Spring 2008 Vol. VI, No. 3
MD (BS ’62) was recently awarded the Distinguished Service Award in recognition
of his service to Ferris State University (FSU), its faculty, and community.
Dakkuri joined FSU in Big Rapids, Michigan in 1976, and is currently a
professor of pharmaceutics. Prior to that, he was on the AUB faculty for
(BE ’62) lives in Massachusetts with his wife Norma, who is coordinator
of children with disabilities for the State of Massachusetts. Their two
sons, Sarmed (Erich) and Samer (Sam) work in Houston and Los Angeles respectively.
In 2002, Shammas retired from a teaching career that included positions
at the University of Michigan, AUB, King Saud University, and a deanship
at the Lenox Institute of Water Technology in Massachusetts. He is currently
a consultant and writes and edits books on environmental engineering.
He has authored and coedited two environmental book series: Handbook of
Environmental Engineering, and Handbook of Industrial and Hazardous Wastes
Treatment. Shammas can be contacted at N.Shammas[at]ShammasConsult.com
Walid Abu Shakra
(BE ’63), founder, chairman, and superintendent of Educational Services
Overseas Limited (ESOL), was recently granted the prestigious International
Schools Association (ISA) Award for Distinguished Service to International
Education. This award is given to an outstanding educator who has demonstrated
“the highest ideals of international education.”
Yusef K. Shalabi
(BE ’63) writes: “A few months ago I was at a luncheon at the home of
a friend in Montreal, Canada. Among the 30 invitees, there were, by chance,
six AUB alumni. They were Rafi Chitilian (BE ’69), Tavic Najarian (BE
’69), Jiriair Kaipelian (BE ’69), Vahe Kouyoumjian (BE ’69), and Ohannes
Hagopian (BA ’67). We all immediately bonded and the conversation centered
on AUB and our memories there (to the possible annoyance of the other
invitees). That is proof, if any is needed, of the lasting bond that AUB
instills in its alumni.” Shalabi can be contacted at Yusef.Shalabi[at]otis.com.
(BS ’64) has been a faculty member in mathematics at the University of
Missouri (MU) in Columbia, Missouri for more than 30 years. She also earned
her master’s degree at MU. After she retires this September, Parnos-Athanassiou
hopes to visit Lebanon and AUB. She looks forward to walking along Bliss
Street, having an ice cream sundae and a shawarma sandwich at the old
haunts she knew 44 years ago. She can be contacted at sandi[at]math.missouri.edu.
Arpine Konyalian Grenier
(BS ’65, MS ’67) is a graduate of the Milton Avery School of the Arts
at Bard College in New York. She has authored three volumes of poetry.
Her work has appeared in numerous publications and anthologies. In May,
Grenier read from her latest volume of poetry Part, Part Euphrates, which
published by NeO Pepper Press, at the Poetic Ecologies Conference
(BS ’67, MD ’72) is married to acclaimed artist Shamira Nicolas (www.sharimranicolas).
Nicolas has been the attending orthopedic surgeon at Rochester General
Hospital since 1977. He specializes in trauma and spine surgery.
Abdallah Bin Saleh Bin Jum’ah
(BA ’68), president of ARAMCO since 1995, was recently named by the Financial
Times as the most influential person in the field of global energy. The
newspaper notes that since his appointment as president and chief executive
officer of the Saudi company Bin Jum’ah has overseen more major projects
in the processing and manufacturing of natural gas than any of his competitors.
(BA ’68): In December 2007 Khouri released his first musical album entitled
“Peace in the Holy Land,” a compilation of 14 musical pieces. He is the
founder of AIC Group of Consultants for Project Development and Construction,
which operates in the Middle East, the Americas, Africa, and Europe, Khouri
is a founding trustee of the Peace and Prosperity Trust, which raises
funds for charities through music, opera, and the performing arts.
Riad al Khouri
(BA ’68). His e-mail address is ralkhouri[at]carnegie-mec.org.
(BA ’70) is currently a private policy analyst. He has had a wide-ranging
career including stints as a visiting researcher at AUB, political scientist
at the RAND Corporation in Santa Monica, California, lecturer at the University
of Pennsylvania, senior political adviser to the president of Armenia,
and dean of the Political Science and International Relations Department
at the American University of Armenia, Yerevan. Schahgaldian has authored
numerous articles, reports, and books on international politics, the Middle
East, the Islamic world, and the former Soviet Union.
