Academic News (News2Note)

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

From June 12 to 15 Barbara Allen, professor of Science, Technology, and Society, conducted a seminar, “Introduction to Community-Based Participatory Research,” to introduce researchers to community-based participatory research for health. The four-day training event was hosted at the Institute for Advanced Study (IMéRA) in Marseille, France. Assisting Allen was the rest of the Fos “Etude participative en santé environnement ancrée localement” (Locality-based Participatory Environmental Health Survey) research team. The training was available at no cost to the 20 French researchers and public health officials who participated, thanks to support from the Agence nationale de sécurité sanitaire de l’alimentation, de l’environnement et du travail (Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health).

Six students in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences were among the 17 students in the 2018 cohort of Aspirations Fellows. Honored were: Julia Billingsley, a senior Political Science and Public and Urban Affairs major; sophomore Public Relations and Political Science major Haley Burnell; Katarzyna Goebel, a senior Literature and Language major; Lauren Hughes, a junior Human Development major; Ali Mayer, a graduate student in Higher Education and Student Affairs; and junior Publication Relations, Public and Urban Affairs, and Diversity and Community Engagement major Jordi Shelton.

ASPECT doctoral student Emma Stamm presented on the “Bot Phenomenology” panel at the “Theorizing the Web 2018 Conference,” which took place April 27 in Queens, New York.

Creativity and Education in China, Paradox and Possibilities for an Era of Accountability (Routledge 2017) by Carol Mullen, a professor in the School of Education, received a 2018 Society of Professors of Education Outstanding Book Award Honorable Mention; Mullen accepted the award at the society’s annual meeting on April 14 in New York, New York.

The Double Concerto for two violins and string orchestra, with interpolated Brahms arrangements for two violins with rock drummer, by Eric Lyon, an associate professor in the School of Performing Arts, was premiered on March 28 at Roulette in Brooklyn, New York; it was performed by String Noise, the String Orchestra of Brooklyn, and Greg Saunier, the drummer from Deerhoof.

Charlene Eska, an associate professor in the Department of English, published “A Note on National Library of Sweden MS Vitterhet Engelsk II,” North American Journal of Celtic Studies 2:1 (2018): 79–83.

The following students were recipients of grant support for undergraduate research in 2017–2018.

Awarded Travel Grants were: Madison Arnsbarger, a senior Sociology and Economics major, “Modeling Response Times to Structure Fires” at the Data Science for the Social Good Conference, which was held September 28–29 in Chicago, Illinois; and Nala Chehade, a senior History and International Studies major, “The Politics of Palestinian Production: Self-Portrayals of Palestinian Refugees in Film” at the conference titled “Critical Junctures Crossing Borders: Spaces, Times, Forms,” which was held April 13–14 at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Chehade also received a Research Grant for “Paint and Politics: Analyzing the Arab Spring through Beirut’s Graffiti.”

In addition, the following departments were provided support: English for Undergraduate Research Conference; History for Undergraduate Research Showcase; Religion and Culture for Undergraduate Research Symposium; and Science, Technology, and Society for Undergraduate Research Day.

María del Carmen Caña Jiménez, an assistant professor in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures, published “Violencia, necropolítica y capitalocene en Cromo” (Violence, Necropolitics and Capitalocene in Cromo), Revista Canadiense de Estudios Hispánicos 42.1 (2017): 1–23.

In addition, Caña Jiménez was recognized as the May 2018 Advisor of the Month.

Mary Alice Barksdale, an associate professor in the School of Education, published Literacy and Democracy in South African Primary Schools (Baltimore, Maryland: Lexington Publications, 2018), with Getahun Abraham.

In addition, she received the 2018 Distinguished Service Award of the Eastern Educational Research Association (EERA); the award recognizes exemplary contributions to the association through leadership activities, mentoring, and/or ongoing participation in the association’s activities. The award was presented at the EERA annual meeting, which took place February 7–10 in Clearwater, Florida.

School of Education faculty member Mary Alice Barksdale and doctoral student Donna Fogelsong presented “Portrayals of Teachers in US Films 1990–2017” and, with Rachelle Kuehl and Caryn Caruso, “Diversity and Classroom Management: Examining the Impact of a Boot Camp for Student Teaching” at the annual meeting of the Eastern Educational Research Association, which was held February 7–10 in Clearwater, Florida.

The following academic advisors in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences completed the Virginia Tech Academic Advising Institute: Claire Boor, an instructor in the Department of Communication; Brianna Crowder, an undergraduate advisor in the Department of History; Laura Ferguson, and office assistant in the Department of English; Meghan Jester, an assistant director of Undergraduate Academic Affairs; Dawn Knight, a pre-education advision program coordinator for the School of Education; Brandi Quesenberry, an advanced instructor in the Department of Communication; Emily Stallings, an advanced instructor in the Department of Communication; and Amanda Villar, an academic advisor in the Department of Religion and Culture.

