Current ARCS Awards

Previous URCA/MURPA/ARCS Awardees - (Downloadable Excel Spreadsheet)

Karissa Marble-Flint, Ph.D., CCC-SLP - "Summer Literacy Camp 2022" (FY22)

Karissa Marble-Flint headshot

Dr. Karissa Marble-Flint
Assistant Professor of Communication
Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders
Karissa Marble-Flint, PhD, CCC-SLP, is an Assistant Professor in the Communication Sciences and Disorders Department at Wichita State University (WSU) in Wichita, Kansas. She earned her doctorate in Communication Sciences and Disorders from WSU and her Master of Science in Education degree in Speech-Language Pathology from the University of Nebraska at Kearney. Her major research, teaching, and clinical interests include written language assessment and intervention, literacy and autism spectrum disorder, and technology for language-literacy assessment and intervention. Dr. Marble-Flint is the director of the Literacy in Kansas (LinKS) Lab where she coordinates a Summer Literacy Camp for struggling readers and writers, and she supervises graduate students conducting language-literacy evaluations and research projects.  In addition, she is the co-director and a co-principal investigator of the Center for Educational Technologies to Assist Refugee Learners (CETARL).

Project Abstract:

Since 2018, graduate students in the Master of Arts in Speech-Language Pathology (MA-SLP) program in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD) have participated as student clinicians in Summer Literacy Camp. This applied learning practicum experience provides language-literacy intervention for children in the Wichita Metropolitan Area. The camp is held at the WSU Evelyn Hendren Cassat Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic. Children who struggle with reading and writing skills in school attend the Summer Literacy Camp for seven weeks on Tuesday and Thursday mornings for four hours each morning. Numbers of children participating in this program have averaged around 10-12 each summer. Through this ARC award, the goal is to increase the number of children participating.

Summer Literacy Camp 2022 has three research goals. First, the child participants’ skills in various areas of literacy will improve throughout the seven weeks and at follow-up. The skills measured will include phonological awareness (understanding that words can be divided into parts such as sounds and syllables), vocabulary, story comprehension, spelling, and writing. Progress on these skills will be measured on the first and final day of the camp using pre- and post-test measures. In addition, prior to camp, a standardized assessment of language and literacy will be used as a baseline measure. Second, the graduate students assisting the child participants will be surveyed on their experience for program evaluation and for descriptive research. Third, the parents/caregivers of the child participants will complete surveys to determine social validity of the camp.

Laila Ballout, Ph.D. -  "Saving Lebanon: Human Rights, Ethnic Politics, and Religion in the Reagan Era" (FY23)

Laila Ballout headshot

Dr. Laila Ballout
Assistant Professor of History
Department of History
Dr. Laila Ballout is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History at Wichita State University. Her research focuses on the intersections of U.S. foreign relations, immigration history, religion, and politics. Her scholarly writing has appeared in the journal, Diplomatic History. Her current book project, “Saving Lebanon: Religion, Ethnic Politics, and Human Rights in the Reagan Era” examines how U.S. entanglements with war in Lebanon from 1976-1990 reshaped the role of religion in U.S. foreign policy, the political advocacy of Middle Eastern-Americans, and U.S. human rights politics.

Project Abstract:

This project examines the U.S. relationship with Lebanon in the Reagan era as an essential site to understand the realignment of U.S. foreign policy after the Cold War toward confrontation with the ‘Muslim World,’ the concurrent growth of hostility toward Arab Americans in the U.S., and the development of organizations to defend Arab and Muslim American rights.

War in Lebanon attracted the interest of a diverse community of Americans whose engagement in Lebanon was driven by major developments in U.S. politics. These included the growth of the evangelical movement and popularization of Christian Zionist beliefs, the political awakening of Lebanese and Arab Americans, and the rise of human rights politics as force in U.S. policymaking. “Saving Lebanon” examines the centrality of the U.S. relationship with Lebanon to three transformations in U.S. politics at the end of the twentieth century. First, the development of the role of religion, especially Christianity and Islam, in U.S. foreign relations. This study considers the influence of evangelical Christian Zionism beyond the almost exclusive focus on Israel of previous studies. Similarly, this work considers the U.S. relationship with the development of Islamic politics in Lebanon directly, rather than as an extension of the Iranian Revolution. Second, this study contributes to an emerging body of scholarship examining Arab American political engagement and the origins of Islamophobia by focusing on an understudied decade, the 1980s. Finally, this era of heightened involvement in Lebanon took place during a period in which U.S. claims to global leadership were often rooted in advocacy for human rights. By examining how a wide range of activists, and both the Carter and Reagan administrations used these narratives to justify involvement in Lebanon, this work illustrates the plurality of ways that human rights were interpreted and used politically.

