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Graduate School

CONTENTS 4 5 6 7 10 11 12 15 18 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 30 32 33 34

Message from the Dean A Presidential Perspective History of the Graduate School Dedication and Discovery International Recruiting Efforts Dr. Len Vining Double Duty A Different Look at Pharmacy A Catfish Revolution Areas of Study A Wise Investment Application Requirements Auburn, Alabama Health Insurance Executive MBA Program Graduate Scholars Forum Meet the GSC Graduate School Staff The Gift of Excellence Upcoming Events

Publication Team Editors George Flowers, Dean George Crandell, Associate Dean Jeff Sibley, Associate Dean Megan Dixon, Managing Editor Jessica Nelson, Director of Recruiting and Communication Download this Auburn Graduate School publication online at Auburn University Graduate School 106 Hargis Hall, Auburn, AL 36849 Phone (334) 844-2125 Fax (334) 844-4348 Postmaster, please send address changes to 106 Hargis Hall, Auburn, AL 36849-5122. Contents 2010 by the Auburn University Graduate School, all rights reserved.

Message from the Dean

Dr. George Flowers Auburn University is a comprehensive institution dedicated to the land-grant mission of making a positive difference in people’s lives as you’ll see throughout this publication. We have programs in agriculture; business; education; science; engineering; liberal arts; nursing; pharmacy; architecture, design and construction; human sciences; forestry and wildlife sciences; mathematics; and veterinary medicine. In all of these, graduate education, research, and extension are all closely linked. Research and extension are integral parts of our mission, and graduate education is a critical factor in both. Graduate students are crucial in conducting cuttingedge research, interacting within the community, assisting professors, doing field research, performing laboratory work, and providing the hands and minds that produce success in these endeavors. These are challenging and exciting times for graduate education: challenging because of the need for growth and the tough economic environment that is facing our nation, exciting because our students and faculty are doing great things and having a tremendous, positive impact. And there are many great things going on in graduate studies at Auburn. In this publication, you will learn about some of the outstanding work that graduate students are doing and how it is impacting the lives of people in Alabama and around the world on every continent. For example, Dr. Sue Duggan’s outstanding research has improved the reading comprehension of elementary school students, and Travis Brown’s catfish research is showing promise for improving farming yields. Finally, I must note that the city of Auburn was recently selected by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top ten places to live in the United States. Auburn University has outstanding academic programs located in a truly great community. So, please enjoy this publication. If you desire more information on any of these articles or on matters related to graduate education at Auburn, please contact me. We invite you to join us for a great future!

George Flowers Dean of the Graduate School


A Presidential Perspective Dr. Jay Gogue

The decision to pursue a graduate degree is much different and, for many, much more challenging than the one for choosing an undergraduate education. However, it is a journey well-worth taking. My wife, Susie, and I both received our graduate degrees at Auburn. We are grateful for the wisdom and creative capacity that were instilled in us, thanks to many caring and dedicated professors and the strength of our respective graduate academic departments. Since returning to Auburn in 2007, one of our strategic goals has been, and will continue to be, the growth and development of our Graduate School. Across many fronts, we are maximizing and enriching the Auburn graduate experience by offering new courses, attracting greater numbers of topperforming students, and providing more international, research and travel opportunities than ever before. One important example is in the area of international exposure. We strongly believe that international skills and abilities are essential, not just an option for a limited few. In the past year alone, we have developed new partnerships or strengthened existing ones with institutions in China, India, Vietnam and Egypt, just to name a few. These partnerships facilitate study tours, educational exchanges and collaborative research, helping our students gain cross-cultural competencies that foster success in the global arena. Increasing Auburn’s research enterprise is another strategic focal area. Through initiatives at the Auburn Research Park and elsewhere across campus, we are working with industry and government partners on innovations in wireless technology, health, bioenergy, aquaculture and other fields that are creating new study and research possibilities for our graduate students. Thank you for taking time to learn more about Auburn University and the advancements we are making in graduate education. War Eagle!

Jay Gogue President



uburn University’s first graduate degree was awarded in 1870. Since then, more than 36,000 graduate degrees have been awarded, including approximately 4,700 doctorates. Each year

the Graduate School awards nearly 1,000 master’s and doctoral degrees to a diverse and talented graduate student body.

History of the Graduate School

With more than 200 masters and doctoral programs, Auburn University’s Graduate School prepares students to lead the way in meeting this century’s challenges. As a land-grant institution, Auburn seeks to promote both the pursuit of knowledge and its practical application. A variety of innovative programs like the Detection and Food Safety Center and the Alternative Energy Initiative mix cutting-edge research with a commitment to the community and the world. The results are evident - Auburn graduate students are winning awards and participating in research that positively impacts our state and nation. Graduate education at Auburn University produces scholars who are ready to shape the future.

Top Rankings

Auburn is included in a distinctive group of universities designated as Land, Sea, and Space Grants and receives many accolades from accrediting agencies and ranking publications. • Auburn has been ranked among the top 50 public universities in the U.S. for 17 consecutive years, ranking 39 in the 2010 edition of U.S. News & World Report. • Auburn was listed in Princeton Review’s Best 371 Colleges and The Best 301 Business Schools, 2010 edition. • The city of Auburn was named one of the 10 Best Places to Live by U.S. News & World Report. • In 2007, the School of Accountancy pass rate for the CPA Exam exceeded 90% on all sections. Auburn was ranked 8th in the country in terms of passing rates among first-time candidates. • The Department of Fisheries in the College of Agriculture was named the top fisheries graduate program in the U.S. by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, CSREES, June 2006. • The Department of Industrial Design in the College of Architecture, Design and Construction was named the third best graduate program in a national ranking by DesignIntelligence magazine, 2007. • Modern Physician ranked the College of Business as the 16th best graduate school for physician-executives in 2009. • The College of Engineering ranked 51st among all universities that offer doctoral programs by 2008 U.S. News & World Report.


• A comprehensive list is available at

Dedication and Discovery By Jessica Nelson

A teacher’s determination to change the future of education.

