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Astronaut Bonnie Dunbar’s High-Flying Plans UH STEM CENTER S p r i for n g 2 013 | UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON Ma gazine 1

SPRING 2013 PUBLISHER Karen Clarke, Associate Vice President for University Marketing & Communication Eloise Stuhr, Vice President for University Advancement E X ECU TIV E DIRECTOR OF UNIV ERSIT Y M A RK E TING & BR A NDING Liz Stephens E X ECU TIV E DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS Eric Gerber (’72, M.A. ’78) A RT DIRECTOR Enita Torres (’89) GRAPHIC DESIGNERS Tammi Bui, Lauran Butler CONTRIBU TING Wendell Brock Melissa Carroll Marsha J. Carter Mike Emery

W RITERS Shawn Lindsey Lisa K. Merkl (’92, M.A. ’97) Marisa Ramirez (’00) Laura Tolley

PHOTOGR A PHERS Thomas Campbell, Jessica Villarreal


Renu Khator UNIV ERSIT Y OF HOUSTON SYSTEM BOA RD OF REGENT S Nelda Luce Blair (J.D. ’82), Chairman Jarvis V. Hollingsworth (J.D. ’93), Vice Chair Tilman J. Fertitta, Secretary Spencer D. Armour, III (’77) Nandita V. Berry (J.D. ’95) Jacob M. Monty (J.D. ’93) Mica Mosbacher Gage A. Raba (Student Regent) Roger F. Welder Welcome W. Wilson, Jr.

Send address and email updates to: University of Houston Donor and Alumni Records Energy Research Park Bldg. 1 Houston, Texas 77204-5035 Send feedback to: The University of Houston Magazine is published by the Office of University Marketing & Communication

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The first in Texas and only one of a few across the nation, Bauer’s Executive MBA program is still a catalyst for new knowledge and new ways of doing business.


Robertson Stadium retrospective with history and heart, and an introduction to the stadium of the future.

20 BRAIN WAVE-READING ROBOT One UH researcher is working to help stroke and spinal injury patients move again with robotics that respond to brain waves. 22 STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering and Math

How UH and Bonnie Dunbar are developing STEM education for K through 12 and beyond.


Massachusetts senator and consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren reminisces about being a UH student, and later a UH Law professor.

28 BUCK UP RodeoHouston scholarships help deserving UH students ride with pride through the challenges and costs of higher education. 32 DRIVEN TO DINE Food trucks have come to campus and hungry Coogs are eating it up!


From nanoparticle coating for clothing and homes to solar-powered headquarters, researchers at UH are creating sustainable success.


UH professor Mat Johnson is among today’s most prolific graphic novel authors grooming the next generation of UH visual storytellers. Plus an original work by a student.

I N E V E RY I S S U E 2

President’s Message


Vice President for Advancement Message


Making an Impact: UH News

11 Bonus Online 30 Professors Emeriti – John H. Lienhard

UH Cougar day at the Texas State Legislature Photo by Jessica Villarreal

On our cover – Bonnie Dunbar, astronaut and engineer, leads the UH initiative to promote STEM education

S p r i n g 2 013 | UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON Ma gazine /magazine


Prescription for Success:

The University of Houston Health Science Center


hen I became president of the University of Houston five years ago, I realized something immediately. If it’s important to Houston, it’s important to UH. So I set a steady course toward supporting and advancing those enterprises that make Houston the dynamic and successful city it is. Naturally, that meant energy. The arts, to be sure. And, of course, health care.

UH has developed an impressive array of health sciences and health care disciplines. Today, nearly a quarter of students are enrolled in about 90 health-related degree programs, ranging from optometry, pharmacy and biomedical engineering to social work, psychology and health and human performance. Nearly 40 percent of our annual research awards (about $40 million) are health-related. Our clinical programs now conduct more than 50,000 patient visits each year.

Renu Khator That’s admirable. But it’s not enough. Health care is undergoing extraordinary changes – and UH needs to respond in an equally extraordinary fashion. That is why I am so pleased that our Board of Regents has just approved an ambitious plan to create the UH Health Science Center. This center will help us focus existing resources – now widely dispersed across our campus – so we can use them more effectively and creatively as well as provide an organizational structure for expansion and further innovation. The center will allow more and better research, increased workforce training in critical health care fields and delivery of additional services to the region’s rapidly growing patient population. As an important initial step, we recently have opened our new Health & Biomedical Sciences Building (see story on page 8), a key clinical and educational resource and an arena for interdisciplinary investigation. We also have plans for another, equally useful facility nearby to house our College of Pharmacy and other biomedical operations, thus establishing the physical core of the center. Health care is the largest and fastest growing industry in our state. In Houston, with the prodigious Texas Medical Center, it is one

of the city’s bedrock endeavors. At UH, we are committed to training future health care practitioners to meet the rising industry needs and developing productive new models for education in these fields. We have, for example, just launched exciting partnerships with two area medical schools – UTMB and UT Health – for an accelerated BS/MD program in which fast-tracked students complete their undergraduate and medical work in seven years. We are addressing critical shortages in various health professions, primarily through partnerships with the region’s other professional schools. And we look forward to developing even closer ties with industry representatives to produce work-ready graduates. The center also will offer a significant opportunity to mainstream UH’s specialized resources such as health law and policy, health care finance and economics and health communications. As health care in our country becomes increasingly multifaceted, we will be providing the thought leaders, experts and specialists required to guide this demanding industry. Right now, every other major university system in Texas has at least one Health Science Center, reflecting the importance of such institutions. It is high time UH established one as well.

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Now, the more practical may say, “Good – but how much additional public funding does UH need to do this?” The answer is … none. We are not requesting any state funds to launch and develop the center. And we anticipate enlightened donor support will help us expand our initiatives. The center will be self-sustaining by generating additional income through increased enrollment in our health-related courses, through additional federal funding for enhanced research programs and through greater revenue from our expanded clinical services. We look forward to the Texas Legislature affirming our intention to create the center. With it, our considerable health care resources can be used even more productively, and we will position ourselves to play an even greater role in meeting the region’s and the state’s future needs. The philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson once observed that, “The first wealth is health.” We could not agree more.

Renu Khator President, University of Houston

Taking Alumni Relations in an Exciting New Direction


lumni are the heart and soul of a university – proof positive of the transforming educational benefits the institution can provide. Here at the University of Houston, our 200,000 or so alumni are satisfied customers, good will ambassadors, financial supporters and enthusiastic advocates for their alma mater.

To a large degree, the astonishing progress UH has been making is based on the hard work and accomplishments of dedicated students who went to school here and are now valued leaders and productive citizens in our community. We certainly want to ensure that UH continues to play a significant role in our alumni’s lives – and vice versa. With that in mind, I’m delighted to share some very important news regarding the University and the UH Alumni Association (UHAA). For many years, UHAA has operated independently, but we now are collaborating to develop a fruitful new relationship, one in which UHAA will become a crucial part of the University’s ongoing journey to excellence, with expanded programs and services that will reach more of our alumni more effectively. The Division of

Advancement is now assisting UH leadership and UHAA in making this rewarding transition to a more unified approach to alumni relations. Aligning alumni relations with the University is a challenging but essential undertaking that follows the model now in place at the most successful of our peer institutions. Moving forward, this new relationship will enable us to better serve our alumni with dynamic career services, stronger national networks and other meaningful programs, including new community service project opportunities and enhanced student recruitment and mentoring. While UH clearly has accomplished a great deal of late, there is still much to do to attain the overall excellence for which we strive. To take the next logical steps toward greatness at UH, we need the participation of truly engaged alumni. A seamless collaboration between the university and its alumni relations program will help make that happen. No doubt, you have heard UH President Renu Khator talk about student success being her top priority. That most certainly includes our former students as well. Our alumni deserve the very best UH can give them.

As you read this, we are working closely with UHAA President Michael Pede to accomplish this mutual objective. If you have any thoughts you’d like to share with me about this exciting chapter in UH’s history, I invite you to email me at I’m confident that this important transformation will lead to a new era of closer collaboration between UH and all our alumni, an era filled with even greater optimism and pride about being a Cougar.

Eloise Dunn Stuhr Vice President for Advancement

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MAKING AN IMPACT A webcast version of the program is available at: Full-Episode-Oprah-and-Brene-Brown-onDaring-Greatly-Video Even as her national exposure as a writer, speaker and celebrity grows, Brown – who earned her master’s and her doctorate at the Graduate School of Social Work – continues to enjoy her role as an educator at UH.

Brené Brown’s Reputation Progresses ‘Greatly’ Appearance on Oprah Latest Coup for UH Social Work Professor


or more than a decade, Brené Brown has been researching and writing about shame, vulnerability, courage and compassion in her role as a professor in the Graduate College of Social Work at UH.

For the past few years, such scholarly pursuits have attracted increasingly widespread popular attention. Her latest milestone was a two-episode appearance with celebrated talk show host Oprah Winfrey to discuss Brown’s new book, “Daring Greatly,” which has now made its way onto the New York Times bestseller list. Sporting cowboy boots and a ready laugh, Professor Brown explained how the courage to be vulnerable can substantially transform our lives, affecting how we live, love, parent and lead. During her conversation with Oprah, she explained how what appear to be our greatest weaknesses may also prove to be our greatest strengths.

Brown focused on the insidious power of shame and the adverse role it plays in people’s everyday lives. She offered tangible advice on how to conquer shame, to embrace vulnerability and to live with a whole heart. “Vulnerability is not about fear and grief and disappointment. It’s the birthplace of everything we’re hungry for: joy, creativity, faith, love, spirituality,” she said in the telecast. “And the whole thing is, there is no innovation and creativity without failure.” Brown’s appearance on the two-part program – part of a series called “Super Soul Sundays” – follows her appearances at the TED and TEDx conferences in 2010 and 2012, which garnered critical kudos and national attention. She is also the author of “The Gifts of Imperfection” (2010), and “I Thought It Was Just Me” (2007).

ACUI HONORS UH PRESIDENT The Association of College Unions International (ACUI) has selected UH President Renu Khator to receive its 2013 President of the Year award. The ACUI created the award last year to recognize those university presidents who advance the college union concept: to complement the academic experience through an extensive variety of cultural, educational,

social and recreational programs. Involvement, promotion and support for the college union – or university center, as it is known at UH – and student activities were the criteria considered for each nominee, with emphasis on going above and beyond typical duties. “In my two decades of involvement with ACUI and the College Unions (university centers) and the Student Activities profession, I have not seen or heard of a president who has impacted a campus

“When I try to figure out what is at the heart of what I do, I think the bottom line is that I am a teacher,” she said. “That is where I am the most comfortable. That is where I am the happiest. That is where I feel the most alive and connected.” She also enjoys the relationship between the college of social work and the community. “A lot of what I do is keeping very close connections with the people in this community,” Brown said. “I think our dean does that, and our faculty does that. That is what we are teaching in our program.” In addition to being a part of the community, Brown said she loves that the university is also a reflection of the community, with students from different cultural, social and ethnic backgrounds. “To be able to teach at a university that is so diverse, and that honors differences, and that tells people their stories matter because they matter is one of the greatest gifts of my career,” she said. For more information about Professor Brown, please see her web site http://www.brenebrown. com/ H — Staff Reports

like President Khator has in her five years at UH,” said Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs Keith Kowalka. “Students remark time and time again how excited they are to have a leader who embodies principles of access, transparency and student success.” President Khator accepted the title at the Community Builders Awards Ceremony in St. Louis. “This award is more precious to me than any other,” Khator said, “because this one is for being the most student-friendly president.” H — Staff Reports

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‘Hit-Lit’ in National Spotlight After UH Debut After learning to walk at the University of Houston, Robert Wuhl’s play “Hit-Lit” reached its stride in an off-Broadway run in March. Wuhl, the noted actor, director, writer and producer, first began entertaining audiences as a student in UH’s School of Theatre & Dance (SOTD). Recently, he returned to his alma mater to work-shop his first attempt at playwriting, “Hit-Lit,” and co-directed its premiere production with Steve Wallace, director of SOTD. After its UH tune-up, Wuhl took the production to Queens Theatre in the Park in New York where it ran March 7 – 17 with solid reviews. “Hit-Lit” follows ambitious young editor Phoebe Saint-Anne, who is on the lookout for the next big book. After she thinks she witnesses a mob-style murder, she engages Julian, the “hit man” to pen his life story. “It’s a screwball romantic comedy very much in the vein of the film ‘Tootsie’ along with being a satire of the publishing world,” Wuhl explained.



