Monthly Archives: February 2015

UM-Flint Presents “Marx in Soho” on Tuesday, March 17th, 2015

2015_MarxInSoho_blogOn Tuesday, March 17th, the University of Michigan-Flint, in collaboration with the Department of Political Science, University Relations, and Pi Sigma Alpha, will present Howard Zinn’s Marx in Soho. The performance will be held in the UCEN Kiva at 7pm and is free and open to the public.

Robert Weick of Iron Age Productions will play Marx.

Karl Marx is one of the most revered, loathed, and misunderstood figures of the modern era. Yet few thinkers or activists of the last two centuries have been more influential. The fields of political science, economics, history, philosophy, and sociology have all drawn from his works. More importantly though, his ideas have been the basis of social movements struggling against oppression, poor working conditions, and exploitation. While many erroneously equated Marx with communist dictators, Marx himself became so disheartened by the misreading of his ideas that near the end of his life he stated, “I, at least, am not a Marxist.”

We invite you to come enjoy this captivating analysis by Robert Weick, as Karl Marx returns for one night to analyze, lampoon, and wrestle with life in the 21st century.

For more information, contact the Political Science Department at 810.762.3470.


Art History Students to Host Exhibition During March Artwalk


An example of the artwork by Alvin Smith that will displayed at the March 13th exhibit.

On Friday, March 13th, 2015, students from ARH: 112, History of Renaissance to Modern Art, will host an Art History Exhibition featuring artist Alvin Smith. The event will coincide with Flint’s March Artwalk.

Members of the campus and community are invited to join the students for an evening of inspiration. Says Dr. Sarah Lippert, Program Coordinator for Visual Arts at UM-Flint, “Artist Alvin Smith is a talented communicator about the African-American experience. Come see works that are both provocative and engaging.”

The event will feature a reception with a silent auction, refreshments, door prizes, and more. The evening is presented free of charge and is open to the public. It is sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Communication & Visual Arts with support by University Outreach through a Civic Engagement grant.

For more information, contact Dr. Lippert at 810.766.6680 or, or visit the Visual Arts website.


2015 Global Issues Speaker Series Event on February 24th


Dr. Haroon Akram-Lodhi is the featured speaker at the 2015 Global Issues Speaker Series

Join us for the 2015 Global Issues Speaker Series discussion on “Hunger, the Agrarian Question, and Food Justice” on Tuesday, February 24th, from 5-8pm at the Flint Farmers’ Market, 300 E. First Street, Flint, MI.

The 2015 Speaker is Dr. Haroon Akram-Lodhi of Trent University in Canada. Dr. Akram-Lodhi is the Chair of the Deparment of International Development Studies.

Trained as an economist, the focus of his research is in the political economy of agrarian change in developing capitalist countries, on the economic dimensions of gender relations, and on the political ecology of sustainable rural livelihoods and communities in contemporary poor countries. His most recent book is Hungry for Change: Farmers, Food Justice and the Agrarian Question.

Dr. Akram-Lodhi will be joined by a discussion panel made up of Roxanne Adair, owner of Flint River Farms; Stephen Arellano, owner of Five Elements Farm and The Noodle Underground, Food Systems/Hunger Consultant, and Technical Assistant to a Spanish-speaking co-op of Battle Creek Farmers; and Erin Caudell, co-owner of The Local Grocer.

This event is free and open to the public.

For questions please contact the UM-Flint International & Global Studies Program: 810.762.3340

UM-Flint Students Join Pedaling for Parkinson’s Research


Dr. Nathaniel Miller demonstrates how to measure the speed at which people tap their fingers, this can be used to assess slowed movement with Parkinson’s Disease.

“It doesn’t feel like I have Parkinson’s when I’m on the bike.” These words, spoken between two friends on a tandem bike ride, became the roots of Pedaling for Parkinson’s, a foundation dedicated to using cycling as a method of mitigating the motor symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease — a progressive disease of the nervous system that affects movement, cognition, and quality of life. The friends were Cathy Frazier and Dr. Jay Alberts, and their journey is well documented through articles and webpages across the internet.