Joseph Evan LeBaron
(former student, Middle East Studies 1974-76) is the new US ambassador
to Qatar. He holds a PhD in Near Eastern Studies from Princeton University
and also studied at the University of Khartoum. LeBaron began his diplomatic
career in Doha in 1980 and was the US ambassador to the Islamic Republic
of Mauritania 2003-06. He also has served as the US deputy chief of mission
in Manama, and as US consul general in Dubai.
(BBA ’75) is general manager of the Meed Trading Company in Riyadh, Saudi
Arabia. He has worked extensively throughout the Middle East at Shair
Management Services, Al Ghanim Industries, Pepsi Cola International, and
Coca Cola. Fannoush married Iman Kozak in 1982. They have three children:
a daughter, Dana, born in 1983, who now works for British American Tobacco
in Dubai; and two sons, Fuad, born in 1984, currently a senior studying
mechanical engineering at Concordia University; and Jamil, born in 1993,
a tenth grade student at the British School in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
(BE ’75): Putting his degree in mechanical engineering to good use, Hajjar
first worked in the field of HVAC (heating ventilating and air conditioning),
and then specialized in IAQ (indoor air quality). He invented an indoor
electronic air cleaner with disposable filters and several products that
remove air contaminants, pollen, dust and dust mites, gases, bacteria,
and even viruses. Not content to focus solely on improving indoor air
quality, Hajjar also invented the “Stem-Nozzle” for misting outdoor air
in industrial and domestic settings. He can be reached at john[at]cavemanart.com.
(BS ’76, MD ’80) professor and chair of the Department of Neurology, University
of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ), Robert Wood Johnson Medical
School, has been named the chair of the Scientific Program Committee for
the World Congress on Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis to
be held in Montreal, Canada in September. The World Congress is an international
forum that will bring together more than 3,500 multiple sclerosis clinicians
What on Earth?
MainGate’s fall 2005 issue featured a story on EARTH University in Costa
Rica, and we think it’s time for an update on this remarkably progressive
institution, headed by AUB Trustee Jose A. Zaglul (BS ’71, MS ’73). Founded
in 1990, EARTH is dedicated to education in the field of agricultural
sciences, with a special emphasis on the rational use of natural and sustainable
resources in the humid tropics.
There is much good news to report:
In December, EARTH held its 15th graduation ceremony which featured
2006 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Muhammad Yunus as commencement
speaker and 1987 Nobel Laureate Oscar Arias, the president of the Republic
of Costa Rica.
Whole Foods, the world’s leading natural and organic foods supermarket
recently formed a partnership with EARTH as part of
an ecologically and morally responsible buying program. EARTH will produce
artisan bags made from banana fiber for Allegra Coffee,
a subsidiary of Whole Foods Markets, and sell bananas and pineapples to
Whole Foods stores in southeastern United States.
In August 2007, the environmental journal Grist rated EARTH the
third greenest university in the Americas.
EARTH has made a commitment to help Costa Rica become Carbon Dioxide
Emissions Neutral by 2030.
EARTH has graduated nearly 1,200 professionals and has an international
faculty of 44 professors from 20 countries.
For more information on EARTH University, please visit
(BE ’80) is the CEO of HRsmart, Inc., a fast-growing, award-winning global
software company that he cofounded in 1994. He also cofounded Directel,
a multi-national paging company that employs more than 500 professionals
in Brazil and Argentina. In addition, Hamden cofounded and served as chairman
of the board for CNI, an executive recruiting firm, and CareerNet, a public
career board, both based in Florida. Maan is married to Rowayda Soujah
of Ain Anoub, Lebanon and has four daughters: Reema, 21; Nadia, 16; Elissar,
5; and Nayla, 3. He can be reached at mhamdan[at]hrsmart.com.
(BArch ’81) has been elected president of the AIA Phoenix Metro Chapter
for 2008 and is the director of the Senior Living Studio at Orcutt/ Winslow
Architects in Phoenix, Arizona. He can be reached at nahaidar[at]cox.net.
(BE ’81). Khalil’s electrical engineering company, RFA Consulting, has
just earned Canada’s first ever Platinum Green Building Rating for the
energy efficient Gulf Islands Operating Center in British Columbia. This
is the highest awarded rating by Canada’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and
Environment Design). Read more in MainGate on-line. Khalil can be contacted
(BS ’82, MS ’84) is the director of Quality Assurance and Compliance for
Apotex, a Canadian-based pharmaceutical company. Farah and his wife Kiyana
Javier have three children: Fares (2003), Kealani (2005), and Myles (2007).