Both UH and New York productions utilized a set designed by UH professor Kevin Rigdon. And two UH students also worked on the Queens Theatre production. While Wuhl has extensive film and television writing credit, he said he enjoys the immediacy of writing for the stage. “I wanted to see work get done,” Wuhl said. “Writing a play has been very rewarding and a lot of fun. My experience at UH let me learn from the overall process.” After studying at UH, Wuhl began a career as a stand-up comic in New York and later appeared in blockbusters such as “Good Morning, Vietnam” (1987), “Bull Durham” (1988) and “Batman” (1989). From 1996 – 2002, he wrote and played the title character in HBO’s “Arli$$.” His recent HBO specials “Assume the Position with Mr. Wuhl” feature him holding court in a New York University classroom. Last year, Wuhl was among the former Cougars named 2012 Distinguished Alumni by the UH Alumni Association. H — Mike Emery

Remembering Longtime Theater Director Sidney Berger

n 1969, Sidney “Doc” Berger arrived at UH with one goal – to transform the university’s small drama department into a world-class training center for aspiring theater professionals.

Parsons (“Big Bang Theory”), Brett Cullen (“Lost”), Cindy Pickett (“Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”), Loretta Devine (“Waiting to Exhale”) as well as Dennis and Randy Quaid.

When he departed the university 41 years later, he could confidently say, “Mission accomplished.”

Beyond the university, Berger also left an indelible impression on Houston’s cultural landscape by founding the immensely popular Houston Shakespeare Festival (HSF) at Miller Outdoor Theatre in 1975. This festival continues to entertain thousands each summer and showcases the talents of leading stage professionals.

Berger died in February. In 2010, Berger stepped away from UH’s stages and classrooms where he had served so productively as a director, producer and mentor. His contributions to the local and national theater landscapes, however, will continue to flourish. Berger served as the director for UH’s School of Theatre & Dance from 1969 – 2007, grooming hundreds of students in the process. Along the way, he also enlisted star faculty, including Broadway vet Stuart Ostrow, Pulitzer Prize winners Edward Albee and Lanford Wilson, directorial legend Jose Quintero, noted educator Cecil Pickett and Sir Peter Hall, founder of the Royal Shakespeare Company. Among the many actors and artists who learned from Berger were Robert Wuhl (“Batman”), Jim

Berger stepped down as the school’s director in 2007 and officially retired from UH in 2009. The final play Berger directed at UH was “At Home at The Zoo,” which was written by close friend and UH colleague Edward Albee. “He ran a fine, humanistic ship, and his gentleness and his humor will be missed,” Albee said of Berger’s retirement in 2007. “There’s much to be learned from Sid, whom I love dearly, and I hope those who follow him have the wisdom to learn it.”

Sidney Berger Berger’s accolades include the 1992 Esther Farfel Award, UH’s highest faculty honor, and the 2007 Theatre Under the Stars Ruth Denney Award, which recognizes arts educators. In 2007, he was recognized by U.S. Congressman Gene Green in the Congressional Record for his tireless efforts with the Houston Shakespeare Festival. Mayor Annise Parker paid tribute to Berger during his final year with HSF by proclaiming Aug. 6, 2010 as “Sidney Berger Day” in Houston. “It is next to impossible to encapsulate Sidney Berger’s life in Houston into a few sentences. Creator, director, visionary, chair, teacher, friend, colleague, passionate Shakespeare lover, giant in educational theater world – are all words that come to mind,” said Steve Wallace, director of the UH School of Theatre & Dance. H

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New Leader for UH Energy Initiatives

Krishnamoorti to Develop Strategic Plan for Research, Teaching and ERP Expansion


ow Chair Professor Ramanan Krishnamoorti has been named as a special assistant to the president/chancellor for UH Energy, a collection of the university’s preeminent energy research and education programs.

Krishnamoorti, who was appointed by UH President Renu Khator, will lead UH’s efforts to develop a strategic plan for UH Energy involving education and training, research and the expansion of UH’s Energy Research Park (ERP). In recent years, UH has identified energy as a key strategic focus for research and teaching. The overall vision for UH Energy and the ERP is to build a premier research and education facility for students and faculty as well as establish a unique environment for the best minds to forge new business approaches to the way energy is created, delivered and used. UH Energy includes the brightest minds in UH engineering, law, business, natural sciences and technology. These researchers and educators help shape energy policy and forge new business approaches in the energy industry. They also educate the innovators of tomorrow by providing a dynamic environment for students and faculty. “The UH Energy initiative is an exciting and important mission, given its location in the world’s energy capital,” Krishnamoorti said. “I will be working on developing a comprehensive strategic plan designed to capitalize on the abundance of energy-related talent and resources here at UH.

MAJOR CHANGE UH has created an interdisciplinary minor in energy and sustainability designed for students who are pursuing a wide range of majors but want to understand the key issues in the world of energy. The new minor is part of UH’s strategic plan to enhance and expand its energy-related educational and research initiatives as it seeks to become “the energy university,” said Dow Chair Professor Ramanan Krishnamoorti, special assistant to the president/chancellor for UH Energy. “This new minor is an important part of our plan to capitalize on the abundance of energyrelated talent and resources here at UH for the benefit of our students and the community,” Krishnamoorti explained. The new minor officially begins in the 2013 fall semester, and the courses will be taught by faculty members from different colleges across campus.

“I also will be working on growing our global partnerships with industry in regards to education and research,” Krishnamoorti said. “This strategic plan also will involve the development of degree and non-degree programs using online and off-site delivery mechanisms.” Additionally, Krishnamoorti will work closely with the UH Energy Advisory Board, a distinguished panel of global industry leaders to build a vibrant partnership with industry. For nearly five years, Krishnamoorti has served as chair of the UH Cullen College of Engineering’s chemical and biomolecular engineering department. He has stepped down as department chair to assume the newly created special assistant’s position. Mike Harold, M.D. Anderson Professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, has been named the new department chair. Krishnamoorti earned his Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Princeton University. He joined UH as an assistant professor in 1996 and became a professor in 2005. He also was a visiting researcher at ExxonMobil Chemical Company in 2003 and was UH’s associate dean of research for engineering from 2005-2008. H — Laura Tolley

UH Adding Minor in Energy and Sustainability Topics will include existing, transitional and alternative energy resources; conservation and consumption; and energy and sustainability from the perspectives of economics and business, architecture and design, public policy and education. There also is an introductory course and a capstone course.

The minor in energy and sustainability consists of really good data for students to know. “This minor gives students a quick start to thinking in broad terms about the different issues affecting the world of energy, such as sustainability and policy,” Krishnamoorti said. “Through these courses, we are giving them the tools they need to think about the energy industry in a holistic way. They will be better-educated graduates for the industry overall.”

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Joseph Pratt, National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)-Cullen professor of history and business, was instrumental in building the minor’s curriculum, which he said should be of interest to anyone living and working in the Houston region. “The minor in energy and sustainability consists of really good data for students to know. It covers all of the bases. Students who take these courses seriously will be in a position to build on them for the rest of their lives,” Pratt said. “If you live and work in the energy capital of the world, you need to be literate in energy and sustainability.” The minor’s advisory committee includes faculty members from the C.T. Bauer College of Business, the College of Technology, the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, the Cullen College of Engineering, the Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture, the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences and the Office of Sustainability. H — Laura Tolley

Getting to the Bottom of Things

International Drilling Expedition Led by UH Researcher Returns


H’s Jonathan Snow is back on solid ground after two months at sea looking for deep secrets.

Snow, an associate professor in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, served as co-chief scientist on a major international expedition to recover the first-ever drill core from the lower crust of the Pacific Ocean. He helped direct the team of 28 scientists – who were chosen from hundreds of applicants around the world – aboard the JOIDES Resolution research vessel on a voyage supported by the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program. The geoscientists on the two-month, $10 million expedition gathered rock samples and data from the lower crust of the ocean, material that could distinguish between two competing theories on the rate and location of the intrusion of magma into the Earth’s lowermost crust. “We are the first to see the rocks that test these models, with the rest of the global ocean crust community eagerly waiting to see the results,” Snow said, as analysis now continues on their material and findings.

Covered by miles of water and rock, the deepest layers of the ocean crust are about as inaccessible as it gets, and little was known about them until the 1970s, when deep-diving submersibles and deep-water drilling vessels came on the scene. Since then, scientific drilling has discovered that the ocean crust is formed by a continuous process of volcanic seafloor spreading, one of the key revelations that led to the acceptance of the theory of plate tectonics governing many of the key processes that shape the Earth. “The formation of the deepest layers, the intrusive lower crust, is the most difficult part to study, because it’s situated not only beneath three to five miles of seawater and sediment, but also beneath the extrusive upper layers,” Snow explained. “Getting at these deep layers requires a combination of deep drilling, using advanced technologies developed for oilfield use, and a location where deep cracks in the Earth remove much of the volcanic layer, making the lower crust more accessible.” The JOIDES Resolution is the ship that actually drilled into the lower crust.

Sponsored by the North American Micropaleontology Section of the Society for Sedimentary Geology, the recurring conference, which began in 2005 and takes place every four years, broadly focuses on the use of microfossils for solving geological problems. Specifically examining microfossils, which are invisible to the naked eye, the scientists who participated in this

Designed for deep-sea exploration, it is more than 450 feet long, with a drilling derrick, accommodations for 130 people and a floating laboratory for the analysis of core samples. Snow shared his co-chief scientist duties with Kathryn Gillis, professor in the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences and associate dean of the Faculty of Science, at the University of Victoria in Canada. Snow and other members of the expedition plan to issue a report about their results later this year. H — Lisa Merkl

Fossil CSI Prehistoric Clues to Oil, Environment Revealed More than 200 delegates from around the world convened at UH recently for “Geologic Problem Solving with Microfossils III,” sharing research and discoveries about oil and the environment at this international conference on the use of fossils.

Jonathan Snow examining a two-billion-year-old mantle rock.

quadrennial gathering are leaders in various branches of stratigraphy, the branch of geology that studies rock layers in the Earth’s crust. “Some of the world leaders in research on global time scales presented. They are the keepers of the keys to time for the fossil record over the course of the last 550 million years in sedimentary rocks,” said Don Van Nieuwenhuise, director of Professional Geoscience Programs at UH in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. “They also are keeping track of available age data back into the Precambrian age, extending as far back in time as 4.5 billion years. The work of hundreds of scientists from all over the world entails

integrating data generated from the Earth, Moon, Mars and Venus.” In addition to discussions of practical applications in oil and gas exploration and production, Van Nieuwenhuise said basic science about stratigraphy and environmental monitoring was showcased. Since microfossils are found in abundance in oil and gas well samples, scientists can then link the environmental signals of similar living microscopic organisms to understand the fossil and rock record. “This has led to the use of these organisms as environmental monitors for various forms of pollution,” he explained. “Once researchers determine the baseline abundances and distributions of microbiota in a given habitat, we can then determine if pollutants have disrupted their habitat and populations.” H — Lisa Merkl

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New Health & Biomedical Sciences Building Setting the Stage for UH Health Science Center


he new Health and Biomedical Sciences Building at the University of Houston is open for business.

