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June 2016 Spotlights

Recent News from the College of Arts and Sciences

Faculty Award: On May 21, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Teaching and Learning and Associate Professor of Communication Marcia Dixson was presented with Indiana University's P.A. Mack Award for Distinguished Service to Teaching. According to the Faculty Academy on Excellence in Teaching (FACET) website, the P.A. Mack Award annually “honors members of the IU community who have demonstrated excellence and distinguished service to teaching that are consistent with IU’s FACET’s goals and ideals.” Julie Saam, assistant vice chancellor for academic affairs at Indiana University Kokomo, nominated Dixson for the award. Additional information about the P.A. Mack award is available on their website.

Faculty Awards: John LaMaster, senior instructor of mathematical sciences, and Joy Musser, visiting instructor of communication sciences and disorders, are the 2016 recipients of the Excellence in Online Teaching Award. Each will receive $1000 from the Division of Continuing Studies at the convocation ceremony in August. LaMaster and Musser will present their award winning course designs to the campus during the next academic year. Visit the CELT website's online teaching section for more information.

Media Mentions: Many College of Arts and Sciences faculty have contributed to or been quoted in regional media this month, too many to mention individually. Interim Chair of Communication and Associate Professor of English Rachel Hile was quoted in articles in the Journal Gazette,, and ctpost about the University Strategic Alliance Plan (USAP) report. An article in the Journal Gazette article also covered the College of Arts and Sciences town-hall meeting held on Thursday, May 13th, including an interview with Dean Eric Carl Link.

Other faculty, alumni, and community members wrote pieces in response to the USAP report. Associate Professor of Philosophy Abe Schwab wrote an article in the Journal Gazette. James Lutz, professor of political science, Steven Carr, associate professor of communication, and Christine Erickson, associate professor of history, wrote letters to the editor. Finally, two alumni, Jamie Cochran-Smith (B.A., anthropology, ‘02) and Andrew Smith (B.A., anthropology, ‘04) cowrote a letter to the editor.


Alumna Update: Janine Bennett (senior, biology) received a nationally competitive American Society for Microbiology (ASM) Undergraduate Research Fellowship, which comes with a $5,000 stipend. Bennett will complete 10 weeks of summer research and present her research findings at the 2016 ASM meeting.

Faculty Initiative: The Environmental Resources Center (directed by Professor of Biology Bruce Kingsbury) in collaboration with the Little Rivers Wetland Project in sponsoring a Families4Nature exhibit at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo that is designed to encourage children to actively engage with nature.

Other Families4Nature free summer programs include “Helping Wildlife at Home,” which will provide fun facts about Fort Wayne native plants and animals. See this Journal Gazette article about the program for more information.

Department Newsletter: The Department of Biology released their spring 2016 BIOscope newsletter. This issue covers student awards, poster presentations, recent graduate and alumni updates, and notable faculty news including awards, grants, and publications.

Faculty in the News: Robert Gillespie (associate professor of biology) and William DeMott (professor of biology) were interviewed for a Journal Gazette article about their work with a team of seventh-grade students at Memorial Park Middle School. With help from Gillespie, DeMott, and Larry Lesh, a retired Memorial Park science teacher, the team studied an ecologically friendly alternative to harmful farm fertilizers that contaminate area streams and promote algae blooms. Read more about the project here.

Faculty Publications: Ahmed Mustafa, professor of biology, published “Effects of Dietary Supplementation of a Commercial Prebiotic (PrevidaTM) on Survival, Growth, Immune Responses and Gut Microbiota of Pacific White Shrimp, Litopenaeus vannamei” in the April 2016 issue of Aquaculture Nutrition. Mustafa and Associate Professor of Biology Elliot Blumenthal's publication “Effects of Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation on Aquaponics-system Raised Tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus x Oreochromis aureus) Growth, Physiology, and Immunology,” was recently accepted to the Journal of Applied Aquaculture.

Faculty/Student Success: Recent graduate Grayson Ostermeyer (B.S., biology, ’16) graduated with honors and received several awards, including an IPFW Top 50 Student Award, Outstanding Senior Biology Award, and the Peer Health Educator Award. Ostermeyer has also been accepted into Washington State University for fall 2016. Alycia Herndon (senior, biology) has received a 2016 IPFW Undergraduate Summer Research Grant.

Three graduate lab assistants who matriculated in 2016 were accepted into Ph.D. programs. Mursalin Khan (M.S., biology, ’16) will begin PhD studies at the University of Alabama with a teaching assistantship award. Md Ibrahim (M.S., biology, ’16) will begin PhD studies at the Oklahoma State University Ph.D. with a teaching assistantship. Tazin Fahmi (M.S., biology, ’16) will begin PhD studies at the University of Southern Indiana also with a teaching assistantship.

Alumni Updates: Two biology alumni have graduated with Ph.D.s in spring 2016. Timothy Bruce (M.S., biology, ‘11) received a PhD. in natural resource management from South Dakota State University, and Emran Bashar (M.S., biology, ‘11) received a PhD. in retinal therapy from the University of British Columbia in Canada.