Ted Adler - "Testing Clay Body Properties and Suitability to 3D Printing (FY23)

 Ted Adler headshot

Ted Adler
Professor of Ceramic Media
College of Fine Arts

Ted Adler is an artist and potter, primarily working with woodfired ceramics. He has exhibited work in more than 125 exhibitions throughout the US and abroad, including a solo exhibition at Greenwich House Pottery’s Jane Hartsook Gallery in New York City.  Currently serving as Professor of Art and Area Head of Ceramics Media at Wichita State University, Adler received his BA from Lewis and Clark College in Portland, OR in 1993 and his MFA from Ohio University in Athens, OH in 2002. He also studied with renowned artist Toshiko Takaezu, with whom he apprenticed for more than a year in her Quakertown, NJ studio. He recently completed an artist-in-residence at Northern Clay Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota as a 2019 recipient of a McKnight Artist Residency for Ceramic Artists. Adler has lectured and demonstrated at numerous ceramic centers and universities across the nation, including the Archie Bray Foundation, Red Lodge Clay Center, Arrowmont School of Crafts, and the Anderson Ranch Art Center.

Project Abstract:

The strength, functionality, and aesthetic properties of a ceramic object are determined by numerous factors including clay body composition, firing schedule and method, and surface treatment. Artists carefully alter their clay body formulation in order to achieve the properties best suited for their projects. By testing different clay bodies with the Delta WASP 3D clay printer that is currently located in ADCI’s Henrion Hall 3D Printing Lab, data will be collected to determine how the consistency of clay (i.e. water content), proportion of ingredients, and additives (such as plasticizers, deflocculants, and colorants) affect the print quality, smoothness of clay extrusion, adhesion of the clay strata, shrinkage rates, vitrification, and defects or deformation during firing.

James Beck, Ph.D. - "Is Oklahoma Phlox real? A phylogenetic and population genetic analysis of the Kansas/Oklahoma endemic plant Phlox oklahomensis" (FY23)


Dr. James Beck
Assistant Professor Biological Sciences
Department of Biological Sciences


James Beck is an Associate Professor in the Biological Sciences Department at WSU, specializing in plant diversity and evolution. He received his B.S. from Eastern Kentucky University, PhD from Washington University (St. Louis), and performed postdoctoral research at Duke University and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Project Abstract:

Very few plant species are restricted to the central Great Plains.  One of these, Oklahoma Phlox (Phlox oklahomensis) is known from only 9 counties in Oklahoma and Kansas.  This globally rare species was recognized in 1944 based on its short styles relative to its presumed closest relative Phlox bifida.  This is only a minor morphological difference, however, and no study has ever evaluated the genetic distinctiveness of Oklahoma Phlox.  Is P. oklahomensis a genetically distinctive lineage, or is it just a minor morphological variant of P. bifida?  Additionally, no study has ever documented the levels of genetic diversity within P. oklahomensis populations.  Previous work has suggested that Oklahoma phlox is primarily self-fertilizing, which implies very low levels of genetic variation.  Do populations of P. oklahomensis contain genetic variation?  This project will answer these questions with genetic and genomic analyses of Oklahoma Phlox and related species.  Results will inform conservation strategies associated with this rare species.









Current MURPA Awards

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Current URCA Awards

Dosun Ko, Ph.D. - "A Participatory Design of a Culturally Sustaining, Inclusive Support System through Building a University-School-Family-Community Partnership" (FY22)
 Dr. Dosun Ko
Dr. Dosun Ko
Assistant Professor of Elementary Education
Department of Curriculum & Instruction

Dosun Ko is an Assistant Professor in the School of Education. He received his Ph.D. in special education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2020. Formerly, he worked as an inclusive elementary classroom teacher in South Korea. As an immigrant scholar, his scholarship centers primarily on equity issues in special/inclusive education at the intersection of different social markers. He has been working with urban and rural school communities to design and implement culturally responsive behavioral support systems to address racial disproportionality in school discipline and special education. He serves as a vice president of the Council for Exceptional Children Division of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Exceptional Learners.

Project Abstract:

Students of color from economically marginalized urban communities encounter multiple forms of marginalization in learning opportunities with consequential outcomes. Systemic transformation is needed to ensure students of color with and without disabilities are equally engaged in learning and have access to learning opportunities that will lead to meaningful educational progress. Consistent with recent critical inclusive education scholarship, this project investigates the use of Learning Lab to design a culturally sustaining, universal design for learning support system at one Midwestern urban middle school that has been struggling with disparities in the achievement gap and school discipline at the intersection of race, class, disability, and other intersecting social makers. Learning Lab is a community-driven, systemic design process in which administrators, educators, family, and community members work together to identify systemic challenges in the existing school system and design locally meaningful solutions in response to local schools’ goals, needs, and ever-changing local dynamics. To investigate the systemic design process, this study will utilize a critical design ethnography methodology that involves the combination of critical ethnography and community-based participatory design work aimed at systemic transformation. This project will empower school stakeholders to restructure their school system to better serve all students in the post COVID-19 era by developing a culturally sustaining, inclusive support system. Also, this community-based systemic design project will impact theory and practice by providing a participatory research-practice partnership model by leveraging local stakeholders’ ingenuity, cultural resources, and experiential knowledge to generate locally meaningful solutions to inequities in education.

