Sociology 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.

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

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.

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 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 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 following faculty and staff members in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences were winners of a 2018 University Faculty/Staff Award. Additional details regarding these award winners can be found via the links on this page.

Carlene Arthur, a retired operations coordinator for the Center for Gerontology, received the Staff Career Achievement Award for her role in helping to shape the Center for Gerontology and the Institute for Society, Culture, and Environment; she was honored with the President’s Award for Excellence in 2015 for her outstanding contributions and consistently excellent performance to these units. Arthur coordinated the 18-month renovation of the Wallace Annex, which became the new home to the center and the institute. She planned and managed the center’s annual awards and recognition celebration and helped coordinate several research projects in ISCE. Arthur retired from Virginia Tech in 2017 after 22 years of service.

Trudy Harrington Becker, a senior instructor in the Department of History, received the Alumni Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Academic Advising. During her 25-year career at Virginia Tech she has advised undergraduate students in History and Classical Studies formally and informally. From 2011 to 2016 she served as Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of History and for the last seven years she has been the leader of the department’s first-year experience course. The recipient of many university teaching and international awards, Becker also has fulfilled the roles of study abroad advisor, career advisor, point person for summer internships, advisor of the History Club, and co-advisor of the Classics Club.

Toni Calasanti, a professor in the Department of Sociology, was recognized with the Alumni Award for Excellence in International Research. A leading expert in the sociology of aging, she is considered a founding scholar in the area of study now known as feminist gerontology and her scholarship has provided a framework for understanding the experiences of women and men in old age. Her work is well known globally: she serves on the International Board of the International Institute on Ageing, United Nations; has presented papers at the Asia and Oceania regional meetings of the International Congress on Gerontology; and last year was guest professor at the School of Social Sciences and Humanities at the University of Tampere in Finland.

María del Carmen Caña Jiménez, an assistant professor in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures, was the recipient of the Presidential Principles of Community Award, established this year by President Tim Sands to recognize those who exemplify and promote a welcome and inclusive environment at Virginia Tech. She is a former chair of the Hispanic and Latino Faculty and Staff Caucus and currently serves on the College’s Diversity Committee as well as the university’s Commission on Equal Opportunity and Diversity. She received a College Diversity Grant to recruit underrepresented and underserved students to the university and has co-hosted visits to campus by groups of Hispanic students from various parts of the state.

Brandy Faulkner, a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science, received the Diggs Teaching Scholar Award. She teaches a range of classes, from the required undergraduate Research Methods course to Constitutional Law, Administrative Law, and The Politics of Race, Ethnicity, and Gender; problem-solving projects and teamwork are pivotal to the interdependent learning environment she fosters in each course. Faulkner organized the first Teach-in on the African American Experience, which focused on the racialized impact of public policy decisions. She strives to promote an appreciation of diversity, inclusiveness, and collaboration on campus and in her engagement efforts with the New River Valley community.

Saul Halfon, an associate professor in the Department of Science, Technology, and Society, was recognized with the Alumni Award for Excellence in Graduate Academic Advising. He is the department leader in the number of students advised, student retention, completion rates, and job placement of graduates. He has been especially supportive of international graduate students and has provided assistance with regard to the cultural and language issues they face. His mentoring of students often continues long after their graduation from Virginia Tech. Halfon serves as the department’s Director of Graduate Studies and on the Graduate School Dean’s Graduate Culture Task Force, and he has chaired both the College and University Graduate Curriculum Committees.

Paul Heilker, an associate professor in the Department of English, was recognized with the Alumni Award for Excellence in Teaching. He has taught a range of courses, from first-year composition to doctoral-level courses in rhetorical theory. He developed an online version of ENGL 3764: Technical Writing, which has become a popular course during summer and winter sessions. He has served as a mentor to students working on major writing projects and as Capstone Project director for 31 master’s students in English. He served as co-director of the doctoral program in Rhetoric and Writing from 2006 to 2011 and as Director from 2011 to 2013. Since 2016 he has directed the Presidential Global Scholars Program in the Honors College, of which he was a founding faculty member.

Rebecca Hester, an assistant professor in the Department of Science, Technology, and Society, and Emily Satterwhite, an associate professor in the Department of Religion and Culture, received the Diggs Teaching Scholars Award for their efforts in empowering students to confront contemporary health challenges in the United States and internationally and approach them as issues for civic engagement. A New Program Development Grant from the Global Education Office in 2015 allowed them to travel to the Dominican Republic to explore study abroad options. With support from a Curriculum Globalization Grant, Satterwhite and Hester developed Societal Health in Local and Global Contexts, in which students examine cultural and social influences on health in the United States and Latin America.