Student Internship: Aaron McClaskey (B.A., ’14; current graduate student, English) won a highly competitive and prestigious internship with Facebook's content strategy team. The 12-week internship takes place during summer 2016 at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, California. See the IPFW press release about McClaskey’s internship for more information.

In the News: Marietta Wolczacka Frye (B.A., English and linguistics, ’04; M.A., ’08), director of advising in the College of Arts and Sciences, discusses learning languages, reading, and the liberal arts in this News Sentinel article, “Page Turner: Books Expose Children to Other Cultures; A Step toward Building Friendships and Peace.”


Alumni Update: Betsy Yankowiak (B.S., environmental geology, ’03) is the director of preserves and programs at the Little River Wetlands Project, a non-profit organization that restores and preserves wetlands in Allen and Huntington counties. As reported in a Journal Gazette article, she recently helped create a barrier to keep Asian Carp and other invasive fish species from reaching the Great Lakes watershed, which could destroy both commercial and recreational fishing industries.


Faculty Presentations: Yuan Zhang, assistant professor of mathematics, co-organized the Special Session on CR Geometry and Partial Differential Equations in Complex Analysis at the spring 2016 meeting of the Western Section of the American Mathematical Society at the University of Utah. Zhang’s research on complex geometry and differential equations is supported by a National Science Foundation grant. Professor Adam Coffman (math) also gave an invited talk at the session entitled, “Isolated CR Singularities of Real Threefolds in C3.” See pictures of the event here.

Faculty Presentation: Zhang also presented at the Midwest Several Complex Variables conference at the University of Toledo in Ohio on Saturday, May 14th. Her presentation, “CR Submanifolds with Vanishing CR Second Fundamental Forms,” investigated the rigidity phenomena of CR maps.


Faculty Presentation: Erik Ohlander, associate professor and program coordinator of religious studies, presented a paper entitled “Who Were Ibn al-Jawzi’s ‘Deluded Sufis’?” at the international conference “Sufis and Mullahs: Sufis and Their Opponents in the Persianate World.” The event was held at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies at the University of Exeter (UK) on April 14–16.


Alumni Update: Rachel Hazelet (B.A., political science, ‘15) attends Case Western Reserve University School of Law, where she was recently awarded the 2016 Theodore Sindell Torte Prize for an article she wrote on the relationship between employer liability and the compelled self-publication doctrine of defamation. Her paper, “Compelled to Defame? Avoiding Employer Liability for Defamation and Exploring the Suitability of the Compelled Self-Publication Doctrine,” discussed issues such as the tension between the employment-at-will and self-publication doctrines, how an employer can control its exposure to liability for defamation, and balancing interests between employer and employee in the workplace and in the courts.

Faculty in the News: Associate Professors of Political Science Andy Downs and Mike Wolf contributed to almost 100 traditional and new media reports during the run up to the 2016 Indiana Presidential Primary. Several highlights include Downs’s television interview on Fox News, where he sat down with Steve Doocy in Indianapolis to discuss the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics poll that showed Ted Cruz would beat Donald Trump in the Indiana primary. Wolf and Downs were interviewed separately by CTV News (Canada) about the Indiana primaries, see here for Wolf’s interview and here for Downs’s interview. Finally, both were live on multiple local Fort Wayne channels as Indiana’s primary election results were being tabulated.


Mentored and Service Learning Projects: Kim Lloyd, assistant professor, mentored students through a variety of data-heavy research projects. Three of her students in SOC S495, Advanced Quantitative Methods—Chenghao Gan (senior, political science), Amanda Hille (senior, sociology), and Ian King (junior, sociology)—presented their findings in poster sessions at the 19th Annual Student Research and Creative Endeavor Symposium.

Donna Holland, associate professor, worked with students Abigail Graves (B.A., sociology, '16), Julie McCartney (senior, anthropology), Casey Meadows (senior, anthropology), and Alexis Minier (senior, criminal justice) on a qualitative content analysis of news coverage of mass murder in schools. They, too, presented their findings in a poster session at the Student Research and Creative Endeavor Symposium.

As a service learning project, three of Assistant Professor Sherrie Steiner’s students—Jacob Wegner (junior, general studies), Isaac Puff (junior, engineering), and Sierra Marsh (freshman, sociology)—updated social media sites and facilitated a Photo Voice Project for Blackford County Concerned Citizens in Hartford City, Indiana. They reflected on this service learning collaboration in papers presented at the Midwest Sociological Society-North Central Sociological Association Joint Annual Meeting in Chicago, Illinois.


The Women’s Studies Program was recognized with an Empowerment Award at the Fort Wayne Women’s Bureau’s Spring Anniversary Luncheon on May 4th. The award recognizes the department for its educational mission, as the only program in northeast Indiana to offer a bachelor’s degree in women’s studies, and for the impact the program and its graduates make on the community.