News Room

May 2016 Spolights

News from the College of Arts and Sciences

IPFW Top 50 Awards: The inaugural class of the IPFW Top 50 Students was announced in April. Of the 50 awardees, almost half will receive a COAS degree, minor, or certificate when they graduate: Gladys Calderon, (psychology; teaching English as a new language certificate); Timothy Clay, (general studies; communication studies and religious studies minors); Bradley Crowe (economics); Ayasha Faria (chemistry); Cody Fuelling (social studies education; history); Ian Gatchell (biology); Kasey Gerding (business marketing; media production and public relations minors); Krysta Hedrick (psychology; gerontology certificate); Bryce Hieber (mechanical engineering; mathematics minor); Md Mursalin Khan (biology); Sofia Lyrintzis (mathematics; mathematics research certificate); Jessica Mason (civil engineering; mathematics minor); Randall McComb (biology; mathematics minor); Patrick Murphy (psychology); Grayson Ostermeyer (biology; psychology minor); Gabriela Romo (biology; psychology minor); Maisie Ross (psychology); Madison Seifert (business management; psychology minor); Andrew Sellan (biology); Brenna Sherwood (business accounting; psychology minor); Cecelia Smith (biology; psychology minor); Sarah Tschannen (hospitality management; public relations minor); and Danielle Witt (psychology). View the ceremony's program here for a full list of winners and more information.

Student Awards: Five College of Arts and Sciences students who presented at the 2016 Spring Honors Showcase will be awarded an Honors Medal and/or Certificate at commencement in May 2016. Congratulations to Sarah Bercot (French; English); Sean Godfroy (English); Luisa Pires Luciano (political science); Grayson Ostermeyer (biology); and Crysta Terry (psychology).

Faculty Publication: Pam Reese, assistant professor of communication sciences and disorders; Sherrie Steiner, assistant professor of sociology; and Hao Sun, professor of linguistics contributed to chapters in Reflections on Service Learning in Higher Education: Contemporary Issues and Perspectives edited by Gail Hickey, professor of educational studies at IPFW. The forthcoming book explores service-learning concepts and how they can be applied in classrooms and at universities.


Faculty Presentation: Richard Sutter, professor and chair of anthropology, presented "The Incorporation of the Chicama Valley into the Southern Moche Polity (AD 200 – 900): A Preliminary Biodistance Assessment" at the 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology in Orlando, Florida, on April 8, 2016. In the talk, Sutter examined recent archaeological findings of Moche ceramics and executed prisoners in the Chicama Valley and considered how the Southern Moche Polity expansion and subsequent influence affected the region.

Faculty Presentation: Sutter; Lawrence Kuznar, professor of anthropology; and James Toole, associate professor of political science participated in a panel discussion on “Is the Concept of Sovereignty Still Relevant?” for the Anthropology Luncheon Lecture Series on April 20, 2016. The discussion centered on the presentation's main question as related to archaeology, foreign policy, international supranational interventions, terrorism, and nonstate actors.


Faculty Presentation: Winfried Peters, associate professor of biology, presented research on the ecology of marine mollusks at the Centro de Investigacion en Ciencias del Mar y Limnologia (CIMAR) at the Universidad de Costa Rica. Peters’ presentation focused on the predatorprey interactions among gastropods, particularly on sandy beaches, and on the autotomy (voluntary shedding of body parts) of some snails in these environments.

Graduate Award: Mursalin Khan (graduate student, biology) won the First Place – Student Oral Presentation Award at the Aquaculture 2016 conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. Aquaculture is the farming of plants and animals in water environments. His presentation, “In-vitro Analyses of Lymphocyte Proliferation Extracted from Spleen and Thymus of Nile Tilapia Using Natural Elderberry,” was cosupervised by Ahmed Mustafa, professor of biology, and Elliott Blumenthal, associate professor of biology.

Faculty Grant: Bruce Kingsbury, professor of biology and director of the Environmental Resources Center (ERC), was awarded an “Improving Translocation Techniques for Wildlife on DoD Installations” grant by the Army Corps of Engineers for $294,242. This money will be used to explore the responses of snakes to being moved to unfamiliar areas and develop safe, viable processes for moving them (particularly the massasauga rattlesnake). Kingsbury says the funding will support student researchers, lodging, and equipment for three years.

