Academic News (News2Note) — November 2017

News2Note, the academic newsletter of the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, is published monthly during the academic year by Debra Stoudt, associate dean for academic policies and procedures. Academic news can be submitted to her directly at

Academic News

James Hawdon, director of the Center for Peace Studies and Violence Prevention in the Department of Sociology, was invited to serve on the Commonwealth Commission on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Established by Governor Terry McAuliffe, the Commission “will identify policy changes that can be made at the state level to combat intolerance, expand opportunity for all, and make Virginia more open and inclusive to people from every walk of life.” Its first meeting was held October 10 in Richmond, Virginia.

School of Performing Arts faculty members John Irrera, Nicole Paglialonga, Brian Thorsett, and Alan Weinstein presented the world premiere of “Two Campion Songs” by Brian Holmes as well as works by Strozzi, Buxtehude, Muhly, and Vaughan Williams at the Music on Mondays concert on September 11.

Richard Burian, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Science Studies, was awarded the 2017 David Hull Prize from the International Society for History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology. The prize, which is awarded every other year, honors an extraordinary contribution to scholarship and service that promotes interdisciplinary connections between history, philosophy, social studies, and biology. The award citation was read and Burian received the medal at the society’s awards presentation during its annual meeting, which was held July 16–21 in São Paulo, Brazil. Burian was instrumental in founding the International Society for History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology, and the decision to incorporate formally as an international society was taken at a meeting in 1987 at Virginia Tech that Burian organized.

The College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences notes with sadness the death of James J. Buffer, Jr., Horace G. Fralin Professor and Dean Emeritus of the College of Education, on October 12. He joined the Virginia Tech faculty as the Horace G. Fralin Professor and served as dean from 1990 to 1995. An award-winning teacher, Buffer published on scholarly topics that included industrial technology, special education, and leadership development. He was a member of the Association of Deans of Education in State Universities and Land Grant Colleges and served as president of the Council for Technology Teacher Education. Additional information can be found in the VT News In memoriam.

Two School of Education doctoral students in Curriculum and Instruction gave presentations at the National Forum to Advance Rural Education. Erika Nicholas presented “Connecting Students to the World: Using Performance Assessments to Connect to Place,” and Michelle Rasheed presented “A Lesson from Rural Electrification: Improving Internet Connectivity in Rural Regions.” The conference was held at Ohio State University on October 13.

David McKee,  a senior instructor in the School of Performing Arts, was the recipient of the Shenandoah University 2017 Distinguished Alumnus Award for Lifetime Achievement. McKee has served as director of the Marching Virginians for 32 years; he also conducts the University Symphony Band and teaches aural skills. The award was presented to McKee on October 13 at Shenandoah University in Winchester, Virginia.

The following students in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences were awarded scholarships for the 2017–2018 academic year.

The Dean’s Rising Senior Scholarship was awarded to Makeda Mesfin, International Studies. Recipients of the Dean’s Rising Junior Scholarship and Rising Sophomore Scholarship were Kevin Foster, Theatre and Cinema, and Jenna Humphrey, International Studies, respectively.

The following students were recipients of a Destiny Scholarship: Olamiposi Akinyemi, Political Science; Taylor Anderson, Political Science; Tyra Anderson, Human Development; Hannah Ange, Literature and Language; Madison Arnesen, Political Science; Curtis Batchelor, National Security and Foreign Affairs; Megan Church, Communication Studies; Danielle Cieslewicz, Fashion Merchandising and Design; Shannon Clarke, Theatre Arts; Sarah Coates, International Studies; Meaghan Doherty, Political Science; Mariah Evans, Criminology; Madeleine Gagne, International Relations; Lidia Guerra, Political Science; Noah Hairston, Multimedia Journalism; Diana Harley, Political Science; Connor Ingalsbe, International Studies; Danielle Jeffers, Multimedia Journalism; Halle Jordan, Multimedia Journalism; Haein Kim, International Studies; Alexander Knight, International Studies; Desiree Laureano, International Relations; A’via Linton, Spanish; Gabrielle Lozama, Multimedia Journalism; Matthew McPherson-Jaramillo, Multimedia Journalism; Casey Molina, Multimedia Journalism; Joshua Morrison, Music; Corrine Murray, Public Relations; Elisa Nicolini, International Relations; Casey Pongonis, Professional and Technical Writing; Collin Sabine, Political Science; Hunter Shinn, Classical Studies; Sierra Spain, Communication Studies; Virginia Stephenson, Multimedia Journalism; Rachel Sutphin, Religion and Culture; Luca Thoms, Political Science; Zachary Weeks, Classical Studies; Cassidy Whitlow, Human Development; Jada Woodson, Fashion Merchandising and Design; Ryea Young, Human Development; Jason Yoxthimer, Communication Studies; and Amy Zelaya, Human Development.