At the University of Michigan-Flint, the Psychology Department’s Dr. Nathaniel Miller is doing his part to add to this body of Parkinson’s research. Along with his UROP research assistant Matthew Davis, Miller spends time gathering data from YMCAs in Ann Arbor and Jackson, MI, working with patients in the Neuromotor Behavior Lab at UM-Ann Arbor, and analyzing findings at their UM-Flint lab. A second assistant, Jamie Staudacher, will join the team soon. This research is funded by the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation.

The central idea of Pedaling for Parkinson’s is that physical activity, if increased beyond a patient’s normal routine, can add to quality of life and reduce some motor symptoms associated with Parkinson’s Disease (PD) like tremors, poor handwriting, and uneven gait. Consenting patients participating in the program have baseline scores for their motor and cognitive skills recorded at the onset and throughout the duration of the program; the cycling takes place at local YMCAs where three times a week they engage in an hour of exercise: a 10 minute warm-up, 40 minutes of vigorous cycling, and 10 minutes of cool-down. Keys to the treatment appear to lie in the addition of forced exercise to the patient’s lifestyle–that is exercise above and beyond the intensity that they would normally keep on their own. In the case of cycling, this means upping the RPMs of a bike’s pedals and increasing their heart rate. Pedaling for Parkinson’s most often will pair an experienced cyclist with a PD patient on a tandem bike to ensure the increased RPMs.

When asked about his personal connection to this particular research, Miller says, “I had been conducting research on Parkinson’s Disease since my dissertation project. I developed an interest in PD, specifically, because my grandfather had been diagnosed with the disease while I was in graduate school, which prompted me to use my research interests to help individuals with PD. I was fortunate to become involved with the Ann Arbor and Jackson YMCA’s PFP programs from the very beginning. It has been extremely rewarding to use the knowledge and skills I have developed conducting research on PD and the skills that I have learned through my hobby of cycling to help this program develop and grow locally.”

His research assistants also came to the project with personal interests in and connections to brain disease, disorder, and injury.

This research is a natural fit for connecting university researchers and students with their communities, and it offers an approachable and familiar path for patient participants. Says Miller, “One of the most exciting benefits of this research is that it may offer a low-cost and effective intervention to help mitigate some of the symptoms of PD. Exercise facilities, such as the YMCA, already have most of the equipment available to offer the program, so start up costs are minimal. Additionally, our preliminary results suggest that this exercise program might be effective for mitigating some of the symptoms of PD that are relatively unresponsive to medications. Finally, community-based exercise programs provide an excellent opportunity for individuals with PD to become more physically active in a safe environment. Individuals with PD are less active than their non-PD peers, which can negatively affect their quality of life.” Miller and his RA Davis both note an additional and positive social effect of the program: patients, their caregivers and families, along with the researchers, are able to discover a sense of community and support within the research project.


Dr. Miller works with Matthew Davis to analyze sound files from research on Parkinson’s Disease; Jamie Staudacher, new to the research project, reviews information on Pedaling for Parkinson’s.

Davis, who has been working on the PD research since the Fall 2014 semester, has found his role in the research to be invaluable. He says, “I not only get to witness the actual process of a research project, but I get to see how it affects the world around us. I learn a lot through going to class, listening to lectures, and taking notes on my assigned readings, but that knowledge pales in comparison to the knowledge gained by my first-hand experience.” Staudacher who is only days into the research, has similar hopes for her time on the project.