The building was unveiled in a recent dedication ceremony hosted by UH President Renu Khator. The six-story, 167,600-square-foot structure will become a key clinical, educational and interdisciplinary research arena that brings together investigators from different colleges and departments in a first-class facility. Uniting researchers across various areas of expertise in the same physical location, opportunities already are being created to foster optimal interaction and collaboration. Going beyond traditional colleges working together, the space allows researchers with related interests from neuropsychology, neuroscience, quantitative psychology, biology, computer science, engineering, pharmacy and optometry to readily collaborate.

The first two floors encompass the Molly and Doug Barnes Vision Institute, which includes the Vision Source Surgery Center, the Laser Refractive Center, The Doctors of Texas State Optical Alumni Education Center, the Brien Holden Vision Institute Classrooms and Learning Center, and The Ocular Surface Institute.

UH’s clinical programs conduct more than 50,000 patient visits a year. In concert with the vision sciences and patient facilities on the first two floors, the upper floors contain additional collaborative research laboratories for cross-disciplinary teamwork. It also houses the new home for the Texas Institute for Measurement, Evaluation and Statistics (TIMES), which focuses on the psychological,

educational and developmental behavior of adults and children through advanced research methods. The building is envisioned to play a key role in developing the proposed Health Science Center at UH, which will serve to consolidate and coordinate the university’s many health care-related courses and resources, which are widely dispersed across the campus. Currently, UH offers about 90 health-related degree programs, ranging from optometry, pharmacy and biomedical engineering to social work, psychology and health & human performance. UH’s clinical programs conduct more than 50,000 patient visits a year. “The creation of a Health Science Center at UH, which would include patient care, workforce training, research and community outreach, is critical to the economic and social well-being of the region and state,” said UH President Renu Khator. H — Lisa Merkl

Two New Programs Put Undergraduates on Fast Track to Medical School Two new dual-degree programs will put UH undergraduates on a fast track to becoming physicians. Partnering with The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) and The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston (UTMB), UH will allow entering students to earn credit hours toward both a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree from UH and a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) from either UTHealth or UTMB in seven years instead of the usual eight required for becoming a doctor. Starting with the fall 2013 semester, 10 students will be hand selected each year to enter an intensive pre-med program at UH. After three years, they will be permitted to enter medical school at either UTHealth or UTMB in what otherwise would be their senior year at UH. The courses they take in their first year of medical school will be designed to count toward their fourth-year requirements, earning them a B.S. from UH.

During their three years at UH, these students will be enrolled in The Honors College. In addition to taking rigorous science and math courses, they will broaden their education by taking a capstone UH honors course called The Human Situation. This two-semester course provides shared and open conversation concerning the most important matters for human beings. The students also will minor in the Medicine and Society Program in The Honors College. “These courses match up better with the Medical College Admission Test,” said UH chemistry professor Simon G. Bott. “In addition to the intensive science courses required of pre-med students, we also will offer classes geared toward behavioral science and the humanities. This is a more competency-based approach than just coursework. More and more medical schools have been realizing the need to more effectively incorporate social responsibility competencies in their training.” H — Lisa Merkl

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Teaching Health Care Educators How to Teach


s aging baby boomers place greater demands on our health care system, shortages in qualified doctors, nurses and other providers become more pressing. Adding to the challenge is research suggesting educators who prepare health care personnel receive little or no formal instruction in how to teach.

The UH College of Education’s new two-year Executive Education Doctorate in Professional Leadership with emphasis in the Health Sciences responds to the critical need for this type of program. “Health care professionals can go through years of school without learning how to teach the next generation of students,” said Bernard Robin, UH professor and program coordinator. “Our curriculum is specifically tailored for health care professionals who want to become better educators.” The program’s first cohort of students begins coursework in August 2013. Courses are taught onsite at the Texas Medical Center. “The program’s applied approach combines a strong research focus with practical applications that will help solve the challenges of designing,

delivering and assessing educational programs,” said Robert H. McPherson, dean of the UH College of Education. The program is designed to accommodate the schedules of working professionals with a combination of evening, intersession and online coursework. Curriculum emphasizes exploration, problem-solving and collaboration in a variety of experiences and research activities. In addition, two Laboratory of Practice courses provide a practical internship where students apply what they have learned to solve education problems in medicine, dentistry, nursing and other healthrelated areas in their community. “Most physicians who teach have no training in educational theory,” said Nancy Searle, program partner and professor of pediatrics and medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. “Once they realize there is an entire world of educational theory that could help them, doctors become interested in engaging all aspects of their medical teaching, including the scholarship.” For more information on the Executive Education Doctorate in Professional Leadership with an Emphasis in the Health Sciences, see H — Marisa Ramirez

Advancing Immunotherapy and Fighting Cancer A professor with the UH Cullen College of Engineering has won his second major cancer research grant in four months, giving him a total of nearly $3.4 million to help develop cutting-edge treatments for the disease. Navin Varadarajan, assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, received the $1.28 million grant from the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT). He will use the funds to research immunotherapy, the practice of engineering immune system cells to fight specific diseases, including cancer.

Earlier, the National Institutes of Health awarded Varadarajan a $2.1 million grant to conduct immunotherapy research. While that grant focused on the effectiveness of engineered T-cells, the CPRIT study is interested in T-cells and a second type of immune system cell, Natural Killer cells. Central to this project are Varadarajan’s collaborators, including Laurence Cooper and Dean Anthony Lee, both of whom are physicians and researchers with The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. One of the challenges of studying these cells is examining them at the single-cell level, said Varadarajan. The standard methods used

to examine cells are good for looking at populations of cells but involve areas that are far too large to analyze them individually. That’s why Varadarajan has developed the nanowell array. This polymer slide has tens of thousands of individual chambers carved into it. Working with cells that have only been studied in the lab, as well as those that have been injected into patients and then retrieved via blood sample, Varadarajan will use the nanowell array to isolate the engineered immune system cells. He will then characterize these cells, identifying their cancer-fighting properties and correlating these properties with their success in combating the disease. H

S p r i n g 2 013 | UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON Ma gazine



Professor Hannay Earns Distinguished Career Honor H. Julia Hannay, the John and Rebecca Moores Professor of Psychology at UH, received the Lifetime Distinguished Career Award from the International Neuropsychological Society (INS). The award recognizes her contributions to the field of neuropsychology. “I have made so many friends among colleagues nationally and internationally because of INS, and I have considered the organization to be an intellectual home during my career. This award is the icing on the cake. I am highly honored but not ready to retire,” said Hannay. “Few lifetime achievement awards have been given out by the society,” said David J. Francis, a Hugh Roy and Lillie Cranz Cullen Distinguished Professor and chair of the psychology department at UH. “Recognition of a lifetime record of

contribution to a discipline by one’s national and international peers is among the highest honors that a university professor can receive.” Hannay is a clinical neuropsychologist and a pioneer in the field of experimental neuropsychology, specializing in the assessment of cognitive functions in children and adults, as well as the cognitive and physiological effects of brain injury and the impact of rehabilitation. “Dr. Hannay has achieved all of the major successes – being elected president of the International Neuropsychological Society, leading the landmark workshop that established training credentials in our field and contributing to the book that is the ‘bible’ in our field,” said Daniel Tranel, a neurology professor at the University of Iowa.

She directed the clinical neuropsychology training program at UH from 1987 to 2010, widely identified as a model for specialty training in psychology. Her academic research has been enhanced by her work as an adjunct professor of neurosurgery at Baylor College of Medicine, as well as a clinical neuropsychologist in the department of neurosurgery at Ben Taub General Hospital. H — Melissa Carroll

Engineering Entrepreneurs As part of its ongoing effort to support entrepreneurship among its faculty and students, the UH Cullen College of Engineering hosted an Intellectual Property and Entrepreneurism series that began in March. The three-part training series, designed for engineering faculty, post docs and students, covered all manner of Intellectual Property (IP) and principles of entrepreneurism. Topics included commercializing research, protecting inventions, liability issues, financing, patents, license agreements, trade secrets, branding and marketing. The training was conducted by Aaron Levine and Matt Todd, partners and co-chairs of the New Ventures & Corporate Transactions Group at Novak Druce Connolly Bove + Quigg.

Previously, the UH Cullen College also hosted “Understanding the Entrepreneurial Landscape: What Women STEM Faculty Need to Know” last year. Co-hosted by the UH College of Natural Science and Mathematics, the UH College of Technology and Rice University, the conference gave women faculty and post-doctoral researchers an inside look at the business of successfully commercializing university-based science and technology. H This originally appeared in UH Cullen College’s publication Parameters.

UH Selected to Help China Expand Social Work Programs


he UH Graduate College of Social Work (GCSW) has been selected as one of seven graduate programs in the U.S. to help China build its social work education program during the next five years.

The government of China aims to have two million social workers by 2020. “To be invited to assist the country of China in developing a professional work force of social workers to meet the needs of its

people is a great honor,” said Darla Spence Coffey, president of the Council of Social Work Education (CSWE), which made the selection. Ira Colby, dean of UH GCSW and past president of CSWE, said the demand for graduate degreed social workers currently exceeds the capabilities of colleges and universities in China. As a result, China turned to international colleagues for help through a demonstration project known as the China

Collaborative, organized by the CSWE Katherine A. Kendall Institute, the China Association for Social Workers (CASWE) and the International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW), for assistance to rapidly expand social work education in China. “This will provide opportunities for our students and faculty to visit China and faculty and students from China to visit Houston,” Colby said. H — Melissa Carroll

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Construction continues on a covered stage in UH’s Lynn Eusan Park. The new facility, which replaces the open-air platform used as a gathering place and meeting area for decades, will feature enhanced lighting and sound systems, supporting outdoor movie screenings, mid-size concerts, plays and other presentations. The park is named in honor of the late Lynn Eusan, the first African American to be crowned UH Homecoming Queen in 1969.

Photo by Thomas Campbell

BONUS ONLINE UTMB, UH TEAM UP TO STUDY BRAIN CHEMISTRY An interdisciplinary team of researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) at Galveston and the University of Houston (UH) has found a new way to influence the vital serotonin signaling system – possibly leading to more effective medications with fewer side effects. NSF GIVES UH $985K GRANT TO BOOST SCIENCE EDUCATION IN HOUSTON The National Science Foundation (NSF) grant will support UH’s teachHOUSTON program to recruit, prepare and retain more physics and chemistry majors. The ultimate goal is to provide physics and chemistry teachers to 24 school districts in the Houston area. THREE UH OPTOMETRY EDUCATORS EARN TOP HONORS AT EYECARE CONVENTION The University of Houston College of Optometry (UHCO) was in the spotlight with three of its educators recently taking top honors from the Texas Optometric Association (TOA). All three recipients are UHCO graduates now on faculty. Read more about their awarding-winning vision.

UH OFFERS NATION’S FIRST SUBSEA ENGINEERING PROGRAM In deep ocean waters there are reserves of oil and gas waiting to be discovered and harvested, but it requires new expertise and there are no textbooks on the new approach needed. The University of Houston Subsea Engineering program has drilled deep into the marketplace to find industry experts to introduce and teach the program – the first of its kind in the nation. TOTAL DONATES HIGH-SPEED COMPUTER CLUSTER TO UH Total, a leading multinational energy company, has donated a computer cluster to UH’s department of computer science that will give UH research a powerful boost in simulations and analyses. Learn more about computing the future of UH and Houston. ‘OZONEMAP' APP DELIVERING REAL-TIME AIR QUALITY REPORTS Now, Houstonians have a new tool to help determine air quality in their communities and throughout the greater metropolitan area. “OzoneMap” is a free smart phone and tablet app made possible through a partnership between UH, Air Alliance Houston and the American Lung Association. Check out your air quality at work and home.