Cannon Street Elementary School in LaGrange, Georgia, is a low brick building that has seen better days. Children straggle out at the end of the day, and two mothers chat under a battered metal awning. Dr. Sue Duggan introduces herself and her colleagues, and she immediately points out that most of the students here are on free or reduced lunches and that most of the children come from single-parent homes. These two things seem to be defining characteristics of Cannon Street Elementary. Its students are from struggling homes, and for many this translates to struggling with reading. 7

She was a stay-at-home mom when she got the teaching bug and stumbled into a new career unwittingly. It began on a whim when her church needed Sunday school teachers, but she wasn’t prepared for how much she loved it. Dr. Duggan taught Sunday school for five years before she gave in to what she felt like was her calling. Until then, she said, “God was talking to me, but I wasn’t listening.” Sue had two years of college before she married and left school, so she picked up there and went right into teaching in Jacksonville, Ala., after graduation. From there she came to Cannon Elementary. Her graduate work began with a cohort from Cannon Street who all got their master’s degrees from Troy State University in 1999. She continued her education, first becoming a specialist then earning her doctorate in education at Auburn. At every step, she loved what she was doing and wanted to go further. And she was right about it being her calling. In 2001, Dr. Duggan won a teacher-of-the-year award. That was a special year, she says, because she taught two children with autism spectrum disorders, one of whom had actually been undiagnosed until she came along.

Left to Right: Dannette Walls, Kelly Daniel, Sue Duggan, Candace McGhee


The exploration that eventually led to a doctoral dissertation grew out of an ongoing interest in her students’ reading abilities. As Dannette Walls, an educational specialist at Cannon Street Elementary who worked with Dr. Duggan for years, says, “Sue’s always had a passion for students with reading difficulties. She never stops until she finds out what the problem is.” What Sue set out to learn was whether something as simple as colored paper could make a big difference for poor readers and students with reading disabilities. There were two sources of inspiration for Dr. Duggan’s project. Several years ago, at a workshop conducted by Maria Carbo, Sue and Dannette learned that using colored plastic overlays for reading helps students with dyslexia. As Dannette says, if the words are swimming around on the page, the use of overlays helps “sit the words back down.” The event that prompted Dr. Duggan to take the idea further was when a fellow graduate student confided that he couldn’t write on white paper. He was dyslexic, and he found that yellow legal pads helped improve his handwriting. In the classroom, Sue gave yellow-lined paper to a student who had never produced a legible writing sample. The result — a neatly written paragraph — was so remarkable a change that when his mother saw it, she wept. Duggan began with an informal experiment, giving the students in one class their weekly reading tests on colored paper. By the end of the school year, she was convinced that there was more to it, so she began designing a more structured project, with formal assessments built in. The next year, she and fellow fourth grade teacher Kelly Daniel gave 55 students their weekly reading assessments on colored paper for four weeks. Students were randomly assigned white, green, blue, or goldenrod paper, and the colors rotated each week. The students were enthusiastic; even the strong readers wanted the colored paper, which is why they had to rotate colors. After all, nothing upsets a child like the suspicion that someone else is getting an unfair privilege.

Although ultimately Sue’s research was inconclusive because her sample size was too small, she’s convinced. At Cannon Street Elementary, many teachers have begun to allow students who are identified as having reading disabilities to take tests on colored paper; some even allow assignments to be written on yellow legal pads. Duggan found no evidence that already strong readers benefited from the tests on colored paper, but for weak readers, the difference was marked. However, she wants to expand her research and come back with documented results. As for herself, she’s gotten the proof she needs. Dr. Duggan thinks that many kids could benefit from this simple solution and wants to see schools everywhere allow challenged students to choose colored paper for reading and writing. Three other people from Cannon Street Elementary were involved in the project from the beginning, and Dr. Duggan wanted to mention their efforts specifically. The first was Dannette Walls, instructional specialist, who has been teaching at Cannon Street Elementary even longer than Sue. She was with Sue at the workshop where they learned about the colored overlays to help dyslexic students with reading. She and Sue experimented with the overlays in their classrooms, sharing results that finally gave Sue the idea to study the phenomenon for her dissertation. Kelly Daniel is the second person involved directly — she had the adjoining fourth grade classroom that was included in Dr. Duggan’s study. The first year they tried it, their curricula weren’t synchronized, so Ms. Daniel’s cooperation was key in doubling the number of students they studied. Finally, the principal of Cannon Street Elementary, Candace McGhee, lent her unequivocal support to the project. All four women remain friends who are full of praise for one another. Her co-workers, says Sue, were one of the biggest joys of working at Cannon Street. The other joy was the students. Although she has since transferred to a new school, she says the student population here is special. “Whatever you do for them, they appreciate it,” she says, “a word, a hug — or just interest in their lives,” Principal McGhee adds. And Duggan would like to give them more. While she was circumspect regarding future plans, she admitted that she’s considering a grant proposal to fund research into this area. “It’s just not out there,” she says. And that’s what she’d like to fix.


Without a doubt, graduate school has been a wise investment for my future. While working on my PhD in exercise science, I had the opportunity to learn from and be mentored by some of the top academics in the field of exercise science. I was able to pursue my research interest in flip-flops, and in doing so, reach global recognition for the university and myself.

Justin Shroyer PhD, CSCS, NSCA-CPT PhD Exercise Science: Biomechanics Hometown: Coshocton, Ohio Assistant Professor, University of Louisiana at Lafayette


International Recruiting Efforts

Top 15 countries represented by international student population: China India South Korea Turkey Taiwan Nepal Nigeria Thailand Brazil Sri Lanka Canada Bangladesh Kenya Colombia United Kingdom


