need for tuition          University of New Orleans and       students, which is why we are         state and institutional aid
and fees of eligible Jefferson            must have filed the Free Appli-     so excited to be able to expand       necessary to fill any financial gap
Parish students. This marks the           cation for Federal Student Aid      the program to students from          for tuition and fees.”
expansion of a program that               (FAFSA).                            Jefferson Parish,” President John          In order to maintain the
was piloted in 2020 for Orleans               They must also be eligible      Nicklow says. “We know the            award, students must remain
Parish students.                          for a Pell Grant and their annual   difference a UNO degree can           enrolled full-time (minimum of
    The pledge now applies                family income cannot exceed         make in the lives of our students     12 hours) and keep a GPA of 2.0
to both Jefferson and Orleans             $60,000. Students will need to be   and their families, and our hope      or higher.

14   S I LV E R & B L U E   SPRING 2021
Caroline Andrews     Jasmines Curtis      Yvonne Everhardt     Montana Pinell       Han Chen                Yvette Green

UNO Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Students
Take First Place in Market Study Competition
UNIVERSIT Y OF NEW                  teamwork, analytical expertise,    and five graduate teams were          providing a platform entirely
Orleans graduate students in        critical thinking and presen-      selected to advance to the final      online during a challenging
the Lester E. Kabacoff School of    tation skills.                     round, where they conducted           time. The students and the
Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism            The team, composed of         a 30-minute online presen-            faculty are grateful for this
Administration earned first         Caroline Andrews, Jasmines         tation to a panel of senior-level     opportunity to represent the
place in the 2020 STR Market        Curtis, Yvonne Everhardt and       industry judges.                      University of New Orleans and
Study Competition held              Montana Pinell, was tasked             “It was a team effort. The        the school of HRT.”
virtually Nov. 21-22.               with analyzing the Austin,         graduate students who partici-            Each presenting team
    The competition included        Texas hotel market under the       pated in the STR market study         received a plaque, while the top
50 teams representing 44            guidance of hotel, restaurant      enjoyed the whole competition         three teams received special
colleges and universities from      and tourism administration         process, right from choosing          recognition and the winning
17 countries. It is designed to     professors Han Chen and            the city, analyzing real-world        teams received a $1,000 prize.
give students an opportunity        Yvette Green.                      data, drawing practical conclu-           SRT is an international
to showcase their knowledge              The team presentations        sions and presenting them in a        company that provides data
and research ability using data     were evaluated and scored          professional manner in front of       benchmarking, analytics and
provided by STR.                    by seasoned STR speakers.          judges from the industry,” Chen       marketplace insights for global
    The competition emphasizes      Ten undergraduate teams            says. “We appreciate STR for          hospitality sectors.

Innovate UNO Symposium Showcases Students
Scholarly Research and Creative Work
THE UNIVERSIT Y OF NEW              vice president for research and    who ranked in the
Orleans Office of Research          economic development. “So          top five presenta-
wrapped up the ninth annual         many people have contributed       tions within their
InnovateUNO with an awards          to the success of this event,      categories were
ceremony on Nov. 24 that            which is an important platform     invited to present
recognized the winners of the       for our undergraduate and          at the University
research symposium.                 graduate students to showcase      of Louisiana
    Over the course of the          their achievements and gain        System’s annual
weeklong virtual event,             experience with public presen-     Academic
attendees viewed more than          tations.                           Summit, held
100 oral, art, theater, music and       “Even during adversity,        virtually in the
film presentations. Presenters      our students have shown            spring.
included UNO students, faculty      their ability to succeed. The          The first-
and staff from every discipline     presentations this year were       place presenters
whose work was evaluated by a       outstanding.”                      were invited to
panel of 55 volunteer judges.           The highest-ranked presen-     present at the
    “InnovateUNO continues          tations were awarded a total of    National Confer-
to be a great opportunity for       $2,500 by the Office of Research   ences on Under-
our students, faculty members       and the Oscar J. Tolmas Chari-     graduate Research, also to be         Ash Gaude was awarded first
and staff members to present        table Trust. Both undergraduate    held virtually in the spring.         place for her painting “French
their accomplishments in            and graduate students were         Attendance at these events will       Quarter Musician” during
research, creative and scholarly    awarded prizes.                    be sponsored by the Office of         InnovateUNO 2020, which was
endeavors,” says Matthew Tarr,          Undergraduate students         Research.                             held virtually.