UH ATHLETICS DEPARTMENT POSTS RECORD ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENTS While UH student-athletes are held to a high standard in their fields of competition, the UH Athletics Department raises the bar for classroom performance. For the 2012 fall semester, scholarship student-athletes across Houston’s 16 varsity sports achieved the highest ever fall semester grade point average. Find out more about winning on the field and in the classroom. SPIRIT OF HOUSTON MARCHING BAND PERFORMS WITH UH COMPOSER-INRESIDENCE The University of Houston Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts has announced a two-year residency with Daniel Bernard Roumain (also known as DBR) whose musical repertoire extends across a host of genres: rock, hip-hop, funk and classical. His residency launched with a participatory performance with UH’s Spirit of Houston marching band at Discovery Green, April 20. Get into the beat with a leading edge composer. H


S p r i n g 2 013 | UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON Ma gazine


EMBA at 35 It’s Been Anything But Business as Usual as Bauer’s Program Builds on Its Unique Origins

by Wendell Brock


hen the C. T. Bauer College of Business Executive MBA Program was founded in 1978, it had built-in cache. Only a handful of universities in the nation offered the degree and the innovative new program at the University of Houston’s business college – catering to ambitious, time-stressed students – was unique to Texas.

Fast forward 35 years, and you will see a radically different landscape. Success is everywhere. So, too, is competition from other institutions of higher learning. Perhaps it is that struggle, that instinct for survival that continues to push Bauer to greater heights. Certainly, for the Bauer family that came to the EMBA Program’s Mardi Gras-themed birthday bash on Feb. 2, there was plenty to celebrate:

Students gather for an informal discussion in the Insperity Center, located in the University Classroom and Business Building, the new home of the Bauer Executive MBA program.

UH President Renu Khator attends the EMBA’s 35th anniversary celebration, a Mardi Gras-like party that featured beads, tarot card and palm readings.

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In November, the program moved into hand- some new digs in the University Classroom and Business Building (UCBB), the sleek, sunny, five-story building next to Melcher Hall that houses the college’s Insperity Center.

In recent years, Bauer has ramped up its global, energy and leadership concentrations. Now students in Houston, China, India and the United Arab Emirates can earn a Global Energy Executive MBA (GEMBA), studying with professors who often bring decades of real-world professional experience to the table.

Through an ambitiously competitive admissions process, the program attracts top-drawer students, many of whom have already spent years as leaders and managers.

And it performs consistently well in national rankings. In 2010, the Financial Times placed Bauer’s EMBA at No. 18 among the top 100 programs, affirming the fact that students can get an Ivy League degree here without the price and attitude.

‘We are really dedicated to the notion that the Executive MBA classroom is a —Daniel Currie catalyst for new knowledge and new thinking.’ assistant dean of Graduate and Professional Programs and director of the Global MBA Program

“We can never lose track of the fact that from a business perspective, we are in a competitive space, and we don’t enjoy any kind of advantage that’s insurmountable by competition,” said Currie. “If somebody wants to replicate us, they can.” That Bauer is no longer the only game in town is perhaps what inspires such passion and tenacity from its leaders.

Executive Professor Michael Linn teaching an EMBA class.

“We are really dedicated to the notion that the Executive MBA classroom is a catalyst for new knowledge and new thinking,” says Daniel Currie, Bauer’s assistant dean of Graduate and Professional Programs and director of the Global Executive MBA Program. “You can do an MBA online somewhere. But the richness of the classroom experience – a wellrun, well-led, exciting, stimulating classroom – we haven’t figured out how to deliver that over a wire yet. And we are not sure that others have either.” And yet for all its growth and vitality, the program is no longer the only player in the Houston marketplace. “We are facing competition like we have never faced before, and we are facing good, strong competition,” Dean Latha Ramchand told visitors at the 35th anniversary gathering. Indeed, as the dean pointed out, a number of competitor programs all have satellite EMBA programs in Houston. Still, administrators believe the college is up to the task at hand – as long as it remains vigilant.

The college’s EMBA program began as spark in the eyes of marketing professor Pete Lyon, the original director. The University of Chicago had implemented an MBA for executives who could not go to school full time or attend evening classes, and a handful of other universities followed the lead. “The dean at the time said, ‘Look at this concept. We are in Houston, and we draw people together,’” says Bauer Professor Andrew “Skip” Szilagyi, who helped Lyon get the program up and running and even taught the first class. Szilagyi remembers the heady early days in the mid-1980s when Businessweek ranked Bauer’s program in the top 10, an accolade that made the program a national player. “This was good stuff,” Szilagyi recalls. Today, college administrators say, the market is too crowded for Bauer to rest on its laurels. What it can and will do is emphasize the quality of its students and the depth of its faculty, particularly in energy studies. “The willingness and ability to recruit executives with deep energy experience really changed the game for us,” Currie says, “because it allowed us to distinguish ourselves from the run-ofthe-mill MBA.” Currie points out that Bauer offers EMBA students some 25 energy-related courses, adding: “I am not sure anybody else can make that claim.”

“It’s not just about finance and accounting,” the assistant dean says. “You can pick up the book and read it. But once you are immersed in those classes and you start to network with people in the field and you get involved in this kind of eco-system that we have created here, it’s really rich. You can come here and be in a classroom with someone who spent 30 years at one of the major oil companies of the world. That guy’s not reading from the textbook.” Currie believes that such engagement between students and teachers is nothing short of magic. In a world where technology continues to diminish social connections, that authentic human touch may be what ensures the program’s future and students’ success. H

Bauer’s Bragging Wall During its three and a half decades in operation, nearly 2,400 students have participated in various phases of the EMBA Program. At the 35th anniversary party, UH President Renu Khator had glowing words for alumni. “I call this not just an Executive MBA program,” Khator said. “This is the celebrity MBA program.” Here are some of the program’s stellar graduates: Carol Alvarado Texas state representative Dr. David L. Callender President of the University of Texas Medical Branch C. Greg Harper Senior Vice President and Group President, CenterPoint Energy Pipelines and Field Services Aylwin B. Lewis President and CEO of Potbelly Sandwich Works, former CEO and President of Sears Holdings Corp. Marvin Odum President of Shell Oil Company Bruce Williamson President and CEO of Cleco Corp.

This article originally appeared in Inside Bauer magazine. S p r i n g 2 013 | UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON Ma gazine


Robertson Stadium


( A N

The “Rob,” from 1940 to 2012

Bidding a Fond Farewell to Robertson/


here comes a time when the old must give way to the new. At the University of Houston, that time came for the venerable football stadium that, for nearly three-quarters of a century, has been a landmark for the school – indeed, for the entire city. Robertson Stadium – Jeppesen for longtime Houstonians – has been demolished, a casualty of economic realities and construction constraints. The cost to give it the extreme makeover it required just didn’t add up. And so, in the final days of 2012, the heavy equipment


The UH Cougars began using it as a home field (for the first time) from 1946 to 1950 then returned beginning in 1998.

Stadium… and Looking

Ahead to Its Replacement

the Houston Independent School District purchased 60 acres adjacent to the UH campus for $75,500. It was built by Fretz Construction as a joint project between HISD and the Works Progress Administration for $650,000. Designed by architect Harry D. Payne, the stadium featured a classic Art Deco style in its towers, reliefs, and façade. The stadium’s first game was held before a crowd of 14,500 in 1942, when Houston’s Lamar High School defeated Dallas’ W. H. Adamson High School 27–7. The UH Cougars began using it as a home field (for the first time) from 1946 to 1950 then

rolled in, knocked it down and hauled away the melancholy rubble. In its place, a new stadium is now rising, establishing an exciting venue where new generations of Cougars and Houstonians will create memories of their own. In that nexus between the past and future, we wave goodbye to the old stadium and salute the new one… The stadium’s roots go back to 1940, when

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returned beginning in 1998. Along the way, the stadium – renamed Jeppesen in 1958 and Robertson in 1980 – was a gracious host to high school football (like the Turkey Day Classic between nearby Yates and Wheatley), track and field competitions, the nascent Houston Oilers, the Houston Dynamo soccer club, numerous rock concerts and even ‘Sunrise Services’ on Easter. Notably, the first scrimmage in Houston



Texans’ history was held at Robertson in 2002 against the Dallas Cowboys. Three-time Olympian and winner of nine gold medals, UH alum Carl Lewis ran his last race during halftime of a Cougar football game in 1997. UH football returned to Robertson full-time in 1998 after the stadium underwent considerable renovations. The field was lowered nine feet, the track removed and nearly two dozen luxury boxes were added during the renovation. The field itself was named in honor of major donor John O’Quinn. And there, for nearly the last decade and a half, true blue (make that true Red) fans have rooted for the home team, roaring back when asked “Whose House?” – COOGS HOUSE! But no amount of affection could change the aging structure’s growing defects and the necessity for demolition. Some things have been salvaged – the towering light structures will be re-installed in the new stadium – and a few items were auctioned off to nostalgia buffs. At the rousing groundbreaking ceremony for the new stadium, held in February, a table offering commemorative chunks of concrete from Robertson seemed to attract few takers. Understandably, most in attendance were probably more interested in looking ahead to an exhilarating future. And that’s how it should be. But before the pages turn completely and a new chapter begins, we wanted to make sure we said a proper goodbye. H Marsha Carter and Eric Gerber



College football and football in general was changed forever in Robertson when Bill Yeoman invented the veer. I hope the new stadium brings in a new

era of UH dominance. GO COOGS!!

– Philip Palomo

My favorite memory??? Chicago and the Beach Boys circa 1974 . . . magical!

NO!!! I had my first kiss there!!!!

– Liz Hollis

– Josefina Rodriguez

Glory Days soon gone.

Goodbye old friend.

– Myckey Frederickson

– Elva Escochea Grunert

It doesn’t take long to tear things down, not like it does to build things. – David Saiz

Good bye Old Rob! You were Good to us! May the new stadium be as . . . Good!

– Jackie Wick

I can remember when the Houston Oilers played in Jeppesen, George Blanda was quarterback! – Robert Dunlap I remember playing the powder puff bowl there. Good college memories. – Melody Nichols S p r i n g 2 013 | UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON Ma gazine


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Recollections of ‘The Rob’ By Case Keenum


remember the first time I saw Robertson Stadium.

It was in 2005, on a recruiting visit during my junior year of high school at Abilene Wylie. I came down to Houston to watch a game and had my first experience at “The Rob.” Driving down Cullen Boulevard, trying to avoid potholes and uneven spots in the road, I looked over to see the stadium for the first time. I distinctly recall telling my dad that I wanted my picture to be up on the stadium, just like the star players of that year. As it turned out, I had no idea what was in store for me in that stadium and at this university. I had no idea I would play in 57 games as a Cougar. I had no idea that I would be given the opportunity to break multiple school and NCAA records. I also had no idea that I would propose to my best friend at the 50-yard line at that stadium. (Now, that’s a story that I’m not going to tell right now since it also involves candles, flowers and other such mushy stuff.) Of course, all that did happen – and much more.

