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Recent News in the College of Arts and Science


Faculty Award: Mark Jordan, associate professor of biology, is the 2015 winner of the Leepoxy Plastics, Inc. Award for innovative undergraduate teaching. Bob Gillespie, associate professor of biology, nominated Jordan based on the innovative writing exercise and service learning project implemented in his vertebrate biology course. Students create comprehensive descriptions of a species that are published on the Animal Diversity Web, an online database maintained by the University of Michigan’s Museum of Zoology.

Faculty Grant: Vamsi Nalam, visiting assistant professor in biology, received a one-year grant from the Indiana Soybean Alliance for $28,168 for a project entitled, “Evaluation of Soybean Transgenics Expressing a Host Defense Regulatory Gene, PHYTOALEXIN DEFICIENT4 (PAD4) for Enhancing Resistance to Soybean Aphid.”

Conference Presentations: Assistant Professor of Biology Jaiyanth Daniel’s three biology students Audrey Martin, Shelby Reyes, and Jamison Law, presented posters at the 2015 spring meeting of the Indiana branch of the American Society for Microbiology at Brown County State Park. Two of Daniel’s students won awards at the event: Martin won second place in the graduate student poster category, and Law won second place in the undergraduate student poster category.


Faculty Grant: Steven Stevenson, associate professor of chemistry, received a $288,000 grant from the National Science Foundation for his research proposal entitled “Chemical Methods for Isolating Metal Clusters Inside Large Fullerene Cages.” His research will continue developing a new method for discovering molecules that form only at very high temperatures.


Conference Presentations: Both faculty members and students presented papers at the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) Region 5 Conference, April 8-10, in Indianapolis. Irwin Mallin, associate professor of communication, and Amanda Seilheimer, administrative assistant in general studies and graduate student in professional communication, presented “Affinity Seeking Strategies: At the Crossroads of Better Communication and Appreciative Advising.” Gabrielle Warner,  undergraduate double-major in women's studies and interpersonal and organizational communication, and Corrie Fox, academic advisor and coordinator for transitions in the Mastodon Advising Center, presented “Readmitted Students: A Unique Population.”

Alumni Update: Giuliana Sorce (M.S. '14) earned her Master of Science in Professional Communication Studies in spring 2014. She is currently pursuing a dual Ph.D. degree in Mass Communication and Women’s Studies at Pennsylvania State University.


Faculty Grant: Damian Fleming, associate professor of English and linguistics, has been awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) summer stipend, for his project “Understanding Hebrew Alphabets in Early Medieval Manuscripts.” He will spend his research grant period analyzing Hebrew alphabets found within early medieval Christian manuscripts. Fleming’s research findings will contribute to a growing body of evidence that contradicts the received scholarly narrative that Christians of western Europe first became interested in the study of biblical Hebrew in the thirteenth century and only in earnest at the time of the Reformation.


Community Event: Science Central will culminate its Lunch with an IPFW Scientist series on May 9th, with “Reefs through Time,” featuring Ben Dattilo, associate professor of geology. Dattilo will discuss modern and fossil reefs while exploring the different plants and animals that build or live around them.


Alumni Update: Aaron Witcher (B.A. '13; B.A. '14) graduated in spring 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in English and a minor in French, then he graduated in spring 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in French. Afterward, Witcher moved to France and taught English for seven months. He will now return to the United States, after being accepted into the French master’s program at Penn State University.

Alumni Update: Dennis Gaerte, Ph.D., (B.A. '71) graduated from IPFW in 1971 with a Bachelor of Arts in German. He then received an MSED from Indiana University in 1975 and a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction from Purdue University in 1996. After graduation, he worked as a teacher and administrator at Belmont High School in Decatur, Indiana and in Roanoke, Virginia. Now, Gaerte is retiring as Professor of Education after his 24th year at Grace College in Winona Lake, Indiana. At Grace, he has served as instructor, licensing advisor, field experience coordinator, director of student teaching, and director of the master's program.


Faculty Award: Georgia Wralstad Ulmschneider, associate professor of political science and pre-law advisor, was honored with IPFW’s 2015 Outstanding Advisor Award. Ulmschneider has served as COAS’s pre-law advisor for 35 years and worked with almost every IPFW student who went on to law school.

Alumni Update: The op-ed “5 Hope-and-Change Take-Aways from Nigeria's Election” by political science graduate Chayenne Polimédio (B.A. ’14), junior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment, and Sarah Chayes, senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment, appeared in the April 4th issue of the LA Times. The article outlined five key areas that affected the Nigerian election. Polimédio is one of only 13 junior fellows at the Carnegie Endowment. To learn about Polimédio's work at IPFW, watch her Major Factor video.


Faculty Appointment: Quinton Dixie, associate professor of religious studies, has been appointed to a three-year term as director of COAS's Peace and Conflict Studies certificate program (PACS). His term begins with the fall 2015 semester.

Faculty in the News: Abe Schwab, associate professor of philosophy, wrote two articles for National Healthcare Decisions Day (April 16th) on the importance of advance care planning. He wrote “Putting Patients’ Wishes First” for Fort Wayne's Journal Gazette and “The Importance, and Limits, of Advanced Care Planning” for the Northeast Indiana Public Radio (NIPR) website.


Current Research: Members of the Department of Psychology and the Information Analytics and Visualization Center (IAV) in the Department of Computer Science are exploring the psychological aspects of using 3-D virtual reality devices. Specifically, they are investigating how cues for simulated movement in virtual displays impact the perception that one is moving through the virtual environment and feelings of motion sickness. Psychology chair Carol Lawton and four undergraduate psychology students—Ryan Harvey, Andrew Horton, Carrie Serna, and Crysta Terry—are using a virtual display with 3-D goggles programmed by computer science graduate Benjamin Aeschliman (M.S. ’10), application software developer for IAV.

Faculty in the News: The article “Will Religious Freedom Laws Disrupt Higher Education for LGBTQ Students?” by Jeannie D. DiClementi, associate professor of psychology, was featured on The Conversation website. The article explores laws, campus climate, LGBTQ student concerns, and steps that universities can take to address support LGBTQ students, using several of IPFW’s programs and events as examples.