Robert M. Owens, Ph.D. - "Death is not the end: Posthumous incorporation and punishment in early America." (FY22)
 Dr. Robert Owens
Dr. Robert M. Owens
Professor of History
Department of History

Dr. Robert M. Owens earned his Ph.D. in History from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and serves as Professor of History at Wichita State University. He is the author of Mr. Jefferson's Hammer: William Henry Harrison and the Origins of American Indian Policy (Oklahoma, 2007), Red Dreams, White Nightmares: Pan-Indian Alliances in the Anglo-American Mind, 1763-1815 (Oklahoma, 2015), and the document reader 'Indian Wars' and the Struggle for Eastern North America, 1763-1842 (Routledge, 2019). His current projects examine the intersection of murder and diplomacy on the Early American Frontier, and the posthumous treatment of friends and foes in Early America.

Project Abstract:

Much like their European contemporaries, colonial and Native Americans often did not allow death to end the dialogue with friend or foe. Whether it was army officers giving military funerals to prominent native leaders, Native American 'ritual cannibalism' of fallen enemies, or multiple groups mutilating the corpses of adversaries, early America saw numerous attempts to posthumously honor, desecrate, or incorporate the dead. I will explore the motivations and logic pursued in these actions upon the body. Was there a deeper purpose, besides instilling terror or conveying gratitude, to these treatments? How did they change over time? What can shifting attitudes about 'the body' - ritual cannibalism and scalping fell from favor, while elaborate funerary rites became more popular - tell us about life, and death, in early America? 

By exploring these questions, I hope to provide a greater understanding of how all groups in early America -- colonists, slaves, Native Americans -- viewed the significance of existence and value of their lives, and deaths. This grant will allow me to read the private and official correspondence of numerous early American figures -- government officials, merchants, Native leaders (often second hand in the sources), common citizens, etc. I will visit the Georgia Archives in Atlanta, the South Carolina Historical Society in Charleston, and the P.K. Yonge Library at the University of Florida – Gainesville.

Smita Srivastava, Ph.D. - "I can do it: Entrepreneurial Self-Image and Learning from Failure" (FY22)
 Dr. Smita Srivastava
Dr. Smita Srivastava
Assistant Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship
Department of Management

Project Abstract:

“The sting of failure is a motivational tool for entrepreneurs who want to succeed….what is important is learning from failure”, Elon Musk, CEO Tesla. Although failure of a business provides an opportunity for an entrepreneur to learn from it and use the learning in the subsequent businesses, not all entrepreneurs learn alike from their failures. We examine why some entrepreneurs learn less from failure than others and under what conditions the learning from failure can be facilitated.  Prior research has shown that some entrepreneurs may not learn after failure due to the negative emotions such as grief that may interfere with entrepreneurs’ ability to process information and others may not learn because of cognitive biases to attribute their own failure to external factors. But we argue that even if entrepreneurs can recover from negative emotions or overcome cognitive biases, they may still not learn from failure if they lack the motivation to do so. We focus on the motivational aspect of learning from failure and posit that entrepreneurs will be motivated to learn from failure due to two important factors, that is, if they have positive self-image (how I see myself) and high desire to prove others wrong. We address our research questions using two survey-based longitudinal studies, Study 1 with young entrepreneurs participating at the Shockers New Venture Competition at WSU & Study 2, with experienced entrepreneurs using Crowdfunding campaigns. The results will fundamentally contribute to our understanding on the learning orientation of entrepreneurs’ especially after they have experienced failure.

Amy Alberton, Ph.D. MSW - "Relative Risks of Indigenous Peoples Being Reported Missing and Murdered Across the USA: Rapid Review and Meta-Analysis" (FY22)

Amy Alberton headshot

Dr. Amy Alberton
Assistant Professor in School of Social Work
Department of Social Work

Amy Alberton, PhD, MSW, is an Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work. Dr. Alberton received her undergraduate degree in Criminology (with a minor in political science) in 2010, her MSW in 2016, and her PhD in Social Work in 2021, all from the University of Windsor, Ontario, Canada. She was thrilled to join Wichita State University’s School of Social Work in August 2021.

