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April 2016 Spotlights

Student Success: The IPFW Chapman Scholars Program has selected its Chapman Scholars for 2016-17 from incoming IPFW students. Three of the recipients intend to pursue majors within the College of Arts and Sciences: Brooklyn Bleszke, from Carroll High School, is planning to study political science; Brian Blackwell, from R. Nelson Snider High School, intends to pursue a chemistry degree; and Srikiran Dasari, from Northrop High School, plans to double-major in biology and pre-med.



Campus Event: The Department of Anthropology's year-end mixer for students, faculty, and alumni will be held on Saturday, April 30th from 6:00pm to 10:00pm at Old Crown Coffee Roasters. Contact the anthropology department for more information.


Picture of WinnerGraduate Award: Callie Veelenturf, a graduate student in biology, won the Archie Carr award for best student poster at the 36th annual International Sea Turtle Symposium held in Lima, Peru.  The poster was entitled “Human Use and Potential Impacts to the Green Sea Turtle (Chelonia mydas) in Key In-Water Habitat of Southeast Florida” and was part of research Veelenturf conducted while she was a Hollings Scholar through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Faculty Award: Frank Paladino, professor and chair of biology, was elected and installed as the next president of the International Sea Turtle Society and will organize and run the next annual International Sea Turtle Symposium in Las Vegas  April 15–23, 2017.

Graduate Award: Five biology students participated in IPFW’s first Three Minute Thesis (3MT) research communication competition on March 2. Kumud Joshi (graduate student, biology) came in first place with her project “Rag5 Mediated Resistance to Soybean Aphids.” Shannon Kuznar (graduate student, biology) and Jinlong Han (graduate student, biology) tied for second place with “Oceanic Foodies: Scalloped Hammerhead Diet Shifts” and “Soybean Vein Necrosis Virus: A New Face to Soybean Diseases,” respectively. Kumud will represent IPFW in the regional 3MT competition at the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools annual meeting in Chicago on April 6–8. She will face competitors from IU, Purdue, University of Notre Dame, and 19 other schools.

Faculty in the News: Punya Nachappa, assistant professor of biology, spoke to reporters about the decline in bee populations in the United States. The Fort Wayne Homepage article “Going Green - Curbing the Extinction of Honeybees” discusses factors that contribute to Colony Collapse Disorder, and Nachappa warned that lower bee populations would result in decreased food production.


Faculty Research: Peng Jing, assistant professor of chemistry, recently developed a new method for the preparation of fusible proteoliposomes (a liposome into which proteins have been inserted) containing portal proteins from bacteriophages. Jing applied for a patent for this technology and published a paper in Molecular Biosystems, entitled, “Highly Efficient Integration of the Viral Portal Proteins from Different Tyles of Phages into Planar Bilayers for the Black Lipid Membrane Analysis” with coauthors Hallel Paraiso (B.S., biology, ’15) and Benjamin Burris (senior, chemistry and Spanish). This technology could be commercialized for different biomedical applications and enhance nanotechnology, biophysics, microbiology, and pharmaceutical research and development. See this Purdue technology profile for more.


Faculty Publication: Sarah Leblanc, visiting instructor in communication, published her piece The Bright and Dark Side of Joseph Fenton:  An Ethnographic Frame Analysis of the Man Known as Sudharman with the Journal of Death Studies. This piece examines the communication about Joe “Sudharman” Fenton following his murder on July 4, 2010. By analyzing media coverage, blogs, funeral services, and interviews, Leblanc determined that the communication described Fenton as being manipulative, deceitful, and at times, emotionally abusive.

Faculty in the News: The Communicator article, “Part-Time Professors: Hard Work, Low Pay,” focuses on adjunct (part-time) instructors at universities, most of whom have low pay and no benefits. Marcia Dixson, assistant vice chancellor for teaching and learning and associate professor of communication, commented that there are benefits to the current system and expressed gratitude to IPFW’s limited term lecturers.


Student Presentation: Writing Center consultants Carrie Brooks (graduate student, English) and Rachel Abraham (senior, general studies) presented a panel at the East Central Writing Center Association (ECWCA) conference at the University of Mount Union in Alliance, Ohio on March 4–5. Their presentation explained how the Writing Center at IPFW addressed student needs with their new services. Abraham was also nominated for the ECWCA 2016 Tutor Leadership Award.

Faculty Award: George Kalamaras, professor of English, was honored with the first Featured Faculty for Excellence in Engagement award on March 24, 2016. See the press release for more information on Kalamaras’ engagement efforts and accomplishments.

Faculty in the News: Kalamaras was also featured on the PBS program, arts IN focus, on which he was interviewed by host Emilie Henry. Kalamaras spoke about his experiences as Indiana's poet laureate from 2014–16. He also reflected on the importance of making poetry more accessible to the public. Watch the full show here.


