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Brent Arnold

Interior design

Brent Arnold

Brent Arnold's senior capstone project for an interior design class went beyond what was expected for students — or others in the design industry.

His presentation was an online interactive experience featuring images, documents and the step-by-step process for transforming a space. He worked with Treetops School International on ways to make a space function as a gym, auditorium and classrooms.

He says typical presentations across any medium are one-sided, but keeping the viewer engaged is especially important in the professional design world, where the viewer is the client who will be paying for the project.

Arnold, who worked with Johnnie Stark, associate professor of design, was named Outstanding Senior in Interior Design. He graduated in 2011 and now works as a full-time interior designer for Interprise Design in Addison. Watch the presentation at

Kerriann Britt

Clean air

Kerriann Britt

As a French and international studies student in the Honors College, Kerriann Britt explored whether mercury regulation by the government, especially through the Clean Air Act, is effective in light of the toxin's known health effects. She worked with Marcia Staff, professor of business law and chair of the Department of Finance, Insurance, Real Estate and Law.

She says she found in her studies that not only legislation, but also current industry standards and practices, are not strict enough. Mercury pollution and the consumption of affected fish could have implications for society in the form of lower I.Q. and lower earnings, with higher social costs resulting from the care required for those affected by the poison.

Britt, who graduated in 2011, plans to attend law school and study international business law with a focus on contract law.

Kevin Chang

Math algorithms

Kevin Chang

Kevin Chang, a first-year student in the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science at UNT, was on a team that earned fifth place in the national Siemens Competition, the nation's most prestigious research-based contest in math, science and technology for high school students. TAMS is a two-year residential program at UNT that allows talented students to complete their freshman and sophomore years of college while receiving the equivalent of high school diplomas.

Chang teamed up with two students he met at a math camp to work on gracefulness, a type of graph labeling that satisfies a rigorous set of mathematical conditions. Edward Early, assistant professor of mathematics at St. Edward's University, is their mentor.

The team developed an algorithm for the Graceful Tree Conjecture, one of the most famous unsolved problems in graph labeling. The algorithms will help optimize social and communications networks by labeling graph vertices and edges.

Andrew Ding

Complex molecules

Andrew Ding

Andrew Ding was one of two UNT students to win 2011 Barry M. Goldwater Scholarships, considered to be among the country's most prestigious scholarships awarded to students planning careers in mathematics, science and engineering.

As a TAMS student, he worked with chemistry Regents Professor Angela Wilson to study the interaction of water molecules with a graphite surface using an innovative method known as ccCA-ONIOM, which breaks down complex molecules into two or more "layers." Potential applications range from improvements in hydrogen storage to studies of drug delivery molecule interactions.

Ding also was a semifinalist in the Siemens and the Intel Science Talent Search competitions. A 2011 graduate of TAMS, he is completing his undergraduate work at Rice University and conducting protetin crystallography research at the Baylor College of Medicine. He hopes to attend graduate school at Columbia University.

Angel Durr

Library and information science

Angel Durr

Angel Durr, a library and information science master's student, presented the results of her research at the 2011 Texas Library Association conference on why ethnic minorities, especially African Americans, remain as paraprofessionals instead of pursuing graduate work in library science. While most full-time library professionals are expected to have a master's degree in an entry-level position, many who work in libraries have not obtained additional education although they do the same work for less pay. Durr's research study findings suggest that not being guaranteed employment with a current employer and expecting a low return on investment may be factors.

She worked on the project with Chermaine Burleson under the supervision of Suliman Hawamdeh, professor and chair of the library and information sciences department. Durr also won a Black Caucus student scholarship from the TLA. After graduating in May 2012, she plans to pursue a doctorate in information science at UNT.

Jared Fiorentine

Solar energy

Jared Fiorentine

Jared Fiorentine, an Honors College student who graduated in 2011 with a degree in mechanical and energy engineering with minors in mathematics and music, won a U.S. Student Fulbright Research Grant to conduct research on concentrated solar systems in Chile.

Fiorentine became interested in solar energy while working at the research incubator company Solar Logic Inc. at UNT's Discovery Park with mentors Oziel Rios, Matthew Traum and Sandra Boetcher, former mechanical and energy engineering faculty.

In Chile, he will study the design and installation of photovoltaic systems. After the yearlong program, he plans to study solar energy engineering and commercialization at Arizona State University. At UNT, Fiorentine was an Engineering Ambassador.

Nicole Holland Pearce

Media ethics

Nicole Holland Pearce

The research of Nicole Holland Pearce, a master's student in journalism and a Mayborn Scholarship recipient, is being considered for inclusion in a media ethics textbook. Her paper "A Blow to Sex Crime Victims: The Dallas Morning News Columnist Whose Commentary Hit Readers Where It Hurt" analyzes the decision-making process behind a controversial blog post in which the columnist made a comment many readers found inappropriate.