                                                                                                           SPRING 2021   S I LV E R & B L U E   15
Transportation Institute Creates
Statewide Recreational Trails Plan
THE UNIVERSIT Y OF NEW                    committee and all agencies
Orleans Transportation Institute          and organizations involved in
has created a statewide plan to           the planning, development,
guide the Louisiana Recreational          construction, operation,              highlights that now is the time,”    stakeholders.
Trail Program (LRTP) on ways              maintenance and programming           Tolford says. “Trails are ideal           The surveys were conducted
to encourage trail use while              of current and future Louisiana       for these perpetually-COVID          in the summer of 2018 and
supporting the care of wildlife,          trails, says UNO Transportation       times.”                              garnered nearly 1,000 responses
habitats and other natural                Institute researcher Tara Tolford.         The LRTP has helped build       from birdwatchers, ATV riders,
resources.                                     The goals relate to funding,     trail projects in every parish       mountain bikers, paddlers and
     The trails program is a              environmental stewardship,            and hundreds of municipalities,      other trail users, as well as stake-
national initiative that help states      operations, trail network             communities and neighbor-            holders directly responsible for
provide and maintain recre-               development and other areas,          hoods throughout Louisiana.          trails-planning, Tolford says.
ational trails and trails-related         she says.                                  The plan notes that 74%              The trail plan was created in
facilities. Louisiana has received             The plan also encourages         of all Louisiana residents live      partnership with the Louisiana
$1.5 million from the federal             the linking of trails throughout      within five miles of one or more     Department of Transpor-
government annually since 2009            the state with the aim of creating    LRTP projects.                       tation and Development, U.S.
to support its recreational trails        large networks of recreation and           In formulating the plan,        Department of Transportation’s
program.                                  transportation facilities, Tolford    researchers utilized data            Federal Highway Adminis-
     The plan provides a variety          says.                                 collected through two statewide      tration, and the Louisiana
of goals intended to guide the                 “The heightened use of           surveys given to trail users as      Department of Culture, Recre-
actions of the LRTP, its advisory         our local trails facilities really    well as agency and organization      ation and Tourism.

Water Institute and UNO Pontchartrain Institute for Environmental
Sciences sign Memorandum of Understanding
THE WATER INSTITUTE OF                        “Although we’ve been              policy matters in water, coastal     levels,” says Mark Kulp, director
the Gulf and the University of            sharing opportunities,                and deltaic issues, risk reduction   of the Pontchartrain Institute for
New Orleans formalized their              equipment, and students               and helping communities build        Environmental Sciences.
collaborative relationship on             for some time, we wanted              resilience against disasters and         “The Water Institute’s
Nov. 10 through the signing of a          to formalize this agreement           climate change.                      support of growing the
Memorandum of Understanding               recognizing our shared goals in            “This is an exciting            knowledge base and training
which will lead to sharing                providing the science needed to       partnership that helps the           the next generation of coastal
resources and opportunities for           serve the people and commu-           University better prepare our        scientists while advancing
hands-on research training for            nities of south Louisiana while       future coastal scientists and        the applied research needed
graduate and undergraduate                educating the next generation of      engineers by providing under-        to address current challenges
students.                                 coastal practitioners,” says Justin   graduate and graduate students       facing New Orleans and the
    As part of that agreement,            Ehrenwerth, Institute president       with extraordinary research          entire Gulf Coast, is collabo-
the Institute will have access to         and CEO. “This agreement also         experiences,” UNO President          ration at its best,” says Christy
the University’s state-of-the-art         continues to fulfill a mandate        John Nicklow says.                   Brown, Institute board member
laboratory facilities, research           given to the Institute earlier this        “This relationship will         and past chair of the Greater
vessels and equipment used to             year when Governor John Bel           leverage our collective resources    New Orleans Foundation.
collect data in the field while           Edwards designated us as the          to foster the development of         “Working with UNO and our
UNO’s Pontchartrain Institute             state’s Coastal Innovation and        scientific opportunities for         numerous partners in the New
for Environmental Sciences                Collaboration Hub.”                   UNO, The Water Institute             Orleans area, this agreement
will be a core Institute partner              The MOU outlines a                and Louisiana and elevate            represents another step in the
participating in applied research         commitment to work together           our understanding of coastal         commitment to help coastal
projects in Louisiana and                 on field and laboratory research,     sciences and education to            communities find a science-
beyond.                                   technological developments and        national and international           based way forward.”

