UNO wins award at model UN event

Eighteen University of New Orleans students won a "Distinguished Delegation" award in New York City in March when they served as delegates at the National Model United Nations conference, school officials said.

Representing the Gambia, a West African country, the students spent five days immersed in discussion of global issues, including international migration, cybersecurity, sexual exploitation, pollution and marine life, instability on the Horn of Africa and halting the use of chemical weapons.

The award was given to 36 delegations out of the 200 participating. It's considered the second highest honor awarded at the event.

UNO’s delegation to the National Model UN conference has taken home awards for each of the last eight years.

Milan Holman, president of the UNO Model UN club, said this year’s delegation drew on the talents of students from many different backgrounds and academic disciplines, including international studies, education, film, accounting, civil engineering, business administration, psychology, history and computer science.

More than 50 students from UNO applied for the 18 spots.

Students who are chosen must take a three-hour spring semester class called Model United Nations during which the faculty sponsor and club veterans oversee course topics that include the background and history of the nation they will be representing.

James Mokhiber is director of international studies and adviser for the Model UN at UNO. He took over following the retirement of John Hazlett, professor of international studies, who started the Model UNO program at UNO nine years ago.

The students' trip to New York was funded in part by donations received through a crowdfunding effort coordinated by the UNO Foundation. More than 50 people donated $7,000. UNO President John Nicklow matched every dollar raised with three from his office.

Tulane names science, engineering dean

Kimberly Foster, a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of California at Santa Barbara, will become the new dean of the Tulane University School of Science and Engineering, effective Aug. 1.

A member of the UCSB faculty since 1999, Foster has a doctorate in theoretical and applied mechanics from Cornell University and a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Michigan Technological University.

She is also an expert in micro- and nanoscale mechanics and biomedical technology development. She is the author or co-author of more than 170 publications and holds six U.S. patents. 

Foster has received numerous National Science Foundation grants as well as several grants from the Institute for Collaborative Biotechnologies, a U.S. Army-sponsored interdisciplinary research alliance led by UCSB in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the California Institute of Technology, the Army and industry.

She also served as co-chairwoman of the UCSB Brain Initiative and associate director of the UCSB Center for Bioengineering.

Priest to address Loyola commencement

The Rev. James Martin, S.J., a Jesuit priest, best-selling author and editor at large of America magazine, will deliver the commencement address to more than 750 graduates at Loyola University next month.

Martin, one of the world’s most widely recognized Jesuits, also will receive an honorary doctor of humane letters degree.

The commencement will be held May 12 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Later the same day, a 1995 Loyola law school alumnus and president and CEO of Entergy New Orleans, Charles Rice Jr., will deliver the law school commencement address and receive an honorary doctor of laws degree.

Martin's 13 books on spirituality and religion have been translated into 21 languages. His writing has also appeared in publications as diverse as Catholic Digest, America, Commonweal, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

He has appeared on radio and television programs including NPR’s "Fresh Air," Fox’s "The O’Reilly Factor," PBS’s "NewsHour" and Comedy Central’s "Colbert Report."

Since April 2017, he also has served as consultor to the Vatican’s Secretariat for Communication, a role in which he has helped to shape the messages of Pope Francis.

Follow Della Hasselle on Twitter, @dellahasselle.