Dr. Miller echoed his students’ feelings on the type of learning that comes with this research, “From my perspective, this project offers a unique opportunity for students to gain experiences relevant to their future career goals, regardless of what career avenue they may pursue . . . For example, students who have helped with this project have come from very different academic backgrounds with very different career goals, including pre-dental, pre-physical therapy, neuroscience, psychology, movement science and pre-medical students. Because this project offers opportunities that range from applied experience working with older adults/individuals with PD to more research oriented experiences working in the laboratory (collecting and analyzing data), every student has walked away with experiences that will directly impact their future careers and help them develop skills necessary for the next step that they plan to take in their career path. Additionally, students gain a better understanding of what it is like, from the patient’s perspective, to face life with a neurodegenerative disorder.”

When asked about what’s next for his involvement with Pedaling for Parkinson’s, Dr. Miller said, “I would like to help start a PFP group in this region, as I think it would provide an excellent opportunity for engaged learning amongst UM-Flint students while also providing opportunities for individuals with PD in the area. I hope to continue this line of research in the future, along with studying the benefits of exercise for cognitive and motor issues in other populations.”

For more information on his Pedaling for Parkinson’s research, contact Dr. Nathaniel Miller at

For other undergraduate research opportunities, visit the UROP website.

Update: Dr. Miller’s research was also featured in an MLive article:

Get to Know Joshua May, D.M.A., of the Music Department!

Joshua May, D.M.A., is a Lecturer I in the UM-Flint Music Department. He will be presenting research at the Voice Educator’s Symposium at Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, on February 20 & 21, 2015. His research centers on the connection of historical bel canto technique development for training young tenor voices through the use of Mozart’s concert aria repertoire.

Joshua May Music Dept.

Name: Joshua May, D.M.A.
Title: Lecturer I
Department: Music

Dr. Joshua May teaches applied voice and vocal arts courses in the Department of Music at the University of Michigan-Flint. Prior to his appointment at UM-Flint, Dr. May served on the faculty of the Community School of the Arts at the University of Connecticut. As an educator, he has served as a master clinician for solo voice and choral workshop series. In addition, he has presented research and workshops on vocal health and pedagogy. Dr. May was selected for the 2014 National Association of Teachers of Singing Intern Program. As an advocate for community engagement, he has coordinated and directed the opera outreach programs at the University of Connecticut and the University of Michigan-Flint. Dr. May’s research projects currently include teaching applications and the presentation of vocal formants and the male passaggio for undergraduate development, Mozart’s tenor concert repertoire for historical performance applications to help train maturing voice, and the LGBT song and aria project for a historical presentation of the music and poetry of 20th century composers next fall. Dr. May was selected to present his research on Mozart and the tenor voice at the New Voice Educators’ Symposium at Indiana University-Bloomington on February 20-21, 2015. These concert arias offer a variety of exciting challenges for the young tenor in recital to the professional artist on the concert stage. These beautiful concert arias offer valuable technical vocal training tools for studio teachers to help their students prepare for future operatic literature.

Dr. May is a lyric tenor with an active performing career in opera, oratorio, and art song. He has performed a variety of vocal repertoire and premiered works at such prestigious festivals and programs as the Atlantic Music Festival, Harrower Opera Workshop, Intermezzo Opera Festival, Halifax Summer Opera Festival, Tyrolean Opera Program, Contemporary Americana Festival, Opera in the Ozarks Festival, and the Aspen Music Festival. He has recently performed with such companies as Hartford Opera Theatre, Boston Metro Opera, Metro West Opera, Boston Opera Collaborative, and Opera Providence. Recent operatic engagements include: “Rinuccio” in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi as a guest artist at the Flint Institute of Music, “Ferrando” in Mozart’s Così fan tutte and “Il Duca di Matova” in Verdi’s Rigoletto, “Prince Paul” in La Grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein, and the premier of Philip Martin’s The Family Plan as “Pietro” with both the Hartford Opera Theater and as a guest artist in performance at the Mark Twain House in Hartford, CT, “Male Chorus” in The Rape of Lucretia and “Samuel Parris” in The Crucible. Dr. May has been praised for his dynamic performances of the Mozart operatic repertoire, including “Tamino” in Die Zauberflöte, “Ferrando” in Così fan tutte, and “Don Ottavio” in Don Giovanni. If you would like to listen to recent recordings or find out more information about his upcoming performance schedule, you may visit his website at