Recipients of the Austin Student Veterans Scholarship were Mallary Brown, School of Education, and William Thomas IV, Political Science.

Awarded the Tom Barton Family Scholarship was Sara McNulty, Political Science.

Jessica King, Communication Studies and International Studies, received the Dean Robert Bates Scholarship as well as the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences Senior Challenge Book Scholarship.

The Megan E. Christenson Memorial Scholarship was awarded to Courtney Flickinger, Multimedia Journalism.

Human Development doctoral student Shelby Borowski was recognized with the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences Faculty Campaign Scholarship and the Mildred Tate Scholarship.

Sarah Lim, Literature and Language, was recognized with the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences Staff Association Scholarship and the Susan Pascoe Farrell Scholarship.

The following students were recipients of a Martha Price Hancock Scholarship: Theodore Alt, Music Education and Music Performance; Vincent DiNardo, Music; Rachel Hargrave, Creative Writing; and Lauren Weaver, Spanish.

Receiving a Laura Jane Harper Scholarship were: Danielle Cieslewicz, Fashion Merchandising and Design; Emilee Cruz, Fashion Merchandising and Design; Benjamin Graulich, Residential Environments and Design; Makahla Stout, Fashion Merchandising and Design; and Junhua Zhang, Consumer Studies.

Stefnie Cerny, Theatre Arts Design and Studio Art, and Sarah Lim, Literature and Language, were recognized with a Hallie L. Hughes Memorial Scholarship.

Kathryn Kowalski, Professional and Technical Writing and Literature and Language, was awarded the Hulick Scholarship for Leadership, Friendship, and Service.

The John and Jane Milne Academic Scholarship was awarded to Juri Oh, Human Development.

The following students received the Moody, Pratt, Minor Scholarship: Matthew Barrett, Russian; Stefnie Cerny, Theatre Arts Design and Studio Art; Emily Hoyt, Human Development; Haley Meade, Religion and Culture and Biochemistry; Makeda Mesfin, International Studies; Caroline Nicotra, Spanish and Biological Sciences; Kaelyn Petrides, Public Relations; and Nikki Tobler, Theatre Performance.

Lyn O’Connell, Human Development, was the recipient of the James D. Moran Memorial Scholarship.

A Nelson–Lehmann–Gold–VanSant Family Scholarship was awarded to Jesse Marie Acierto, Human Development, and Melody Gregory, Human Development.

Recognized with the John Rathbone Scholarship were: Sarah Lim, Literature and Language; Scottie Lynch, History and Business Leadership; and John Mastakas, History.

Mary Karen Read Memorial Scholarships were awarded to Amy Crow, Jordan Fuller, and Vanessa Robinson, all Human Development.

Receiving a Robichaud Family Scholarship were: Jesse Marie Acierto, Human Development; Theodore Alt, Music Education and Music Performance; Paige Bailey, Fashion Merchandising and Design; Raleigh Christian, Political Science; Lauren Farrar, Music and Multimedia Journalism; Jesse Hughes, Music Education; and Kathryn Kowalski, Professional and Technical Writing and Literature and Language.

Sarah Patton, International Studies, was the recipient of the Ora Goodwin Roop Scholarship.

The following were awarded a Margaret Groseclose Skelton Scholarship: Molly Maurin, Human Development and Psychology; Jordan Mercer, Consumer Studies; and Leah Richards, Literature and Language.

