UCR Creative Writing Assistant Professor Nominated for 2018 Ohioana Book Award

Deanne Stillman

Deanne Stillman is a member of the core faculty at UCR’s Palm Desert Low-Residency MFA Creative Writing program.
Photo credit: Cat Gwynn

Deanne Stillman, a member of the core faculty at UCR’s Palm Desert Low-Residency MFA Creative Writing program, is a finalist for the 2018 Ohioana Book Awards.

The awards, first given in 1942, are the second-oldest state literary prizes in the nation and honor outstanding works by authors from Ohio. Stillman’s work of narrative nonfiction, “Blood Brothers: The Story of the Strange Friendship Between Sitting Bull and Buffalo Bill,” is one of five finalists in this year’s nonfiction category.

Stillman’s book, which chronicles the life and alliance of these two icons of the American West, was published in October 2017 and has received numerous positive reviews. A starred review from Kirkus, which denotes books of exceptional merit and is one of the publishing industry’s most revered designations, states that “Stillman gives an account of the tragic murder of Sitting Bull that’s as good as any in the literature.” It goes on to describe “Blood Brothers” as “thoughtful and thoroughly well-told — just the right treatment for a subject about which many books have been written before, few so successfully.”

“Blood Brothers” has also been included in several “best of” and “must read” lists,  including those published by The Millions, True West Magazine, The OC Register, Barnes & Noble, High Country News, and Bookish.

Stillman’s previous books include “Twentynine Palms,” “Mustang,” and “Desert Reckoning.” Much of her nonfiction and journalism centers on the West, the role of place and the natural world, and the violence Americans have wrought against people, native animals, and the land.

“Some people say that the personal is political.” Stillman said. “For me, the personal is geographic.”

With the encouragement she received from her late parents and strong ties to her native Ohio, “Blood Brothers” being a finalist for the Ohioana Award is especially meaningful.

“Annie Oakley, a character in ‘Blood Brothers,’ was from Ohio. Her aim was true,” Stillman said. “My mother was from Ohio too, and she was kind of a sure-shot herself. She passed away this year. For a long time, knowing that her health was faltering and that I often miss deadlines, she kept telling me to turn in this book on time, so she could see it. I did, and she did. Thanks, Mom, for always helping me hit my marks.”

The winners of the 2018 Ohioana Awards will be announced July 12 and presented at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus on Oct. 18. For more information about the awards, visit the Ohioana Library Association.

Jessica Weber

UCR Alumna Becomes Fourth Woman to Serve as SACNAS President

Sonia Zárate

Sonia Zárate, who received her doctorate in molecular plant biology at UCR in 2007, has been elected to serve as president of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science, or SACNAS.  Her four-year term, which includes one year as the president-elect, two years as president, and one year as past president, began in January 2018.  She works as a program officer at Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Maryland.

Previously serving as secretary on the SACNAS Executive Board, Zárate is a SACNAS life-member and has been since she was an undergraduate at California Polytechnic University, Pomona. Zárate is the first president to come up through SACNAS and plans to use her experience with the organization and professional training to move the organization forward by fulfilling a vision of true diversity, according to her SACNAS profile.

Zárate credits her personal journey to the power of mentors, and has in turn devoted her career to giving back and fostering the next generation of scientific leaders.

“We know that diversity is a driver to innovation in STEM,” Zárate said. “To ensure that we are able to tap into the wealth of diversity that is reflective of our nation’s demographics, SACNAS believes that we need to take an approach that goes beyond recruiting and includes a commitment to reflect on policies and practices that have contributed to the promotion of or acted as barriers to diversifying the STEM enterprise.”

For 45 years, SACNAS has been committed to fostering the success of Chicanos/Hispanics, Native Americans and other underrepresented populations in science, technology, math, and engineering, also known as STEM. The organization has built a national network and provides resources to ensure that the STEM enterprise reflects national demographics.

Zárate has held over 24 chairs, co-chairs, and general member appointments for programs and committees that focus on student engagement, retention, and promotion and or diversity/inclusion in STEM in her previous appointments at UCLA, USD, and on the national level. She is also an alumna of the Linton-Poodry SACNAS Leadership Institute, or LSPLI, and the Advanced Leadership Institute, which help to empower participants as agents of change, Zárate said.

“The overall goal of these programs being to prepare a cadre of diverse scientific leaders that will help drive diversity, equity, and inclusion policies at all levels in their home institutions,” said Zárate.

SACNAS co-founder Marigold Linton is also a UCR alumna. After graduating in 1958, Linton earned a doctorate from UCLA. By age 35, she was a psychology professor at San Diego State University. She later served as a professor at the University of Utah, and has spent her entire career mentoring American Indians and other minorities. In the organizations 45-year history, Linton is the second and Zárate is the fourth female to serve as president of the organization.

Madeline Adamo

Bourns Professor’s Project Funded in Energy Frontier Research Center at Oak Ridge National Lab

Jianzhong Wu, a chemical engineering professor at the Bourns College of Engineering.

Jianzhong Wu, a chemical engineering professor at the Bourns College of Engineering, has received funding from the Department of Energy to establish computational techniques to predict charge transport in nanostructured materials during charge-discharge cycling of electrochemical devices. The findings will contribute to the development of new electrical energy storage systems with high energy and power density. The research is a project within the Fluid Interface Reactions, Structures and Transport (FIRST) Center, a DOE-funded Energy Frontier Research Center at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.

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