D.M.A. Voice Performance University of Connecticut 2014
M.M. Vocal Pedagogy New England Conservatory of Music 2010
M.M. Vocal Performance New England Conservatory of Music 2009
B.A. French Grand Valley State University 2007
B.M. Vocal Performance University of Florida 2003

Classes I teach:
MUS 151-MUS 452 Applied Voice
MUS 100 Introduction to Music
MUS 366 Diction for Singers
MUS 230/430 Opera Workshop
MUS 210/410 Interim Chorale Director (Fall 2014)
UM-Flint Summer Vocal Academy Conductor

National Association of Teachers of Singing
Phi Mu Alpha
Pi Delta Phi
Omicron Delta Kappa
Order of Omega

How I fell in love with my field:
I have been blessed with the opportunity to share the stage with many wonderful musical artists. I found my love for performing as an undergraduate student at the University of Florida in both my applied voice studio and the opera workshop. I was able to learn how to make a character come to life, while using all of the wonderful bel canto training that my teacher helped me find in my applied voice lessons. My teachers were able to show me the depth of the art form of singing, which included chamber works, art songs in recital, or operatic performances. It inspired a passion in me to perform, teach, research, and give back to my community through my music.

What I hope for my time at UM-Flint:
I hope to bring opera to our community! The opera outreach ensemble will bring opera into our elementary schools this semester with children’s opera, “ The Three Little Pigs.” I want to encourage a new generation of audience members in our community to be able to enjoy the beauty of the arts. The opera workshop will be performing with the orchestra this semester to help bridge the gap from student to professional development for our singers. I believe this will help provide an artistic opportunity for students and the UM-Flint community to come together to experience a truly unique art form.

What I hope for students in my field:
We have gifted students in our music department, and I want to be able to offer them the artistic guidance that my mentors provided me with along the way toward my professional career. In addition, I want to be able to help the next generation of singers find the technical and artistic development to pursue their dreams. I am preparing them for a career filled with beautiful music. It takes great technical practice and discipline to prepare for auditions, competitions, recitals, and concerts. I believe that music is a universal language, and I hope that my students will learn how to express themselves in their own unique voices. Singing brings out a wealth of colorful emotions through story telling in music. I am so happy to get to share in the growth of their artistry in our work together.

Three things you should know about me:
1. I am originally from Grand Haven, MI. I love the beach, and it is nice to be close to my home town and family in the great state of Michigan!

2. I am a tenor, which is the best voice type to be by far! I love making music, whether it be classical music, musical theatre, or jazz. It is a wonderful experience to bring music to an audience! I believe everyone should give it a try!

3. I love cooking, baking, and all of the delicious culinary arts! I think that food and music really go hand in hand. I am always up to try a new dish on the weekends, bake a pie, or go out to a new spot to see what a chef is up to in town.

Open Forum for Bridge Program – Feb. 11th

BridgesForumUM-Flint is home to a growing population of international students, and a new bridge program will help ensure their path to success while at the university and later in their careers.

Dr. Emily Feuerherm of the English Department is working with the Thomson Center for Learning & Teaching to present “Building Bridges & Scaffolding Success,” an open forum on February 11th, from 1:30-3pm, in the UCEN Happenings Room. Participants will be able to explore feedback from two campus surveys and give feedback on the bridge program’s development.

Following is information provided by Dr. Feuerherm:

According to a recent survey of UM-Flint faculty and staff, international students need extra support services to be successful, particularly with their writing and speaking skills in their first year. Similarly, in another recent survey of UM-Flint international students, writing and speaking skills were identified as the skills students wanted extra help with.