That stadium is gone, but I know the Cougar spirit that filled it remains. — Case keenum

To pick one specific memory above the rest is not possible. (However, beating Texas Tech is very high on the list.) But for anyone who has ever been to a game or been part of the Cougar Faithful knows there is a common feeling of unqualified pride that comes with wearing Cougar Red. There is nothing handed to us, and we don’t expect it. When one chapter ends, another begins. Now we are going to have a new stadium in a new conference. That means we need a new level of fan support. And that starts with the students. I hope we see a new generation of “Coog Crew” members and “Bleacher Creatures” who are every bit as rowdy and inspirational as the ones who used to help us rock The Rob on a regular basis. That stadium is gone, but I know the Cougar spirit that filled it remains. So, no matter what stadium we call home, remember whose house it is: Coog’s House. H

Editor’s Note: Case Keenum joined the UH football team in 2006 and was the starting quarterback from 2007-2011. He is the NCAA’s all-time leader in total passing yards, touchdowns and completions, becoming the Football Bowl Subdivision’s all-time leader in total offense. He is the only quarterback in Division I FBS history to have passed for more than 5,000 yards in each of three seasons. Keenum was twice named Conference USA Player of the Year and Sammy Baugh Trophy winner. A UH graduate, Keenum currently plays on the Houston Texans practice team.

Summa Cum Loud The Stadium Used to Be the Place to Go When Rock Had a Field Day

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young crank it up during a sunny afternoon set.

The Nightmarish rock star Alice Cooper entertains a sea of fans.

A different kind of pigskin was featured when artsy British rock group Pink Floyd hoisted an inflatable porker over the stadium as part of its show.

hroughout the 1970s and into the 1980s, Jeppesen/Robertson Stadium served double duty as an arena rock venue, playing host to a number of notable acts that were popular enough to fill the stands and pack onto the crowded field. If the raucous outdoor acoustics weren’t always the best, the festive energy at these all-day, multi-act concerts more than compensated for it. Among the performers were Alice Cooper, the Allman Brothers Band, the Beach Boys, Chicago, CSN&Y, the Doobie Brothers, the Eagles, Willie Nelson, Ted Nugent, Pink Floyd and ZZ Top. For some Houstonians (and visitors lured from afar by their favorite performers), it may have been their strongest memory of “attending” the University of Houston. All photos courtesy of Bruce Kessler and

Fans piled in and were ready to rock at Jeppesen.

S p r i n g 2 013 | UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON Ma gazine


future Stadium



A New Stadium Rises from Robertson’s Roots


n 2010, after a feasibility study indicated that its long-standing stadium was beyond repair and renovation, the University of Houston began moving forward with plans to replace it with a new, state-of-the-art facility on the same campus site.

The rendering of the future stadium reflects the efforts of the design team to blend the exterior of the new stadium into the historical architectural character of the UH campus, with particular focus on buildings adjacent to the athletics corridor. While all exterior facades, brick and metal, use material and color palettes consistent with UH design standards, the team also strived to give the new stadium a unique

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look and character easily differentiated from other collegiate stadiums throughout the nation. Demolition began not long after the 2012 football season concluded and a ceremonial groundbreaking for the $105 million stadium took place in February. Those ambitious plans should come to fruition when the Cougars hit the new field to play their


Quick Facts • Bert F. Winston Band and Performance Center A 39,089-square-foot building on the east end of the stadium housing the Spirit of Houston Band Recital Halls and classroom spaces, gallery multi-purpose area and UH Athletics Ticket Office. • Concession Stands A total of 160 concession points of sale throughout the stadium plus multiple portable concessions.

• Construction Completion Date Approximately August, 2014. • Construction Start Date December 3, 2012

first game in August, 2014. In the meantime, construction continues on the 630,000-squarefoot project, one destined to leave its own considerable footprints on Houston’s history. We’ve assembled some Quick Facts about it (on the facing page). And for updated information about the stadium, please see:



Want to watch history being made? A webcam is chronicling the progress at the stadium site, from the initial demolition to the finishing touches and grand opening next year. You can track the project’s development at:

• Orientation of Stadium East-to-west, giving fans and TV audiences a spectacular view of the downtown Houston skyline. • Parking Surface lots around the stadium will contain 1,467 parking spaces, while the stadium parking garage holds 2,268 spaces.

• Concourse A 360-degree concourse with an uninterrupted view of the field on 67 percent of the concourse. Will include both audio and video broadcast systems throughout the concourse.

Rendering of new UH stadium, complete by August, 2014

• Number of Seats Minimum of 40,000.

• Cost Currently estimated to cost approximately $105 million. • Field Surface State-of-the-art synthetic turf designed to host a multitude of events, including, but not limited to, UH and high school football games, band practice, specific UH intramural events, etc. • Field Level 25 feet below the main stadium concourse. • Legends Plaza A plaza area recognizing the proud tradition of Houston Football at the northeast corner of the stadium. • Locker Room (Home) State-of-the-art 5,000-square-foot home locker room at the southeast corner of the stadium. Views exclusive to the club area give those fans an opportunity to watch team members travel from the locker room to the field level. • Locker Room (Visitor) At the west end of the stadium with a field entrance in the northwest corner of the stadium. Multi-functional locker room can be split and serve two separate teams simultaneously.

• Party Decks Four open-air party decks and two open air party suites at different locations throughout the stadium. • Pavilions UH officials are currently working with architects on the design and placement of pavilions. Pavilions will be funded per each pavilion holder. Current pavilion owners will have the first right of refusal for a new pavilion. • Premium Seating Will consist of 5,000 of the 40,000 seats. Including:

- Club Area - Suites - Loge Boxes - Club Seats - Additional Premium Seating

• Press Box Seats for 70 working media along with a press dining area. Post-game press conferences to take place in a wired field-level photographer work room. • Student Section Will contain more than 5,000 seats. • UH Gallery A 2,000-square-foot tribute area to UH history. Also a multi-purpose special events area at the northeast corner of the Houston Football Stadium. • Video Board State-of-the-art HD, LED, wide screen video board at the west end of the stadium. H

S p r i n g 2 013 | UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON Ma gazine


Researcher’ Wave-Read By Laura Tolley

May Help Stroke, Spin Each section of the orchestra, say the “action” section, has multiple neural instruments that usually play different parts – thus, the left motor cortex is responsible for guiding movement of the right hand, whereas the right motor cortex controls the left hand, he said.

Engineering professor José Luis Contreras-Vidal explores neuroprosthetics and powered wearable exoskeletons, which may help people with spinal cord injuries.


hat comes naturally to most people – to think and then do – is difficult, even impossible, for stroke victims and people with spinal cord injuries.

New research being developed at the University of Houston could transform the lives of these patients by allowing them to turn their thoughts into actions through a device that can power advanced prosthetics. A team led by José Luis Contreras-Vidal, professor of electrical and computer engineering, is working on perfecting the non-invasive brainmachine interface (BMI), which operates a robotic orthotic device that allows a person to “walk.”

This new neurotechnology works by interpreting brain waves that let a person willingly operate the exoskeleton that supports the body as it moves. Contreras-Vidal, director of UH’s Laboratory for Noninvasive Brain-Machine Interface Systems, was the first to successfully reconstruct 3-D hand and walking movements from brain signals recorded in a non-invasive way using a scalp electroencephalogram (or EEG), a skull cap fitted with electrode sensors that touch the scalp. The technology allows users to control, with their thoughts, robotic legs and neuroprosthetic limbs. Contreras-Vidal often describes the brain as a “neural symphony” that has a number of components, or instruments, such as emotion, action, perception and cognition, that must work together to operate the body correctly.

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“Neural interfaces that use electrodes implanted in the user’s brain can only listen to that specific instrument or section of the neural orchestra. However, the full coverage afforded by our EEGbased approach allows us to listen to all neural instruments,” Contreras-

Vidal said. “This is true even if one or more of the instruments do not participate – such as in the case of a stroke patient with a lesion to the left motor cortex,” he said. Thus, the main difference between his work and other experimental approaches is that it not only relies on signals acquired outside the brain instead of penetrating electrodes, but also the external neural interface listens to all the neural players. A BMI for computer-cursor control has been tested in healthy, able-bodied subjects, and it has been now integrated with a powered lower-body exoskeleton (NeuroRex) for testing with users who have spinal cord injuries. Contreras-Vidal, a full affiliate member of The Methodist Hospital Research Institute (TMHRI),

’s Brain ding Robot

nal Cord Injury Patients has partnered with Dr. Bob Grossman at TMHRI to begin testing. Initial testing has started at UH, and clinical trials could begin at Methodist Hospital sometime this year. Marcie O’Malley at Rice University and Dr. Gerard Francisco at TIRR Memorial Hermann also are collaborating with Contreras-Vidal to develop a BMI system for upper-limb rehabilitation for stroke patients. The National Institutes of Health (NIH), within the framework of the President’s National Robotics Initiative (NRI), has funded the multi-disciplinary team. UH is developing the electroencephalogrambased (EEG) neural interface and Rice the exoskeleton. The combined device will be validated by UTHealth physicians at TIRR Memorial Hermann, with as many as 40 volunteer patients in the final two years of the four-year, $1.17 million R01 grant. The NIH award, supported by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, is one of a select few projects funded under NRI, a collaborative partnership by the NIH, National Science Foundation, NASA and the Department of Agriculture that seeks to encourage the development of the next generation of robots that will work closely with humans. When set into motion, the intelligent exoskeleton will use thoughts to trigger repetitive motions and retrain the brain’s motor networks. “The capability to harness a user’s intent through the EEG neural interface to control robots makes it possible to fully engage the patient during rehabilitation,” ContrerasVidal said.

exoskeleton is generally guided by a joystick controlled by the user or the experimenter, to set it in motion, stand, step forward or turn. Once the “translator” between movement and brain activity is trained, the user can use his/her thoughts to control the device just by thinking about it. In the case of NeuroRex, the goal is for the patient’s brainwaves to operate the device. The ultimate goal is for the user to wear a headset similar to Blue­tooth wireless technology to operate the exoskeleton. “We have no shortage of dreams,” said Contreras-Vidal. “Just a few years ago, the bottleneck was technology. That is no longer the case.” Contreras-Vidal said that most researchers have long believed that decoding movement intentions in the brain would require invasive technologies, such as electrodes implanted in the skull. But his earlier research demonstrated that movement intentions related to the legs – such as walking, turning and sitting – can be decoded with high accuracy through the scalp EEG, which records the brain’s electrical activity through the skullcap. In addition to the physical benefits of a brain-powered exoskeleton, there are other benefits to this technology, such as the simple boost in self-esteem in standing upright for a spinal cord injury patient long resigned to a wheelchair, and the benefits of regaining mobility that could result in improved cardiovascular and bladder functions.  H

During the training or calibration phase, the Article originally appeared in UH News, Spring 2013. Designer Eric Dowding

Research is under way to perfect a device that operates advanced prosthetics that allow a person to “walk.”

S p r i n g 2 013 | UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON Ma gazine



MISSION SPECIALIST Former Astronaut Bonnie Dunbar Has High-Flying Plans for UH’s STEM Center

By Laura Tolley

Bonnie Dunbar once again finds herself on an important mission. It’s a mission the roots of which reach back through her standout career as an astronaut, engineer, manager and consultant. It’s a mission about opportunity, education and need in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (or STEM). Dunbar has been selected to head the University of Houston’s new STEM Center and to join the faculty in UH’s Cullen College of Engineering. She brings national and international experience to the role of leading UH’s efforts to build on its STEM strengths and leverage those successes in the K-12 community and beyond. As STEM education becomes an increasingly essential issue on the local, state and national fronts, the UH STEM center is an important initiative in the effort to increase the number of students pursuing studies and careers in the STEM fields. Dunbar, a UH alumna, is exceptionally qualified for her new role, having devoted much of her life to furthering engineering and science education. The center represents a major opportunity to advance her work in that area.

