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The Boston Globe reports today that a team of University of Arkansas graduate students, including Clinton School student Trish Flanagan, has won the MIT Clean Energy Prize for creating a technology to improve the efficiency of solar panels.
Flanagan, a concurrent student at the Clinton School and the Sam M. Walton College of Business, is president of Picasolar, the team that took home a $150,000 prize and an additional $100,000 from the Department of Energy. Here’s more from the Globe:
Picasolar, a start-up from the University of Arkansas, on Monday won the MIT Clean Energy Prize for developing a technology that could improve the efficiency of solar panels and make them cheaper to produce, said the Boston utility NStar, one of the annual competition’s sponsors.
Roughly 56 teams from 38 schools entered the national competition, which was founded in 2008 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Department of Energy, and NStar to promote the development of alternative energy and energy efficiency technologies. The Picasolar team beat more than a dozen other semifinalists for the top prize of $150,000. Picasolar won an additional $100,000 from the Department of Energy.
Trish Flanagan, president of Picasolar and a University of Arkansas graduate student, said the company’s technology fixes electron-absorbing flaws in the surfaces of silicon solar cells, helping to make the solar panel components about 15 percent more efficient, while also decreasing their cost. The technology was invented by Picasolar’s chief technology officer, Seth Shumate, also an Arkansas graduate student.
“This has been a really fun competition for us, and we’ve made some extraordinary contacts,” Flanagan said.
Recent news reports suggest that the economic recession may have hurt some groups more than others, particularly African Americans and Latinos. The findings from a poll conducted by two University of Arkansas System entities indicate that while unemployment rates are substantial among African Americans and Latinos, these groups still have surprisingly optimistic views of their economic future.
On the heels of the 2012 presidential election, the Diane D. Blair Center of Southern Politics and Society in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Arkansas and the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service partnered to conduct a comprehensive online national poll of political attitudes and behaviors.
Todd Shields, director of the Blair Center, addressed questions of economic and political attitudes across race and region in the latest analysis of results from the Blair Center-Clinton School Poll. His report, “Economy Across Race and Region: Unemployment fails to dampen positive outlook among African Americans and Latinos” was released today and may be found at the poll’s website.
The poll’s data shows that while African Americans in the South have been hit hardest by economic factors since the recession, they are by far the most positive group when compared to southern whites, non-southern whites and non-southern African Americans. Conversely, whites in the South, who have been hurt least by the economic downturn, are the least optimistic of the four groups.
“These findings challenge long-held assumptions about the impact of the economy on political attitudes and behaviors and may require scholars and political strategists to reconsider previous approaches during future elections,” said Shields. “The findings also suggest that regional differences between and across racial groups continue to be an important reality of contemporary American politics. Despite claims that the South is no longer distinct, there remain substantial differences in the effects and perceptions of the negative economy.”
The 2012 Blair Center-Clinton School Poll oversampled participants from the southern region of the United States, as well as oversampling African Americans and Latinos, providing unique perspectives on contemporary politics. With more than 3,600 respondents from across the nation, the poll provides a comprehensive and uniquely accurate perspective on how the country evaluates public figures and current public policies – and how these evaluations vary across race and geographic region. This is the second national poll conducted by the Blair Center. Following the 2010 midterm elections, the Blair Center also conducted a national survey with oversamples of African Americans and Latinos, giving researchers the ability to compare attitudes across time. (more…)
Clinton School students today participated in a live webcast of the first in a series of lectures delivered by President Clinton at Georgetown University.
The former president is lecturing at the university about the people and events that shaped his life and career in public service. Clinton School students watched the lecture via webcast and submitted questions online during the Q&A. Here’s more details from Georgetown:
APRIL 30, 2013 – Former President Bill Clinton (F’68) today gave the first in a series of lectures AT GEORGETOWN that explore the people, events, lessons and guiding principles that have shaped his career in public service.
The lectures examine the framework for a lifetime spent championing an idea espoused by his Georgetown professor Carroll Quigley: that America is the greatest nation in history because our people have always believed in two things – that tomorrow can be better than today and that every one of us has a personal, moral responsibility to make it so.
This four-lecture series will take place over a number of years. The lectures will be webcast live.
This is the second time Clinton has given a series of talks at Georgetown. In 1991, as the governor of Arkansas and Democratic candidate for president, he presented three “New Covenant” speeches to students on Responsibility and Rebuilding the American Community, Economic Change and American Security. These speeches, like the new lecture series, took place in Georgetown’s historic Gaston Hall.
Clinton School student Jillian Underwood (’13) partnered with the ACLU of Arkansas to develop a report on the status of immigrants in Arkansas in light of current immigration programs, policies, and police practices.
Underwood’s report concluded that law enforcement agencies across the nation are spending limited resources addressing minor, non-violent crimes committed by those perceived as immigrants resulting in an increased fear of law enforcement within immigrant communities. Because of this, members of immigrant communities are less likely to report crime, or seek help for domestic violence issues, she concluded.
Underwood reviewed secondary data of up-to-date reports about immigration enforcement programs and policies, conducted interviews with community advocates, activists and attorneys who work with immigrants and related issues across Arkansas, and analyzed quantitative data of traffic stops and other police records.
The primary purpose of the report is to raise awareness of the differential treatment immigrants receive in some law enforcement jurisdictions in Arkansas, the impact of anti-immigrant programs and the rights of immigrants. (more…)
Clinton School student Katie Milligan (’13) partnered with the Junior League of Little Rock to develop a curriculum and guide for a course to create active, effective and knowledgeable nonprofit board members.
Milligan researched several other similar national programs and spoke with nonprofit organizations and possible participants to identify the themes and course subjects that would be the most valuable to educate interested individuals on nonprofit boards of directors. These themes were used to inform the development of course materials and appropriateness for the Little Rock area.