The Graduate School has traditionally recruited mostly in the Southeast at traditional graduate fairs, but that is beginning to change. Last year, the Graduate School sent representatives to Vietnam, China, India, and Bangladesh to begin expanding its international presence. In Vietnam, Dr. George Flowers and Dr. David Rouse, head of the Fisheries department, met with several Vietnamese universities to discuss Vietnamese innovations in aquaculture and the possibility of collaborative exchange. As a result, the first group of students from Can Tho University begins at Auburn this fall. Dr. Flowers also traveled to meet with several Chinese universities in Beijing, Qingdao, Xi’an, and Shanghai last fall. One well-publicized Chinese government program, the Chinese Scholarship Council (CSC) scholarship, sends many top-level students to the U.S. and other countries for study each year. Auburn is working with several universities to bring their CSC recipients to Auburn. In addition, Jessica Nelson represented Auburn at education fairs in several Chinese cities. Jessica Nelson and Sherry Ray of the graduate school also traveled to India last year to meet with officials in IIT Bombay, IIT Delhi, independent education agencies, and Majaraja Agrasen Institute of Technology (MAIT), where Auburn has recently established a partnership to allow MAIT students to study at Auburn for half of their undergraduate degree. Ms. Nelson also presented to students at Dhaka University in Dhaka, and the graduate school hopes to continue efforts in this part of the world as well. Dr. Flowers will be making further trips this year to India and China, and other Auburn faculty have agreed to represent the graduate school in their travels abroad this year. The graduate school also plans to expand less traditional methods of recruiting, primarily internet- and email-based marketing efforts. The Graduate School actively works to increase diversity among graduate students. Last year we hosted DIGS (Diversity In Graduate Studies), a visitation day for minority students to come and see what Auburn graduate programs have to offer. We look forward to further efforts to expand and enrich our graduate student population.

Dr. Len Vining Improving Graduate School Services for International Students As part of ongoing efforts to improve services for graduate students, the Graduate School welcomes Dr. Len Vining as a special projects coordinator. International graduate students often face special challenges relocating themselves and their families. Dr. Vining will be working to ensure that international students have the same great Auburn experience as our domestic students. Dr. Vining came to Auburn University for a PhD in fisheries and allied aquacultures, and like many students, found a home here. Fisheries is among the most internationally active departments on campus. Both in academic and non-academic capacities during his time in the Fisheries Department, Dr. Vining helped international scholars navigate Auburn life. As a result, he is very aware of some of the needs our international students have that aren’t currently met. While some of his goals are long-term, such as improved transportation and on-campus housing for graduate students, Dr. Vining also hopes that some steps can be taken immediately. One of the areas where he sees a need is for improved support services that include the families of international students and visiting scholars, such as English language training for spouses, community connections, and cultural experiences. This initiative will be partially funded by a private donor who is interested in helping Auburn’s international students and their families acclimatize to Auburn life more smoothly. Matching funds will be provided by the Graduate School. For more information, please contact Dr. George Flowers at

International Students Receive Welcome Through Auburn Family Friend Program Members of the local community have an opportunity to help welcome students who are new to the Auburn University campus and the United States through Auburn Family Friend, a program of Auburn’s Office of International Student Life. Auburn Family Friend matches new international students with volunteers from the community who will help smooth the student’s transition to life in America. “New international students can have a period of cultural adjustment,” said Nejla

Orgen, Auburn’s director of International Student Life. “Having a friendly voice welcoming them is a big help. When people in the Auburn community reach out to our international students, it not only makes a real difference in the students’ acclimation to the United States but is also a wonderful cultural exchange. Faculty and staff who have been involved in the program have enjoyed getting to know their international student and learning about the student’s culture.”

Did you know? Among new students at Auburn, 95% hope to get to know individuals from diverse backgrounds. (New Student Survey, 2004)


Working on a master’s in nursing, Naomi Crouse is researching the effects of journaling on the quality of life of cancer patients. 12

Double Duty

A graduate student performs a balancing act: family, work, school.

By Megan Dixon

Between carpool duty and swim practices, cooking and studying, Naomi Crouse does not have a hard time staying busy. Full-time mom, full-time wife, and full-time graduate student in nursing, it is fair to say that she has mastered the art of time management.

Growing up in Arizona, Crouse got her bachelor’s degree in nursing from Arizona State. During her stay in Arizona, she met and married Dr. David Crouse, who currently teaches in the Aerospace Engineering Department at Auburn. They have two boys, ages 12 and 13, who stay busy with year-round swimming and soccer. “It’s a lot of juggling,” says Crouse. Part of the balancing act is making sacrifices. “It’s making hard choices, like not going to their soccer games or missing half of a swim meet,” says Crouse. “It’s choices like taking my studies when we go on vacation. It is hard, but I have to make the sacrifice. And they understand.” Crouse began working on her master’s degree in nursing in January 2007. She opted to do a thesis and has begun research on the population of those diagnosed with cancer. Specifically, she is studying patients one to two weeks after diagnosis.


Her research is focused on the emotions of the patient, such as uncertainty, and also the patient’s quality of life. Assuming these emotions are usually negative, Crouse started introducing these patients to the idea of journaling. Crouse explains: “The research has shown that journaling, as long as you include emotions, will address the negative feelings such as anxiety, distress, and depression. And if journaling addresses those negative emotions, then that will positively impact the patient’s quality of life.” To collect data, Crouse visits a surgical center, where the diagnoses are made. Timing is essential in her study because there is a brief window of time after the diagnosis is made when the patient is processing these emotions. The key in the journaling process is for

Left to right: Naomi Crouse, Mark Crouse (12), Gil Crouse, and Lewis Crouse (13)


patients to include emotions. Many people put on a façade that they are fine, but being honest in their writing has shown to be therapeutic. People write for periods of two to 45 minutes, sometimes once a week and sometimes seven days a week. “There is not a good recipe yet; we just ask that they do what they can,” says Crouse. Learning to write about feelings has helped patients face problems in the future. In her research, Crouse discovered a study done in which researchers examined bad experiences and good experiences and the benefits of writing versus talking about them. Researchers found that writing about bad experiences is very painful at the time because the individual relives the negative emotions. But once they express the emotions, most people start feeling better because they no longer have to hide

the emotions. Whereas when people have a good experience and write about it, they begin to dissect it, which takes away from the good memories. So, Crouse concludes: If it is a bad experience, you should write about it. And if it is a good experience, you should talk about it. Unlike blogs where readers can respond to the writing, Crouse’s research is focused on the writing. If the patient wants to share, that is fine, but it is not a necessity. It is about the cathartic process of getting the emotions out and then working through them. “Writing gives people an outlet to express their emotions. All the studies I have looked at and the research I have done and read about have all been very promising,” says Crouse. Crouse plans to finish her master’s degree in the spring or summer and wants to get either a teaching job or a job in patient education.

