Human Development Academic News

The College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences will welcome 26 new tenure-track and tenured professors in the fall of 2017.

Joining the college as assistant professors are Aaron Brantly, Political Science; Cara Daggett, Political Science; Matthew Fullen, School of Education; Edward Gitre, History; Katherine Haenschen, Communication; Benjamin Katz, Human Development; Karin Kitchens, Political Science; Ashley Landers, Human Development; Evan Lavender-Smith, English; Christopher Lindgren, English; Gonzalo Montero, Foreign Languages and Literatures; Shaily Patel, Religion and Culture; Ashley Reichelmann, Sociology; Patrick Ridge, Foreign Languages and Literatures; Micah Roos, Sociology; Donna Sedgwick, Sociology; Eonyou Shin, Apparel, Housing, and Resource Management; Lee Vinsel, Science and Technology in Society; and Chelsea Woods, Communication.

Hired as tenured faculty at the rank of associate professor are Shannon Bell, Sociology; Su Fang Ng, Cutchins Chair in the Department of English; and Bonnie Zare, Sociology.

Joining the college at the rank of professor are Kenneth Hodges, English; Sylvester Johnson, Religion and Culture (as well as director of the Center for the Humanities and assistant vice provost for humanities); Carmen Giménez Smith, English; and Paul Steger, director of the School of Performing Arts.

Several College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences faculty members received Curriculum Globalization Grants from Virginia Tech’s Global Education Office and Outreach and International Affairs.

Vanessa Diaz, an instructor in the Department of Human Development, and Anisa Zvonkovic, a professor and head of the Department of Human Development, will develop a new course titled “Immigrant Families: Child Development and Acculturation.”

Sharon Johnson, an associate professor of French in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures and director of women’s and gender studies, received a grant to develop a new course, “Gender and Sexual Violence in a Global Context.”

Brett Shadle, a professor in the Department of History, received a grant for efforts to globalize the curriculum through a new course titled “A History of Refugees.”

Vinodh Venkatesh, an associate professor of Spanish in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, was honored for his efforts to globalize the curriculum through a new course, “Spanish for the Natural Sciences.”

Each award was for $5,000. The award winners were celebrated at a reception at the Hahn Horticultural Garden on March 30.

College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences students and faculty were recognized at the 17th Annual Graduate Education Week Awards Banquet on March 30.

Carmen Bolt, History, received the William Preston Society Outstanding Thesis Award for Social Sciences, Business, Education, and Humanities. Human Development faculty member April Few-Demo was recognized with the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences Outstanding Mentor Award. Francine Rossone de Paula, ASPECT, received the Outstanding Dissertation Award for Social Sciences, Business, Education, and Humanities.

The College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences Outstanding Graduate Student Awards went to Daniel Newcomb, a master’s student in history, and Shekila Melchior, a doctoral student in counselor education. Ricky Mullins, Curriculum and Instruction, received the Graduate Teaching Excellence – Assistant Award. Honored as Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges were Samantha Fried, Science and Technology Studies, and Erin Lavender-Stott, Human Development. 

Experts in human development — including Rosemary Blieszner, Alumni Distinguished Professor in the Department of Human Development and interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences; Nancy Brossoie, senior research associate in the Center for Gerontology; Emma Potter, doctoral candidate in the Department of Human Development; and Karen Roberto, University Distinguished Professor and director of the Institute for Society, Culture, and Environment — published “Decisions, Decisions: African American Families’ Responses to Mild Cognitive Impairment” in Research on Aging (2017;39:476–500).

Eight College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences students presented at the 2017 Dennis Dean Undergraduate Research and Creative Scholarship Conference.

Presenting papers were: John Chandler, Music, Jonathan Elmore, Music, and Allison Harris, Mechanical Engineering and Music, National Opera Association Collegiate Opera Scenes Competition;Kelly Cooper, History, “The Illumination of the York Minster and St. Patrick’s Cathedral: Two Preservation Approaches”; Rhiannon Hasenauer, Human Development, “The Future of Honduras”; Alec Masella, Literature and Language, “First Contact: The Influential Exchange between the American Fireside Poet and the Arab Mahjar Poets”; and David Snyder, Communication, “Sheppard v. Maxwell: Revisited.”

Presenting posters were: Rachel Beisser, Literature and Language, “Master of Deceit: The Malicious and Cunning Nature of Mephistophilis in Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus,” and A. Slough, Human Development, “Attention in Infancy: Links to Childhood Attention and Academic Achievement.”

The Virginia Tech Office of Undergraduate Research selected several of the presenters to receive awards. John Chandler, Jonathan Elmore, and Allison Harris won for Best Performance; their faculty mentor was Ariana Wyatt, an assistant professor of voice in the School of Performing Arts. Kelly Cooper was named an ACC Meeting of the Minds awardee for Oral Presentation; her faculty mentor was LaDale Winling, an assistant professor in the Department of History.

The winning presentation from each category received $500, and ACC Meeting of the Minds awardees presented their projects at the conference of the same name.

The conference was held February 20–23 at The Inn at Virginia Tech and Skelton Conference Center.

The 2017 College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences Faculty Awards Reception and Ceremony took place in Owens Banquet Hall on March 14. Presenting this year’s awards were Interim Dean Rosemary Blieszner, Associate Dean for Graduate Study and Research Tom Ewing, and Joseph Pitt, Philosophy and chair of the College’s Honors and Awards Committee.

The Diversity Award winner was David Cline, History. Yannis Stivachtis, Political Science, garnered the Excellence in Administration Award. The winner of the Shannon Award was Paul Heilker, English. Gerard Lawson, School of Education, was recognized with the Land Grant Scholar Award. Recipients of an Excellence in Advising Award were April Few-Demo, Human Development, and Richard Hirsh, History.

Certificate of Teaching Excellence Award winners were: Jennifer Barton, English; María del Carmen Caña Jiménez, Foreign Languages and Literatures/Spanish; Christine Labuski, Sociology; Richard Phillips, Foreign Languages and Literatures/Classics; Helen Schneider, History; and Ashley Shew, Science and Technology in Society.

Excellence in Outreach and International Initiatives Awards were presented to Nicholas Copeland, Sociology, and Phillip Olson, Science and Technology in Society. Excellence in Research and Creative Scholarship Awards were presented to Brian Britt, Religion and Culture; Billie Lepczyk, School of Performing Arts; Erika Meitner, English; and Carol Mullen, School of Education.

The following graduate students in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences were selected to join the Academy for Graduate Teaching Assistant Excellence. Accepted as members were Robert Flahive, ASPECT, and Bradford Stucki, Human Development; accepted as associate members were Mary Nedela, Human Development, Jyotsana Sharma, Counselor Education, and Raven Weaver, Human Development. The Graduate School recognizes the members for their strong commitment to excellence in teaching and creating affirming learning opportunities in higher education.