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Big Orange. Big Ideas. They’re fueling UT Knoxville on its journey to become a Top 25 public research university. Here are two faculty members who are bringing big ideas to life in the classroom, through their research and through community service.

Brian Barber

Brian BarberEarly last year, when the Egyptian government was overthrown, Brian Barber did more than watch the ensuing demonstrations on CNN. He boarded a plane as quickly as he could and headed to Tahrir Square in Cairo.

As founding director of the Center for the Study of Youth and Political Conflict, Barber specializes in the study of cross-cultural parent-youth relations and adolescent development in the context of political violence.

The work takes him to some of the most interesting—and potentially dangerous—places in the world, including the Gaza Strip and Palestine.

“What I like most about this work is the direct contact with young people and listening to them talk of their commitments to family and society,” Barber said.

Bob Rider, dean of the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences, said Barber’s groundbreaking research and significant outreach has made UT a leader in this area.

“Brian has been significantly engaged in documenting the experiences of Palestine and Egyptian youth in the Middle East, during the recent political uprisings in the region,” Rider said. “His work has gained worldwide attention and significant financial support from the Jacobs Foundation.”

For his work in Egypt, Barber has received a $450,000 grant from the Swiss-based Jacobs Foundation. The money will fund a two-year study of Egyptian youth involved in the overthrow of the country’s government. It will allow him to regularly interview young people to monitor their personal and civic development as they assist in creating a new government and a renewed society.

The grant also will fund a national survey to see how widely the revolution and its aftermath have affected Egyptian youth. In addition, the funding will help pay for the making of a feature film-length documentary that will parallel the research project in chronicling youth development during and after the historic revolution.

While in Egypt, Barber has offered first-hand observations via Twitter, Facebook, and a blog. He’s also relayed reports back to UT and to the local news media via Skype.

Barber rejoined the faculty of the Department of Child and Family Studies in 2001. He began his faculty career in the same department in 1987. In the interim years, he held faculty positions in sociology at Brigham Young University and psychology at the University of Utah.

He has a bachelor’s degree in environmental planning from the University of California at Santa Cruz, a master’s degree in marriage, family, and child therapy from the California Family Study Center in Burbank, California, and a doctorate in family studies from Brigham Young University.

Carol Costello

Carol CostelloNot many people are lucky enough to have a job that revolves around food, beer, and wine.

Carol Costello is.

“There’s so much joy and passion in food and drink. It’s still education, but it just happens to be a pretty enjoyable subject,” said Costello, professor of retail, hospitality, and tourism management and director of the UT Culinary Institute’s Wine and Beer Education Program.

Costello teaches food science, event and meeting planning, restaurant management, and food safety. She’s taught beer and wine classes for young alumni, parents, donors, and the general community.

She’s also been the driving force behind some major events that have provided students with hands-on experience and raised more than $80,000 in the past year for student scholarships, industry trips, and internship support.

Rider said Costello gets kudos for “her unique outreach contributions that include the ‘Wines of the South’ competition and the Tennessee Food and Wine Festival. The festival, especially, included the community and provided students in our restaurant and hospitality program with valuable on-the-job training.”

Costello oversaw the inaugural festival, which was held in October 2011 and featured cooking classes, demonstrations, and a sit-down dinner prepared by Darren McGrady, a personal chef to Princess Diana and the British Royal Family for fifteen years. The festival featured the winners of the Wines of the South competition, which Costello orchestrated.

Costello also has worked with students during the past nine years to produce the annual Appalachian Spring gourmet dinner and auction. The last event, in March 2011, honored Bill Regas as a “Legend of the Industry.”

In 2010, Costello was named the Tennessee Hospitality Educator of the Year. In presenting the award, Susan Whitaker, commissioner of the state Department of Tourist Development, noted Costello’s twenty-plus year career at UT and the contributions she’s made to hospitality education through classroom teaching, community service, academic research, and mentoring.

While Costello loves the science aspect of her food-related courses, she revels in watching students plan and run successful events. She’s confident that hands-on experience sets UT students apart from others when they hit the job market.

“If you can get a student excited and having some fun, that’s important. You should see how they become so mature in the process,” she said.

Costello has a bachelor’s degree in nutrition from Florida State University, a master’s degree in nutrition and a doctorate in food science from UT.

C O N T A C T :

Amy Blakely (865-974-5034,