So, how do we move forward to scaffold the success of UM-Flint’s international students? With a new program–the Bridge Program–which is going to offer international undergraduate students support through a series of credit-bearing English as a Second Language (ESL) courses. These courses will focus especially on writing and speaking skills, with some reading, listening and culture lessons integrated throughout. Pilot courses will begin in Summer 2015. However, these courses will only address the needs of international undergraduate students.

Faculty, staff, and students recognize that there is also a need for graduate level courses and workshops, according to the surveys. However, whether these courses would be required or optional is unclear from the results. A more thorough investigation of the multiple pressures on grad programs and students is necessary.

In order to foster a university-wide conversation about the services that are provided to international students, an open forum with panelists from across the university will be held on February 11th, 1:30-3:00pm, in the Happenings Room. Panelists will discuss the results from the surveys, and audience members will be able to ask questions, comment, or leave written questions and concerns with the Bridge Program developer, Emily Feuerherm. The forum is open to all students, faculty, and staff, and is your opportunity to impact the development of international student resources and programs. Free pizza will be provided.

For more information on the forum, call the English Department at 810.762.3285 or email

UM-Flint Wins 2015 Battle of the Chem Clubs!


UM-Flint’s winning Chemistry Club. Members include: Alex Rizo, Grace Martin, Aaron Burch, Alex Khobeir, Antoine Khobeir, Blake Shiflett, Dalia Duzdar, Mohammed Alsarray, Rui Zhang, and Noor Alawwa.

The University of Michigan Flint’s Chemistry Club beat out twelve other teams to claim first place in the statewide Battle of the Chem Clubs, held at Michigan State University on January 31, 2015.

Chem Club President Alex Rizo provided the following narrative of the team’s experience:

9 chem club members and 1 faculty member/advisor went to Michigan State University to compete in Battle of the Chem Clubs.  There were 12 teams from different Universities in Michigan including Kalamazoo College, Wayne State University, Oakland University and Albion.  The competition was all day and consisted of 4 preliminary rounds.  These rounds including building the longest nylon polymer, amino acid word scramble, solving radioactive decay problems, and shooting darts at the periodic table.  Only 4 members of the team were allowed to compete during each round. These rounds determined the order going into quarterfinals which was a titration race. Based upon where you placed you go to start first. We placed 7 out of 10 going into quarterfinals. After finishing quarterfinals we made the cut to semifinals by placing 6, the top 6 teams moved to seminfinals.  During semifinals, a murder mystery case had to be solved by receiving clues and answering different chemistry questions. We finished second for semifinals so we moved onto to finals! Finals consisted of three teams playing Chemistry Jeopardy. Let me just tell you that Jeopardy was intense, we started off good then went down in the middle, almost lost a double jeopardy because of the way we said the answer. Needless to say two teams were tied at the end of Jeopardy, UM-Flint and Hillsdale. Both schools wagered everything so the winner would come down to this answer. Hillsdale answered wrong so it came down to us. We ended up spelling the answer wrong so all schools ended up with 0 at the end. To decide the winner, a photo contest had been completed before the competition to be used as a tie breaker in the quarterfinals. UM-Flint beat Hillsdale in the photo contest, so we WON! UM-Flint is the only school to win the silver separator funnel trophy three times since BCC has started. It was a super exciting and fun filled day, more fun than I thought. This was my first year competing and I will definitely be going again next year. We also won the Michigan Goggle Face (#MIgoggleface) photo contest, which UM-Flint started as a way to bring awareness to science through the use of pictures.

Congratulations to our team for their unprecedented three-peat victory!

For more information on the UM-Flint Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, visit their website. To learn more about Chem Club co-advisor and Department Chair Dr. Jessica Tischler, read her CAS Faculty Spotlight profile.

You can follow the Chemistry Club by “liking” their Facebook page.


Meet Dr. Jessica Tischler of the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department!

Dr. Jessica Tischler is Chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at UM-Flint, she is also a co-advisor for the UM-Flint Chem Club. Recently the club traveled to MSU to compete in this year’s Battle of the Chem Clubs, going up against 12 other universities from around Michigan.
They won first place!
Read their story here.

