Religion and Culture Academic News

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

The following College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences students accepted the invitation to become members of Phi Beta Kappa this semester: Emily Allen, Political Science; Alexa Amster, French and Public Relations; Mycah Ausberry, French and Public Relations;Julia Billingsley, Political Science; Alexandra Bochna, History and Political Science; Nala Chehade, History and International Studies; Samantha Conlin, Human Development; Amy Davis, Spanish; Ashley Doyle, Public Relations; Samantha Drury, Political Science; Deonté Easter, International Studies; Ann Esmond, Creative Writing and Literature and Language; Megan Finkbeiner, Public Relations; Dara Finley, Political Science; Caroline Fountain, Political Science; Zane Grey, Political Science; Cassandra Hanson, Music; Maria Jernigan, Philosophy, Spanish, and Theatre Arts; Kyle Jewell, Philosophy; Alexa Jones, Political Science; Alexandra Jones, Russian; Andrew Kapinos, History; Joshua Kim, Literature and Language; Jessica King, Communication Studies and International Studies; Ashton Lineberry, Literature and Language; Kyle Manuel, Political Science; John Mastakas, History; Haley Meade, Religion and CultureAllyson Miller, International Studies; Kenneth Miller, Classical Studies and History; Nicholas Milroy, Political Science; Jillian Mouton, Creative Writing, Literature and Language, and Professional and Technical Writing; Kelly O’Brien, Criminology and Sociology; Virginia Pellington, Multimedia Journalism; Anna Pendleton, Public Relations and Spanish; Michaela Podolny, International Studies and Religion and Culture; Shalini Rana, Creative Writing and Professional and Technical Writing; Diana Schulberg, Political Science; Sarah Shinton, Political Science; Rachel Sutphin, Human Development, International Studies, and Religion and Culture; Carter Thompson, International Studies; Tully Thompson, Classical Studies; Jacob Tyler, Criminology; Katherine Wagner, Creative Writing; Stephen White, Philosophy; Madeline Williams, Spanish; and Nicholas Work, Political Science. The initiation took place on May 10.

The College awarded Departmental Diversity Grants to the following projects during the 2017–2018 academic year: Aaron Ansell, an associate professor in the Department of Religion and Culture, partnership with the Department of History, the School of Visual Arts, and historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) for research and graduate student recruitment; Gena Chandler-Smith, an associate professor, and Virginia Fowler, a professor in the Department of English, partnership with Virginia HBCUs to build a mentoring network to support research and graduate student recruitment; Sukaina Hirji and Daniel Wodak, an assistant professors in the  Department of Philosophy, speaker series to advance diversity in the field of philosophy; Eunju Hwang, an assistant professor in the Department of Apparel, Housing, and Resource Management, partnership with HBCUs for a research symposium, class projects, and other collaborations; and Annie Stevens, an assistant professor in the School of Performing Arts, funding for a visiting percussionist from Ghana.

Rachel Sutphin, a senior majoring in Human Development, International Studies, and Religion and Culture, with a minor in Judaic Studies, received the Phi Kappa Phi medallion for the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.

During her three years at Virginia Tech she has engaged in a wide variety of academic experiences – undergraduate research, independent study, study abroad, and an internship – and a variety of extracurricular activities.

Following graduation, Sutphin will attend the Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia.

Phi Kappa Phi recognizes and promotes academic excellence in all fields of higher education and engages the community of scholars in service to others. Each year Virginia Tech’s chapter of the society awards a medallion to one graduating senior from each college selected from among those students with the highest academic standing in the college.

Matthew Gabriele, an associate professor in the Department of Religion and Culture, was featured on the public radio show “With Good Reason” the week of April 21 on its program “Women in Westeros.” He discussed truth in the fantasy world of Game of Thrones and how the women of Westeros gain and lose power in the world of dragons and warfare.

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