News in Brief

New Undergraduate Degree Program in Exercise Sciences

Starting in fall 2015, UC Irvine’s Francisco J. Ayala School of Biological Sciences will offer an undergraduate degree program in exercise sciences.
“It will be an elite, hard-science program intended to develop a small, highly talented pool of students who’ll become the future leaders that better explore the connection between physical activity and health,” Initiative Director and Associate Vice Chancellor for Research James Hicks said.
Interested students, if they meet the program prerequisites, can apply the spring quarter of their sophomore year. Exercise science majors focus on molecular biology, cell biology, biochemistry, physiology, neurobiology and engineering to understand how physical activity and inactivity impact human and nonhuman biology starting their junior year.
According to the exercise sciences website, students that participate in this major “will be well positioned to continue their postgraduate education in human or veterinary medicine, nursing, physical therapy, science education, biomedical engineering and the biological sciences.”

Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o Selected as AAAS Fellow

UC Irvine Distinguished Professor of English and comparative literature, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, has been chosen as a 2014 Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
The 234-year-old academy of scholars, scientists and business leaders, has selected Ngũgĩ to join 204 new fellows and 16 new foreign honorary members, some of which include winners of the Nobel Prize and National Medal of Arts. New fellow and foreign honorary members are nominated, then elected, by current members of the academy.
Ngũgĩ has been recognized as a writer of novels, plays and essays that explore the harsh sociopolitical conditions of his homeland of Kenya.
He was arrested by officials during his time teaching literature at the University of Nairobi because of his anticorruption novel “Petals of Blood.” After being imprisoned for a year without trial, he was released when Amnesty International identified him as a prisoner of conscience. He left Kenya in 1982 and has since held faculty positions at several higher education institutions in the United States.
Ngũgĩ began teaching literature and directed the then new International Center for Writing and Translation at UC Irvine in 2002. His book “Wizard of the Crow” won a 2006 California Book Awards gold medal for fiction and his 2012 “In the House of the Interpreter” was shortlisted for the 2013 National Book Critics Circle Award. Last year, UCI awarded him the UCI Medal, the highest honor bestowed by the university.
“It is a privilege to honor these men and women for their extraordinary individual accomplishments,” Don Randel, the chair of the academy’s board of directors, said. “The knowledge and expertise of our members give the academy a unique capacity — and responsibilities — to provide practical policy solutions to the pressing challenges of the day. We look forward to engaging our new members in this work.”