Flint, Sharita Combs

Dr. Jessica Tischler, Chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Co-Adivsor for the Chemistry Club

Name: Dr. Jessica Tischler
Title: Chair, Associate Professor, Co-Advisor to the Chemistry Club
Department: Chemistry and Biochemistry

Classes I teach:
– Organic Chemistry I: (CHM 330) lecture course for pre-professional, biology, and chemistry majors.
Organic Chemistry II: (CHM 332) Continuation of Organic Chemistry I.
Organic Chemistry Laboratory I: (CHM 331) Laboratory Course associated with Organic I lecture. Serve as coordinator of all organic lab sections.
Organic Chemistry Laboratory II: (CHM 333) Laboratory Course associated with Organic II lecture.
Spectroscopy of Organic Compounds: (CHM 468) Expanded version of CHM 368 to cover Mass Spectroscopy, Infrared Spectroscopy, and 1H and 13C NMR Spectroscopy in greater detail. Included a hands-on experience with instruments.
Advanced Organic Chemistry: (CHM 430/530) Lecture course for junior/senior chemistry majors.
– Introduction to Professionalism in Chemistry: (CHM 310) Introductory course in documentation, searching the literature, scientific writing, and oral presentation for junior chemistry majors.
– Senior Seminar in Chemistry: (CHM 410/510) Senior and graduate chemistry majors present a detailed oral presentation, paper, and poster presentation regarding a current topic in chemistry.
– Supervised Chemical Research: (CHM 299) Students conduct chemical research and Literature survey under faculty supervision.
– Chemical Research: (CHM 499) Students conduct chemical research independently and write a report detailing their findings.

Professional Interests, Activities, or Publications:
My professional interests and activities have grown out of my role as advisor to the UM-Flint Chemistry Club, which is a student member chapter of the American Chemical Society (ACS). In my role as a faculty advisor over the years, I have assisted the ACS’s Undergraduate Programs Division by serving as a reviewer of annual Chapter reports, reviewer of Chapter grants, assisted in writing a handbook for faculty advisors, and spoke on a panel discussion at a National Meeting.

Our Chem Club has also developed a very strong science outreach program. We regularly go out in to the community to do science demos or hands-on workshops for children from Pre-K-12, teachers and UM-Flint students, too! I help as much as I can to plan and perform these events. We are always trying to think up new demos/activities to add to our repertoire.

Publications: (Note: I have also presented numerous poster presentations with students since these papers but didn’t think you really wanted to see all of them. All of them have been presented at American Chemical Society National Meetings with students as co-authors.

Tischler, J. L.; Abuaita, B.; Cuthpert, S.; Fage, C.; Murphy, K.; Saxe, A.; Furr, E.; Hedrick, J.; Meyers, J.; Snare, D.; Zand, A. “Simple inhibitors of histone deacetylase activity that combine features of short-chain fatty acid and hydroxamic acid inhibitors” J. Enz. Inhib. Med. Chem. 2008, 23, 549.

Zand, A.; Wagner, P. J.; Song, J.; Tischler, J. L. “Investigation of Tubulin Polymerizing Agents: Synthesis of Substituted Cyclooctatrienes as a Possible Taxoid Framework” Lett. Drug Design Discovery 2005, 2, 355.

Research or Specific Areas of Interest:
Currently my research revolves around green chemistry—the idea that chemical processes are designed to prevent or limit the use of hazardous materials and waste from the beginning instead of trying to figure out a way to limit exposure or clean up hazardous waste after the fact. Specifically I am studying a new way to synthesize a class of chemicals known as tertiary alkyl amines; a broad class of commercially important compounds. Traditionally, the main synthetic route to these amines involves the use of flammable, organic solvents, harsh reagents, and generates byproducts that would require disposal as hazardous waste. In the process I am studying, water that is under high temperatures and pressures (known as subcritical water) is used as both the solvent and catalyst. At the end of the reaction, the only byproducts are water and carbon dioxide, both of which are non-hazardous. I have recently completed work to optimize the reaction variables and investigated the scope and limitations of the reactions.