Faculty in the News: Kingsbury was also interviewed in Fort Wayne Magazine about his interests and the Environmental Resources Center. Bonnie Blackburn asked Kingsbury 20 questions about his love of reptiles, endeavors with Fort Wayne’s nature preserves, and work at IPFW as a professor and associate director of the College of Arts and Sciences. Read Kingsbury’s interview here.

Student Presentations: On April 1–2, 2016, seven IPFW students, graduate students, and alumni presented at the Indiana Branch of the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) annual meeting on the IPFW campus. James Price (graduate student, biology), mentored by Professor Frank Paladino (biology) and Assistant Professor Tanya Soule (biology), won first place in the master’s level division with his presentation “Juvenile Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas) Microbial Community Structure throughout an Ontogenic Shift.” Second place went to Jamison Law (graduate student, biology), who was mentored by Assistant Professor Jaiyanth Daniel (biology), for the presentation “Biochemical Characterization of a Mycobacterial Glyercerol-3-Phosphate Acyltransferase.” In the undergraduate division, first place went to Janine Bennett (senior, biology), mentored by Soule, for her presentation “The Response Regulator Npun_F1278 is Essential for Scytonemin Biosynthesis in the Cyanobacterium Nostoc punctiforme ATCC 29133.” Second place for the undergraduate division was awarded to Xyryl Pablo (senior, biology) mentored by Daniel, for the presentation “Mycobacterial Protein mEttA and Its Role in Resuscitation from Stationary Phase.” Justin Lothamer (B.S., biology, ’15), Phat Lam (senior, biology), and Melissa Beaty (graduate student, biology) also gave presentations at the meeting. 

Alumnus Update: Sam Friedrichs (M.S., ’09) was featured in the National Geographic article and video “Tagging a Fish with a Sword for a Face” for his work attaching cameras to billfish (similar to swordfish) as part of National Geographic's "Crittercam" program. For the program, researchers like Friedrichs attach cameras to animals to help them observe their behaviors, habitats, and socializations for study and analysis.

Student Awards: Grayson Ostermeyer (undergraduate, biology) and Lynne Koepper (graduate student, biology) won the 2016 Outstanding Undergraduate Student Worker and Outstanding Graduate Student Worker awards respectively. Ostermeyer was a leader of the IPFW Peer Educator Team, gave multiple presentations on topics such as “Habits for Success,” and was part of the IPFW Health Fair. Koepper served as a graduate intern in the Office of Career Services. In her internship, she focused on employer relations and also helped improve the First Destination Survey, which collects information about the plans of graduating students to help IPFW advisors guide incoming students and new majors.


Leo-hs-picCampus Event: On April 15, 2016, twenty-five Leo High School students visited IPFW's Department of Chemistry and met with Ronald Friedman, chair and professor of chemistry, to discuss the opportunities available to students and benefits of studying chemistry at IPFW.



Campus Event: On April 7, 2016, undergraduate, graduate, and high school dual-credit students from the Department of Communication gave presentations at the Third Annual IPFW Communication Showcase. The student presenters were selected by communication faculty and shared their research on rhetorical speeches, analyses of communication, critical studies of media, media productions, and community service endeavors.

Faculty Presentation: Irwin Mallin, associate professor of communication, gave a presentation entitled “Building Education Partnerships for Readiness, Access, Retention, and Learning” with Rebecca Townsend from Manchester Community College (Connecticut) at the Campus Compact 30th Anniversary Conference in Boston in March 2016. The presentation discussed potential partnerships and collaborative programs between colleges and high schools, ways to improve learning for students at multiple schools that share a geographic area, and the impacts of “one size fits all” state and federal education standards and policies.

Faculty Award: A panel co-presented by Art Herbig, assistant professor of communication, won the Top Panel Award at the Central States Communication Association conference. The panel, “Building on Foundations: Creating Multiple Methodological Spaces in Media Studies,” focused on how to build on foundations of traditional media research and use multiple methodological approaches in conjunction with one another.


Faculty Presentation: Sharon Mankey, continuing lecturer and director of the Communication Disorders Clinic, and Mariesa Rang, limited term lecturer, from the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders presented about IPFW’s AAC World Event at the Indiana Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ISHA) annual convention in Indianapolis on Friday, April 15. They set up the event stations at the convention for the attendees. This Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) event includes eleven unique stations at which participants attempt to complete everyday activities (ordering food, asking for directions) with devices commonly used by people with a communication disorder.