He can be contacted at salim_farah28[at]sympatico.ca.
Ziad M. Husseini
(BS ’82, MD ’86), a Penrose Award recipient, recently moved to Texas to
become an associate professor at the University of Texas Southwestern
Medical Center in Dallas. Dr. Husseini is an active member of many medical
societies, including the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the American
and the European Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, and the Contact
Lens Association of Ophthalmologists. He has been repeatedly elected secretary
of the Lebanese Ophthalmological Society, has chaired its Scientific Committee,
and has served as treasurer of the Pan Arab African Council of Ophthalmology.
He specializes in modern cataract surgery and has introduced many new
procedures to Lebanon. Husseini can be contacted at ZiadM.
(BS ’82) After graduation, Minassian (née Roumian) worked as a research
assistant for Dr. Adel Birbari in the Physiology Department at AUBMC.
She moved to California in 1985 and taught science in a private high school
in Hollywood for three years before accepting a position as supervisor
in a research lab in the Department of Physiology at the University of
Southern California (USC) School of Medicine. After 10 years, Minanssian
left USC, to stay at home with her baby. She later passed the California
real estate exam and works as a realtor with her husband. They jointly
operate their own real estate and mortgage company, and are the parents
of two boys, ages 10 and 6. Minassian can be reached at lrminassian[at]yahoo.com.
(BS ’87) writes: “AUB is more than a mere education! It's a way of thinking,
a universal attitude towards life. After a successful career in Beirut
in the pharmaceutical industry (Laboratoires UPSA) and the Telecom field
(LibanCell), I moved to Paris to pursue a specialized master’s degree
in marketing management at ESSEC Education Management, a business school
with an international reputation…If you live your passion, success will
be within your reach...when you finally enjoy the great feeling of accomplishment
and self fulfillment.”
(BE ’88) is the chief operating officer and owner of Tri- Phase Environmental
Inc., a company that provides total environmental remediation services
in Canada. The company’s website is www.pcbdisposal.com.
(BS ’88) married Jennifer Berard on September 1, 2007. Houalla received
his MSc and PhD from McGill University in Montreal. The couple spent their
honeymoon in Quebec City and plan to make their home in Montreal.
(BS ’88) is a doctoral candidate in environmental health at Johns Hopkins
University. Khoury has worked in the environmental field doing environmental
remediation for army bases, but is very interested in the benefits of
an organic food diet, a public health issue which is a hot topic at Hopkins.
Her e-mail address is skhoury[at]jhsph.edu.
AIA, LEED (BArch '88) was recently appointed vice president of design
at Leo A. Daly's Los Angeles office. He is also the founder of STRUERE,
an architectural think tank. In 2006 and 2007 Hraztan received two prestigious
American Architecture Awards from the Chicago Athenaeum. L' Arca International
Design Magazine dedicated a whole section of its December 2007 issue to
his work. Zeitlian’s award winning entry to the Prague National Library
Competition may be found on the www.domusweb.it
website, or contact him at hszeitlian[at]leoadaly.com.
(MD ’89). After completing her residency in pediatrics at AUBMC, Naimeh
moved to Iowa so that her husband could complete his medical training
at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC). After four years
training in pediatric endocrinology, Naimeh switched specializations to
allergy, asthma, and immunology. She is in private practice in Tulsa,
Oklahoma. Her husband, Khalil Saliba (MD ’87) did his residency
in family practice at AUBMC and his psychiatric training at Saint George
Hospital in Beirut before moving to Iowa in 1993 to continue his training
in child and adolescent psychiatry at UIHC. Saliba currently works at
Laureate Psychiatry Hospitals and Clinics in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Naimeh and
Saliba have two children: Cindy (13) and Michael (10).
Check your car
Clean oil and properly inflated tires increase fuel mileage up to 15 percent.
(BE ’93), who received his MBA from INSEAD in Fontainebleau, France, has
been appointed independent director of the ROO Group’s Board of Directors.
ROO Group is a global service provider that assists businesses in leveraging
their digital media assets and provides enhanced user experience. Since
2004, he has been a managing partner of MNA Partners, a Dubai-based merchant
bank. Prior to establishing his own firm, El-Tayara was with Merrill Lynch
and Salomon Smith Barney. In 2003, he managed the corporate finance initiatives
of MBC Group, MENA's largest media company, where he was CFO in the set
up of the al Arabiya News Channel. El-Tayara also helped establish the
Swiss EFG Bank in Dubai.