The recipient of the Maryellen Spencer Scholarship was Lauren Weaver, Spanish.

Holly Hunter, Public Relations, and Kayla Parrish, Human Development, received a Margaret Rawlinson Svoboda 4–H Scholarship.

Mildred Crawford Weidemann Scholarships were awarded to: John Mastakas, History; Molly Maurin, Human Development and Psychology; Paige Moorman, Fashion Merchandising and Design and Spanish; and Natalie Tabor, Human Development.

Haley Meade, Religion and Culture and Biochemistry, was the recipient of the Mildred E. Young Scholarship.

Students awarded College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences Education Abroad Scholarships were also acknowledged; their names appeared in the May 2017 issue of News2Note.

All of the recipients above as well as the donors who support the scholarships were recognized at a dinner on October 19.


ASPECT doctoral student Emma Stamm published “Obfuscating Biopolitics: A Theoretical Primer for Cyborgs and Other Concerned Citizens” in the online journal 2600: The Hacker Quarterly 34.3 (Autumn 2017).

Department of English assistant professor Jennifer Sano-Franchini and Rhetoric and Writing doctoral student Andrew Kulak, along with Kristen Moore, facilitated a workshop on Rhetoric and Experience Architecture at the Council for Programs in Technical and Scientific Communication Annual Conference, which was held October 5–7 in Savannah, Georgia.

Edward Weisband, Edward S. Diggs Endowed Chair in the Department of Political Science, published The Macabresque: Human Violation and Hate in Genocide, Mass Atrocity, and Enemy Making (New York: Oxford University Press, 2018).

ASPECT doctoral student Leigh McKagen presented “Imagining Imperial Futures: Examining Spaceships as Global Cities in Contemporary Science Fiction Television” at the 2017 Canadian Association for American Studies Conference, held October 27–29 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Rosemary Goss, Residential Property Management Advisory Board Professor in the Department of Apparel, Housing, and Resource Management, received the Housing Education and Research Association’s Distinguished Service Award at the association’s annual conference, which was held October 8–11 at the University of Massachusetts Lowell in Lowell, Massachusetts. The award recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the association.

David Brunsma, a professor in the Department of Sociology, published The Matrix of Race: Social Construction, Intersectionality, and Inequality (Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications, 2017), with Rodney Coates and Abby Ferber.

ASPECT doctoral student Anthony Szczurek presented “India’s Positions on Historical Responsibility for Climate Change” at the 2017 Millennium Conference, which was held October 21–22 at the London School of Economics in London, United Kingdom.

A. Roger Ekirch, a professor in the Department of History, wrote an op-ed titled “Asylum Once Defined America. Now, It Stands Imperiled,” which was published in The Guardian on September 3. Ekirch’s research on sleep was highlighted as #6 of “10 Things to Know about Sleep,” posted by the BBC News on October 28.

ASPECT doctoral student Shelby Ward presented “The Spatial Imaginary of the Island State: The Geopolitical Lessons from Sri Lanka” at the Sri Lankan Graduate Student Conference titled “Critical Reflections on Legacies of Authority and Difference,” which was held October 13–14 at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.

ASPECT doctoral student Jordan Laney chaired the panel “Institutions and Narratives” at the Bluegrass Music Symposium, which was part of the World of Bluegrass event organized by the International Bluegrass Music Association and held September 26–30 in Raleigh, North Carolina.

The performance of Bach’s St Matthew Passion by Brian Thorsett, an assistant professor in the School of Performing Arts, with the California Bach Society won the Best of Bay for Early Music Performance for the 2016-2017 season, as voted by audience and professionals.

On October 3 and 4 Thorsett performed in the world premiere and workshop of Abraham in Flames by Aleksandra Vrebalov, produced by the San Francisco Opera Merola Program and Wilsey Center in San Francisco.

On October 7 he presented a recital featuring the music of Vaughan Williams, David Conte, Massenet, and Eric Choate and the world premiere of Scott Gendel’s New Colossus as part of the St. Mary Candlelight Concert series in San Francisco, California.