16   S I LV E R & B L U E   SPRING 2021
Rishav Rajendra

Computer Science Student Rishav
Rajendra Lands Job at Facebook
LESS THAN A MONTH AFTER              the pizza place for you every
graduating from UNO with a           other Friday to get you a pizza.
degree in computer science,               “Simple stuff like that.”
Rishav Rajendra started his first         At Facebook, Rajendra
job with one of the world’s most     is looking forward to the
recognizable brands: Facebook.       exponential impact of his
     Rajendra, who completed         computer science capabilities.
a 12-week internship with                 “At Facebook anything I do
the company last summer,             affects millions of people, so the
is in Menlo Park, Calif. the         prospect of that is pretty exciting
headquarters for Facebook.           for me,” he says.
     Because of COVID-19,                 Rajendra, who is from
Rajendra’s internship was            Nepal, chose to attend UNO
performed remotely.                  after hearing friends speak
     Rajendra says he’s excited      positively about the University
about his position as a software     and its computer science
engineer on the Facebook Watch       program.
team. Facebook Watch is a                 “My favorite thing about
video-on-demand service.             UNO was the computer science
     “I mainly focus on streaming    department and the College of
music videos, stuff like that,” he   Sciences supporting undergrad-
says. “If you go and search for a    uates like me to get into research
Taylor Swift song … I make sure      very early into my studies,”
that you find that video on top      Rajendra says.
of the feed.”                             He was awarded a research        was my secret favorite place to         two tips: Apply early and be
     Rajendra is also looking        assistant role under computer         study,” he says.                        comfortable coding under
forward to the Facebook              science professor Stephen G.               Rajendra also was involved         pressure.
employee benefits, such as           Ware in his first year, which         in activities outside of the                “For a summer internship …
free lunches and dinners from        was supported by the College          classroom, such as the UNO              the process is in its final stages
on-site food courts and an           of Sciences Undergraduate             Robotics Club; he competed              in October. To even get a chance
on-site laundry delivery service.    Research Program funding,             in programming and coding               to interview, you need to start
     “The campus is basically        Rajendra says.                        contests.                               applying in August,” he says.
like, I would say, Disneyland             After that, he worked with            He advises students not only           Rajendra says he applied
for technical people,” Rajendra      computer science professor            to pay attention in class, but also     for his summer 2020 Facebook
says with a laugh. “Everything       and department chair Mahdi            to explore the benefits of extra-       internship in August 2019
is taken care of on campus. You      Abdelguerfi at the Canizaro           curricular club activities.             and received a final offer in
get to work basically without        Livingston Gulf States Center for          “If there are no event or          November of that year.
anything else bothering you.”        Environmental Informatics for         groups you are interested in,               There are usually multiple
     Rajendra has been               two years.                            maybe form a new organization,          rounds of technical and behav-
working with computers and                “The research I was              or tilt an existing organization        ioral interviews, Rajendra says.
programming since high school        fortunate enough to be a part of      towards what you may want to            The full process could take from
and finds computer science           at UNO provided a huge boost          do,” Rajendra says. “I introduced       one to three months, he says.
interesting because he says it       to my resume,” Rajendra says.         (computer vision and machine                 “Data structures and
allows “you the freedom and               Perhaps, not surprisingly,       learning) to the UNO Robotics           algorithms are the core funda-
ability to do anything.”             an empty classroom in UNO’s           Club and now almost all teams           mentals of the interviews,”
     “Suppose you want pizza         math building, which houses the       in the club have fully adopted          Rajendra says. “Learn how
every second Friday at your          computer science department,          the method.”                            to code under-pressure. As
house and you don’t want to call     was Rajendra’s go-to study spot.           For students who want              interviews are always time
the pizza place,” Rajendra says.          “(The) library gets very         internships at major technology         constrained, you may have to
“You can write a program to call     busy during the exams, so that        companies Rajendra offers               solve multiple problems.”