Ayman Al Harakeh
(BS ’94) married Nadine Zantout (BA ’01, MA ’03) at Biel in Beirut
on December 22, 2007. Al Harakeh completed his residency in general surgery
at AUBMC in 2006 and is currently completing a two-year fellowship in
transplant surgery at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan. Zantout
has been an economics instructor at AUB since 2004. In addition, for the
past two years she has worked at the Presidency of the Council of Ministers
as UNDP staff on the National Accounts Project. Dr. and Mrs. Harakeh celebrated
their recent wedding with family members and many friends from the departments
of Economics and General Surgery.
(BS ’95, MS ’97) recently married Mona Osta and moved to Riyadh, Saudi
Arabia where he is operations manager for the Nutrition and Diet Center.
He can be reached at mrsam66[at]hotmail.com.
(BS ’96, MD ’00). On August 17, 2007 Dr. Kaaki married Mirna Faysal (BA
’02) at the Ritz Carlton in Laguna Niguel, California. The couple moved
to Waterloo, Iowa, where Kaaki will be chief OB/GYN at Allen Memorial
Hospital. He can be reached at bilalkaa[at]hotmail.com.
Before there was the ABC Achrafieh, there was a bunker. Ziad Moussa (BS
'92, MS '96) used that spot to turn a military bunker/artillery depot
into an unlikely nursery for ornamental plants as part of the AGHRAS project
in 1994. “Recycled” militia members—some of them having served in that
very bunker— were recruited to take care of flowers after caring for artillery
guns throughout the Lebanese civil war. It was just one of the “all things
environment and sustainable development” projects he got involved in after
he graduated from AUB. He played an active role in the leadership of Green
Line, a Beirut environmental NGO, from 1992–2005, then moved into development
consulting. In December 2001, he went to Djibouti to train secondary school
teachers on how to establish school gardens. In 2003, Moussa and four
of his AUB Environmental and Sustainable Development Unit (ESDU) colleagues
became Certified Trainers in Development Management a prestigious program
with Capacity Building International, Germany (InWEnt). Since then he
has worked in more than 35 countries on five continents as a trainer,
facilitator and development management specialist. This year, he is leading
a segment of the World Water Week in Sweden and the World Urban Forum
in China after having helped researchers from eight African countries
develop projects on Water, Health and Climate Change. His latest endeavor
is DMI (Development Management International, s.a.r.l—www.dmiconsulting.net), that he is working on with Fares El Zein (BA ’96, MA ’99). Contact
Moussa at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sawsan Z. Yamout
(BS ’97). Last August Yamout began her surgical residency in the Equine
Surgery Program at the University of California, Davis. This threeyear
residency will lead to an American Board certification in large animal
surgery. After earning her doctorate with honors (DVM) in veterinary sciences
from the University of Szent Istvan, Budapest, Hungary in 2002, she pursued
her studies in veterinary sciences at the University of Liège, Belgium
and the University of Guelph, Ontario. Yamout can be contacted at syamout[at]ucdavis.edu.
(BA ’97) and her husband Ibrahim Hout have a new baby girl, Tatiana. The
happy couple has three other children: Issam (6), Celine (4), and Stephanie
(2). Maha works in the Human Resources Division of BankMed, Lebanon and
her husband is an architect with his own construction and contracting
(BBA, ’98) has moved to PricewaterhouseCoopers in Toronto, Canada. He
is married to Tala Nehad and is the father of Mohammad and Janette. Himmo
has an account on Facebook and can be contacted at ahmadhimmo[at]hotmail.com.
Raed Omar Sbeit
(BE ’98). For the last seven years Sbeit has worked as a software engineer
at Verizon Communications. He is a doctoral degree candidate in engineering
management at Southern Methodist University (SMU), where he earned a master’s
degree in software engineering. He is active in the Islamic Center of
Irving, Texas, the Muslim American Society (MAS) in Dallas, and the MAS
Youth Project in North Texas. He and his wife Sara Khayat are the proud
parents of Heba Raed Sbeit (3) and Huda Raed Sbeit (4 months).
(BS ’99, MS '02) received a PhD from the University of Florida in 2005.
She spent two years working for Parsons on projects in Florida and Arizona
including the largest wetland restoration project in the world in the
Florida everglades. She is now a water resources specialist for the city
of Mesa in Arizona, where she is managing freshwater resources to ensure
that the city has sustainable water resources to satisfy its current and
future needs. Yamout is also chair of a Middle East and North Africa Committee
that the Environmental and Water Resources Institute established to identify
and support collaborative efforts between the institute's water community
and the countries of the MENA region.