Pharmacy A Different Look at

By Megan Dixon

Michelle Breland, a current pharmacy care systems doctoral student, initially had no interest in pursuing a career in the field of

pharmacy. She received her bachelor’s degree, graduated summa cum laude and with departmental honors from the University of South Alabama in psychology and went on to pursue her master’s degree from Auburn University in community counseling. However, as she was applying for graduate school, she stumbled upon a graduate research assistantship in the Department of Pharmacy Care Systems. So, she applied, interviewed and got the position. With two years experience of pharmacy-based innovations research under the tutelage of Dr. Salisa Westrick, she began to take an interest in pharmacy; specifically, patient treatment adherence, motivational interviewing, pharmacy-based innovations, and patient outcomes. She soon realized that this program catered to her career goals and that this program was a perfect fit with her background in psychology and counseling. “When I was deciding which area to pursue my PhD in, I realized that the fit was just there,” said Breland.

With a bachelor’s in psychology and a master’s in community counseling, Michelle Breland finds the perfect fit at Auburn in the PhD program for pharmacy care systems.



I work for the United Nations World Food Programme—the largest humanitarian agency in the world, and I owe this position in large part to the Auburn Graduate School. Grad School offered something that schools usually don’t put in recruiting brochures—a one-onone mentorship experience, and opportunities to get work experience got me closer to reaching my career goals.

Angela M. Montoya BA, Marketing MS, Human Development and Family Studies Hometown: Cali, Colombia Private Partnerships Division United Nations World Food Programme


Pharmacy Care Systems is an interdisciplinary department within the Harrison School of Pharmacy. There are a total of nine students currently in the department and about half of the students already hold a master’s degree. These students come from diverse backgrounds, as some students have an undergraduate degree in pharmacy while others, such as Michelle, do not. Pharmacy Care Systems offers master’s and doctoral degrees; having a pharmacy degree is not a requirement for admission to the program. Both graduate-level programs prepare students to work for organizations such as the CDC, pharmaceutical companies that require research, or academia. The professors in the department work closely with each student to develop an individualized study plan that fits the goals and desires of the individual. Breland has finished her first year in the PhD program and has begun her dissertation research. Her focus is on patients’ healthrelated outcomes and the pharmacist’s role in patient counseling through the provision of medication therapy management (MTM) services. Along with one of her co-chairs, Dr. Jan Kavookjian, and pharmacy professors from three other schools of pharmacy, Breland developed a survey that was distributed to first-year professional pharmacy students. The survey examines the students’ perceptions on patient counseling practices and whether they consider providing these services to patients as important and relevant to their future role as a pharmacist. The survey also asks student pharmacists to report how often they currently provide counseling services to patients at their practice sites and how often they see pharmacists at their practice sites providing patient counseling services. The survey will be re-administered to the student pharmacists when they are in their third year of pharmacy school to examine whether their perceptions have changed. Eventually, Breland would like to develop a manuscript of her research for publication. The findings of her research may have important implications for changes and/ or enhancements to pharmacy school curriculum and training to place greater emphasis on this important role of pharmacists. With the data collected from the survey, Breland developed an abstract to the AACP, an academic pharmacy professional organization called the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy. AACP is the premier professional organization for individuals

Michelle Breland presents her research at the “Leading the Revolution” conference in Boston. involved with and interested in academic pharmacy. Abstracts submitted for presentation at the annual meeting go through an anonymous review and selection process and researchers receive notification of the review committee’s decision. The AACP accepted her abstract and invited her to present a poster on her research at the annual conference in July. The acceptance of Michelle’s abstract and poster for presentation reflect that research on this topic is important and valued by professionals in pharmacy. The conference, “Leading the Revolution” was held in Boston and had a record number of attendees. During the poster session, Michelle had several conference attendees stop by to discuss her research and the implications it may have for future pharmacists and how future pharmacists may view their role in providing patient counseling services at their practice sites. Michelle’s attendance at the AACP conference also provided her with numerous opportunities to meet and establish important networks with pharmacy faculty from all over the U.S. and to learn about their research interests and potential future employment with

their pharmacy schools. In addition to establishing these networks with pharmacy faculty, she was able to meet fellow pharmacy students who were also presenting their research at the conference, which enabled her to learn about research endeavors that examine other aspects of pharmacy. Michelle has high goals for her future academic and professional career. Of her professional goals, foremost, she endeavors to

She soon realized that this program catered to her career goals and that this program was a perfect fit with her background in psychology and counseling. “When I was deciding which area to pursue my PhD in, I realized that the fit was just there,” said Breland.

make substantial contributions to the profession of pharmacy through her research and teaching efforts. She seeks to further integrate her background of psychology and counseling with pharmacy to conduct research that will examine pharmacists’ patient counseling practices, identify the barriers and facilitators to this important practice, and encourage pharmacists to become more patient-centered in their practices. She plans to accomplish these goals by earning her doctorate. Then, she will seek a tenured social and administrative pharmacy position at a university that will facilitate her research and teaching efforts and will provide her a venue to interact with students as their professor and mentor. Furthermore, in addition to these plans, she aspires to obtain a leadership position in local and national professional pharmacy organizations, such as AACP, to have an even greater impact on the pharmacy profession. She is hopeful that pharmacists will be receptive to providing more patient counseling services; after all, who better to provide patient counseling services for medication therapy management than the drug experts. 17

A Catfish 18

In-pond Raceway System

Revolution By Jessica Nelson

American catfish farmers are in

trouble. Currently, it costs more to produce a pound of harvested catfish than the market pays. PhD candidate Travis Brown hopes the work he is doing in Dallas County, Alabama will help to change that. With help and funding from the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station, Alabama Catfish Producers, and Dean Wilson Farms, Travis is part of a project that aims to improve production efficiency in channel catfish aquaculture.