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‘We want to make sure that every child has the math and science skills to really succeed in anything.’ —BONNIE DUNBAR

“We want the STEM Center at UH to help better prepare those students in our community to work and succeed,” she said. “If they excel, we will have succeeded in helping them as well as the region and the state of Texas, which need their talents. It’s also about inspiration. We want to ensure that every child has the math and science skills to achieve any goal to which they aspire.”

“Simply put, the United States isn’t producing enough scientists and engineers. We need more students going into STEM careers. This is vitally important to what our country can do in terms of moving forward, in terms of maintaining and building on its prosperity,” Dunbar explained. “We’re also not doing enough to inspire a diverse group of young people to enter the STEM fields.” Additionally, too many students are not adequately prepared for STEM studies once they do get to college. “We have to wake up and address these issues,” she said. “We need to look at this as a national problem. We have to invest in our future.” Right now, there are only about 160 STEM centers based at the 4,000 or so colleges and universities across the nation. UH’s STEM Center will offer a unique collection of strengths, including Tier One research and a strategic location in a major city that is also home to the Texas Medical Center and NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC). Administered by UH’s Division of Research, a key part of the center’s mission will be to highlight and leverage STEM successes in the colleges of engineering, education, liberal arts, technology and natural sciences and mathematics. “I like the idea of joining an organization that wants to go to a better place, that has a great goal it hasn’t quite yet reached,” Dunbar said. “This is a worthy goal we are pursuing with the STEM center, to help the region and the United States address this problem.”

Dunbar’s plans for the center also include reaching out to the broader community and the media to build support for the STEM fields. Her plans include establishing a website for the center that can be used by students, potential students, parents, teachers, anyone who wants to learn about the STEM programs at UH. “We want to make the STEM programs in our UH colleges more visible and more accessible through this web site. It will be a one-stop shopping site for STEM,” she said. For example, high school students and parents will be able to find out about summer programs and undergraduates can learn about STEM careers. “We want a fully integrated web site that is fun and engaging for people. We will have factoids and interactive quizzes people can take,” Dunbar said. She also will use other social media tools such as Twitter to further educate and encourage people.

The new center is part of President Renu Khator’s STEM-related efforts, which include the recent creation of a $30 million fund to attract some of the nation’s most talented research faculty in STEM fields. It’s also part of Khator’s overall mission to further UH’s Tier One goals. The importance of STEM education in sustaining and promoting American innovation and economic competitiveness is documented in the America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science Act of 2007 or America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2010, which calls for increased investment in innovation through research and development. A report by the U.S. Department of Commerce, titled “The Competitiveness and Innovative Capacity of the United States,” directly ties the success of the nation’s economy to the importance of innovation.

Dunbar also will advocate for additional grant funding for UH’s STEM efforts as well as seek to engage and support programs in K-12 education. The center will work with area school districts to encourage interest in STEM fields and also help better educate students so they are properly prepared to pursue STEM studies in college. She also will work with informal education centers, such as museums and science centers.

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internationally on STEM education and space flight technology. She also was president and CEO of the Museum of Flight in Seattle and owned her own aerospace and STEM education consulting company, Dunbar International LLC. Of course, she is probably best known for her career as a NASA astronaut. A mission specialist, Dunbar flew on five space flights, logging more than 50 days in space. She trained in Star City Russia for 13 months and flew the first docking flight between the Russian Space Station MIR and the Space Shuttle in 1995. Dunbar served as payload commander on two flights, participated in a 13-day Spacelab flight as well as the eighth docking mission to MIR. Following her flight career, Dunbar served in the federal government’s Senior Executive Service for seven years, holding various senior management positions at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C., and at the JSC. Dunbar earned her bachelor’s and master’s of science degrees in ceramic engineering from the University of Washington. She received a doctorate in mechanical and biomedical engineering from UH in 1983, two years after she became a NASA astronaut. Research inspires STEM students

During the past decade, growth in jobs that require STEM skills was three times that of other sectors, and the U.S. Department of Commerce projects those jobs will continue to outpace other sectors over the next decade.

However, many jobs are left unfilled because there are not enough qualified applicants and some employers, such as those in the energy industry, are concerned about filling the gaps left by retiring workers.

Clearly, STEM education is a key issue for the Houston area, where leaders are focused on attracting and sustaining high-tech industries.

Khator believes UH has a crucial role to play in linking STEM education to job creation – and Dunbar couldn’t agree more. “Developing a pipeline for STEM-based careers will play a major role in the sustained growth and stability of the U.S. economy. It is a critical component to helping our nation win the future,” she said. Dunbar brings an incredible list of accomplishments to the job. Before joining UH, Dunbar was based in the Seattle area, consulting around the country and

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She is a member of the prestigious National Academy of Engineering, Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Fellow and life member of the American Ceramic Society, Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society and an elected member of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. She has received numerous honors and awards, including the NASA Exceptional Leadership Medal, the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, the Washington State Medal of Merit, the American Association of Mechanical Engineers Ralph Roe Award in 2009 and the University of Washington’s College of Engineering Diamond Award in 2012 for lifetime public service. She holds seven honorary university doctoral degrees. In April, she will be inducted into the Astronaut Hall of Fame in Florida. Dunbar also has inspired legions of young people, including many girls and women. She credits much of her success to her family, her teachers and professors, mentors and her positive work experiences.

She grew up in the Yakima Valley of Washington State on a cattle ranch homesteaded by her parents in 1948. Dunbar learned to fly with the Rockwell Flying Club at the Orange County Airport in 1977 and maintains her pilot’s license. Math and science were early interests for her. And she knows well the value of getting some help and encouragement early in life to pursue a career in those fields. She attended college with financial assistant from the National Defense Education Act (NDEA), which helped high school students interested in science and engineering careers and in teaching those fields. “I qualified for a loan. I wouldn’t be sitting here without that,” she concedes. “I did pay all of my loan back.” Dunbar knew then – and now – that math and science were fun and interesting. Today, one of her main concerns is that scientists and engineers have an unflattering reputation in the public arena that, in her opinion, is undeserved. “When I was growing up, just the opposite was true. I watched Mr. Wizard on TV every Saturday,” she said of the show that demonstrated the science behind ordinary things for young viewers. Engineers were working on spacecraft. Many people admired them, even aspired to be like them. Dunbar, for example.

“So the media becomes an important part of this solution. Parents are also an important part. And the community plays a vital role as well.”

Another challenge is convincing students that STEM studies are interesting, and so are the people who pursue careers in those fields.

In addition to leading the UH STEM Center, Dunbar also plans to teach next year. She plans to develop a new course designed to inspire and retain engineering undergraduate students.

“Engineers and scientists have very diverse interests, and I want our youth to understand that. Science and engineering are creative endeavors. They are problem-solvers. And you see the fruits of their creations all around us everyday, whether it’s your cell phone or your

“The course will explore how engineering has transformed our lives throughout history and will be presented through the lens of aerospace and space exploration,” Dunbar said. “In fact, we may offer it to all undergraduates to help them better understand how math, science, and engineering are important to developing the technologies surrounding them every day and solving many of society’s ‘grand challenges,’ from communication and transportation, to the environment – and even social problems.” Despite the high-level academics involved, a part of the solution to the STEM challenge is simply helping young students understand how valuable these fields are to everyday life. “Looking over the course of history, without engineers, we wouldn’t have the world around us,” Dunbar said. “Even the pyramids would not have been built without engineers and mathematicians.”

computer or the vehicle you’re driving or the tennis shoes you are wearing. They have all been designed and engineered,” Dunbar said. “Those are really fun jobs by the way,” said Bonnie Dunbar, the woman who knows how far – and how high – STEM careers can take you. H STEM FB: STEM Twitter:

“I wanted to be a NASA engineer because NASA engineers were going to the moon,” Dunbar said. “They were doing great things. They were exciting. But if you look at TV now, engineers and scientists are not portrayed very well, if at all. That is reflected back in our youth, our very media-conscience youth,” she said.

Space Shuttle Challenger’s ninth flight, Bonnie Dunbar’s first as a mission specialist S p r i n g 2 013 | UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON Ma gazine


Sen. Eliz


lizabeth Warren – that’s Sen. Warren of Massachusetts now – has a dual connection to the University of Houston. She is both a graduate and a former faculty member, earning a degree in speech pathology and audiology in 1970 and teaching in the UH law school from 1978-83. Born in Oklahoma City in 1949, Warren won a debate scholarship to George Washington University at the age of 16. She left after two years to marry her highschool boyfriend, who became a NASA engineer. They moved to Houston; she enrolled at UH and taught elementary school after graduation. After relocating to New Jersey, Warren earned a law degree at Rutgers in 1976. Following a divorce and eventual remarriage, she held teaching positions at UT, UH, Michigan, the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard. She developed a growing reputation as a keen academic and passionate advocate in the field of consumer affairs. In 2008, she led the panel implementing the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act. A high profile supporter of the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Warren was initially considered a strong choice to become its director, but her appointment was successfully opposed by conservative adversaries. Some might say Warren had the last laugh, however, by defeating her incumbent Republican opponent and joining the U.S. Senate earlier this year.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren

Q: What are your strongest memories of your undergraduate days at UH? Were you involved with any extracurricular activities? Do any particular classes or professors stand out? A: Dr. Genevieve Arnold’s class on the diagnostics of learning disorders stands out for me. It affected my understanding of how people think and still influences my work today. The speech pathology clinic also stands out because it gave me

extraordinary hands-on experience under the careful guidance of truly dedicated clinical instructors.

Q: How did “Oklahoma’s top high-school debater” come to choose speech pathology as a major? A: At first, I wanted to be a teacher, but then I decided I wanted to work with children with disabilities. So I earned my degree in speech pathology and audiology, which

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meant that I would be able to work with children who had brain injuries or other serious learning problems. After I got out of school, I taught special needs children in a public school.

Q: So, after earning your bachelor’s degree here, you returned nearly a decade later – as a law school professor. Had the university changed much during  that time? Or, perhaps, you were looking at it through different eyes?

---- AlumPROFILE ----

zabeth Warren

ks Back at Her Cougar Roots ‘I knew I wanted to keep talking about what’s happening to America’s middle class families, and this was the best opportunity to do that.’

— Sen. Elizabeth warren A: Standing up and teaching in front of a class of 100 is certainly different from sitting in a third row seat as a student. But one thing stayed the same – there were plenty of people at UH who wanted to help. John Mixon really took me under his wing and taught me how to teach a law class. Each teaching award I received later on was thanks to his guidance. Q: What had you missed (if anything) about living in Houston? A: Oh, that’s an easy one - Ninfa’s, the original one on Navigation. Q: Can you trace your shift to an interest in the law? Was it always there and bubbled up? Or was it something new? Did it surprise you? A: I’d never thought about going to law school while I was growing up. But I really loved it. I saw my legal education as a great tool that I could use to do something and make an impact.

Q: You’ve credited the senior law school professors at UH – John Mixon, in particular – for “teaching me how to teach.” What did they teach you? That is, what is the key to teaching law effectively? A: One of the keys of teaching is figuring out what students know and what they don’t, and then focusing on that. It’s also about setting very clear goals for each class. That means making sure the objectives are clear, but leaving enough room to be creative. John was amazing. He would take me out to lunch and very gently help me see my own classes from new perspectives. I remain in his debt. Q: Do you recall the last time you visited UH campus? What was your impression? A: I was there a few years ago, and it was beautiful. It’s really grown a lot. Q: With John Kerry’s departure from the Senate, you became the most junior senior senator’ in its history. Briefly – what are Elizabeth Warren’s legislative priorities? A: Right now my priorities are focused on many of the same things I’ve been working on for years – fighting for a level playing field for working families, and holding Wall Street accountable. I’m here in Washington to work my heart out for the people who sent me here.