Billie Lepczyk, a professor in the School of Performing Arts, was the recipient of the Alumni Award for Excellence in Research. Her research focuses on the movement styles of classical ballet and of artists such as George Balanchine, Merce Cunningham, Martha Graham, and Twyla Tharp; her primary method is Laban movement analysis, through which she identifies qualities in movement configuration. During her tenure at Virginia Tech, she has been the highest ranked individual abstract author on the Research Consortium Program; as a result, Virginia Tech is the highest ranked institution. She serves as co-editor of five volumes of the book series Dance: Current Selected Research, and she has presented her research worldwide.

Nancy Metz, a professor in the Department of English, garnered the William E. Wine Award for Teaching Excellence. She was recognized for her engagement with students, challenging their views and encouraging them to reevaluate and seek new answers. In her 40 years of teaching, she has fostered the role of writing, collaboration, and individualized research projects in undergraduate curriculum; numerous students she has mentored have presented their work at regional conferences, including the ACC Meeting of the Minds, or published their papers in Philologia, the College’s undergraduate research journal. She serves on the Faculty Advisory Board of the Office of Undergraduate Research, which she co-chaired in 2016.

Ashley Reed, an assistant professor in the Department of English, received the XCaliber Award, which recognizes integration of technology in teaching and learning, for her development of the course ENGL 4784: Scrapbooks and Nineteenth-Century American Poetry as well as the associated project, the Virginia Lucas Poetry Scrapbook. The course includes a study of the poetry’s circulation in the United States in manuscript and print form. Students transcribe and analyze poems, contributing their work to an online edition of the scrapbook, created originally by Lucas, a resident of Jefferson County, Virginia, before the Civil War. Having honed their digital project design and communications skills, students present their research at a public symposium at the end of the term.

Kaitlin Boyle, and assistant professor in the Department of Sociology, published “Who is Presidential? Women’s Political Representation, Deflection, and the 2016 Election,” Socius 4 (March 30, 2018), with Chase Meyer. 

The following students in the College participated in the 2018 Women’s and Gender Studies Conference titled “Invi(n)scibility.” The conference took place April 27 in Newman Library.

Presenting papers were: Dzifa Anyetei-anum, Sociology graduate student, “The Spectacle as Invincible”; Katherine Ayers, Sociology graduate student, “Rethinking Separatist Women’s Spaces”; Michelle Corinaldi, Sociology major, “‘Motherhood Penalty’ in the Workplace: An Exploration into the Negative Assumptions, Performance Standards, and Evaluations of Full-time Working Mothers,” and “‘Have You Seen Her’: An Exploration into the Irregular Realities of News Coverage and Media Attention on ‘Missing’ Black and Brown Girls”; Sadie Giles and Jessica Herling, both Sociology graduate students, “The Rise of Super-Geezer: A Theory of Geronormativity”; Inaash Islam, Sociology graduate student, “Redefining What it Means to Be #YourAverageMuslim: A Theoretical Approach to Muslim Feminist Digital Activism”; Devin Koch, creative writing graduate student, “Drag as Autobiography”; Mary Rose Lunde, English graduate student, “Elizabeth Cady Stanton: Revolutionizing the Argument of Women’s Rights”; Lipon Mondal, Sociology graduate student, “‘Life is Full of Tears, Sacrifices, and Sufferings’: Women Domestic Workers in Bangladesh”; Maria Paola Monteros-Freeman, Foreign Languages Cultures and Literature graduate student, “The Creation of Myth and Fiction: La Quintrala in the Works of Vicuna Mackenna and Mercedes Valdiviezo”; Doreen Ndizeye, International Studies major, “The Floor is Lava”; Ksenia Neubert, Sociology major, “Erasure and Misunderstanding: Views on Bisexuality in Western Society”; Hayley Oliver, Literature and Language major, “‘Kaleidoscopic’ Feminist Perspectives on the Issue of Sexual Assault on College Campuses: An Illumination”; Paige Talley, Music major, “Black Women in U.S. History: Shadows in the Classroom”; Anamika Raj, Sociology graduate student, “The Unsafe Home: Domestic Violence Against Women in India”; Elizabeth Setaro, Literature and Language major, “Circular Arguments: Self-Defeating Rhetoric of Lydia Maria Child’s ‘An Appeal for the Indians’”; Orpheus Vazquez, political science major, “Transgender and Genderqueer Invisibility/Visibility in Hong Kong and Singapore”; and Emily Vu, Political Science major, “The Use of Satire to Explain Concepts within Women’s and Gender Studies.”

The winners of the Barbara Ellen Smith Outstanding Essay Award were undergraduate Michelle Corinaldi and graduate student Inaash Islam.

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