Skyrocketing feed and energy costs, along with competition from foreign imports, have made it almost impossible for these farmers to earn a living. In fact, more than 1,000 farms have already gone under. Brown says that commercial catfish aquaculture in the United States has remained largely unchanged since the industry first developed 34 years ago. Catfish are raised in traditional earthen ponds, and one of the strongest points of the new methods is that they can be built around these ponds already in existence. The system Travis has helped to develop as part of his work for a PhD is called an in-pond raceway system, but that’s really only the beginning. The technology has been around for at least 20 years, but only now are researchers putting it to use. The primary species — in this case, channel catfish and hybrid catfish — are confined to a line of chambers within the earthen pond, which resemble racehorse stables on a diagram. Fish in the smaller area are easier to monitor and treat for diseases, as well as easier to harvest.

In addition to other benefits regarding the yield and production costs, the system also results in a more balanced ecosystem and sustainable effort. In some ways the in-pond raceway is tougher. It integrates what are normally three separate disciplines in aquaculture: traditional earth pond aquaculture, raceway aquaculture, and closed-system practices. In other words, all the elements were already in use, but the innovation is putting them together in a new way. Having the fish in a small area of the pond brings its own challenges, including water quality. If the water quality becomes compromised, farmers can lose more fish in a shorter amount of time. To address these issues, researchers have introduced a special paddle wheel to keep the water circulating throughout the whole pond on a circuit. This measure, along with additional aeration, prevents stratification, which can easily occur in the hot summer months. Travis Brown and company are not the only outfit in the game. Researchers at Clemson and Mississippi State both have ongoing 19

In-pond raceway at Dean Wilson Farms combines traditional earth pond aquaculture, raceway aquaculture, and closed-system practices.

Travis Brown harvests tilapia.

projects with the same objective and similar procedures. Brown’s system borrows from the work done at both schools but also includes innovations that he and his colleagues have developed. “We have several hurdles and several goals,” Travis says. Toward the overall objective of improving production efficiency, some of the goals include reducing production costs, increasing yield, increasing survival rates, reducing labor costs, and improving the Feed Conversion Ratio (FCR), or the amount of food needed to produce one pound of harvested fish. The results so far are more than promising. Last year the pond they set up yielded 11,500 pounds of catfish per acre, as opposed to the national average of 7,000 pounds per acre. They reduced the FCR from the average of 3/1 to 1.4/1. The survival rate was more than 91% — which is remarkable. Because all income from the pond adds to its profitability, another major facet of this project is to bring in other revenue sources from the same harvest. To that end, they are doing several things. First, they have developed a way to catch solid waste. This endeavor improves water quality and provides another sellable product — fertilizer. The additional income helps to offset production costs and also contributes to a 20

more sustainable business model. Only 35% of the feed that the fish consume is used; the rest is excreted as waste. Another dual-purpose tactic is to co-culture other species in the rest of the pond. Tilapia, fathead minnows, and paddlefish are raised in the free area of the pond. There is a commercial market for tilapia and paddlefish, but these species also serve a valuable function in the ecosystem of the pond. Tilapia eat invasive

Skyrocketing feed and energy costs, along with competition from foreign imports, have made it almost impossible for these farmers to earn a living. In fact, over 1,000 farms have already gone under.

algae species, and fathead minnows eat parasites that cause one of the most devastating catfish diseases. Including the other sources of revenue, their one pond grossed moe than $100,000 last year. Travis started out with a marine species focus as he finished his undergraduate degree at UNC Wilmington. He worked in the commercial aquaculture industry for several years, was an instructor at a local community college, and also worked as a research associate. He came to Auburn for its highly ranked Master of Aquaculture Program and then took a position as a county extension agent, thinking his higher education was finished. However, when this project came up, he didn’t hesitate before “signing on for another stint,” as he put it. The fact is, he says, farmers are in dire straits: “They really need help right now to be able to compete and survive.” And helping farmers, for Travis, is really what it’s all about. He grew up on a North Carolina tobacco farm and knew at an early age that he wanted his life’s work to be helping farmers. He likes making technology work for farmers. Brown will finish his PhD in a year, but the project will continue for another three to five years. He and his associates want to be sure the fantastic results they realized will continue to play out. Travis plans to see it through. In

Measuring fish inventory illustrates improved yield results.

all probability he will stay on as an extension agent or possibly work in the field with production. Someone will need to help with design and maintenance of these systems, and he’s in the best position to do so. Brown and his team are still working out some kinks, and there is some initial investment in equipment and training that can make implementation seem daunting. The hightech monitoring equipment required is not cheap, but it is vital. Even with the expenses, their first-year results are so remarkable that farmers could be excused for being skeptical. “I think if a farmer would go out and look at this and look at what we’ve’s much more believable on a farm than in a lab setting.” After hearing Travis discuss the project, many farmers actually have traveled to see the experimental pond. The best part, he says, is that farmers can convert to the new system slowly, one pond at a time. He also hopes impending improvements can reduce the startup costs by up to 30%. If they can do this, it will be even easier for farmers to begin to turn the entire industry around. “It’s not a save-all,” says Brown, “but it will point us in the right direction. It’s kind of like the Model-T Ford, but you have to start somewhere.”


I was an aquaculturist long before I came to Auburn, but I knew there was more to learn. That’s why I chose graduate school here. The Fisheries & Allied Aquacultures Department ranks top in the world. Since I’ve been here, I’ve had the pleasure to work on several research projects that I truly believe will make a difference in the field of aquaculture.

Travis Brown Hometown: Wilmington, N.C. M.Aq. - Auburn University, 2007 Fisheries and Allied Aquacultures Dept. PhD - Auburn University, 2010 Fisheries and Allied Aquacultures Dept.