                                                                                                                 SPRING 2021   S I LV E R & B L U E   17
English Instructor
Chioma Urama Wins
Georgia Poetry Prize
UNIVERSIT Y OF NEW                        says. The
Orleans instructor Chioma                 poems are
Urama, winner of the national             the result of
Georgia Poetry Prize for 2019,            a conver-
has released her debut collection         sation Urama
of poetry that earned the prize.          opened with
    The prize includes a $1,000           her ancestors,
award and a publication contract          whose
with the University of Georgia            documented
Press. Urama’s book, “A Body              and oral
of Water,” was published in               histories have been fragmented
February.                                 by a history of enslavement.
    “This award is a great                     The 2019 judge, poet
achievement that highlights the           Magdalena Zurawski, described
great artistic work that is coming        Urama’s collection of poems as
out of UNO’s English and                  a “surprise and delight in their
foreign languages department,”            style and daring.”
says Urama, who teaches                        “The strength of the work is
creative writing and English              the communication that occurs
composition.                              between poems,” Zurawski said.
    The University of Georgia             “A constellation slowly emerges
Press established the national            where each poem becomes
poetry prize in partnership               for the reader a different point
with the Georgia Institute of             on a map, a map that marks
Technology and the University             the distances, the proximities,
of Georgia to celebrate excel-            between historical trauma and
lence in poetry.                          its intergenerational effects.”
    The annual contest is opened               As the winner, Urama has
to residents of North America.            been invited to read excerpts
     “A Body of Water” is a               from her work at Georgia
poetic exploration of ancestry            Institute of Technology and the
in the American South, Urama              University of Georgia.

18   S I LV E R & B L U E   SPRING 2021
Kim Jovanovich To Receive
                                                                     2021 Engineering Faculty
                                                                     Professionalism Award
                                                                     K I M J O VA N O V I C H ,
                                                                     University of New Orleans
                                                                     assistant dean of engineering
                                                                     and Chevron USA Endowed
                                                                     Professor in electrical
                                                                     engineering, has been awarded
                                                                     the 2021 Engineering Faculty
                                                                     Professionalism award by
                                                                     the Louisiana Engineering
                                                                         Jovanovich received the
                                                                     award during a ceremony on
                                                                     April 27, 2021.
                                                                         The purpose of the                Kim Jovanovich
                                                                     Engineering Faculty Profes-
                                                                     sionalism Award is to highlight       School of Engineering became
                                                                     enthusiastic professional             the College of Engineering under
                                                                     engineers who are among faculty       the direction of founding dean of
                                                                     at universities in Louisiana. The     engineering Fritz-Egbert Dohse.
                                                                     goal of the annual award is to             Jovanovich’s one semester
                                                                     encourage other engineering           has evolved into an academic
                                                                     faculty and students to become        career spanning four decades
                                                                     professional engineers.               at UNO that has included
                                                                         Jovanovich has been a faculty     several honors and recognition,
                                                                     member at UNO for 40 years.           including the University’s
                                                                         He was first approached           Presidential Staff Medallion.
                                                                     in 1980 to teach an electrical        The medallion is awarded to the
                                                                     engineering class for one             staff member who has demon-
                                                                     semester as an adjunct professor.     strated outstanding service to the
                                                                     That was also the year that the       University community.