Kim Ghattas (BA ’99)
who has been a BBC journalist since 2000, is leaving Beirut, “the city
that made me a journalist.” Using Beirut as her base, Ghattas covered
major events in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia for many years,
including the assassination of Rafik Hariri, the death of Saudi Arabia’s
King Fahd, and the July 2006 war. She began working as a freelance journalist
while still at AUB, writing for the Lebanese Daily Star; IPS news agency;
the LA Times; the Philadelphia Inquirer, Time Magazine, MSNBC.com; the
Boston Globe, and the Dutch daily, de Volkskrant. She is moving to the
United States, where she will continue to work with the BBC and be a regular
contributor to the Financial Times.
Rani R. Raad
(attended in the early 1990s) has been promoted to CNN senior vice president
for Continental and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. He will
be based between the news network's regional headquarters in London and
the Paris office.
(BS ’00, MS ’03), who is working on a PhD in ecological sciences, is doing
fieldwork in Lebanon and southwest Asia. He studies plants and has a special
interest in bellflowers, which are ornamental plants thought to have evolved
in the Mediterranean area. Al-Zein has coauthored a textbook on the environment
and has taught environmental courses. He can be reached at malzein[at]yahoo.com.
(attended in 2005) writes: “It's wonderful being able to connect with
the AUB alumni. I am currently in my senior undergraduate year at the
University of Texas at Austin, in the Department of Sociology. When I
graduate in December 2008, I plan either to pursue a PhD in sociology
or international relations, or to look into law school. I'm looking forward
to the day when I'll be able to give back to Lebanon and AUB all the good
it has given me.” Elfakhani can be contacted at mazen[at]mail.utexas.edu.
(BS ’06) is pursuing his master’s in public policy (expected June ’09)
at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. He is president
of the student Entrepreneurship Club and president of the student branch
of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). In 2006 Sassine
was an energy policy and foreign policy research intern at the American
Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research and was awarded the Shell
Global Business Challenge Award. Sassine may be contacted at georges_sassine[at]ksg09.harvard.edu.
(MS '06) is currently enrolled in a PhD program at the University of Cincinnati
in Ohio where she is researching how the mixing regime of water (whether
the water body is stagnant or non-mixed, moderately mixed, or completely
mixed) affects oxygen depletion and toxicity in water that has been impacted
by a vegetable oil spill. Salam explains that in the United States, the
regulations that govern the cleanup of oil spills also apply to animal
fats and vegetable oil. As the use of vegetable oil increases, so too
has the risk of accidental oil spills associated with its transport, storage,
handling, and processing. Although she may stay in the United States after
completing her PhD to get additional training and broaden her knowledge
and experience, Salam's goal is to return to Lebanon and contribute in
some way to the development and reform of her country.
(BBA ’07) has been promoted to corporate sales manager of the multinational
company Ayna Corporation. He can be reached at mazen[at]aynacorp.com.
(BE ’07) is a researcher at Barcelona Supercomputing Center and a PhD
student at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia, Barcelona, Spain.
(MUD ‘07) has been working with UN-ESCWA (United Nations Economic and
Social Division for Western Asia) since August 2007 as an associate human
settlements officer (a UN professional staff post) on issues concerning
urban governance, urbanization, millennium development goals, and slums.
Shayya prepared a presentation for the Expert Group Meeting in Kuwait
in December 2007 on the importance of integrating the urban poor within
the governance of cities in the Arab region to solve the slum issue. Shayya
is planning on leaving UN-ESCWA to return to urban design and architecture
before pursuing postgraduate study in the near future.
(MPH '05). Congratulations to Dr. Diaa on his January 2008 wedding in
(BS ’54), founder and
chairman of Hikma
Jordan was named the
2007 Ernst and Young
Middle East Entrepreneur
of the Year at a gala ceremony
at Madinat Jumeirah
in Dubai on February 23.
Before establishing Hikma
Pharmaceuticals Ltd. in
1977, Darwazah worked for
Eli Lilly for 12 years (1964-
76). Between 1995 and 1996
he was minister of energy
and mineral resources in
Jordan. Darwazah founded
the Jordan Trade Association
and was a member of the
Advisory Economic Council
of His Majesty the King of
Rafik Taleb Hubayter
(MD ’55) and Fayez Jad
Suidan (MD ’55) were honored
on Lebanese Doctor
Day (December 22) for
50 years of medical service
in an event organized
by the Lebanese Order of
Physicians. Hubayter, who
joined the Lebanese Order
of Physicians in 1957, is
a professor at AUBMC in
pulmonary and critical care
medicine. Suidan is a professor
at AUBMC in obstetrics
and gynecology and
has also been a member
of the Lebanese Order of
Physicians since 1957.
