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Wildcat Changemakers

The University of Arizona has always been a place where innovation and innovative people thrive: Our researchers follow their curiosity to meaningful discoveries. Our students have launched businesses in between classes. And our graduates are prepared to bring their ingenuity to communities around the world.

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In This Issue Fall 2021

A Museum that Shines

Minerals and biological life co-evolved. Scientific theory posits that at the beginning of our solar system, there were 50 to 60 minerals to be found on Earth. Today, Earth is home to over 5,600 minerals. The University of Arizona Alfie Norville Gem and Mineral Museum tells this story.

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Wildcat Changemakers

The University of Arizona has always been a place where innovation and innovative people thrive: Our researchers follow their curiosity to meaningful discoveries. Our students have launched businesses in between classes. And our graduates are prepared to bring their ingenuity to communities around the world.

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Sierra Teller Ornelas: Native Talent

When Sierra Teller Ornelas ’05 first came to campus, being a trailblazer was part of her lineage. She hailed from a long line of world-class Navajo weavers, after all, so talent had percolated through her family for generations.

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Play the Game

LGIRA is one of the world’s largest archives devoted to computer games and gaming culture. It holds over a quarter of a million items, including computer games and game systems from around the world and thousands of game-related artifacts like films, publications, memorabilia, corporate documents, game-themed foods and clothing.

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What's the Buzz?

Beetles, iridescent and jewel-like, and powdery-winged butterflies frozen midflight fill drawers upon drawers on the fourth floor of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ Forbes Building, nestled in the center of the University of Arizona campus.

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It's Personal: The Jedd Fisch Era

Jedd Fisch’s Arizona T-shirt reads: It’s Personal. The all-encompassing mantra encourages his team to build personal relationships with each other. One might ask what that has to do with winning football games; the Wildcats’ head coach would argue: Everything.

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Strong Throughout the Struggle

The moment the COVID-19 pandemic began presenting obstacles, Wildcats started producing answers, hope and help. Take a look back at the ways the University of Arizona community has stepped up in areas including prevention, testing and vaccination.

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Better Together

Ivy Banks joined the University of Arizona in September 2020, and in May, was appointed the inaugural vice chair of the Association of American Universities Chief Diversity Officers Steering Committee. She points to this work as an opportunity to work toward inclusion.

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Energizing Aging Brains

Could near-infrared light give aging brains a boost? A team of researchers from the University of Arizona thinks so. Along with partners at the University of Florida, they are investigating whether near-infrared light could help enhance cognition and reduce Alzheimer's disease risk in older adults.

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Earth Sleuth

Carmala Garzione ’96 ’00 has been fascinated by Earth and the story of its rocks since she was a child. Today, she is the dean of the College of Science at the University of Arizona, where she earned master’s and doctorate degrees in geosciences.

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Totally Tubular

University of Arizona researcher Jekan Thanga has created a model for a solar-powered “ark” on the moon to store cryogenically frozen seed, spore, sperm and egg samples from 6.7 million Earth species. His scientific inspiration came from the biblical tale of Noah's Ark.

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Faculty Spotlight: Sama Alshaibi

University of Arizona School of Art professor Sama Alshaibi is among 184 artists, writers, scholars and scientists to receive a 2021 Guggenheim Fellowship.

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Brighter Than Any Diamond

The Norvilles met in Illinois, where Alfie ran a small contracting business. Their encounter was the beginning of Allan’s decades of admiration for the exceptional intelligence, strength and beauty of the woman he would soon marry.

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Letter from President Robert C. Robbins, M.D.

It is often through adversity that our best innovation arises. It is no surprise, then, that our core values of exploration and adaptation were as much a feature of the pandemic as compassion and determination.

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It Takes a Team

Arizona football enters a new era this fall with head coach Jedd Fisch taking over in Tucson. Although Fisch did not have any direct ties to the program prior to his hiring, three of his staffers are former Arizona players who also happen to be all-time great Wildcats: Tedy Bruschi ’95, Ricky Hunley ’87 and Chuck Cecil ’88.

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Alumni Spotlight: A New Connection, a Story to Tell Forever

Justin Hughes ’03 once had “the sweetest gig at the university” as student manager of the men’s golf team. In addition to getting to know the players, he says, attending the yearly tournament was a highlight.

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Storytelling as a Way of Life

When Shelly C. Lowe ’97 ’05 was a freshman, failing calculus changed her life. She had grown up on the Navajo reservation, in Ganado, Arizona, and earned the honor of being Arizona’s first Native American Flinn Scholar. When she arrived on the University of Arizona campus, her new home didn’t feel like home at all.

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A Lifetime of Work, a Heart Set on Giving

Alumnus Humberto S. Lopez creates endowed chairs at Sarver Heart Center and the Eller College of Management.

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In Remembrance: Donna Swaim

Donna Swaim, a revered teacher and mentor whose 50-year University of Arizona career stretched across campus from humanities to medicine to athletics, passed away in November 2020. She was 86.

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We are the Land

The University of Arizona has crafted a statement that acknowledges the university’s home on the land and territories of Indigenous people.

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Past Imperfect: The American Indian Film Gallery Resets the Historical record

With a $291,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and an archival film collection from historian J. Fred MacDonald, the American Indian Film Gallery is inviting southwestern tribal members to re-narrate films from their point of view.

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Alumna Recognized as National Teacher of the Year

Juliana Urtubey ’09 ’11, an elementary special education teacher in Las Vegas, has been named the 2021 National Teacher of the Year.

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Remembrance: Teaching and Honoring Family

Therese Berg ’42 ’54, who will be 102 in December, remembers contemplating her future at 17. She graduated from Tucson High School and secured a summer job typing property tax rolls for the county assessor. Berg’s boss asked her to stay on when the summer ended, but the University of Arizona was calling.

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Paw Prints

Dana Simone Friedman ’11 and Todd Friedman ’12 welcomed a baby girl in December. They met at an alumni event in New York City.

Martha Sesteaga ’11 got engaged to Hammurabi Romero in November in Mexico. The couple plans a wedding in 2022, at which time Hammurabi may also be an Arizona alumnus.

Nicholle Harris ’98 ’07 and Eric Situmbeko ’99 married in April. They met at an EastValleyCats alumni chapter event in 2019.

Nikki D’Mello ’01 and Sheldon D’Mello ’01 met during their first year at Arizona in 1997. They’re now happily married with two daughters and living in Austin, Texas. They’ve encountered fellow Wildcats in travels to far-flung places from Spain to Australia. 

Photo Spotlight

Congrats, Graduates

 

More than 6,000 University of Arizona students became
Wildcats for Life in May. The university hosted 16 in-person
ceremonies over eight days to recognize the class of 2021.
/ Chris Richards photo