KalamarasFaculty in the News: George Kalamaras, professor of English, was interviewed on WBOI about his most recent honor: the inaugural IPFW Featured Faculty for Excellence in Engagement Award. In the article “Former Indiana Poet Laureate Receives New Accolade,” Kalamaras explains some of the ways he has engaged the community with his poetry, such as his site, The Wabash Watershed, which includes his video-blog “A Gray Barn Rising,” and his endeavor to create an Indiana-wide collaborative poem, Project 411. You can listen to the full WBOI interview here.

Student Success: Ricky Jenkins, (senior, general studies, minor in linguistics), has passed the second stage of screening for the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) program and has been placed on a short list of assistant language teachers set to join a contracting organization and eventually be assigned to Japan. The JET program is designed to increase Japan’s internationalization through education in language and culture.

Student Internship: Aaron McClaskey (B.A., ’14; current graduate student, English) has been invited to participate in a highly competitive and prestigious internship with the Facebook content strategy team. The 12-week internship takes place over the summer at Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, California. He will be learning from and collaborating with one of the foremost content strategy teams in the world, developing the Facebook platform, standardizing and improving communications between Facebook and third party developers, and looking for opportunities to develop and improve the user experience for all Facebook users. 


Faculty in the News: The book Neurasthenic Nation by David Schuster, associate professor of history, was mentioned in “‘Americanitis’ and the Perils of Life in the Fast Lane” The Pulse radio show and accompanying article. The author uses Schuster’s explanation of the 19th century disorder, neurasthenia, which was supposedly caused by people (usually women) working themselves into an unhealthy fatigue by concentrating on a job or project for too long. Schuster explains that this phenomenon was seen as an outcome of progress or a more modern culture, and that modern versions of the disorder exist. Schuster’s work is also discussed in articles in the Daily Mail, NZ Herald, and The Sun.


Alumna Update: Sarah Arnold (B.A., Spanish, ’08) and her social-media marketing business, Socially Seasoned, were featured in the News-Sentinel article “Social Media Marketing Is New Haven Woman’s Niche.” The article offers insight into how she researches companies and communicates with her clients.


Alumnus Update: Kent Kolbow (B.S. ’95) was featured in the South Bend Tribune for his work as a math tutor at a Sylvan Learning Center. After working as a tutor for twenty-five years, Kolbow now owns seven Sylvan Centers and continues to personally assist students with learning. Find out more about his career.


Faculty Award: Charlene Elsby, assistant professor of philosophy, has been awarded $5,000 from the 2016 Purdue Library Scholars Grant to conduct research at the Husserl Archives, part of the Institute of Philosophy (Hoger Instituut voor Wijsbegeerte) at the University of Leuven, Belgium. These grants fund domestic or international travel to library collections. For her research, Elsby will have access to the original manuscripts of Edmund Husserl, the founder of phenomenology (the study of structures of experience and consciousness). This will allow her to investigate the connections between Husserl and his students, particularly Edith Stein and Martin Heidegger.

Faculty Publication: Abe Schwab, associate professor of philosophy, wrote an invited commentary in the May 2016 issue of American Journal of Bioethics. The article, “Applying Heuristics and Biases More Broadly and Cautiously,”  focuses on expanding and applying Blumenthal-Barby’s theory on rethinking patient autonomy. See here for more.

Faculty Presentation: Erik Ohlander, associate professor of philosophy, recently presented “Who Were Ibn al-Jawzi's 'Deluded Sufis'?” at the international conference, "Sufis and Mullahs: Sufis and Their Opponents in the Persianate World," at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies at the University of Exeter (UK). See the conference website for more information.


Faculty Award: At Purdue's Provost’s Faculty Awards Convocation on April 25, 2016,  Jacob Millspaw, continuing lecturer in physics, received the 2016 Award for Excellence in Distance Learning Emerging Innovation from Purdue University, West Lafayette. The award recognizes Purdue faculty or staff members who demonstrate excellence in the development or teaching of a distance learning activity (course, workshop, or seminar). Millspaw received the award for the use of LED kits to create an experiential learning opportunity for students in his online course, Physics 12500, Light and Color.