Dr. Alberton’s research agenda is focused on the pursuit of social justice through anti-oppressive practices, programs, and policies. Particularly, the foundation of her area of interest is the elimination of structural violence, including colonialism, or systemic barriers. Notably, between 2017 and 2019, Dr. Alberton served as the principal writer and researcher for the First Nations Youth Suicide Prevention Curriculum which was released online in September 2019. She has presented at more than 20 peer-reviewed and invited conferences, has had six articles published in peer-reviewed journals and has several under review and in press. To date, Dr. Alberton has been awarded more than $55,000 in grants and scholarships to support her research.

Dr. Alberton has experience teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in the USA and Canada related to policy, social welfare, direct and indirect social work practice, research (both practice and program evaluation), and statistics. She serves as Managing Editor for Critical Social Work: An Interdisciplinary Journal Dedicated to Social Justice, as a peer reviewer for several academic journals, and as a member of several committees for the School of Social Work.

Project Abstract:

The rate of Indigenous women and girls being reported missing across the United States of America (USA) is increasingly being understood as an epidemic and a crisis. However, there is a paucity of literature related to missing and murdered Indigenous peoples, generally, across the USA. Moreover, there is significant variability across existing data. The goals of the proposed project are to contribute to recognition, understanding, and legitimization of the issues related to missing and murdered Indigenous peoples, and specifically females, across the USA. These goals will be accomplished through a rapid review of the literature, a subsequent meta-analysis, and dissemination of findings through peer-reviewed journals and conference presentations.

Using Comprehensive Meta-Analysis Software, the proposed project will test four hypotheses: 1) Indigenous peoples are at greater relative risk of being reported missing than non-Indigenous peoples across the USA; 2) Indigenous peoples are at greater relative risk of being reported as homicide victims than non-Indigenous peoples across the USA; 3) Indigenous women are at greater relative risk of being reported missing than non-Indigenous women in the USA; and 4) Indigenous women are at greater relative risk of being reported as homicide victims than non-Indigenous women in the USA.

This project will employ two Graduate Research Assistants (GRAs). The GRAs will be trained by the Principal Investigator to undertake a systematic, rapid review and will assist with the systematic, rapid review and cross-validation of studies selected to be included in the meta-analysis.

Jeff Hayton, Ph.D. - "Summits and Socialism: Mountaineering in the German Democratic Republic, 1945-1990" (FY22)

Jeff Hayton headshot

Dr. Jeff Hayton
Associate Professor of Modern European History
Department of History

Jeff Hayton is an Associate Professor of Modern European History at Wichita State University. He received his PhD from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2013. He has published numerous articles on popular culture, rock ‘n’ roll, and German history. His first book, Culture from the Slums: Punk Rock in East and West Germany, will appear with Oxford University Press in 2022. He is just beginning work on three new projects: 1) a survey of popular music in East Germany; 2) a study of mountains and mountaineering in East Germany; and 3) an examination of the relationship between video games and German history.

Project Abstract:

Despite the rich legacy of German mountaineering, climbing is rarely associated with East Germany, or socialism in general. In some respects, this absence is not surprising. Excluded from the Olympics and other international sporting competitions, mountaineering lacked the medals and prestige which attracted communist authorities during the Cold War. Denied access to the Alps or Himalaya—and lacking any peaks above 1,500 meters within the GDR—East German climbers toiled in obscurity while their more famous Western contemporaries scaled Mount Everest or the Matterhorn to global acclaim.

Such absence, however, belies the importance of mountains and mountaineering to East Germans over the decades from official efforts at integrating climbing into state structures and promoting climbing as a constituent of healthy socialist citizenship to amateurs clandestinely climbing peaks in Central Asia or secretly hosting American climbers back home. Caught between state interests and recreational activity, mountains and mountaineering were critical intersections of East German engagements with the natural world and the complex relationships between state authorities and socialist citizens.

Summits and Socialism: Mountaineering in the German Democratic Republic is the first attempt at reconstructing this remarkable but unknown history. Surmounting the material and ideological shortcomings of their society when needed, and forging workable relationships with the state as required, East German climbers found ways to climb big walls and tall peaks, and in this manner, nourished a distinctive culture, identity, and community. By examining East German climbing as an intersection of power and agency, Summits and Socialism investigates how mountaineering transformed the German Democratic Republic, and makes a compelling medium for exploring sport, socialism, and dictatorship.