(BS ’65, MD ’69) was
awarded the World Health
Award for 2007 for his significant
contribution to public
health in Lebanon and
the Eastern Mediterranean
region. The award was
presented to him by Dr.
Margaret Chan, director-general
of WHO and Dr. Hussein
Gezairy, WHO regional
director for the Eastern
(BS ’68): The University of
Central Florida has appointed
Marwan Simaan distinguished
professor and chair
of its Electrical Engineering
and Computer Science
Department. In 2000
Simaan was elected to the
highly prestigious National
Academy of Engineering.
His recent research includes
studies ranging from the
development of mechanical
devices to assist the heart in
pumping blood for patients
waiting for transplants to the
optimization of unmanned
military vehicles. Simaan has
been recognized for his work
developing signal processing
techniques for imaging the
earth’s subsurface zone.
Abbas Afif Chamsuddin
(BS ’87, MD ’91). In 2007
Chamsuddin was named for
a second time the top radiologist
in the United States
by the Consumers’ Research
Council of America. He is
an associate professor and
chief of interventional radiology
at Emory Medical Center
in Atlanta, Georgia, where
he has been practicing since
2004. He is especially interested
in treatments of portal
hypertension; liver, head, and
neck cancer; laser treatment
of lower extremity venous
insufficiency; and percutaneous
therapy of uterine
Plastics take up to 450
years to break down in a
In central Appalachia, Professor John G. Shiber (BS
’58, MS ’61) is making environmental stewardship a new priority in an
old coal mining region.
I have been a professor in the Kentucky Community and Technical
College System for some years now, teaching biological sciences in
a region that is noted for its once booming coal mining industry.
As I was acclimatizing to my new surroundings, I noticed that
little academic attention was being paid to issues of environmental
concern at the college. So, I proposed offering environmental
courses with a focus on community service. The idea met with some
skepticism, but I was indulged and finally permitted to introduce
three environmental courses: Introductory Environmental Science,
Introductory Conservation Biology, and Human Ecology. They had
low enrollment at first but eventually caught on.
Human Ecology has been the most successful course because it deals with environmental issues that students in all disciplines
address in their everyday lives. There are now three professors teaching four sections, plus one on-line, with a total
enrollment of about 150-200 students per semester. That is a substantial number for a college this size.
Now all students—not just those majoring in the sciences and education—are encouraged to take the human ecology
course. Hence, an increasing number of people in our region are becoming active stewards of their environment and eagerly
passing on what they learn to family members and friends.
Science majors, especially those who aspire to environmentally-oriented careers, take the more advanced introductory
courses and frequently present papers under my sponsorship at annual meetings of the Kentucky Academy of Sciences (KAS).
Some have even won awards from KAS for exceptional undergraduate research projects. Among the more popular student topics
are river water quality, illegal dumping (a common occurrence in this area), and regional industrial pollution.
Nearly all of my students participate in park and community cleanups throughout the region, as both a community service
activity and a learning experience. Each spring two state parks invite us to help collect trash from their premises. They are fortunate
because I usually have such a large group participating that my students manage to collect several tons at each location—
not just litter, but car parts, couches, appliances, bed springs . . . you name it! We have a great record of participation, in rain
or sunshine, and have earned respect and gratitude from activity coordinators.
Perhaps just as importantly, I have been able to do some significant preliminary research with the help of students and community
members on the occurrence of certain toxic elements, such as lead and arsenic in tap water. We recently conducted a
regional investigation of arsenic in household water emanating from private wells, which are abundant in eastern Kentucky and
the rest of Central Appalachia, and published the results in the Dutch journal Water, Air, and Soil Pollution. This work has also
led to my collaboration with public health researchers at the University of Kentucky concerning the implications of water arsenic
on the health of Kentuckians.
After graduating from AUB, Shiber taught at the University
of Houston, where he did advanced study in marine biology. He received
a PhD in biology and science education from Purdue University. He and
his wife Elaine, who has played an important role in all his professional
endeavors, have two children: Linda-Dalal, who is a third year medical
student at the University of Louisville in Kentucky, and Tony-Saba, an
architect who recently graduated from the University of Kentucky School
Professor Shiber can be contacted at John.Shiber[at]kctcs.edu