Norma Jean Mattei Named ASCE New Orleans
2020 Educator of the Year
N O R M A J E A N M AT T E I ,    construction materials. Her        Commission and was the 2017
University of New Orleans         technical research interests       president of the American
professor of civil and environ-   include large watershed            Society of Civil Engineers. She
mental engineering, has been      management, material and           is still active on the executive
named the 2020 Educator of the    structural testing, sustainable    committee of the ASCE New
Year by the American Society      reuse of spent construction        Orleans’ Chapter of the Struc-
of Civil Engineers New Orleans    and fabrication materials, and     tural Engineering Institute.
Branch.                           residual stress measurement.            Mattei has served on
    Mattei, who has been a        She is also active in diversity,   several National Council of
member of the UNO faculty         licensure and ethics issues.       Examiners for Engineering and
                                                                                                           Norma Jean Mattei
since 1995, is a renowned             Mattei serves as one of two    Surveying committees and task
researcher and educator in        civilian civil engineer commis-    forces and is a former guber-         Louisiana’s licensing board for
the areas of structures and       sioners on the Mississippi River   natorial appointed member of          professional engineers.

                                                                                                         SPRING 2021   S I LV E R & B L U E   19
Leadership, Innovation Drives Recipients of Four University Awards
THE FOUR RECIPIENTS OF                    nationally and internationally      ethic, and she is devoted to          President John Nicklow bestowed
the University of New Orleans’            recognized researcher in the        international exchange and            university awards to (from left)
annual awards are leaders who             field of acoustics and signal       global causes like climate            Juliette Ioup, Irene Ziegler, Paul
continually strive for excel-             processing,” Malkinski says.        change,” Cot says. “She is unfail-    Weiser and Margaret “Peggy”
lence and innovative ways to get          “Professor Ioup attracted a         ingly organized and polite …          Gaffney.
their jobs done, according to             significant amount of funding       I know that keeping the flame
colleagues who nominated them             for UNO students and                alive would not be possible           Diversity and Inclusion.
for recognition.                          researchers. She was principal      without having passed the                  The award is designed to
     President John Nicklow               or co-principal investigator on     Innsbruck ‘torch’ from Nick           honor those who have had a
announced the 2020 award                  grants received by UNO totaling     Mueller over the years to so          measurable impact in improving
winners during his fall state of          over $12 million dollars.”          many key people, to where it          UNO’s profile as an institution
the university address, which                    Irene Ziegler, program       now rests with Irene Ziegler.”        that fosters racial equity and a
was delivered virtually because           director, UNO-Innsbruck                   Paul Weiser, application        campus environment of inclu-
of the COVID-19 pandemic.                 International Summer School,        analyst, Office of Information        sivity for all people.
     The recipients of the four           awarded the 2020 Gordon             Technology, awarded the 2020               In nominating Gaffney
awards are:                               “Nick” Mueller International        Presidential Staff Medallion.         for the award, management
       Juliette Ioup, professor           Leadership Medallion.                   It is awarded to the staff        professor Dinah Payne
of physics, awarded the 2020                   The medallion is named         member who has demonstrated           highlighted Gaffney’s work
Cooper Mackin Medallion.                  for Mueller, who spent 33           outstanding service to the            with colleagues, students and
     The Mackin Medallion was             years at UNO as a professor,        University community.                 community groups.
established to honor the third            dean, vice chancellor, the              Weiser has worked at UNO               “A review of her resume is
chancellor of the University              founding president of the UNO       for more than 20 years and            replete with instances of Peggy’s
of New Orleans and was first              Research & Technology Park          his professionalism, talent and       service regarding diversity
presented in 1998. It is awarded          and co-founder of The National      dedication are unmatched,             and inclusion. For example,
to a faculty or staff member who          WWII Museum. It is awarded          Learning Resource Center              she led and coordinated
has made outstanding contribu-            to an individual who has            director Shannon Williamson           articulation agreements with
tions in support of the Univer-           provided significant leadership     wrote in her nominating letter.       local community colleges …
sity’s mission.                           toward the internationalization         “One of Paul’s gifts is that he   She did the same agreements
     Among the many accom-                of the University.                  can so easily translate between       with foreign universities: this
plishments in her nearly 40-year               Ziegler, who arrived at UNO    the technical and functional          augmented the richness of new
career at UNO, Ioup has created           as an exchange student from         sides,” Williamson says. “He is       student diversity to additional
23 new courses for under-                 Austria and earned her master’s     comfortable speaking with end         cultures, ethnicities and nation-
graduate and graduate students,           degree at UNO before earning        users, listening to their needs,      alities,” Payne says.
has directed thesis for 29                her Ph.D. in Graz, Austria, has     wrapping his brain around                  “As part of her service as
doctoral and master’s students            worked at the University for        the work of academic and              liaison between the College
and has authored more than 100            more than 20 years. Under her       student affairs and bringing          of Business and the college’s
publications, including a book            decade of leadership, Ziegler has   the technology to life to make        student organizations, she
and six book chapters, Leszek             help to broaden the academic        the workflow of hundreds of           facilitated conflict resolution.
Malkinski, physics professor and          scope and reputation of UNO’s       employees more efficient.”            This type of leadership is criti-
department chairman, wrote in             flagship study abroad program,           Margaret “Peggy”                 cally important in today’s world
his nominating letter.                    Alea Cot, assistant provost for     Gaffney, assistant dean, College      wherein different people from
     “Professor Juliette Ioup             International Education, wrote      of Business Administration,           diverse backgrounds must be
is not only an exceptionally              in her nominating letter.           awarded the 2020 President’s          able to work together to achieve
dedicated educator but also a                  “Irene has a strong work       Award for the Advancement in          common goals.”