Sun Young Lee, Ph.D. - "Dyslexia as language policy: Exploring the initial implementation stage of Dyslexia Initiatives in Wichita School District, Kansas" (FY22)

Sun Young Lee headshot

Dr. Sun Young Lee
Assistant Professor of Elementary Education
School of Education

Sun Young Lee, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the School of Education, Wichita State University. She obtained a Ph.D. degree in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, along with her Ph.D. minor degree in the Transdisciplinary Studies in Visual Cultures. As a prior elementary school teacher and current teacher educator, Dr. Lee’s scholarship brings critical, interdisciplinary, and post-structural approaches to studying teacher education policy and practice in the US and globally. This includes historical work that traces the changes of teacher education reform discourses as well as contemporary work that documents the ways that reform policies and practices are enacted in elementary classrooms and teacher education programs. Her latest work has been published in Curriculum Inquiry, Journal of Curriculum Studies, Teaching and Teacher Education, Paedagogica Historica, Qualitative Inquiry, among others. At WSU, Dr. Lee teaches courses in the elementary education program and supervises teaching interns in the Wichita School District.

Project Abstract:

Following the Kansas State Board of Education’s recommendations on dyslexia, Kansas schools began to implement the Dyslexia Initiatives (DI) in 2021. Teachers, as policy intermediaries, play a significant role in successfully enacting new education policy; therefore, figuring out teachers’ un-reported experiences during the early stage of the new initiatives is important for the success of the DI. This proposed research aims to explore teachers’ struggles, concerns, and suggestions during the initial implementation stage of DI in the Wichita School District. Twenty elementary school teachers will be interviewed with the semi-structured interview questions. The findings of the study will be used to develop programs for integrating the DI with culturally and linguistically sustaining pedagogy. As part of a larger project that explores the complicated relations among the science of reading, language policy, and culturally and linguistically sustaining pedagogy, the outcomes of this research will advance the knowledge on the current state of raciolinguistic construction of learning dis/ability in education policy and reform.

Irma Puškarević, Ph.D., MSc - "Letterform Archive: Uncovering lost work of the Western Balkans heritage" (FY22)

Irma Puskarevic headshot

Dr. Irma Puškarević
Assistant Professor of Graphic Design
Department of Art, Design & Creative Industries

Irma Puškarević is a Bosnian born, Wichita/Ljubljana-based graphic designer, lettering artist, and educator whose work focuses on her passion for type and typography. After pursuing a career as an English teacher and then as a documentary photographer, she discovered the landscape of graphic design and typography. This visual space allowed her to pursue creative and critical outcomes that are most faithful to her ways of thinking. Her pursuit of understanding the world of graphic design led her to work for design studios and accidentally start an academic career. 

Puškarević was born in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. She holds a doctorate in graphic engineering and design from the University of Novi Sad, Serbia, where she had previously received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees. She is a coauthor of the textbook “Typefaces and Typography” (University of Novi Sad, 2015). Her academic research focuses on expressive qualities of typography in graphic communication. Her papers on the rhetoric of typography and effectiveness of typography in various communication contexts appear in journals, conference proceedings and as book chapters. Her artistic work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions nationally and internationally. 

Puškarević’s most recent research explores the phenomenon of multilingualism, i.e. multi-script typography, which has entered the world of graphic design due to globalization. She is currently organizing her academic research so it aligns with and informs her developing creative practice, which focuses on multilingual typography. She herself comes from a region that is historically connected to the use of bi-scriptural typography.

Zelalem Demissie, Ph.D. - "Project-based teaching approach to assist student utilizing Geographical Information System (GIS) technologies to solve local problems" (FY22)

Zelalem Demissie headshot

Dr. Zelalem Demissie
Assistant Professor of Environmental Geoscience
Department of Geology

Zelalem Demissie is an Assistant Professor of Environmental Geoscience at Wichita State University. He has earned his Bachelor of Science in Geology and Geophysics from Addis Ababa University in 2000 and a Master of Science in Remote Sensing and GIS from his alma mater in 2005. He got his Ph.D. in Geology from Oklahoma State in 2018. He has over 20 years of experience in the industry and academia, spanning natural resource allocations to various change-detection projects and hazard predictions and mitigations. Demissie uses the spectrum of integrated techniques (GIS, geodesy, geophysics, Remote-sensing, machine learning, and Artificial Intelligence) to study geo-environmental hazards triggered by natural processes or induced due to human interventions and provide solutions to mitigating the effects.

Project Abstract:

Geospatial technology was identified as a high-growth industry by the United States Department of Labor in 2004, and this initiative identified has many different career paths and skill sets that require geospatial skills. GEOL. 690Z: Applied GIS is a course in Geographic Information Science (GIS) that exposes students to geospatial technologies at Wichita State University. GEOL. 690Z balances the theoretical aspects and pre-packaged hands-on experience of lab activities to enhance the students' critical spatial thinking. Additionally, GEOL. 690Z incorporates a teaching approach that encourages graduate students to supervise undergraduate students and work in teams to complete project-based research.