The Academic Advising Institute is a semester-long cohort program designed to assist academic advisors with enhancing their advising skills, while also encouraging them to recognize the importance of advising concepts, content, and relational skills needed within the advising relationship.

ASPECT doctoral student Julie Walters Steele, who also serves as director of the Reynolds Homestead, edited Reynolds Homestead: A Compilation of Historical Documents (Blacksburg: Virginia Tech, 2018).

Steele’s individual contributions to the volume are the Preface, “The Buried Community of Rock Spring Plantation,” “Ex parte Virginia: A Civil Rights Decision,” and “Reynolds Homestead 1970–2017,” pp. 8-9, 174–95, 200–205, and 206–12, respectively.

ASPECT doctoral students Caroline Alphin and Shelby Ward participated in the Western Political Science Association Meeting, which was held March 29–31 in San Francisco, California.

Alphin presented “Not a State of Exception: Weak State Killing as a Mode of Neoliberal Governmentality.”

Ward’s paper was titled “The Cosmopolitan Geospatial Imaginary of the Anthropocene: Reimagining Planetarity as a Response to Global Consumption and Blame.”

Corey Miles, a doctoral student in the Department of Sociology, was awarded an American Sociological Association Minority Fellowship for 2018–2019. 

The unveiling of the seventh volume of the Virginia Tech Undergraduate Historical Review took place at the Department of History Annual Undergraduate Research Showcase and Spring Tea on April 13. History master’s students Heath Furrow and Grace Hemmingson serve as managing editors, and faculty member Heather Gumbert serves as the faculty editor.

The following History majors at Virginia Tech published their work in this volume: Nala Chehade, “Paint and Politics: Analyzing the 2011 Egyptian Revolution through Graffiti”; Courtney Ebersohl, “‘We Believed It to Be Honorable Before God’: Religion in Enslaved Communities, 1840–1860”; Andrew Kapinos, “Dismantling the Myths of the Eastern Front: The Role of the Wehrmacht in the War of Annihilation”; and John Mastakas, “The Kremlin Kronicle: A Short Reflection.”

The volume concludes with the article “Meeting a Historian: An Interview with Dr. Geoffrey Megargee” by Hemmingson and Kapinos. Included as well is work by two non-Virginia Tech students: Talia Brenner, George Mason University, and Genevieve Keillor, Brown University.

ASPECT doctoral students Leigh McKagen and Shelby Ward participated in the Northeast Modern Language Association Convention, which took place April 12–15 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

McKagen’s paper was titled “Dystopian Television and a False Hope for Survival”; Ward presented “Poetic Mapping and Elizabeth Bishop: The Cartographic Imagination as Mapping Methodology.”

ASPECT doctoral student Sarah Plummer received Berea College’s 2018 Olive Ruth Russell Fellowship in the amount of $2,000. The fellowship is presented to Berea College female alumni pursuing graduate study; Plummer earned a B.A. from Berea College in 2005.

The following graduate students were inducted into the Academy for Graduate Teaching Assistant Excellence on March 28: ASPECT doctoral students Anthony Szczurek and Shelby Ward as associates, and Leanna Ireland, Sociology, Audra Jenson, Philosophy, and Christopher Savage, Curriculum and Instruction, as members. The purpose of the Academy is to enhance the knowledge and skills in teaching through the provision of opportunities for graduate students to receive advanced education and training in innovative teaching and learning strategies and to recognize excellence in teaching by graduate students.

Michael Saffle, a professor in the Department of Religion and Culture, published “Visual Representations of Jazz, 1915–1945,” Music Cultures in Sounds, Words, and Images: Essays in Honor of Zdravko Blazekovic, ed. Antonio Baldassare and Tatjana Markovic (Vienna: Hollitzer, 2018), pp. 665–76.

Buddy Howell, a Visiting Assistant Professor in the  Department of Communication, received the Leon Geyer Award from the Virginia Tech Undergraduate Honor System. The award recognizes a faculty member on the Honor Council who exemplifies the historical significance and dedication that Leon Geyer had in developing Virginia Tech’s Honor System.

The unveiling of Volume X of Philologia, the undergraduate research venue of the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, took place April 30 in the Multipurpose Room in Newman Library. The print version of the magazine includes creative scholarship as well as articles written by Philologia editorial staff that discuss research by undergraduates in the College; the research articles themselves are found in full in the online journal.

This year’s staff consisted of: editor-in-chief Rachel Moore, Literature and Language and Creative Writing; managing editor Emily Purcell, Creative Writing and Fashion Merchandising and Design; associate editors: Rachel Beisser, Professional and Technical Writing and Literature and Language; Lindsay Boerger, HistorySophia Campos, Philosophy, Political Science, and Economics and Political ScienceMichelle Corinaldi, SociologyBecky Felter, Public Relations and Professional and Technical Writing; Holly Hunter, Public Relations; and Nicole Kurka, Literature and Language Pre-Education and Professional and Technical Writing; chief layout editor Ryan Waltz, Multimedia Journalism and Spanish; and layout editor Taylor Bush, Multimedia Journalism and Fashion Merchandising and Design.