20   S I LV E R & B L U E   SPRING 2021
Professor Wendy Schluchter’s Research Featured in
National Academy of Sciences Journal
                                                                                                                          Wendy Schluchter,
conducted by
                                                                                                                          biological sciences
Wendy Schluchter,
                                                                                                                          professor and
University of New
                                                                                                                          department chair.
Orleans biological
sciences professor                                                                                                        group of widespread
and department                                                                                                            microbes called
chair, is featured                                                                                                        Synechococcus
in the prestigious                                                                                                        succeed in photosyn-
National Academy                                                                                                          thesis by studying
of Sciences journal                                                                                                       how these organisms
Proceedings of the                                                                                                        modify their
National Academy                                                                                                          pigment compo-
of Sciences.                                                                                                              sition to adapt to
    Schluchter,                                                                                                           changes in light.
along with two                                                                                                                 This process is
graduate students                                                                                                         called chromatic
and an under-                                                                                                             acclimation, and it
graduate, authored                                                                                                        involves only a few
“Molecular bases                                                                                                          genes that allow these
of an alternative                                                                                                         microbes to tune
dual-enzyme                                                                                                               their pigments to
system for light                                                                                                          absorb the available
color acclimation of marine            The article explores marine    comprise the base of the food           color of light filtering through
Synechococcus cyanobacteria.”      phytoplankton, a micro-            web because they take carbon            the ocean.
    The article is based on        algae found in the ocean that      dioxide from the atmosphere                 The research provides novel
research that earned Schluchter    provides food for a variety of     during photosynthesis and turn          highlights on the evolutionary
a $521,578 grant from the          sea creatures such as whales       it into a form that all life in the     history of Synechococcus
National Science Foundation        and shrimp.                        ocean can use.                          acclimation to light color in the
Biology Division in 2020.              Marine phytoplankton                The research studies how a         oceans, Schluchter says.

Professor Dan Shahar Wins 2020
Environmental Philosophy Award
UNIVERSITY OF NEW                  professor of philosophy, was       courses in ethics, political
Orleans philosophy professor       awarded the prize for his paper,   philosophy and philosophy,
Dan Shahar is the winner of the    “Harm, Responsibility, and the     politics and economics. He is
2020 Holmes Rolston III Early      Long-Term Impacts of Climate       the co-editor of the popular
Career Essay Prize in Environ-     Change.” As part of the win,       textbook, “Environmental
mental Philosophy. The award,      Shahar receives $500 and will      Ethics: What Really Matters,
named in honor of one of the       have his essay published in the    What Really Works,” published
discipline’s early pioneers, is    journal Environmental Ethics.      by Oxford University Press.
given annually by the Interna-         Shahar’s research focuses on       He holds a joint
                                                                                                              Dan Shahar, assistant
tional Society for Environmental   implications of environmental      appointment in UNO’s Urban
                                                                                                              professor of philosophy.
Ethics.                            challenges for liberal societies   Entrepreneurship and Policy
    Shahar, an assistant           and their members. He teaches      Institute.