Our project-based learning (PBL) approach uses authoritative, curated, and real-time geospatial data related to the current problems in our community. Moreover, acknowledging that students are faced with the rapidly changing employment outlook, GEOL 690Z provides actual data so that the material is more natural and tangible to the students. Furthermore, this kind of approach not only maintains a balance between theory and practice, but students become more attentive when they know that a problem solved in class could help them in their future careers. Hence, the PBL can bridge the gap between phenomena in the classroom and real-life experiences.

A few examples of final GIS interactive maps and apps designed by students enrolled in GIS690Z are presented here as hyperlinks;; Valerie Ibarra, Guadalupe Gonzalez, and Eldon Taskinen are graduate students in the Geology Department, Fairmount College of Liberal Arts and Science, who designed the above interactive maps and apps.

Haifan Wu, Ph.D. - "Develop chemical cross-linkers to selectively label monmethylated lysine for the study of post-translational modification-specific local interactomes" (FY22)

Haifan Wu headshot

Dr. Haifan Wu
Assistant Professor of Chemistry
Department of Chemistry

Haifan is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Wichita State University.  He got his bachelor’s degree from Nanjing University (China) in 2010. Then, he moved to the US and did his PhD study with Prof. Jianfeng Cai at the University of South Florida. In 2015, he moved to University of California San Francisco (UCSF) to work with Prof. Bill DeGrado as a postdoctoral fellow. He started his independent career in Fall 2020, and his lab is developing tools to study protein structures and protein-protein interactions. Another research area is the drug discovery effort against neuroinflammation to treat Alzheimer’s disease.

Project Abstract:

Histones are proteins on which DNA wraps around to form a basic storage unit called nucleosome. Besides its function as structural support for DNA storage, histones also control gene expression through a series of complex “molecular switches”—chemical modifications. Some modifications can turn on gene expression, and others turn off gene expression. This gene regulation by histone modification is critical to human development, and dysregulation has led to many diseases, including cancer and developmental disorders. There has been significant interest in identifying proteins that interact with histones with chemical modifications, because some of them can be potential drug targets. One example is histone deacetylase (HDAC), which removes acetyl modification from histones. So far there have been four FDA-approved drugs as HDAC inhibitors to treat cancer. Although several proteins have been identified to be important players in histone modifications, our understanding of this aspect is still limited due to a lack of research tools. The goal of this proposed research is to develop a robust method to rapidly identify these proteins. The outcome of this proposed study is research tools that can be used to analyze interaction partners of a specific histone modification in live cells. Such tools will facilitate the discovery of new histone interaction partners, some of which could be further validated as drug targets in cancer and many developmental disorders.

Jeoung Min Lee, Ph.D., MSW, MS - "College Cyberbullying Victimization among Racial, Sexual, and Gender Minorities and Their Suicidal Attempts and Self-Harm During the Covid-19 Pandemic" (FY23)  

Jeoung Min Lee headshot

Dr. Jeoung Min Lee
Assistant Professor in School of Social Work
Department of Social Work

Dr. Jeoung Min Lee is an Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work at Wichita State University. She received her MSW at Soong Sil University in South Korea, M.S in Human Development and Family Studies at Michigan State University, and her Ph.D. in Social Work at Wayne State University. Her research interest includes bias-based bullying, cyberbullying, peer victimization of racial/ethnic minority, immigrant, LGBTQ, juvenile justice-involved, and economically disenfranchised adolescents and young adults. Minority adolescents are at an elevated risk of bullying and violence, also associated with risk behaviors, such as substance use and suicide. Thus, she plans to examine how bias-based bullying affects minority adolescents, including racial and ethnic minorities and sexual minorities among them in the United States and South Korea. She has also collaborated with South Korea, Taiwan, and Sweden scholars on research projects. Her recent research findings are cyberbullying victimization indirectly affected depression through a sense of purpose in life among college students. This study will emphasize the importance of cyberbullied college students’ purpose in life to college staff, administrators, faculty, and practitioners, which will provide them strategies to develop in-campus cyberbullying interventions for college students. For teaching, her primary role is to motivate students to learn. As an instructor, she will aim to create a learning environment where students can explore the materials and topics and effectively apply them into practice. She has taught research methods, program evaluation, policy, and human behavior in the social environment in micro and macro at Wayne State University and Wichita State University.

Project Abstract:

Since the Covid-19 burst out, most college students have had online/hybrid classes, which could increase their exposure to cyberbullying. Reduced interactions with supportive social circles may increase cyberbullying victimization, leading to psychosocial stigma. Non-dominant racial, gender, and sexual minorities may be especially likely to be victims of cyberbullying, and cyberbullying experiences may increase their likelihood to have suicidal thoughts/attempts or self-harm behaviors. However, few studies have examined the differences in cyberbullying victimization among gender, racial, and sexual minorities and how these victims are associated with suicidal thoughts/attempts and self-harm. Therefore, this study focuses on cyberbullying with gender, racial, and sexual minorities and how cyberbullying victimization mediates the association between these minorities and suicidal thoughts/attempts and self-harm among college students. Currently conducted cyberbullying prevention programs have not been concerned about race, gender, and sexual minority populations. The study findings will provide attention to practitioners, educators, and policymakers on improving the current anti-cyberbullying program for racial, gender, sexual minority students, which will eventually decrease minorities’ cyberbullying victimization and prevent their suicidal thoughts/attempts and self-harm behaviors.