Faculty Publication: After decades of finding, identifying, and analyzing fossil samples, a team of researchers headed by Ben Dattilo, associate professor of geology, published their paper “Giants among Micromorphs: Were Cincinnatian (Ordovician, Katian) Small Shelly Phosphatic Faunas Dwarfed?” as the cover article for the scientific journal Palaios. The paper examines determining factors for the preservation of fossils from the Ordovician period in the Cincinnati area. The research indicates that the sedimentary phosphate that many tiny fossils were found in is biased towards preserving smaller organisms, and that larger organisms could very well have occupied that region in the same time period. The team included Anne Argast, professor of geology; Winfried Peters, associate professor of biology; and Jessie Reeder (senior, geology). A summary of the research for all audiences is available through this video, or see the press release for more information.


Faculty in the News: In her article in The Atlantic, “‘Americanitis’: The Disease of Living too Fast,” Julie Beck consulted and cited the work of David Schuster, associate professor of history. In her article on the legacy of the disease neurasthenia, which—according to nineteenth-century doctors—occurred when people spent too much “nervous energy” by working too hard or “living too fast,” Beck used Schuster's work to analyze the ill-defined nature or symptoms of neurasthenia. Beck ultimately concludes that, while neurasthenia is very rarely diagnosed today, the general concern over “living too fast” persists.


Faculty in the News: Lachlan Whalen, associate professor of English and director of international studies, was interviewed for the WBOI feature “The Pluck of the Irish.” Whalen explained how the celebration and pride surrounding the Irish on St. Patrick’s Day stems from the overwhelming number of US citizens of Irish descent. He reveals that his own interest in Irish culture and his focus on contemporary Irish political prisoners came from his dad, who took him to numerous Irish cultural centers in Boston when he was younger.


Campus Event: On March 30–31, 2016, Medieval Books: A Symposium was held on the IPFW campus. Several undergraduate students presented their research on medieval manuscripts as part of the 19th Annual IPFW Student Research and Creative Endeavor Symposium. The symposium also featured three talks: "Authors in the Margins of Manuscripts and Books" by Lindy Brady, assistant professor of English for the University of Mississippi, and Joshua Byron Smith, assistant professor of English and associate director of medieval and renaissance studies for the University of Arkansas; "Dreaming the Apocalypse in Late Medieval Books" by Boyda Johnstone, graduate assistant and PhD candidate from Fordham University; and "Examining Medieval English Books of Medicine" by Jessica Henderson, a PhD candidate from the University of Toronto. The symposium concluded with the keynote address “Why Books Matter” by Elaine Treharne, Roberta Bowman Denning Professor of Humanities and professor of English at Stanford University.


Faculty in the News: Abraham Schwab, associate professor of philosophy, stated in the Journal Gazette article “Needle Plan Minimizes Social Harms” that intravenous drugs were a poor decision, and then asked if it was more important to punish that decision or to prevent further social harm. The article explains the recent rise in HIV cases in Indiana is due to intravenous drug users sharing needles. Experts have determined that a needle exchange program could prevent the disease from spreading further, even though it provides needles to drug users.

Faculty Publication: Schwab also published, “Courting Disaster: House Bill 1337 and Increasing Regulations on Abortion in Indiana,” with WBOI. In it, Schwab discusses the new restrictions on abortions in Indiana and points out language within the bill that is unclear or misleading. He encourages readers to question specific components of the bill, especially because its current form is sloppy, contains unclear language, and lacks vetting.


Campus Event: The Department of Physics held a public presentation on March 18 to discuss the recent discovery of gravitational waves. Instruments recorded the sound of two black holes colliding roughly one billion lightyears away, confirming elements of Einstein’s general theory of relativity. The Department of Physics explained what this means to the public and provided visual demonstrations of the phenomenon.

Faculty Award: Jacob Millspaw, continuing lecturer in physics, received the 2016 Award for Excellence in Distance Learning Emerging Innovation for his online course PHYS 12500, Light and Color. Millspaw will be recognized at the Purdue Provost’s Faculty Awards Convocation on Monday April 25, 2016, at 4:00pm in the Purdue Memorial Union Ballroom.