Q: Exploring a hypothetical scenario, if you had been named director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, you might not have gone on to become senator. For you, is one of those positions preferable to the other? A: For me, the campaign for Senate was a chance to continue to work on the issues I care about. I knew I wanted to keep talking about what’s happening to America’s middle class families, and this was the best opportunity to do that. Q: In your speech at the Democratic Convention, you said: “People feel like the system is rigged against them. And here’s the painful part: They’re right.” How would you characterize the state of “consumer finance” today? If you could wave a magic wand and change one thing in the consumer finance arena right now, what would that be? A: I would make sure people don’t get cheated by tricks and traps buried in consumer loan contracts. We’ve made a lot of progress but there’s still more work to do to make sure consumers have the information they need to make the decisions that are best for them. H — Eric Gerber

Upper right photo: Warren graduates from Rutgers School of Law

S p r i n g 2 013 | UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON Ma gazine


Buck Up

Rodeo Scholars with UH President Renu Khator wave to the crowd!

By Marisa Ramirez ’00

RodeoHouston’s Scholarships Help UH Students Stay in the Financial Saddle


o be successful, a rodeo cowboy’s bareback ride lasts eight seconds. Eight seconds negotiating the bucks and jolts. Eight seconds trying to hold on. Eight seconds until you’ve made it. That’s a great challenge, but with preparation and perseverance, it can lead to great success.

At times, making your way through college can seem like a ride on a bucking bronco, negotiating the mental and emotional adjustments, and especially the financial struggles. It can be a challenge just to hang on until graduation. Fortunately, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo (HLSR) understands that and has been using its resources to help deserving University of Houston students – such as Edward Carrizales and Flavia Vancia – stay tall in the saddle. “The road to my success has not been an easy one, but with opportunities granted by HLSR, I’ll be able to clear all obstacles out of my way

and continue on my path to achievement,” said Carrizales, a junior pursuing a double major in management information systems and accounting. He knows firsthand what it’s like to be bucked and almost thrown on his way to college.

grants and scholarships. That led him to the HLSR scholarships. Carrizales applied for and received a Metropolitan scholarship, which provides him a total of $15,000 disbursed over four years. He was one of 238 students who received the same awards.

“My mother is a single parent and all our lives we’ve had to struggle to make ends meet,” Carrizales said. “My mom works hard to make sure my brother and I have a place to live, and food to eat, but there is never much left over.”

“I’m really thankful they selected me because it opened the world to me,” he said. “The money really helped me with that next stage in my life, which is to attend college.”

As a child, his challenges were complicated by the wrong crowd surrounding him in middle school. After watching his friends skip school, use drugs and, later, get arrested, Carrizales made a decision to change the course of his own life. Although his grades improved, the financial outlook for his university aspirations seemed just as far off as ever. Not wanting his parents (or himself) to incur a huge debt to pay for college, he researched available

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RodeoHouston (as HLSR is also known) has been a dedicated supporter of students and a longtime partner with the University of Houston. Since 1987, HLSR scholarships have provided nearly 1,500 UH System students – from UH, UH-Downtown, UH-Victoria and UH-Clear Lake – with almost $14 million in muchneeded assistance that eased the financial stress of going to college and allowed students to focus more intently on their academic accomplishments.

‘Rodeo Scholars from the University of Houston reflect a diverse urban experience, which is so important as we move into the future...’ — Nancy Clark

“My goal was to be that son who would take my parents out of poverty, be that student who would graduate with highest honors, be that role model to my younger brother and, possibly, be the next Steve Jobs or the first Hispanic president of the United States,” he said. Taking an important first step in that direction, Carrizales became the valedictorian of his Scarborough High School class. The HLSR offers 11 categories of scholarships to attend a Texas college or university. All students who apply must demonstrate their academic excellence, their leadership and financial need. This year alone, UH students were awarded more than $800,000 in scholarships. By next year, rodeo officials hope to increase that amount to $1 million.

“Meeting the students and hearing their stories, that’s a pay day for us,” said HLSR chairman Steve Stevens. “It comes down to our mission of supporting youth and education. We hope to help more students next year with even more scholarship funds.” Each year, the dreams of UH Rodeo Scholars are inspiring. One student aims for a medical career so that she can assist veterans. One is pursuing architecture studies so that she can preserve Houston’s historic buildings. One student simply says he wants to travel the world and buy his parents a huge home. “Rodeo Scholars from the University of Houston reflect a diverse urban experience, which is so important as we move into the future. And the personal stories of these Scholars show that HLSR did well in their choice of awardees,” said Nancy Clark, coordinator of UH Rodeo Scholars. “I am so proud of all UH Rodeo Scholars as they mature from inquisitive freshmen to accomplished seniors.” That was certainly the case with UH student Flavia Vancia, who found her academic ambitions threatened by adversity and financial complications.

Edward Carrizales

“Because college is only a dream for so many students, the Show has made an extraordinary impact on the lives of countless young men and women in its quest to benefit the youth of Texas and support them through education,” the RodeoHouston website declares. Indeed, their financial reach to all students, including those from UH, topped more than $24 million in educational commitments for 2013.

Born in Romania, Vancia knew no English when she and her family arrived in New Caney, Texas. She was 3 years old. Hard work propelled her to the top of the New Caney High School senior class, where she graduated seventh in her class. Her excellent grades and athletic prowess (she was captain of her school’s tennis team during her junior and senior years) ensured Vancia was college material. But like Carrizales, Vancia and her family worried about paying for college. She applied for and received an HLSR Opportunity Scholarship that provided her with a total award of $16,000 for her fouryear academic career. She is one of 114 students who received the same awards. Now a sophomore at UH majoring in biology/premedical, Vancia plans to attend medical school in Texas. “Making the transition from high school to college was not an easy task,” she conceded. “Thanks to the generosity of the Rodeo

Flavia Vancia

Scholarship sponsors, the financial stress of my undergraduate degree is no longer a looming problem.” Her commitment to hard work certainly has not flagged. A member of the American Medical Student Associate for physicians-in-training, Vancia maintains a 3.7 grade point average while volunteering every other Saturday at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. “Throughout all my college activities, I always prioritize school,” she said. This year, Carrizales and Vancia celebrated their opportunities made possible by the HLSR as they rode on the UH float in the Downtown Rodeo Parade. They were on hand representing all UH Rodeo Scholars. Unlike a rodeo cowboy, their ride through the downtown Houston streets was considerably longer than eight seconds, but every bit as admirable. H

Learn more about

RodeoHouston scholars at

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pr o f ess o rs emeriti

John H. Lienhard: By Lisa K. Merkl (’92, M.A. ’97)


iring five days a week on dozens of public and commercial stations across the U.S., KUHF Houston Public Radio’s “Engines of Our Ingenuity” program celebrates 25 years in 2013. The goal of the show’s creator and longtime host, University of Houston Professor Emeritus John H. Lienhard, now 82, is to encourage people to think creatively and drive inventiveness forward. “All these stories are, in a sense, personal. They’re something I’ve been interested in or wanted to tell people about. The history of engineering discoveries is certainly a big part of the show, but if inventiveness comes out in some other area, that’s just fine by

me,” Lienhard said. “Engineering has been a great pleasure for me, but if others want to do science instead or write poetry or sing music or whatever, then I feel the show has achieved its goal.” Lienhard’s path to engineering was not an easy or natural one. He struggled with reading through high school and early in his college career. “My portal was not math, but pictures. Drafting and the pictorial side of things were my way in,” Lienhard said. “I struggled with dyslexia in high school, but in my senior year, I discovered a drafting course, and I just tore through three years of work in one year and loved it.”

After receiving his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering in 1951 from Oregon State College, he went to work for Boeing. Ultimately, he left Boeing to get his master’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Washington in 1953. It was when he was drafted into the army, after receiving his master’s degree, that he turned into a reader. Ever resourceful, he kept a small book in the breast pocket of his fatigue jacket and spent whatever spare time he had with his paperbacks, practicing

‘Engines of Our Ingenuity — a passion for life’s detail’ Lienhard grew up with an appreciation of illustrations and photos enhancing well-told stories. His uncle was a newsman in the Twin Cities of Minnesota, where he was raised, and his father held various editorial positions at the paper there. And before she married his father, his mother sang on radio. Strong visuals, good stories and broadcast were in his background. “When I finally got into engineering, pictures led me through the thicket of mathematics, and I began to see it as a pictorial enterprise. Math is something that gradually began to make sense because I was constantly finding visual ways to see it, rather than through pure symbolic manipulation,” Lienhard said.

Young Lienhard, already interested in machines

fluid mechanics. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and author of more than 300 papers.

Teaching at the college level for more than six decades, Lienhard is now a professor emeritus in mechanical engineering and history, having worked in the fields of heat transfer, thermodynamics and

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eye tracking, until he finally got the hang of it. Once out of the army, he went on to the University of California at Berkeley and received his Ph.D. in 1961, also in mechanical engineering. After teaching there and at Washington State, he moved on to the University of Kentucky in 1967 as a full professor, before coming to UH in 1980. He says the first thing he did when he got to Houston was celebrate his 50th birthday. Seven years later, ‘Engines of Our Ingenuity’ was born. “It was stirring in my mind for awhile. I’d been teaching a history of technology course at both Kentucky and here and had the stuff to talk about,” Lienhard said. “I’d done a lot of vocal musical performance and theater. As I got older, I sought out another outlet.” Lienhard’s vision of the radio program sprung from his love for engineering, creativity and story-telling, and called on his

Visionary of Invention’ doesn’t go backward – only forward – and students are going to have to be taught differently as technology continues to advance.

performance experience. In past years he had sung in community and regional musicals, including “Man of La Mancha,” “H.M.S. Pinafore,” and “The Fantastics.”

“All my life, I’ve been dealing with people a lot younger than me. I’m fascinated, because I think this new information age has created a new human species that is almost incomprehensible to us,” Lienhard said. “We keep trying to fit them into our boxes, and it isn’t going to work. I wonder what form and shape their box will take.”