Volume X consists of the following articles and creative scholarship:“A Case Study in Religion and Culture: Faith Healing in the United States within the Christian Traditions” by Rachel Sutphin, Human Development, International Studies, and Religion and Culture, article by Becky Felter; “Human Trafficking of Children on a Global Scale” by Lauren Percherke, Management, article by Michelle Corinaldi; “A World ‘Made of Breath’: Cormac McCarthy and the Oral Storytelling Tradition” by Joshua Kim, Literature and Language, article by Rachel Beisser; “Evaluating Differences in Serial Murderers on a Global Scale” by Grace Kim, Criminology, Political Science, and Sociology, article by Kim Boerger; “Tarot in Blood Meridian” by Demetria Lee, a Political Science, Philosophy, and Literature and Language alumna, article by Sophia Campos; “Writhe: After Slave Shipby J.M.W. Turner,” a poem by Shalini Rana, Creative Writing and Professional and Technical Writing; “Exploring Turn-taking and Discourse Markers through Generations” by Literature and Language alumna Meghan Kolcum, article by Nicole Kurka; and “Impact of Christianity on Israel-Palestine Peace Relations” by Rachel Sutphin, article by Holly Hunter.

The assistance of College administrators – Monica Kimbrell, assistant dean; Daniel Thorp, History and associate dean; and Debra Stoudt, Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures and associate dean – was acknowledged as was the support and guidance from college faculty and review board members: Patricia Fisher, Apparel, Housing, and Resource Management; Nancy Metz, EnglishShaily Patel, Religion and Culture; Luke Plotica, Political Science; and Robert Stephens, History.

Emily Purcell will assume the role of editor-in-chief for the 2018–2019 academic year.

Alexander Dickow, an associate professor in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures, was one of 12 recipients of a 2018 PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grant. Dickow was awarded $2,800 to assist in the completion of his translation from the French of Sylvie Kandé’s Neverending Quest for the Other Shore: An Epic in Three Cantos. An excerpt can be found here.

In addition, Dickow published “Eloge d’un poète sentimental” (In Praise of a Sentimental Poet), Cahiers Tristan Corbière 1 (2018): 219–31; and “Dèze le mécréant, pionnier allophage” (Dez the Impious, Pioneer of Heterophagy), Catastrophes6 (February 8, 2018), online.

The following faculty members were recognized as 2018–2019 Institute for Society, Culture, and Environment Scholars: co-principal investigator Katherine Allen, Human Development and Family Science, co-principal investigator France Belanger, and consultant Jill Kiecolt, Sociology, “An Interdisciplinary Study of Intelligent Home Assistants’ Invasiveness in Family Units”; co-investigator Ben Katz, Human Development and Family Science, co-investigator Tina Savla, Human Development and Family Science and Center for Gerontology, principal investigator Brenda Davy, and co-investigator Kevin Davy, “Premeal Water and Weight Loss: Cognitive, Behavioral, and Physiological Aspects”; and principal investigator Eunju Hwang, Apparel, Housing, and Resource Management, co-principal investigator Nancy Brossoie, Center for Gerontology, and co-investigators Max Stephenson and Sophie Wenzel, “An Interdisciplinary Team Approach to Study Age Friendly Community Initiatives and Policies.”

The following students were awarded scholarships from the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences in support of study abroad participation.

For Summer 2018 Session I: Nala Chehade, History and International Studies, Oman; Victoria Driggs, Music Education, Spain; Emily Gurganus, Professional and Technical Writing and Literature and Language, United Kingdom; Alana Hassett, Professional and Technical Writing and Creative Writing, United Kingdom; Amy Hensler, Political Science, Oman; Jenna Humphrey, International Studies, Paris; Nathaniel Inman, Russian, Latvia; Danielle Jeffers, Multimedia Journalism, Switzerland; Marcella Kaplan, Russian and Civil and Environmental Engineering, Latvia; Montana Koslowski, Political Science and History, Oman; Scottie Lynch, History, Paris; Timothy Miles, Religion and Culture, Oman; Katherine Simko, International Public Policy, Oman; and Abigail Wentworth, Public Relations and Spanish, Spain.

For Summer 2018 Session II: Amanda Young, Literature and Language, Japan.

For Fall 2018: Cecelia Burger, History and Political Science, Switzerland; Kaitlyn Flecker, Religion and Culture, Switzerland; Cheyenne Fortune DeLuna, Human Development, Switzerland; Moira Miller, Spanish and Physics, Spain; and Jeremy Tidman, Religion and Culture and Cinema, Switzerland.