• W’13 Dr. Charles W. Bailey Advisor Award
• 2007 Pfizer Michigan Green Chemistry Award. ($5,000).
• F’05 Lucinda Hinsdale Stone Junior Women Faculty Award

As Co-advisor to the Chem Club, the Club has won the following National awards from the American Chemical Society for their annual activities:
• Outstanding Student Chapter (the top honor): 6 times (the last 5 years in a row)
• Commendable Student Chapter: 4 times
• Honorable Mention Student Chapter: 3 times
• Green Chemistry Student Chapter: 1 time

From the President’s Ball (SIL awards) the club has also been recognized many times including the Dr. Juan E Mestas Excellence Award, Charlie Nelms Community Contribution Award and the CAB Trailblazer award.

• Michigan State University, Ph.D., 1995-2001, Organic Chemistry/Biocatalysis. Advisor: John W. Frost. Dissertation: “Environmentally Benign Synthesis of Aromatic Compounds from D-Glucose.”
• Saginaw Valley State University, B.S. 1991-1995, Chemistry (ACS Certified)

Member of the American Chemical Society since 1993

How I fell in love with my field:
Although I always knew wanted to be a scientist (from paleontologist to astronaut at different points), I technically started college undecided. Then I had an amazing General Chemistry Professor–Dr. George Eastland at SVSU. Not only was he a great teacher but he recommended me for a position doing research in a lab on campus. I was very lucky to start research as a freshman with a wonderful advisor and mentor by the name of Tom Vivian. I did research with Tom for four years. It was because of these two people that I have career in chemistry. I continue to fall in love with chemistry as I see the excitement children and students have when I am doing demos and explaining how chemistry connects everything. I am very proud to be a chemist.

What I hope for my time at UM-Flint:
That I have made a difference in my students’ lives or even just in a semester. That when they hear the term “organic” they realize what that really means. That chemistry is maybe a little less scary and a little more interesting than they thought. That I have helped them achieve a goal (just passing Orgo!, doing well on the MCAT, realize their passion to be a scientist). In the end, I hope that I will always continue to get more out of teaching, than what I put in.

What I hope for students in my field:
That no matter where their career takes them- research, industry, academia, or professional fields- I hope that we have prepared them for every aspect of their journey. From the specific chemistry content they need to be successful, to the confidence to stand by their results, to the eloquence to present their opinions.

Three things you should know about me:
(This was the hardest question!)
• I am horrible at spelling. Many times spellcheck won’t even recognize the word I am trying to spell. So if you receive a handwritten note from me, I apologize now.
• My 8 year old said I should just say my favorite food, animal, and color—easy aaand done! So food: Although I enjoy cooking/baking and make some mean homemade jam, it is even better when someone else cooks; animal: cat person; color; green (a trip to 5th floor MSB may give that away)
• My 5 year old said to say that I explain things. When I asked if I explain things to her, she laughed and said, “No, Mommy. To your students.” Apparently I can’t reach everyone in my evaluations.

To learn more about the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, please visit their website.

Meet Assistant Professor Dauda Abubakar

Assistant Professor Dauda Abubakar is one of the committee members for AFRICA WEEK, a celebration taking place at UM-Flint the first week of February. All events are free and open to the public! Visit the AFRICA WEEK website for more information.

Dauda Abubakar Africana Studies Assistant ProfessorName: Dauda Abubakar
Title: Assistant Professor
Departments: Africana Studies & Political Science

Classes I teach: I teach a broad range of courses in the fields of Comparative Politics, International Relations and African Studies. These include POL 190 – Introduction to Comparative Politics; POL 340 – African Politics; AFA/POL 304 –Black Social and Political Movements; POL 355 – Nationalism & Ethnic Conflicts; AFA 351 – US Foreign Policy Towards Africa; and AFA/POL 333/334 – Human Rights in Africa. More recently, I designed a new course POL 347 – Middle East Politics, which I plan to teach in Fall 2015. I also teach UNV 100 – Never Again? Holocaust and Genocide in the 20th and 21st Centuries, which examines the challenges of mass murder.

