December 18, 2012

Geology professor named Fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science

Dr. Steven Driese, professor and chair of the Department of Geology at Baylor University's College of Arts and Sciences, has been named a 2012 Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Driese was honored for his "distinguished contributions in the field of paleopedology and relating modern soil analog systems to ancient soils (paleosols) used for reconstructing ancient climates," according to the AAAS.

"Dr. Driese's research has established him as a leader in his field," said Dr. Elizabeth Davis, BBA '84, executive vice president and provost at Baylor University. "This honor is truly deserved and places him among an elite group of scientists."

In 2011, Driese was among the group of scientists involved in discovery of the oldest archaeological evidence of human occupation in the Americas at a Central Texas archaeological site located about 40 miles northwest of Austin.

Driese was a member of the faculty at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, for more than 20 years before joining the Baylor faculty in 2004 as professor and chair of the Department of Geology. He has published more than 75 papers in peer-reviewed journals.

As an expert in paleopedology, clastic sedimentology and environmental sedimentology, Driese's current research includes conducting climate and landscape reconstructions of wetland-floodplain-lake and lake-margin systems in the Pleistocene-Holocene transition of East Africa.

EPA honors Baylor junior with fellowship

David Dreier, a junior environmental health science major in Baylor's Honors Program, has been awarded a prestigious Greater Research Opportunities (GRO) fellowship from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Environmental Health Science program at Baylor is one of only 30 nationally accredited undergraduate degrees in the field.

"This research fellowship is something not every undergraduate gets to experience, and I am grateful for such an opportunity." said Dreier, one of about 40 fellowship recipients nationwide. "My thanks to the Baylor faculty, whose support and guidance were essential to this accomplishment."

"We share David's excitement because the EPA GRO Undergraduate Fellowship represents one of the premiere research awards for undergraduate students," said Dr. Bryan Brooks, professor, graduate program director, and Dreier's honors thesis advisor and mentor. "Such an outstanding honor provides gold-standard evidence of fruit from Baylor's commitment to undergraduate research training and integration of undergraduates in active research teams."

The fellowship program is part of the national effort to help ensure that the United States meets its current and projected human resource needs in the environmental science, engineering and policy fields. The GRO Undergraduate Fellowship encourages promising students to continue their efforts in environmentally-related fields.

The fellowship provides juniors and seniors in college with up to $19,700 per year of academic support and $9,500 for internship support for a combined total of up to $48,900 over the life of the fellowship.

Master's candidate receives prestigious environmental science award

Lauren Kristofco, an environmental science graduate student, has received the 2012 Jeff Black Fellowship from the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) and EA Engineering. The award was presented on Nov. 11 at SETAC's 33rd Annual Meeting in Long Beach, Calif.

The annual award provides $2,000 to a graduate student with great accomplishments in the field of environmental science. It is named in the honor of Dr. Jeff Black, an environmental researcher and charter member of SETAC, known for his dedication to mentoring students. In 2007, Baylor graduate student Laura Dobbins received the award for her contributions to SETAC and environmental science.

"For two of the 15 winners of the SETAC/EA Jeff Black Fellowship to be our students highlights the excellent opportunities for graduate studies in environmental science at Baylor," said Dr. Bryan W. Brooks, a professor and director in the Department of Environmental Science in the College of Arts and Sciences at Baylor.

Fan interaction studied at NASCAR race

Dr. Kirk Wakefield, MBA '81, of Baylor University's Hankamer School of Business, has received a grant from The Wharton School's Wharton Customer Analytics Initiative to use Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) to study fan engagement with sponsors at sporting events.

The study collected data from the weekend of Nov. 17 at the last NASCAR race of the season at Homestead Miami Speedway. RFID stations were placed around the venue, and fans entering a promotional contest checked in at various points during the event. Combining real data of when fans engaged sponsors with data from a post-race survey will help sponsors know the return on their investments in sports.

"The study determines where fans go and what they see and experience when they are in proximity to sponsor displays or signage while at an event," said Wakefield, the Edwin W. Streetman Professor of Retail Marketing and executive director of sports and entertainment marketing at Hankamer.

"Combining information from the RFID tags and the surveys will allow us to look at fan behavior like never before," said Wakefield. "This will enable us to quantify the value of targeting passionate fans who spend more time at events compared to passive fans who may attend or watch on TV but aren't fully engaged."

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