Faculty in the News: Andrew Downs, associate professor of political science, was interviewed for or quoted in multiple reports about the 2016 Indiana Presidential Primary. In articles on, wyfi Indianapolis, and, Downs commented that this year will only be the second time since 1976 (the first being 2008) that Indiana has played a significant role in the national primaries. The articles collectively reveal that campaigns for both parties have set up offices throughout Indiana, including Fort Wayne. Because of the close races being run by both parties, Downs noted that candidates would have to dedicate time and effort to campaigning in Indiana ahead of the primary vote, especially since there was no other primary that week. In the South Bend Tribune article “Indiana May Be in Play in Both Primaries This Year” and the Bloomberg article “Cruz Promises to Barnstorm Indiana in Movement to Stop Trump,” Downs analyzed both parties’ races and offered a forecast for the parties’ victors. On the Democrat side, Downs observed that Bernie Sanders has done better in progressive states like Wisconsin, and will need to gain the support of young people and workers to overtake Clinton in Indiana. The Republican race, according to Downs, is much closer and could go to any of the candidates as each has a different but effective appeal.

Downs also spoke about the race for the Indiana governor seat, the senate race, and the proposed split or reorganization of IPFW in recent media. In the Journal Gazette article “Pence Record on Spending Becoming an Election Issue,” in which Downs credited Governor Mike Pence with proposing tax cuts, but noted that some of his spending habits, such as the expanded funding for the Regional Cities Initiative, might draw criticism from his opponents. In the Indiana Business Journal article “Some Prior Pence Donors Pull Back,” from the Indianapolis Business Journal reveals that some of Pence’s donors and sponsors have reduced or ceased their contributions to his election campaign. Downs commented that, while actual defectors were rare, most donors are likely to reduce or withhold money only. The Indystar article “Indiana Senate Leaders Targeted in GOP Primary” examines the unexpected challenge Senators David Long and Luke Kenley face from John Kessler, IPFW continuing lecturer of economics, and Scott Willis respectively. Downs commented that the reason Long and Kenley are being challenged is because they both have been considering what is best for Indiana first, and their individual constituents second, which has upset some voters. In a pair of articles from Journal Gazette and News Sentinel, Downs spoke about LSA report and the proposed IPFW reorganization between Purdue and IU. Both articles indicate that little progress has been made as the deadline approaches for the IPFW management agreement, which expires on June 30. Downs suggested that a basic plan for IPFW’s new governance model could be developed by that time, but the full financial consequences and final structure might take longer to establish.

Faculty in the News: In multiple interviews, Michael Wolf, associate professor of political science, discussed state elections as well as the attitudes of children toward politics. The Journal Gazette article “Hopefuls Staging Low-Key Senate Campaign Locally” discusses the relatively quiet conflict between United States Representatives Marlin Stutzman and Todd Young in a senate race for one of Indiana’s seats. Wolf warned that both candidates might soon find themselves drowned out by presidential nominees, if they did not increase their campaign visibility. In the article “Local Election Insight” from, Wolf and Downs shared their predictions for the May 3rd local and presidential primaries in Indiana. The two analyzed survey data to select winners and remarked on the alliance between Cruz and Kasich. Finally, in the Journal Gazette article “Talking to the Kids about Politics,” Wolf discussed how children develop their views of politics based on the views of their parents. Wolf encouraged parents to ask children how they would react to certain situations or why they believe the things they do rather than to impress their own beliefs on children as it leads to better, well-developed worldviews.

Student Update: Nathan Brophy (junior, political science) was recently accepted into the summer immersion program in Arabic at Middlebury College. According to Wolf the program is “not just selective, it’s the best program in the country and shows how extremely well trained he’s been in Arabic and how well Jamie Toole [associate professor of political science] and Farah Combs [continuing lecturer of Arabic] prepared him for his application.”


blakemore medalFaculty Award: Elaine Blakemore, professor of psychology, received the IPFW Chancellor’s Medal on April 14, 2016. At IPFW, Blakemore served as psychology chair for 14 years, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences for nearly five years, and interim dean of the College for 18 months as well as serving many years on IPFW's Faculty Senate. For more information on Blakemore’s accomplishments and activities, visit this page.

Student in the News: Gladys Calderon’s (senior, psychology) life and accomplishments were profiled in the Journal Gazette article, “IPFW Grad’s Setbacks Only Inspired Her to Succeed.” Calderon talks about moving the United States as a child and having to learn English. Her family struggled financially, but were serious about education. They utilized programs like Upward Bound, which Calderon credits with helping her prepare for college. She now works full-time with the Upward Bound program, and plans to continue counseling students after graduation.