One late summer, he says, his dean at the time mentioned that he and his PR person had been talking about doing some spots on history and getting people into engineering. The dean was thinking of 30-second spots for radio, but Lienhard went home and wrote three episodes in one weekend and proposed a series to KUHF. He enlisted the help of his son Andrew in writing the theme music to it and showed up the following Monday with the done deal. He says, the radio station’s management wanted it daily, not weekly, so in the fall of 1987, he wrote 65 episodes, enough for three months at five days a week, and they went to air on Jan. 4, 1988. From that point on, he says, he was hooked and managed to stay on top of it. “Working with John Lienhard is truly an honor. He’s not only a brilliant engineer and an academic, but also has the heart of an artist. His passion for life’s detail is expressed in each of his ‘Engines’ episodes,” said Paul Pendergraft, senior producer for news and public affairs at KUHF. “One day he may explain why light has a speed; the next day he explores how music creates its own language; and then he’ll tell us how to best package M&Ms. John takes us on a three-minute adventure with only his words. Our imagination goes along for the ride.” As Lienhard moves closer to full retirement, he wants to ensure the program survives him. While he still records the occasional episode, the show now includes many other voices, such as NASA Astronaut Michael Barratt, M.D., an expert on space medicine. One historic episode from Barratt, titled “To

Essentially, he says, what the older generation is doing is akin to shadowboxing with an imaginary opponent. “What do we do now? What is this brave new world I live in? I don’t understand it, but the human critter is going to go there and is going to invent,” Lienhard said. “We’re defined by inventions and always taking things a step further. All we teachers can do is experiment. Eventually, we will get it right and figure out what education should look like.” Lienhard and wife Carol, an accomplished symphony violinist, will John Lienhard celebrate their 54th wedding anniversary this June. Just as she critiqued every episode of “Engines of Our Ingenuity” for him, Our Ships,” was recorded while aboard the she is encouraging his next creative endeavor flight deck of the Space Shuttle Discovery on – a new passion for photography. He uses a its final mission. Lienhard says he will never birding lens to capture the exquisite, almost forget the day he was sitting at the supper invisible flutter of a humming bird, a dragon fly table, the telephone rang, and it was Barratt or hornet in midflight. He shows his photo of on the other end matter-of-factly stating he a black skimmer with beak just touching the successfully downloaded the episode. Lienhard water, flying at 20 miles an hour. chuckles, “That’s when I started telling people I knew I was beginning to lose it when I started hearing voices from outer space!” Today, nearly a thousand books that he used in building the episodes are housed in the special collections section of the library. On the subject of the next generation, he is both mystified and encouraged, saying technology

“Remember, visual was my port of entry,” he said. “I love things in motion – birds or football mainly. Photographing things and tracking them in physical detail gives me a whole new appreciation for physically what’s going on. That’s the sort of stuff I really want to do now.” H

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Bare Bowls: The Vegan Bowl Photos by Jessica Villarreal

Driven to Dine Food Trucks Have Come to Campus and Hungry Coogs Are Eating It Up

By Shawn Lindsey

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The Rice Box


ouston is a city celebrated for its culture and praised for its cuisine. The chefs are rock stars and their restaurants are Houston’s hottest venues. It’s only fitting, then, that the city’s namesake university also put its food offerings into overdrive. Food trucks arrived onto the UH campus in the spring of 2012 and have become one of the campus’ hottest mealtime tickets around.

Tommi Ross, a graduate student, sometimes grabs lunch at the Bare Bowls Kitchen truck. It’s one of three food trucks that park outside of the University Center each weekday. “I have celiac disease and this is one of the few places I can get a meal on campus,” said Ross. “When I do eat on campus, it’s important to know it’s a local product.”

Bernie’s Burger Bus: Chili Cheese Fries

Food trucks are one of the campus’ hottest mealtime tickets around. The arrival of the food trucks was fueled by necessity. UH was facing a bit of a dilemma when the University Center (UC) closed for renovation in 2012 for 18 months. The UC recorded about 11,000 food transactions per week from vendors such as Subway, Chic-Fil-A and Wendy’s. Something had to be done to replace that loss. “When we brainstormed, the idea of food trucks came up. It was an obvious solution for what we needed to do,” said Geoff Herbert, resident district manager of UH System Dining Services. The food trucks are now parked in two campus locations and are proving to be a tasty solution for a growing campus. Bernie’s Burger Bus, The Waffle Bus and Bare Bowls Kitchen are set up at the food truck pad in front of the UC, while a rotating group of trucks occupies the newest location at the site of the old Y Building behind Cemo Hall. That group includes The Rice Box, Coreanos, Kurbside Eatz, Stick It and Happy Endings.

The Waffle Bus: Smores

“The introduction of food trucks to our campus is part of the overall strategic food service program,” said Esmeralda Valdez, executive director of auxiliary services. “Once the UC re-opens, the food trucks may move to more underserved areas of campus, but those details are still to be determined. Healthy competition and continued support of the city’s local entrepreneurs through the food truck program is very important and valuable to us.” Steven Dong, a senior nutrition major from Houston, says food trucks on campus complement the Houston food scene. “This is definitely a plus,” said Dong. “It’s giving us more options for a higher quality of food.” “We are definitely on the vanguard with this program,” said Herbert. “Few universities have embraced it the way we have embraced it here.” H

Bernie’s Burger Bus

The Waffle Bus

Bare Bowls: The Malaysian Bowl

Coreano’s Mexican/Korean Cuisine S p r i n g 2 013 | UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON Ma gazine


A Sustained


rom nanoparticle technology that’s changing the surfaces of our daily lives to emergency field offices made from shipping containers, UH researchers are bringing sustainable discoveries out of the lab and into the marketplace. Imagine soldiers on patrol caught in a rain storm. The water pelting their fatigues never touches their skin. In a desert dust storm, those same fatigues are rinsed clean with a spray of water that never seeps into the cloth. Imagine your home after a hurricane with two feet of water on the first story. The water drains out, but there is no mildew or fungi growing. The damage is only on the surface. Welcome to the present technology of a nanoparticle coating known as the Self-Cleaning Nano Hydrophobic layer. The Self-Cleaning Nano Hydrophobic layer has been licensed by C-Voltaics and is currently undergoing trials by three multi-national companies. “Yes, it will be available this year,” says Seamus Curran, director of the University of Houston’s Institute for NanoEnergy, College of Natural

Response At UH, Research Discoveries Produce Practical Solutions

By Marsha Carter

Science and Mathematics. Curran would rather not name the interested companies at this point but adds, “It will first be marketed business-to-business and will eventually reach consumers.” Curran, a UH physics professor, and his team of student researchers developed the coating to waterproof and dustproof solar panels, increasing their efficiency by up to 30 percent. The team then began coating and testing fabrics, from denim to mesh to carpets. Their goal: develop a protective coating that can last five to 10 years, withstanding spills and resisting dirt. Curran’s campus laboratory has long tables lined with swatches of different fabrics beside glasses of water and fruit punch. “Go ahead,” he encourages, “pour any liquid

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you like on a patch and try to rub it in.” The liquid beads and rolls under the pressure of a fingertip, and then slides off the fabric. The fabric itself remains dry. “You could use this coating on bed linens in hospitals, infant bed sheets,” Curran explains. “Coat hospital walls and floors with it and you have more protection against spills, dirt and grime.” On a side table, a wooden dollhouse sits in a sealed glass container, ready to soak in saltwater. Curran’s team has successfully tested the nanoparticle coating’s resistance to seawater on blocks of wood. The next step will test how effectively it works on a fully built miniature house.

solar powered portable generator that Curran’s team developed and is currently expanding. The latest solar-powered model generates 7,000 watts of electricity, has a lifting mechanism that allows it to be deployed by only two people, and a networking modular. “In a disaster, people can be cut off from the outside world. They need power,” says Renat Tatarin, one of Curran’s team of student researchers. “With this new design, we can give people the ability to charge their phone and have Internet access to communicate with their loved ones outside the disaster area.” The team presented the new model at the Clinton Global Initiative competition this April.

‘... we can become a global manufacturing hub again with affordable, higher quality goods.’

Solar panel with one half coated repels dust as well as water.

— Seamus Curran

The coating’s protection makes wood and fabric more durable and faster and easier to clean, but will it be affordable? “Nanotechnology allows us to control materials at the nano-level. They can be manufactured using much less energy,” Curran says. “If we can make smarter materials in the U.S., we can become a global manufacturing hub again with affordable, higher quality goods.” C-Voltaics has also licensed the Storm Cell, a

Today, the City of Houston owns 17 emergency centers of operations that can withstand hurricane force winds – created from shipping containers. Solar Powered Adaptive Container for Everyone (SPACE) is an up-cycled 20-foot by 8-foot shipping container with a proprietary solar rack that produces up to 5,000 watts of solar power. “This is large enough to function as an emergency management office. It has a climate-controlled interior with electricity

Nanoparticle coating on fabric waterproofs and protects for years.

to power communications and refrigerate medicines,” says Joe Meppelink, director of the University of Houston Green Building Components program in the Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture. SPACE is one of 22 projects designed and developed over the past five years by innovative UHGBC teams comprised of faculty, students and industry partners. The mentor-to-market approach inspires breakthroughs. “My goal is to get students and applied research teams to believe that they can be entrepreneurs and invent a product that will change the world,” says Meppelink. To date, SPACE has $1.3 million in sales. UHGBC teams have also developed the PV Pod, a high-density polyethylene vessel filled with water as ballast, used to mount single Photo Voltaic modules that can fit any roof shape. This product won first place in the 2012 R+D Awards by Architecture Magazine. The research and development awards honor workable solutions to real problems architects face in design. “Good sustainable design serves multiple functions,” Meppelink says. “It addresses multiple issues and solves more than one problem. The measure of our success is to move the needle and get people to think differently about what’s possible.” H

S p r i n g 2 013 | UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON Ma gazine


Mat Johnson Graphic Novels teaching the art of storytelling through

By Mike Emery

Slowly but surely, the graphic novel has evolved into an effective medium for legitimate story telling. Once regarded solely as fantasy vehicles, graphic novels now are increasingly influential and popular among mainstream literary audiences. University of Houston Professor Mat Johnson is among today’s most prolific graphic novel authors and shares his insights on the genre with students. Johnson’s “Graphic Novel Workshop” is in its third semester at UH and continues to groom writers in the art of visual storytelling. Comprised of graduate Creative Writing Program students, the workshop is conducted every other spring. “It’s excellent training in storytelling,” Johnson said. “I have some students who can write beautiful sentences, but can’t move a story. I also have some students who can create wonderful literary imagery, but don’t understand the narrative. It’s kind of like teaching football players ballet. They have to work muscles that haven’t been used before, but are essential to the craft.” Although he grew up reading comics, he didn’t immediately set out to be a graphic novelist. Instead, Johnson began his career writing conventional fiction and nonfiction works. Now, he balances his time and talents between literary and graphic works.

His 2011 novel “Pym” (a semi-sequel to Edgar Allan Poe’s sailing adventure “The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket”) was listed by many critics as one of the year’s best books. Johnson’s other works include 2010 graphic novel “Dark Rain: A New Orleans Story” (focused on Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath) and 2008’s graphic novel “Incognegro” (a tale of a fair skinned African American reporter who goes undercover as a white man to prove his brother’s innocence). “Graphic novel writing allowed me to reach out beyond my immediate ecosystem and branch into something with a wider readership,” Johnson said. “It’s a growth industry. And now, publishers can use apps and technology to share more graphic novels. It’s very exciting.” Johnson was raised in Philadelphia, but moved consistently as a youth and adult. Following teaching stints at Barr College and Columbia University, he headed to UH and has stayed put. “This is weird,” Johnson observed. “I never thought I’d end up in Texas. Before I came here, I never found a place where I could say, ‘This fits.’ Watching this city grow has been very cool.” In 2010, he launched the first “Graphic Novel Workshop” with support from UH’s Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts. With Johnson’s guidance, students explore groundbreaking works such as Art Spiegelman’s “Maus” and Alan Moore’s “Watchmen.” They also generate their own works. Some students illustrate their own works and others work with outside artists. Going forward, Johnson’s goal is have students’ workshop projects published into a single volume paperback or website.

Mat Johnson

“These students build a community,” Johnson said. “A benefit of a workshop like this and of graduate school is making these connections with other writers. And when students are part of a close-knit group that learns and grows together, they have more of an appreciation for this university and are more willing to give back after they graduate.” H

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Created by Johnson’s former student Ted Closson, S p r i n g 2 013 | UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON Ma gazine





donor & Alumni Records Energy Research Park Bldg. 1 Houston, Texas 77204-5035 C ha n g e s e r v i c e r e q u e s t e d

Photo by Martha Hayes


UH GRAFFITI RUN More than 4,000 participants made their way across the UH campus in the first Graffiti Run Houston, sponsored by the department of health and human performance in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. Runners were showered with colored flour at designated points across campus. The Graffiti Run organization provided a generous donation to the HHP Undergraduate Student Scholarship fund.

Photo by Martha Hayes

Profile for uhmagazine

2013 Spring Magazine  

2013 Spring Magazine

2013 Spring Magazine  

2013 Spring Magazine