The Junior League of Little Rock plans to implement this course based on the recommendations and curriculum guide developed by Milligan. The vision of the program is to enhance, diversify and educate the pool of qualified applicants for nonprofit boards of directors in Central Arkansas. The program will be open to any interested community members.
“Surveying nonprofits both formally and casually it is apparent that there is a need for greater diversity of age, gender and experience on nonprofit Boards,” said Maggie Young, president of the Junior League. “We hope to offer a unique training opportunity for all interested citizens to better prepare themselves to serve in community leadership roles such as a board of directors position. We know that the greatest positive community impact will be made when all interested citizens have the necessary skill set to create such change.” (more…)
Clinton school student, Todun Afolabi (’13) partnered with the Arkansas Department of Human Services (DHS), Division of Community Service and Nonprofit Support (DCSNS) to assist in the development of a four-year strategic plan to improve services the division delivers to organizations in Arkansas.
To help identify issues the plan should address, Afolabi conducted an internal assessment to gauge organizational capacity, an external assessment to determine customer needs and best practice research to identify growing trends of nonprofits.
In its mission to strengthen community resources, volunteerism and national service in Arkansas, the division’s program developers assist nonprofits by providing trainings, consultations and technical assistance. The division also serves as a conduit to administer federal funds through its AmeriCorps program, which has AmeriCorps members who serve in each of the state’s counties.
“All of us at DCSNS are pleased to have Todun working with us to identify strategic issue areas towards the development of the strategic plan. We anticipate the plan will provide us with even more opportunities to serve the citizens of Arkansas,” said Sherry Middleton, director of the Division of Community Service and Nonprofit Support. (more…)
Clinton School Dean Skip Rutherford penned an Op-Ed in today’s Dallas Morning News about the impact of the upcoming opening of the George W. Bush Presidential Library on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas.
Rutherford, who led the planning and development of the Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock, highlighted the bipartisan nature of presidential libraries and their positive impact on the communities where they are located:
Presidential libraries represent a post-presidential spirit that puts aside much of the politics involved in running for and holding our country’s highest elected office. This spirit is evidenced by the work of President George H.W. Bush and President Clinton after the 2004 Asian tsunami and Hurricane Katrina in 2005, as well as a similar partnership between President Clinton and President George W. Bush in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.
Presidential libraries also represent a uniting symbol for the communities in which they are located. They generate new jobs and tourism, and they affect the intellectual and cultural dynamics of their regions. President Bush’s collection of head-of-state gifts alone could stock an art museum.
Hundreds of thousands of people tour presidential libraries every year. Many people across the country may never have the opportunity to visit Washington, but through the Presidential Library System, visitors get a close-up view of life and work in the White House. Special exhibits, programs, presentations, events, festivals and conferences hosted at presidential libraries provide city and campus enrichment.
“Death of a Salesman,” a panel discussion
Wednesday, May 1, 2013 at 12:00 p.m. (Sturgis Hall) *In partnership with the Arkansas Repertory Theatre
- Join us for a panel discussion on the Arkansas Repertory Theatre’s production of “Death of a Salesman,” starring renowned film and television actor Robert Walden as Willy Loman. Walden is best known for his three time Emmy-nominated role as Joe Rossi on “Lou Grant,” and as Joe Waters on “Brothers.”
House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi
Thursday, May 2, 2013 at 12:00 p.m. (Sturgis Hall)
- The U.S. House Democratic leader, Pelosi, D-Calif., will visit the Clinton School to participate in a discussion of current affairs in American politics. Pelosi has represented San Francisco for 25 years in the U.S. House of Representatives. From 2007-2011, Pelosi served as Speaker of the House, the first woman to do so in American history.
“Right To Be Free,” founder Eric Peasah
Monday, May 6, 2013 at 6:00 p.m. (Sturgis Hall)
- Peasah is the founder of Right To Be Free (RTBF), a non-profit organization dedicated to freeing children and women who are victims of slavery, exploitation and other oppressive conditions. He also works closely with government, law enforcement and judiciary agencies, civil society organizations and NGOs to combat human trafficking in Ghana and the West African sub region.
“Becoming Right: How Campuses Shape Young Conservatives,” author Amy Binder
Friday, May 10, 2013 at 12:00 p.m. (Sturgis Hall) *Book Signing to follow
- Acting provost at the Thurgood Marshall College at the University of California, San Diego, Binder’s new book, “Becoming Right,” looks at how today’s right-leaning college students experience life on two university campuses — one an elite private institution, the other a major public university — and how they belong to a web of conservative organizations that provide considerable resources to them. (more…)
A team of graduate students conducted a comprehensive statewide study to assist Legal Aid of Arkansas and the Center for Arkansas Legal Services to identify the most pressing legal needs of low-income Arkansans.
Clinton School students Margaret Hobbs of El Dorado, Ark., Mary Pitre of New Orleans, La., Tyler Pearson of Conway, Ark., and Gregg Potter of Lyndon Station, Wis., spent eight months collecting data from low-income Arkansans and the legal community to learn about the unmet legal needs of Arkansans and the perceptions of the legal community about which needs are the greatest.
The research has shown that the most prevalent legal issues faced by low-income Arkansans relate to family law, consumer matters and government benefits. The legal community consistently ranked family law, consumer, government benefits and juvenile issues as case types that were most prevalent. Focus group data showed that the cost of hiring a lawyer often precludes low-income Arkansans from accessing representation.
The students designed and distributed surveys across the state and conducted focus groups in each Congressional district. The method of surveying both the low-income population and the legal community provided for a particularly comprehensive assessment. With over 1,200 responses, the data maintained a confidence level of 95 percent with a 3.33 margin of error and the high response rate provided rich quantitative and qualitative data. (more…)