Areas of Study Accountancy

Pharmaceutical Sciences

Aerospace Engineering

Educational Foundations, Leadership, and Technology

Agricultural Economics

Electrical Engineering


Agronomy and Soils


Plant Pathology

Anatomy, Physiology, and Pharmacology


Polymer and Fiber Engineering


Poultry Science

Animal Sciences

Fisheries and Allied Aquacultures



Forestry and Wildlife Sciences



Public Administration and Public Policy

Biological Sciences



Biomedical Sciences


Building Science Business Administration

Human Development and Family Studies

Rehabilitation and Special Education

Chemical Engineering

Industrial and Systems Engineering

Chemistry and Biochemistry

Industrial Design

Civil Engineering

Integrated Textile and Apparel Science



Sports Management (Minor)

Landscape Architecture


Large Animal Surgery and Medicine

Technical and Professional Communication


Textile Science

Materials Engineering

Urban Forestry

Mathematics and Statistics

Vocational and Adult Education

Mechanical Engineering

Wildlife Sciences

Curriculum and Teaching



Design Build

Nutrition and Food Science



Communication Communication Disorders Community Planning Computer Science and Software Engineering Consumer Affairs Counselor Education, Counseling Psychology, and School Psychology

Pharmacal Sciences 22

Pharmacy Care Systems

Rural Sociology Small Animal Surgery and Medicine Spanish

For an extensive list of specific programs or program advisor contact information, please visit the Graduate School Web site

Projected Increase in Job Openings by Education or Training United States, 2004 to 2014

18.9 million 13%


594,000 31%

Doctoral degree

1.4 million 25%

Associate’s degree

3.3 million

Bachelor’s degree


Professional degree

356,000 19%


Master’s degree


Source: SREB Featured Facts, Alabama 2007, page 16

Having an Advanced Degree means Higher Pay and Prosperity Average annual earnings of adults ages 25 or older United States, 2005






High School diploma/GED

$119,300 $93,600 $68,300 $56,700 $39,700 $31,700

Some high school, $23,600 no diploma

Graduate Education

A Wise Investment

An Auburn University graduate degree can help you achieve your goals for the future. Alumni with a graduate degree stand out to potential employers and exhibit the advantage of a global education. Nationally, the projected number of job openings increases with the level of education, as does the level of potential earnings. In the state of Alabama, where many graduates choose to remain after graduation, the projected earnings reflect the national forecasts.

Less than $20,300 ninth grade Source: SREB Factbook 2007, page 93

Projected Earnings Differential for Alabama MS and Doctoral Graduates, 2007 Projected lifetime income differential for a master’s degree vs. a bachelor’s degree: 7,974 degree holders = $3.19 billion Projected lifetime income differential for a doctoral degree vs. a bachelor’s degree: 704 degree holders = $0.85 billion

Total = $4.04 billion

Source: Data on Degree Completions 2007 taken from the Alabama Commission on Higher Education and includes graduates of public and private universities.



Application Requirements  Bachelor’s degree or its equivalent from an accredited college or university.  Graduate Record Exam (GRE) Subject Test for the English doctoral program.  Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) for Managment, Finance,

Master of Business Administration, and Master of Accountancy programs.

 Graduate Record Exam (GRE) General Test for all other programs.  Successful international applicants must score at least 550 on the Test of

English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) paper version (pBT), 213 on the computer version (cBT), and 79 on the internet version (iBT). Successful applicants must score minimums of 16 on the listening, reading, speaking, and writing components of the iBT.*

 International applicants must demonstrate full financial sponsorship if

accepted into a graduate program, proof of a comprehensive medical insurance plan and submit an Official Statement of Financing for International Students Form for 2009 - 2010.**

 Three letters of recommendation (to be mailed directly to the appropriate department).

 One official transcript of all undergraduate and any graduate credits from

each school previously attended.

 Nonrefundable Application Fee: $50 Domestic, $60 International * Some departments may have additional requirements ** For International Applicants only

Apply Online at: Admissions to any graduate degree program is granted by the dean of the Graduate School upon the recommendation of the department of proposed study. Applications and all other relevant material must be received by the Graduate School at least 45 days before the first day of class of the semester in which the student wishes to begin graduate study. International applicants should submit all required materials at least 90 days before the first day of class of the semester in which the student wishes to begin graduate study. Deadlines are listed in the Auburn University Bulletin ( However, most academic units make admission decisions several months in advance. Thus, applicants should check with the department to which they seek admission to determine when materials should be submitted. 24

Auburn, Alabama For Southern charm with collegiate vigor, consider Auburn. This diamond on the eastern Alabama plains has a population of just under 50,000 and is home to Auburn University. On football Saturdays, when die-hard fans arrive in droves to cheer their beloved Tigers, Auburn swells to the state’s fifth-most-populous city. And as Auburn’s largest employer, the university also plays a starring role in the local economy. With mild winters and hot summers, the city offers no shortage of outdoor recreation opportunities. Find a nice hiking trail in the 696-acre Chewacla State Park before cooling off with an afternoon swim. Take a stroll through the Donald E. Davis Arboretum, located on the Auburn University campus. Golfers can head to nearby Grand National golf course and wend their way through the state along the beautiful Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail. “Once you have been there, you just want to come back,” says John Cannon, president of SunBelt Golf Corp., which manages the trail.* *Source: Best Places to Live 2009 by Luke Mullins, U.S. News & World Report, June 8, 2009

City of Auburn: Best Places to Live 2009 According to U.S. News & World Report, “In selecting our Best Places to Live for 2009, we looked for affordable communities that have strong economies and plenty of fun things to do.” 25


Health Insurance Auburn University recognizes that in today’s world of increasing healthcare costs there is a need for students to have a costeffective health insurance program available to help protect them in the event of an accident or illness. Beginning fall 2007, all graduate assistants with assignments of 10 hours (0.25 FTE) or more for the full fall and/or spring semesters, who meet the minimum stipend established by the Office of the Provost, and are in good academic standing, are required to have health insurance coverage. Those students who are required to have health insurance coverage will be automatically enrolled in the Auburn University Graduate Student Group Health Plan (GSGHP). The 2009-2010 premium is $1,113, which will be billed in two installments of $561 for the fall semester and $552 for the spring/summer semester. For students with qualifying assistantships, as previously described, there is a $500 ($250 per fall and $250 per spring/summer semester) yearly subsidy that will be automatically applied along with the charges for insurance. This subsidy is given by the Graduate School to assist in the cost of the mandatory health insurance plan provided through UnitedHealthcare. This will bring the cost for fall coverage to $311 and the cost for spring/summer coverage to $302. Those students who have another insurance plan with coverage equal to or greater than that offered by the university have the option to provide a Waiver Request Form, which is due no later than the ninth day of class. The student must fill out the form in full and attach a current copy of his or her health insurance card. This waiver form must be filled out each academic year that the student is attending Auburn University. Those graduate students who do not meet the mandatory health insurance requirements may optionally enroll in this health insurance plan by filling out the Optional Enrollment


