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24th National Conference on Undergraduate Research

Plenary Speakers

NCUR 2010 at The University of Montana will be having four main plenary speakers, listed below, who will inspire participants to continue their undergraduate student achievement.

"Research is getting progressively more challenging and complicated, the easy questions have been answered. It is becoming ever more important to start exploring your discipline of choice even while still an undergraduate." -Dr. Stephen Running

R. Carlos Nakai Biographyr. carlos nakai

Of Navajo-Ute heritage, R. Carlos Nakai is the world's premier performer of the Native American flute.  He began his musical studies on the trumpet, but a car accident ruined his embouchure.  His musical interests took a turn when he was given a traditional cedar flute as a gift and challenged to master it.  As an artist, he is an adventurer and risk taker, always giving his musical imagination free rein.  Nakai is also an iconoclastic traditionalist who views his cultural heritage not only as a source and inspiration, but also a dynamic continuum of natural change, growth, and adaptation subject to the artist's expressive needs. Nakai's first album, Changes, was released by Canyon Records in 1983, and since then he has released over thirty-five albums with Canyon plus additional albums and guest appearances on other labels.  Nakai, while cognizant of the traditional use of the flute as a solo instrument, began finding new settings for it, especially in the genres of jazz and classical.  In a cross-cultural foray, Nakai performed extensively with the Wind Travelin' Band, a traditional Japanese ensemble from Kyoto which resulted in an album, Island of Bows.  Additional recordings with ethnic artists include In A Distant Place with Tibetan flutist and chanter Nawang Khechog, and Our Beloved Land with famed Hawaiian slack key guitarist and singer Keola Beamer.  Recently, Nakai released Voyagers with Philadelphia Orchestra cellist Udi Bar-David which blends Native American melodies with Jewish and Arabic songs. Nakai has received two gold records (500,000 units sold) for Canyon Trilogy and Earth Spirit which are the first (and only) Native American recordings to earn this recognition.  He has sold over four million albums in the course of his career.  A Navy veteran, Nakai earned a Master's Degree in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona.  He was awarded the Arizona Governor's Arts Award in 1992, and an honorary doctorate from Northern Arizona University in 1994.  In 2005 Nakai was inducted into the Arizona Music & Entertainment Hall of Fame.  Nakai has also authored a book with composer James DeMars, The Art of the Native American Flute, which is a guide to performing the traditional cedar flute.

 Steven W. Running Biography

steve running

Steven W. Running received a Ph.D. (1979) in Forest Ecology from Colorado State University. He has been with the University of Montana, Missoula since 1979, where he is a University Regents Professor of Ecology.  His primary research interest is the development of global and regional ecosystem biogeochemical models integrating remote sensing with bioclimatology and terrestrial ecology.  He is a Team Member for the NASA Earth Observing System, Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer, and he is responsible for the EOS global terrestrial net primary production and evapotranspiration datasets. He has published over 240 scientific articles and two books. Dr. Running has recently served on the standing Committee for Earth Studies of the National Research Council and on the federal Interagency Carbon Cycle Science Committee. He recently has served as a Co-Chair of the National Center for Atmospheric Research Community Climate System Model Land Working Group, a Member of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Program Executive Committee, and the World Climate Research Program, Global Terrestrial Observing System. He currently serves on the advisory NASA Earth Science Subcommittee, and the NOAA Science Advsiory Board Climate Working Group. Dr. Running shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 as a chapter Lead Author for the 4th Assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Dr. Running is an elected Fellow of the American Geophysical Union and is designated a Highly Cited Researcher by the Institute for Scientific Information. In the popular press, his essay in 2007, "The 5 Stages of Climate Grief" has been widely quoted.

William David Burns Biography

David Burns

Wm. David Burns is the founder and principal investigator of SENCER, a National Science Foundation-supported national curriculum dissemination project that has transformed undergraduate STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education on hundreds of campuses both in the United States and with international partners in Africa, Latin America and Central Asia. Its objective is to frame undergraduate STEM courses around looming issues of social consequence.  It links the science and mathematics content of courses to their social, political and economic consequences.  Burns is also executive director of the National Center for Science and Civic Engagement and professor of general studies at the Harrisburg University of Science and Technology. Prior to establishing the National Center, Burns served as senior policy director for the Association of American Colleges and Universities. During his nine years with AAC&U, he established the Centers for Disease Control-sponsored Program for Health and Higher Education and created the Sumner Symposia dedicated to exploring the power that students have to improve the health of colleges and communities. He is the principal author and editor of Learning for Our Common Health and, among other publications, the article, "Knowledge to Make Our Democracy."  David Burns and SENCER co-PI Karen Oates, received the 2008 Bruce Alberts Award for Excellence in Science Education at the annual meeting of the American Society for Cell Biology "in recognition of the tremendous impact of their innovative program, SENCER." Among Burns' community activities he serves as president of the Boaz Community Corporation, a community development corporation focused on immigration and is a member of the Governor's Committee on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention in New Jersey. In 1994, Burns was appointed adjunct assistant professor, Department of Environmental and Community Medicine, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Piscataway, New Jersey. He has served as principal investigator on grants and awards totaling more than $12 million.


Henriette Löwisch HenrietteBiography

Henriette Löwisch is an international journalist who has worked across continents and media. After serving as the 2006 Pollner Professor, she returned to Missoula in 2009, to join the J-School's full-time faculty and direct its graduate program.Löwisch started out in journalism as a reporter for her hometown paper in the Black Forest. She was a freelance writer for a German women's magazine and an assistant news producer for Austrian television, before joining Agence France-Presse (AFP), the international wire service, in 1992.At AFP, she served as copy editor, foreign editor, foreign correspondent in Brussels and Washington, editor-in-chief of the German Service, and senior editor in charge of training.She received her professional training at Deutsche Journalistenschule in Munich, and earned her graduate diploma at Ludwigs-Maximilians-Universitaet in Munich, with a thesis on U.S. network television coverage of the fall of the Berlin Wall.Global relations have been at the focus of her work. She has written and taught in Europe and the United States; is fluent in French and German; and reads Spanish, Dutch and Swahili. As Pollner Professor, she conducted a seminar in foreign correspondence and lectured on the image of the United States in the world. She also advised the Montana Kaimin, popularizing rare German expressions for journalists, such as "eierlegende Wollmilchsau". Löwisch is the author of the German edition of Journalism for Dummies.