Danille Christensen, an assistant professor in the Department of Religion and Culture, published “Materializing the Everyday: ‘Safe’ Scrapbooks, Aesthetic Mess, and the Rhetorics of Workmanship,” Journal of Folklore Research 54.3 (2017): 233–84. Christensen serves as a consulting scholar for These Roots Run Deep: Connecting Communities through Foodways, a project that is developing a series of community forums, events, and workshops centered on Appalachian local foodways.

Three faculty in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences participated in ACCelerate: ACC Smithsonian Creativity and Innovation Festival. David Hicks, a professor in the School of Education, was the presenter of the exhibit “16 Squares,” along with Thomas Tucker and Todd Ogle. Charles Nichols, an assistant professor in the School of Performing Arts, presented “Dense Space: II Mobile Featuring `Beyond the Dark’” with Paola Zellner Bassett and Adam Burke. Ann Kilkelly, Professor Emerita of Theatre Arts and Women’s and Gender Studies, directed “Salt Marsh Suite” with Carol Burch-Brown. The three-day event took place October 13–15 at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.

Luke Plotica, an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science, published Nineteenth-Century Individualism and the Market Economy: Individualist Themes in Emerson, Thoreau, and Sumner (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017).

Ryan Briggs, an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science, along with Maya Berinzon, was awarded the Hessel Yntema Prize for best article published in the American Journal of Comparative Law in 2016 by authors under the age of 40. The article was titled “Legal Families without the Laws: The Fading of Colonial Law in French West Africa” and appeared in Volume 64, Issue 2, pp. 329–70. The award was conferred on October 27.

The article “Moderate Alcohol Consumption and the Risk of Mortality” by Ted Fuller, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Sociology, was indexed by Web of Science in the category Demography and ranked 249 out of 4447 articles published between 2010 to 2014. The article was published in Demography 48.3 (August 2011): 1105–25.

The Virginia Tech Board of Visitors recently conferred the emeritus title on the following faculty members in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences:

Kent Holliday, a professor in the Department of Music, was one of Virginia Tech’s earliest music faculty members; in this role he helped to graduate the first music majors in 1978. He composed more than 65 works during his tenure at Virginia Tech, which were performed on campus, regionally, and at national venues. His compositions garnered him numerous awards, including the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers Plus Award 10 times between 2003 and 2014. Holliday taught a wide range of undergraduate music courses, and he was a founding member of the Whitman Trio, the first faculty ensemble at Virginia Tech. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Hamline University and a master’s degree and Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota.

Ted Fuller, a professor in the Department of Sociology, made significant contributions to the fields of demography, developing-world urbanization, rural sociology, and the sociology of health. The author of two books as well as numerous articles, book chapters, and research reports, Fuller served as a Senior Fulbright Scholar in Thailand, where he helped promote the development of the social science research capability at Khon Kaen University. During his tenure at Virginia Tech he advised and mentored many undergraduate and graduate students. He was recognized with the department’s Outstanding Graduate Faculty Award and served as its graduate director for three years. Fuller joined the Virginia Tech community in 1978; he earned his bachelor’s degree from Purdue University and a master’s degree and Ph.D. from the University of Michigan.

Erin Hopkins, Willis & Mary Blackwood, Jr. Fellow of Real Estate and assistant professor in the Department of Apparel, Housing, and Resource Management, published “The Impact of Community Associations on Residential Property Values,” Housing and Society 43.3 (2017): 157–67.

The Virginia Tech Alpha Mu Pi chapter of the Theta Alpha Kappa National Honor Society for Religious Studies held its third annual induction of members on October 20. Department of Religion and Culture majors Emily Shull, also Business Information Technology and Finance, and Emily Sutphin were inducted by President Austin Owen, Religion and Culture and Classics; Vice President Timothy Miles, Religions and Culture; and Secretary and Treasurer Rachel Sutphin, Religion and Culture and Human Development. Brian Britt, a professor and chair of the Department of Religion and Culture, and Amanda Villar, an academic advisor in the department, serve as faculty sponsor and co-advisor of the chapter respectively.