Form listed on the Graduate School Web site. Graduate students may also add their dependents to this insurance plan by using the same Optional Enrollment Form. With all optional enrollments, whether for the student or dependents, it is the student’s responsibility to notify the insurance coordinator after continuing coverage or after the coverage selected on the form has terminated. International graduate students and dependents in F or J immigration status will continue to be covered and billed similarly under the mandatory international student and scholar health plan — check with the Office of International Education ( for details. When seeing a doctor, students MUST use the Auburn University Medical Clinic (copay $25). If the patient needs to be referred to a specialist, the clinic will provide the needed referrals. For prescriptions, we recommend using the Auburn University Medical Clinic Pharmacy, which has a lower out-of-pocket copay expense. If the Auburn University Medical Clinic is closed, students may go to Auburn Urgent Care, located at 1650 A South College St., Auburn, AL 36832, 334-821-3221, 7:30 a.m. - 8:30 p.m. Mon-Fri and 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Sat-Sun. In case of emergency, students should go to the Emergency Room at East Alabama Medical Center, located at 2000 Pepperell Pkwy., Opelika, AL 36801, 334-749-3411. All information on the policy and additional information on using the plan will be made available during orientation, and students can access the information online through the following Web pages: International Students and Scholars: international/insurance/ Graduate Students (not in F or J US immigration status): Student_Insurance/insurance-Graduate.html


Executive MBA Program Auburn’s AACSB-accredited EMBA Program is aimed at mid- and upper-level professionals. It launches each fall and runs 21 months. The curriculum combines the essential MBA core disciplines of accounting, finance, marketing, economics, and management with additional courses to provide a global perspective on business. There are also specialized concentrations in technology management and health care, as well as a stand-alone EMBA program designed specifically for physicians. Team building, collaboration and networking are tangible benefits of an advanced degree, benefits frequently lost in a distance program. Auburn’s program design, anchored with its residencies and international trips, affords the executive the real time interaction with faculty and fellow executives and the flexibility of a self-paced distance program. The cost of the Auburn program covers all student fees and educational materials — books, case studies and electronic media — as well as residency accommodation, international airfare, and international hotel accommodations.

Program Highlights

Program Options

Non-traditional learning styles Cutting-edge technology Distance learning International travel

General Executive MBA Technology Management EMBA HealthCare EMBA Physicians Executive MBA

Program Requirements

Contact Information

At least 8 years experience Four-year degree from accredited university Completed graduate school application $50 application fee Completed Executive MBA application Two official transcripts Resume Two letters of recommendation

Auburn University EMBA and PEMBA Admissions Attn: Jana L. Smith, Assistant Director 503 Lowder Business Building Auburn, AL 36849-5240 Phone: 334.844.5078 Fax: 334.844.2964 Email:


The Graduate Scholars Forum The Graduate Student Council encourages and recognizes the academic accomplishments of graduate students who have conducted research in their respective fields of study and sponsors a research forum annually. Traditionally, the forum has been held during spring semester, allowing graduate students the opportunity to participate in a variety of events such as poster and oral presentations. Awards are then presented during Graduate Student Appreciation Week.

Award Winners: Poster Presentations DESIGN 1st Place: Cara Highfield, Building Science, Dr. Joyce Griggin A Year in Design-Build 2nd Place: Justin Brown, Building Science, Dr. Paul Holley WaterVIEW Village, A Development Proposal for Russell Lands 3rd Place: Stuart Trowbridge, Landscape Architecture, Dr. Michael Robinson Restoring a Symbiotic Relationship Between Humans and Ecological Services

SCIENCE 1st Place: Yifeng Du, Biological Science, Dr. Marie Wooten Oxidative Damage of the Sequestomsome 1/p62 Promoter in Various Degenerative Diseases 2nd Place: Xing Ma, Horticulture, Dr. Elina Coneva Occurrence of Xyllela fastidiosa and its Vector, Glassy-Winged Sharpshooter in Selected Alabama Orchards 3rd Place: David Dyson, Forestry and Wildlife Science, Dr. Edward Loewenstein Longleaf Pine Seedling Growth in Response to Light and Moisture Under Varying Canopy Densities

ENGINEERING 1st Place: Hector Galicia, Chemical Engineering, Dr. Jin Wang A Subspace Identication Based Dynamic Soft Sensor Approach for Digester Control 2nd Place: Meng Leang, Chemical Engineering, Dr. Jin Wang Bioethanol Production by Simultaneous fermentation of Glucose and Xylose in a Novel Membrane Reactor 3rd Place: Mohammad Akanda, Chemical Engineering, Dr. Jin Wang Elucidation of Biosensing Processes through Simulation


Award Winners: Oral Presentations DESIGN 1st Place: Louisa Stowers, Industrial Design Improving Children’s Hospitals by Creating an Approach for a Play System with Stimuli that Allows for Imaginative Play to Aid in Children’s Healing and Development 2nd Place: Erin Phillips, Industrial Design Approach to Design a Stimulating Restaurant Environment and Experience that Informs and Inspires Patrons about Nature, the Environment, and Sustainability 3rd Place: Lauren Weigel, Industrial Design Interactive Product Information Systems: A Case Study in Embedded Information Carriers

SCIENCE 1st Place: Russel Ligon, Biological Science Offspring Plumage Color Influences Parental Feeding Decisions in Eastern Bluebirds 2nd Place: Alexis Schmidt, Pathobiology Murine Thymic Plasmacytoid Dendritic Cells Respond to TLR9 Stimulation with Proinflammatory Cytokine Production 3rd Place: Paul Jackson, Forestry and Wildlife Science – Horticulture Pythium Reduces Survival and Diameter Growth of Cold Stored Longleaf Pine Seedlings