Patrick Bondy, Ph.D. - "Wittgenstein on Knowledge, Disagreement, Skepticism, and Relativism" (FY23)

Patrick Bondy headshot

Dr. Patrick Bondy
Assistant Professor in Philosophy
Department of Philosophy

Patrick Bondy is Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy at WSU, where he regularly teaches a variety of courses, including courses in critical reasoning, the theory of knowledge, and metaphysics. His publications include Epistemic Rationality and Epistemic Normativity (2018, Routledge); an edited volume of original essays, Well-Founded Belief: New Essays on the Epistemic Basing Relation (2020, Routledge); and numerous essays, encyclopedia articles, and journal chapters. He was the recipient of the WSU Young Faculty Scholar Award in 2021.

Project Abstract:

This project will focus on the philosophical work of Ludwig Wittgenstein, and the literature on skepticism, knowledge, and “epistemic hinges” that has sprung up in the wake of his posthumously published work, including, in particular, his Philosophical Investigations and On Certainty.

Wittgenstein’s work is rich and challenging, and it offers a down-to-earth understanding of language, knowledge, and action, that aims to defuse skeptical and other philosophical inquiries and challenges to our practices and our knowledge-claims. Central to Wittgenstein’s approach is the claim that there are fundamental epistemic “hinges” that must remain fixed in place in order for any other inquiry to be possible (as a door can only swing properly if its hinges remain fixed in place); and the claim that philosophical problems arise when language goes “on holiday”—when we take it out of its ordinary contexts of use. Wittgenstein argues that attempts to give direct responses to skeptics are just as misguided as the skeptical challenges themselves.

This project will aim to show that Wittgenstein’s notion of an epistemic hinge can be put to use in offering a direct and substantive reply to the skeptic, while at the same time not committing to Wittgenstein’s view that philosophical problems arise when language goes on holiday. For Wittgenstein, the theses about epistemic hinges and about the everyday contexts that give our language meaning go together; the aim of this project is to show that they can coherently be pulled apart, and that a satisfactory response to skepticism can be the result.

Andrew Swindle - "Mobility of Heavy Metals in Soils in Response to Climate Change" (FY23)

Andrew Swindle headshot

Dr. Andrew Swindle
Associate Professor in Geology
Department of Geology

Andrew’s research at WSU focuses on the behavior of nanoscale and colloidal minerals in soils and groundwater, particularly as they relate to contaminant transport and sequestration.  His longest running project involves the use of iron oxides to sequester chromium in aqueous systems.  Part of this project was turned into an outreach partnership with Derby High School wherein high school students performed experiments in his lab and the results were presented at the Geological Society of America’s annual meeting.  He has also investigated the use of geologic materials to neutralize acid mine drainage, which was highlighted in the Ulrich Museums Solving for X = Sustainability exhibit.  Andrew teaches upper division and graduate courses in hydrogeology and soils, as well as courses for undergraduate non-majors that deal with the interactions of geology with human society.

Project Abstract:

Soils may become impacted by heavy metals through variety of means including atmospheric deposition, disposal of mine tailings, disposal of high metal wastes, and land application of pesticides.  Once heavy metals enter a soil they can linger for years depending on a number of factors.  One such factor is the is the pattern of wetting and drying of the soil due to rainfall events and their alternating dry periods.  Due to climate change we are seeing changes in precipitation patterns with the occurrences of high-volume storms and alternating periods of drought becoming more common.  This research will attempt to address the question of how changes in precipitation patterns impacts the movement of heavy metals through soils.  

Tom Wine, Ph.D. - "The Face of Men's Choirs: Traditions and Looking to the Future" (FY23)

Tom Wine headshot

Dr. Tom Wine
Professor of Music Educaton and Area Coordinator, Music Education
Department Music

Tom Wine is Chair of Music Education and Director of Choirs at Wichita State University.  Recipient of the 2009 WSU President's Distinguished Service Award as well as the Burton Pell Award from the Wichita Arts Council, Wine is editor of the book, Composers on Composing for Choir.  Wine is past-president of Kansas ACDA.  His choirs have appeared at KMEA eleven different times as well as Carnegie Hall in 2009.  Wine has conducted district and All-state choirs in Kansas, Florida, Oklahoma, Missouri, Alabama, and South Carolina.  In 2016 he received the HRW Lifetime Achievement Award from the Kansas Choral Directors Association.  He directs the Chancel Choir at Eastminster Presbyterian Church.  He is also a proud “Grand Dude.”