Faculty in the News: Andrew Downs, associate professor of political science, spoke on several local and state issues. The Journal Gazette article “2 Projects Top Big Year Ahead in City Housing” details ongoing construction projects designed to provide housing opportunities for the elderly by renovating the Hillcrest School for their use. Downs said that the architecture would be maintained if possible, but funding would be the primary factor in making that decision. Another Journal Gazette article, “Bloom Recovers from Surgery,” reveals that Allen County Commissioner Linda Bloom is ready to return to work after surgery on her Achilles tendon. Downs noted that though she has missed meetings, projects have moved forward and administrative work was still getting completed. The News-Sentinel article “Students Urged to Make Opinions Known about Future Plans for IPFW” describes meetings held at IPFW to inform students and staff about proposals to split the university. Downs ran one of the meetings and remarked on the apparent lack of research done by the Legislative Services Agency committee.

Three Indystar articles on statewide issues also included input from Downs. The first article, “Indiana Bill Limits Women's Reasons for Abortion,” explains the new restrictions on abortions in Indiana proposed by Republican legislators. Downs commented that the Planned Parenthood videos galvanized voters and politicians on the issue, and that the issue itself plays a large role in local primaries. The second article, “With Election Looming, Indiana Lawmakers Played It Safe in 2016 Session,” suggests that the legislature intentionally backed off on controversial spending, education, and civil rights bills because of the upcoming primaries. Downs noted that it could possibly be a result of the short session itself, however. Finally, the article “State to Locals: You Can't Do That. Or That.” discusses the recent actions by the General Assembly to block municipal legislation on topics like minimum wage or gun regulation by passing pre-emptive bills. Downs remarked that pro-economic development groups tend to favor uniformity in a state.

Faculty in the News: Michael Wolf, associate professor of political science, spoke about Donald Trump’s candidacy and the state of Indiana’s primary in multiple sources. In “IPFW Watches Super Tuesday Results” from Fort Wayne Homepage, Wolf is interviewed about the IPFW Watch Party for Super Tuesday, at which Wolf commented on the performance of each candidate and said he believed Indiana's vote in May would be fairly important. In the article, “Community Reacts to Trump Presidency Odds,” the reaction of several Fort Wayne citizens to Donald Trump’s performance on Super Tuesday is discussed. Wolf explained that Trump had several factors assisting him including his momentum and the number of candidates in the race.

Wolf spoke in multiple articles on the subject of the upcoming primaries. The Wane article “Does Indiana Get a Fair Shake in the Presidential Primaries?” questions the fairness of Indiana’s presidential primary taking place in May when many races are already decided by that point. Wolf remarked that the process of changing the date is actually quite difficult. Wolf and Downs gave comments in the Wane article “Fort Wayne Lawmaker Leading the Push for an Earlier Presidential Primary” about efforts by Senator David Long to vote earlier in the 2020 presidential primary. Wolf said that this would give Indiana an advantage in the presidential primary, but Downs remarked that the cost and reduced turnout for other primaries might prevent the measure from succeeding. Finally, in the article “Bitter GOP Presidential Contest Could Spell Exciting Indiana Primary” from Indianapolis Business Journal, Wolf explained that the close, divided contest for the GOP presidential nomination could make Indiana’s primary significantly more important despite its late date. Wolf also mentioned that this could lead to a greater turnout for local elections and state senate races.


Alumni Update: Recent IPFW graduates Robert Reyes (B.A., ’15) and Jessica Hammond (B.A., ’15) have received offers of employment from the Fort Wayne Autism Center. Both graduates are thrilled to have this opportunity to use their psychology degrees and attribute their success to the Immersion Excursion event held by the Fort Wayne Autism Center and IPFW Career Services.


Faculty/Student Presentations: Sherrie Steiner, assistant professor of sociology, along with several undergraduate students, presented at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the North Central Sociological Association in Chicago, Illinois. Steiner, Sierra Marsh (sophomore, sociology), Isaac Puffs (junior, sociology and psychology), and Jacob Wegner (junior, general studies with a sociology minor) prepared a presentation entitled “Risk Perception in Light of the Disruption of the Quotidian.” The presentation focused on how the perceived order of everyday life creates a sense of control and diminishes perceived risk.

Student Presentation: Isaac Puff (junior, sociology and psychology) also presented “Rural Isolation, Virtual Community and Human Agency” at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the North Central Sociological Association. Puff’s presentation focused on Blackford County Concerned Citizens (BCCC) organization, a grassroots organization created to address local community members' concerns about possible industrial contamination. Puff examined the organization’s use of social media to increase a rural community’s visibility.

Faculty Publication: Steiner also published a chapter, “Is Religious Soft Power of Consequence in the World Today?” in the third of a three-volume edited collection on the interaction between religion and social order, entitled, Religious Diversity Today: Experiencing Religion in the Contemporary World (2016). Steiner also has a forthcoming chapter, “Implementing Reciprocity for Collaborative Community Partnership” in a collection of essays edited by Gail Hickey, professor of education at IPFW, entitled Reflecting on Service-Learning in Higher Education.