ENGINEERING 1st Place: Ryan Sothen, Chemical Engineering Novel Packaging Designs to Reduce the Energy Consumption of HVAC Air Filters 2nd Place: Norman Sammons, Chemical Engineering Biorefinery Product Allocation for Optimal Economic and Environmental Performance 3rd Place: Matthew Kayatin, Chemical Engineering Aligned Carbon Nanotube Films by Lyophilization

HUMANITIES 1st Place: Michelle Breland, Pharmacy Care Systems Sustainability of Pharmacy-Based Innovations: The Exploration of In-House Immunization Services 2nd Place: Mallory Lucier, Human Development and Family Studies Gender Role Attitudes After Divorce and Remarriage: Plastic or Plaster 3rd Place: Sid Hearn, Curriculum and Teaching Career Longevity Among Southeastern Band Directors: Environmental, Personal, and Educational Filters


Meet the Graduate Student Council James K. Winfield serves as the 2009-10 president of the Graduate Student Council. He hails from Birmingham, Ala., and is in his second year of pursuing a master’s degree in higher education administration with a concentration in student affairs. He earned his bachelor of arts in mass communication from Auburn University in 2008. He was compelled to come to Auburn University because of the genuine spirit and friendly nature of the campus. James was involved with several organizations as an undergraduate. Upon discovering the GSC, he saw this as a great opportunity to serve Auburn and assist the graduate student population.

Brittny R. Mathies is the 2009-10 administrative vice president of the GSC. Originally from New Orleans, La., she is completing her PhD in educational psychology. She earned a bachelor degree from Mississippi State in 2002 and a master’s degree in human development and family studies in 2005 from the University of Alabama. Brittny has worked with children of all ages and especially enjoys working with at-risk students and their families. Brittny became involved with the GSC during her first semester of graduate school at Auburn. She served as GSC vice president during the 2008-09 school year and is excited about her move into an administrative position within the organization. Brittny has embraced the spirit of Auburn and is proud to be earning a degree from this great institution.


Amogh N. Karwa serves as the vice president of the GSC for the year 2009-10. He joined the Auburn community from Mumbai, the financial capital of India. He earned his bachelor in chemical engineering from Mumbai University in 2006. Pursuing his interest in chemical engineering, he joined the reputed Chemical Engineering Department of Auburn University in fall 2006 for the PhD program. He likes the friendly nature of the Auburn community and shares its love for football. Being a GSC senator previously for two years, he embraced the opportunity to better serve graduate students as the vice president of GSC. He extends his warm welcome to all the new graduate students to Auburn University and encourages them to join GSC.

Nidhi Sehgal is the secretary of the Graduate Student Council for the academic year 2009-10. She grew up in the coastal city of Mumbai on the west coast of India. She completed her bachelor of science degree at St. Xavier’s College in Mumbai. Then she came to Auburn, to study graph theory, a branch of mathematics, under the able guidance of Dr. C.A. Rodger. She completed her master’s in mathematics in the summer of 2008 and is currently pursuing her PhD at the university. In the past, Nidhi has served as the vice president of the SIAM (Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics) chapter at Auburn University. She has also been the president of the Golden Key International Honor Society at Auburn. Currently, Nidhi serves as the president of SIAM and the graduate student advisor of Golden Key International Honor Society.

If you’d like more information about the Graduate Student Council or wish to become involved, please email 31

Graduate School Staff Dr. George T. Flowers Dean of the Graduate School

Donna Childers Graduation and Program Specialist

Dr. George Crandell Associate Dean

Julie Renfro Academic Advisor of Theses and Dissertations

Dr. Jeff Sibley Associate Dean Linda Hatchett Executive Assistant/Business Manager Rosa Jackson Director of Advising and Diversity Theresa Morgan Director of Admissions Jennifer Lovelace Domestic Admissions Processing Alisa Little International Admissions Processing Sherry Ray Graduation and Program Specialist


Minnie Bryant Receptionist Myra Johnson Admissions Processing Stephen Savage Admissions Processing Jessica Nelson Director of Recruiting and Communications Richard Alverson Information Technology Megan Dixon Graduate Assistant Dr. Len Vining Special Projects Coordinator

The Gift of Excellence Graduate students at Auburn play a key role in supporting the excellence in teaching and research efforts on campus. Because graduate assistantships give students an opportunity to gain practical experience in teaching, research, or other academic service under the guidance of a faculty member, they can be a significant and challenging avenue for that development. The work experiences of graduate assistants are designed to reinforce and enhance their academic development. We invite you to take part in supporting graduate students in the area(s) of teaching, research, or facilities that mean the most to you. By making a gift of at least $8,400 a year, you can sponsor an Auburn graduate student. Your gift will provide a tuition waiver and a monthly stipend of $700 per month. For more information, contact Hank Galbreath at or 334-844-1431.


Upcoming Events

March 6, 2010 The Graduate Scholars Forum Research presentations and receptions Visit our online calendar at for specific dates and deadlines.




The graduate school experience has been great here at Auburn, I have been challenged both in the classroom and in the laboratory. I have recently accepted a postdoctoral fellowship at UAB. My work here at Auburn has prepared me to teach in the classroom and perform fundable research in the future.


Gordon Fisher PhD: Exercise Physiology Hometown: Ocean Springs, Miss. Assistant to Dr. David Pascoe Auburn University College of Education Department of Kinesiology

The Graduate Scholars Forum MARCH



There are many ways to participate:

     

Volunteer Present your research Hear conference speakers Attend research presentations Enjoy refreshments Reception

Don’t miss out on this event! More details to come. Check the Web site for updates. There is no short cut to achievement. Life requires thorough preparation—veneer isn’t worth anything. — George Washington Carver

© January 2010. Auburn University Office of Communications and Marketing. Auburn University is an equal opportunity educational institution/employer.

Auburn University Graduate School 1

Auburn University Graduate School 1