Pearce's report is in the final round of editing for the second edition of the textbook Contemporary Media Ethics: A Practical Guide for Students, Scholars and Professionals in the Globalized World, whose editors include Koji Fuse, assistant professor of journalism, and Mitchell Land, former interim dean of the Mayborn School of Journalism. She will serve as editor for the instructors manual for the book.

Pearce also co-wrote a paper about U.S.-Japan relations with Fuse and James E. Mueller, associate professor of journalism. She plans to pursue a career as a journalist and earn a doctorate in mass communications and media studies.

Jody Huddleston

AIDS mapping

Jody Huddleston

Doctoral student Jody Huddleston won a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship to study environmental science. The fellowship is given to graduate students who conduct research in science, social science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Huddleston, who was a member of the Honors College and a McNair Scholar as an undergraduate at UNT, earned her bachelor's in geography with a minor in biology in 2010.

Working with geography professor Joseph Oppong, she mapped the characteristics of individuals who developed AIDS within a full year after they were diagnosed with HIV. Huddleston specifically wanted to find the locations with the highest rates of these individuals, often referred to as "late testers" because they presumably did not get tested until after they had developed symptoms.

She is continuing her medical geography/disease ecology research with Oppong and plans a career as a professor and researcher.

Patricia Nano


Patricia Nano

Patricia Nano was named a 2011 Barry M. Goldwater Scholar for research that could advance the treatment of demyelinating diseases, such as multiple sclerosis and transverse myelitis.

Nano studied the development and loss of primary cilia in the linage of oligodendrocyte, cells in the central nervous system that help increase the efficiency of signal communication. She worked on her research with mentor Jannon Fuchs, professor of biological sciences.

Nano also was a semifinalist in the 2010 Siemens Competition. A 2011 graduate of TAMS, she is majoring in biochemistry and cell biology at Rice University. She plans to earn a doctorate in molecular biology and teach at the college level.

Mayra Olivares-Urueta

Latino health and education

Mayra Olivares-Urueta

Mayra Olivares-Urueta, a doctoral student in higher education, is researching how to improve access to higher education for Latinos. She is project coordinator for the UNT Latino Family College Access Project, a research and community service project exploring the role of Latino parents in college planning and preparation. She helps to manage the project and provides college preparation workshops for parents in English and Spanish.

Her research is under the guidance of Amy Fann, assistant professor of higher education. For her dissertation, she is examining ways to increase Latino involvement in allied health academic programs — and to improve health care for Latinos. She is director of student affairs at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, serving as a facilitator for the School of Health Professions' Interprofessional Development course and teaching a medical Spanish course. She was selected as an American Association for Hispanics in Higher Education Graduate Fellow and expects to complete her doctorate in 2012.

Avantika Thombre

Consumer behavior

Avantika Thombre

As a graduate merchandising major, Avantika Thombre won the 2011 College of Merchandising, Hospitality and Tourism research competition for her study on how the atmosphere of a 3-D store in the Second Life virtual world affects consumer purchase intentions. She also won the 2009 competition.

Her research, under the direction of Sanjukta Pookulangara, assistant professor of merchandising, provides support for increasing realism in the online store, such as adding sales associates in the form of avatars, and suggests that 3-D online stores could be used as a shopping channel.

Thombre received scholarships from the Toulouse Graduate School, the International Textile and Apparel Association and The Apparel Group Ltd., among others. She earned a master's in merchandising in 2011.

Christopher Wall

Political science

Christopher Wall

Christopher Wall was named a Minority Fellow by the American Political Science Association for 2011-12. The fellowship is given to students of color who plan to teach and research at the university level.

Wall, an Honors College student who majored in political science with a minor in economics, was a McNair Scholar who researched strategic trade disputes with Marijke Breuning, professor of political science. He attended the American Political Science Association's Ralph Bunche Summer Institute at Duke University, where he researched a political dispute that occurred in Honduras, where he was born. He also conducted research at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in 2009 during a UNT study abroad trip to The Hague.

Wall, who graduated in 2011, is working on a doctorate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


President's Note

Transformative research and education


Student research and sustainability


Timoshenko Medal, ACS awards, international leadership

News Briefs

I-Corps, black holes, new clusters, Lone Star Professor

Faculty Researchers

Experts in engineering, computer science, poetry, environmental studies, instrumental studies

Student Researchers

Mercury legislation, math algorithms, library education, media ethics, neuroscience, consumer behavior

Faculty Books

Politics, natural language processing, sociology

End Note

Research momentum and support

Web page last updated or revised: March 15, 2012
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