                                                                                                            SPRING 2021   S I LV E R & B L U E   21
Professor Eric van Holm’s COVID-19
Research Featured in Journal of Health
LAST SPRING, UNIVERSIT Y                  more cases of COVID-19,”             the census tract level.
of New Orleans political science          van Holm says. “The spatial                The analysis found a
professor Eric van Holm began             models help to address the fact      particularly strong and large
studying the data the state of            that even after accounting for       correlation between race and          University of New Orleans
Louisiana was publishing weekly           community demographics the           COVID-19 cases. In addition,          political science professor
on the number of corona-                  rates of COVID-19 cases were         neighborhoods with lower rates        Eric van Holm
virus cases. At the time, he              spatially uneven, there were still   of poverty and those with fewer
was serving on the Louisiana              areas being under and over-          residents over 70 have fewer          individuals and minorities,
COVID-19 Health Equity                    predicted.”                          cases, van Holm wrote.                who were more likely to have
Taskforce and co-chairing the                  Van Holm’s COVID-19                   While van Holm’s analysis       cases of COVID-19. If those
Policy and Regulatory Affairs             research analysis titled “Neigh-     addressed COVID-19 testing, he        communities have more spread
subcommittee.                             borhood conditions and the           says there are parallels that can     of COVID-19, it becomes
     Van Holm, whose expertise            initial outbreak of COVID-19:        be applied to help guide admin-       paramount to get those
lies in economic development              the case of Louisiana,” was          istering the vaccine.                 individuals vaccinated and to
and neighborhood change, said             featured in the June 2020 issue            “I think there are definite     slow transmission within those
he wanted to use some of his              of Journal of Health.                parallels, although I’ll start        areas, van Holm says.
background studying urban and                  The paper assesses the          with a caution,” he says. “The            “To some degree, the
community demographics to                 predictors of outbreaks at the       analysis was done in May, so          government has already followed
help understand the problems              neighborhood level using data        it’s possible that what we found      that strategy. Retirement homes
related to COVID-19.                      from the Louisiana Department        to predict which communities          across the country were early
     “Essentially, we used it to          of Health. Van Holm used             had more cases has changed            hot spots, and they have been an
answer whether neighborhoods              spatial regression models to         since then as the pandemic has        emphasis with the early vaccines,”
with more African Americans,              analyze the case count through       evolved, though much should be        he says. “If we can target spaces
more residents over 70, more              May 3, 2020 and its relationship     consistent.”                          where the disease has had the
individuals employed in tourism           to individual and geographic               The research identifies         largest impact, we can slow its
industries, etc. tended to have           neighborhood characteristics at      groups, particularly older            worst consequences.”

Music Professor Brent Rose’s
Band Wins a Grammy
UNIVERSIT Y OF NEW                        history and saxophone.
Orleans music professor Brent                 Rose is a staple
Rose can add the title “Grammy            on the New Orleans
winner” to his resume.                    music scene and is
    Rose is a member of                   a widely sought-
the New Orleans Night-                    after performer and
crawlers, whose 2020 album                studio musician. In
“Atmosphere” was named                    addition to playing
best regional roots music                 with the New Orleans
album during the 63rd Annual              Nightcrawlers and
Grammy Award held March 14.               Otra, Rose’s profes-
    It is the band’s first Grammy.        sional career has
    Rose, who plays saxophone,            included stints with
has been a UNO faculty                    Quintology, Galactic,
member since 2002. He is the              Nicholas Payton, the
program coordinator for the               Temptations, Flavor Kings,           Professor Brent Rose, (back row, second
music department and teaches              Adonis Rose, New World Funk          from left in blue jacket) is a member of
courses on music theory, jazz             Ensemble and Joe Krown.              the New Orleans Nightcrawlers.

22   S I LV E R & B L U E   SPRING 2021
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