Project Abstract:

Wichita State University introduced a men’s choir (Shocker Choir) to the curriculum in fall 2021.  The goal of this grant proposal is to research and directly observe other university men’s choirs.  Targeted music programs have been identified by their tradition of academic excellence while also serving the community they represent.  Additionally, the choral database of repertoire for men’s choirs will be compared to look for a common core of music recommended for programming in these ensembles. By comparing traditions, community engagement, and student governance in identified successful programs, it will help shape the model for the future of our own WSU Shocker choir.

Burcu Ozturk, Ph.D. - "Experiences of Living in the United States Among Middle Eastern Intimate Partner Survivors: A Systematic Review" (FY23)

Burcu Ozturk headshot

Dr. Burcu Ozturk
Assistant Professor in School of Social Work
Department of Social Work

Burcu Ozturk, PhD, MSW, is an Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work. Dr. Ozturk did her post-doc at the University of Oklahoma in forensic social work. Dr. Ozturk received her PhD degree from the University of Alabama School of Social work. In addition, Dr. Ozturk completed her master’s degree in Social Work from Temple University and her undergraduate degree in Social Work from Adnan Menderes University, Turkey, in 2010.

Her dissertation topic was understanding the lived experiences of Middle Eastern-born immigrant women who were intimate partner violence survivors in the United States, as well as how culture impacts these experiences. Dr. Ozturk’ research agenda focuses domestic violence issues, family, immigrant, and forensic social work. Dr. Ozturk has experience teaching undergraduate and graduate level courses in the USA related human behavior course, international social work, practice and research.

Project Abstract:

Intimate partner violence (IPV) is experienced in every society. IPV can cause severe mental, physical, social, and economic consequences for survivors, and impact their interpersonal relationships in their families, communities and broader society.  A significant number of IPV victims are immigrants in the U.S. This study explores the lived experiences of Middle Eastern Immigrant IPV survivors in the U.S to develop a better understanding of existing studies in the literature. We will systematically review the existing studies on immigrant women IPV survivor lived experiences that is published in peer-reviewed journals between the year 2012 and 2022. We sought to answer the question, “What is the essence of the lived experiences of Middle Eastern immigrant women IPV survivors in the United States?” “We will critically explore and summarize the eligible studies to advance knowledge and greater understanding of lived experiences of Middle Eastern female immigrant survivors in the United States.

Cynthia Richburg, Ph.D., CCC-A - "Assessing Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids and Their Benefits for Persons with Listening Difficulties: A Pilot Study" (FY23)

Cynthia Richburg headshot

Dr. Cynthia Richburg
Professor of Audiology
Department of Communication Sciences & Disorders

Dr. Richburg obtained her PhD from the University of Tennessee in 1998. She is an Audiologist, Professor, and Coordinator of the Doctor of Audiology Program at WSU. Her research interests include central auditory processing disorder, the use of simulation activities for audiology instruction and recruitment, and the impacts of noise on health and learning. She is the current Vice President for Audiology with the Kansas Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Dr. Richburg has published two textbooks and 21 peer-reviewed articles in journals, such as the American Journal of Audiology, Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, and Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools. She teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses in Communication Sciences and Disorders, and she supervises AuD graduate students in the Evelyn Hendren Cassat Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic.

Project Abstract:

With the advent of over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids, amplification options for the public have changed. Central auditory processing disorder (CAPD), one of the subcategories of Listening Difficulties (LiD), is a condition in which a person has normal or near-normal auditory sensitivity but problems understanding and perceiving spoken language. Typically, hearing aids would not be fit on people with normal auditory sensitivity; however, studies indicate that low gain amplification might benefit people with CAPD. The new OTC hearing aids are only allowed to amplify, or provide gain, for mild to moderate hearing losses. Therefore, these OTC devices might be good amplification options for people with LiD/CAPD due to their lower prices and low-gain options. This study will use electroacoustical analyses (called “real ear measurements”) and participant responses to questionnaires to compare two OTC models of hearing aid and two traditional prescription models of hearing aid. Hearing handicap inventories will be used to measure listening difficulty and psychological benefits to amplifying hearing for auditory processing purposes while comparing the two types of hearing aid models. The information obtained from these results may help audiologists determine if recommending traditional, prescription hearing aids instead of OTC hearing aids can be justified. A second portion of this study will help audiologists determine if low-gain OTC hearing aids will be an affordable option for remediating the problems associated with LiD/CAPD. These findings could reveal a new form of therapy to help individuals with LiD/CAPD improve their listening and processing abilities.