CSU, Chico News

Two CSU, Chico Professors Receive Lantis Research Awards

Date: 05-05-2017

Michele Chandler
Public Affairs

Two California State University, Chico professors have received prestigious awards that will enable them to advance their research through student-centered learning projects.

Eric Bartelink, a faculty member in the Department of Anthropology, and Don Miller, a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, were awarded Lantis Endowed University Chairs last month. They will each receive a $40,000 award to advance their research.

The awards support “faculty research projects that enhance student learning and success and fulfill the values of our institution,” said Sarah Blakeslee, interim associate vice president for the University’s Office of Faculty Affairs and chair of the committee that selected the recipients from 18 faculty applicants.

Bartelink said he plans to use the award to aid an effort to determine the identities of deceased border crossers who have been recovered from the harsh deserts of Arizona and Texas, using biogeochemical signatures contained in bones and teeth. Both graduate and undergraduate students will assist in that effort, through the preparation of samples and analysis, and through interpretation of the data, he said.

“I am very honored to receive the Lantis award. I am excited to undertake this research and to work closely with a team of students on the analysis and interpretation of the results,” Bartelink said.

Miller said he will use the Lantis professorship to help find ecological evidence explaining the accelerated rates of evolutionary change in aphids by tracking the population sizes over time of host aphids and parasitic aphids, which are both small, sap-sucking insects.

Miller will also collaborate with the Gateway Science Museum in Chico to prepare an exhibit, scheduled to open next spring, that will showcase the natural habitats of the North State while educating the public about the value of conservation and careful management of natural resources. The award will enable hundreds of CSU, Chico students to be trained in ecological field methods so they can participate in the project and help develop the museum exhibit, he said.

“Working with the Gateway Science Museum is something very exciting that I’ve never done before—helping to prepare a public exhibit. That is something for me that is brand-new,” Miller said. Toward that end, the Lantis award “is allowing me to travel to work alongside world authorities at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. and the Canadian National Collection in Ottawa, Canada,” he said.

The award is named after David Lantis, a former faculty member in the University’s Department of Geography and Planning who believed that private giving enriches the teaching and learning environment of the University.

With $5,000 in 1988 and subsequent gifts the following years, Lantis and his wife, Helen, established the David W. Lantis Scholarship Fund for the Department of Geography and Planning. With his passing in 2000 and Helen’s in 2004, $2.1 million from their estate has gone to fund a faculty chair at CSU, Chico. It is one of the largest endowments at the University.

Past recipients of the Lantis Endowed University Chairs award include:

Tracy Butts, Department of English

Michael Ennis, Department of Psychology

Georgia Fox, Department of Anthropology

Greg Kallio, Department of Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering and Sustainable

Stephen Lewis, Department of History

Michelle Morris, Department of Nutrition and Food Science

Susan Roll, School of Social Work

Rachel Teasdale, Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences

Kate Transchel, Department of History