School of Performing Arts faculty members Richard Masters and Ariana Wyatt performed at the Marcella Sembrich Museum in Bolton Landing, New York, on July 19. From September 13–17 they toured the Southeast, performing at UNC Chapel Hill, UNC School of the Arts (Winston-Salem), Converse College, Greenville Fine Arts Center, and the National Opera Association Southeastern Regional conference.

María del Carmen Caña Jiménez, an assistant professor in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures, published “Enfermedad, cuerpo e institución en la producción narrativa de Evelio Rosero” (Disease, Body, and Institution in the Narrative of Evelio Rosero), Evelio Rosero y los ciclos de la creación literaria, ed. Felipe Gómez Gutiérrez and María del Carmen Saldarriaga (Bogotá, Colombia: PU Javeriana, 2017), pp. 77–96.

E. Thomas Ewing, a professor of History and associate dean for Graduate Studies and Research, was awarded the Ferenc Gyorgyey Research Travel Grant of $1,500 from the Yale University Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library to support research on the project, ‘The Grip[pe], and the Nerve Exhaustion that Followed It’: Research on the History of Tuberculosis and Influenza in Yale Medical Historical Collections.” The research at the Yale Medical Historical Library is part of continuing projects involving undergraduate student researchers on the history of medicine in American and world history.

In addition, Ewing published “Will It Come Here? Using Digital Humanities Tools to Explore Medical Understanding during the Russian Flu Epidemic, 1889–90,” Medical History 61.3 (2017): 474–77.

ASPECT doctoral student Amiel Bernal published “The Epistemic Injustice Anthology: A Review of The Routledge Handbook of Epistemic Injustice,” Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 6.11 (2017): 1–8.

Timothy Luke, University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Political Science, presented the closing plenary address on Critical Theory in the Americas at the biennial meeting of the International Herbert Marcuse Society, which was held October 26–28 at York University in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The presentation was titled “The Promises of Liberation and the Powers of Repression Today: Marcuse and North American Critical Theory.” Luke also published “Exploring the Chaos of Commodification: From the Arcades to the Cascades with Benjamin and Leopold,” Fast Capitalism 14.1 (2017).

A Digital Humanities Advancement grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities Office of Digital Humanities was awarded to a team of Virginia Tech faculty: E. Thomas Ewing, a professor in the Department of History and associate dean for Graduate Studies and Research, project director; Amy Nelson, an associate professor in the Department of History, consulting scholar; Samarth Swarup, Biocomplexity Institute, Consulting Scholar; and Peter Potter, University Libraries, Editorial Board Member. The grant of $40,000 supports the Viral Networks workshop, which will take place in January 2018 at the History of Medicine Division of the National Library of Medicine on the National Institutes of Health campus in Bethesda, Maryland. The workshop is designed for scholars and graduate students working at the intersection of medical history and digital humanities interested in using the tools of network analysis to advance scholarship.

Two ASPECT doctoral students participated in the Critiquing Culture Graduate Conference, which was held October 7 at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. Leigh McKagen presented “Narratives of Resistance: Science Fiction and Survival in the Anthropocene,” and Shelby Ward presented “The Sri Lankan Tourist Map: The Invitation for the Cosmopolitan Tourist.”

Carol Mullen, a professor in the School of Education, was awarded a scholarship and grant from World Learning, a Fulbright granting agency, in the category of Global Development and Exchange, a program of the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. During Fall 2017 she completed a site visit at the University of Toronto in the dual capacity of U.S. Fulbright Specialist Scholar and invited Visiting Professor and carried out research on “Creativity and Accountability in Canada within a Global Context.” This was the second Fulbright award Mullen has received in two years.

In addition, Mullen published “Creativity in Chinese Schools: Perspectival Frames of Paradox and Possibility,” International Journal of Chinese Education 6.1 (2017): 27–56; and “Coping with Organizational Aging: Renewal through Institutional Diversity and Collaborative Learning,” Journal of Organizational Theory in Education 2.1 (2017): 1–17, with Mariela Rodríguez and Tawannah Allen.

Richard Masters, an assistant professor in School of Performing Arts, toured Virginia from September 25–28 with violinist Emily Ondracek-Peterson, appearing at Mary Baldwin University, Virginia Commonwealth University, Christopher Newport University, and Virginia Tech.