Professional Interests, Activities, Publications: As a member of the African Studies Association, I have presented several scholarly papers and chaired panels at professional conferences. I am a member of the International Studies Association (ISA) and have made several presentations and served as panel discussant at its annual conferences. I also serve as peer manuscript reviewer for leading academic Journals such as African Studies Review and Review of African Political Economy. My most recent scholarly publications include a book Chapter “Africa in World Politics and the Political Economy of Postcoloniality” in Omeje, K (ed),The Crisis of Postcoloniality; “Perils of Identity Politics and the Crisis of the African State” in Dlakwa, H.D. (eds) Peace, Security, Human Rights and Development in 21st Century. Vol. 1. Kaduna Nigeria Pyla-Mak Press,. 2010; and a Journal article “The Legal and Constitutional Framework of the 2011 Elections in Nigeria.” Journal of African Elections. Vol 11. No. 1 (June 2012): 8-30.

Research or Specific Areas of Interest: My area of research is at the intersection of Identity Politics and the processes of democratic transition in the global south, especially African postcolonial state. I am working on a book manuscript titled: Identity Politics and the Crisis of the African State. I am also completing a Chapter contribution to an edited volume on “Humanitarianism and the New Landscape of Intervention in African Conflicts” in which I unpack the doctrine of Responsibility to Protect (R2P) as a Trojan horse that could undermine the principle of state sovereignty, with implications for global peace and security.

Awards: Over the years, I have received several Fellowships, travel grants and awards including UM-Flint Office of Research (RCAC Grant, 2010) to conduct archival research at the Colonial Archives, London, and the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). I have also received travel grants to present papers at professional conferences, including a 2014 grant to present at the World International Studies Conference (WISC), Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany. My panel presentation centered on a paper titled: “Humanitarian Intervention and the Challenges of Sovereignty in Postcolonial Africa”; and is under review for publication.

Degree(s)/Education: I completed my B.Sc (Political Science – Upper Division) at Ahmadu Bello University, Samaru-Zaria (Nigeria). I received my M.A. and Ph.D from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Memberships: I am a member of the African Studies Association, International Studies Association, American Political Science Association, and the World International Studies Association.

How I fell in love with my field: My interest in Political Science began while I was an undergraduate student at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria (Nigeria) when the country was in the grip of military dictatorship in the 1970s and 1980s. Regular public lectures presented on campus by leading scholars increased my awareness about issues of civil and political rights, and the imperatives of a vibrant civil society for the protection of human rights. Although our several street protests could not bring the military regime down, it nevertheless facilitated subsequent opposition groups’ successes in the return to civil rule. My graduate studies at University of Wisconsin-Madison further deepened my interest in the field of Political Science, particularly Comparative Politics and International Relations.

What I hope for my time at UM-Flint: As I continue to teach, and engage in research activities at UM-Flint, I hope that I can increase awareness amongst students who take my courses, about Africa, its peoples/cultures and its deep historical relations with US. Furthermore, I hope that my students will be intellectually grounded to draw the linkages between US and other regions of the world.

What I hope for students in my field: That my students will have a deeper understanding and appreciation of the interdependence between the US and other regions of the world, especially Africa. Also, I hope they will have a coherent understanding of how liberal arts education in fields such as Political Science and African Studies provide them with the skills to understand how global events in far away places affect their lives/communities; and the imperatives of participatory citizenship.

Three things you should know about me: I love to play table tennis; soccer and engage in intellectually driven conversations with students and colleagues over a cup of tea/coffee.

Visit the websites of Political Science and Africana Studies to learn more about these departments.