The following is a list of departments and programs from which faculty have volunteered to be potential mentors for the 2020 (tbd) program. Click on the links in the box to the right to see the lists of faculty in each area. Keep in mind that you must schedule an appointment to meet with your potential faculty mentor to begin the conversation about possible projects, their availability to serve as a mentor, etc.
While there is no limit to the number of students any one faculty member may mentor, it is important to keep in mind that the program is highly competitive and the number of spots available are limited. As such, not all students who apply will be selected for support through the program. Please discuss this with your potential mentor as you are formulating your proposal.
Participating Faculty Members By Department
Dr. WaQar Ghani
I have a multidisciplinary research focus. My work has been published in some of the premier journals in finance (Journal of Fixed Income), marketing (Journal of Public Policy and Marketing), and accounting (International Journal of Accounting). I developed and taught a course titled: Cooking the Books: Lessons in Business Ethics. This course is based on my research interests in issues of earnings management and corporate ethics.
In summary, my research interests include issues of Earnings Management, Financial Shenanigans and Business Ethics; Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability; Issues of Corporate Governance; Impact of Regulations on Shareholder Wealth; International Trade Agreements and Shareholder Wealth: Business groups, Corporate Governance, Firm Performance, and External Financial Reporting in Emerging Economies; and Economic Value Added (EVA)© and Firm Performance. (2019)
Dr. Janet Souza
My research interests cover auditing and auditor judgment and decision-making, audit risk assessment, sustainability accounting, accounting education, and improving problem-solving in professional accountants.
I have several projects in the area of audit reporting, sustainability accounting and education. Summer Scholars would be involved in data collection, refinement, analysis, and literature summaries. (2020)
Dr. A. J. Stagliano
I will engage students–as many as three–to assist with any of my six major on-going empirical research projects:
1. Sustainability reporting by companies that participate in the European Union Emissions Trading System;
2. Comparative examination of financial ratios by companies under IFRS and U.S. GAAP;
3. Extension of databases on climate change and sustainability disclosures by large domestic public companies;
4. Cybercrime financial disclosures by SEC registrants in a major U.S. sector;
5. Analysis of alternative cash flow reporting models under SFAS 95; and
6. Comparative analysis of codes of ethics for major U.S. corporations.
For all these projects, student tasks will include data collection, refinement, classification, and analysis. (2019)
Dr. Erin Downey
In my research, I explore cultural convergences between the Low Countries and Italy during the early modern period, and the impact of migration on perceptions of local and foreign artistic identity. My dissertation, completed in the summer of 2015 and entitled “The Bentvueghels: Networking and Agency in the Seicento Roman Art Market,” laid the groundwork for this avenue of inquiry. My current research further examines the challenges of early modern migration, and seeks to highlight specific strategies undertaken by foreign artists when navigating an increasingly global system of trade and travel. I am in the process of developing the dissertation into a book manuscript that analyzes the full impact (stylistic, social, and economical) of migration on the broader northern European artistic community in Rome, and the consequences of such an extended stay abroad for several key artists upon their return to the Low Countries. My research also considers the role of Netherlandish artists in the flourishing international print and book industry established by the Jesuit community. More recently, I have focused on writing articles that address constructions of foreign identity as well as significant examples of collaboration and exchange between Netherlandish artists and local patrons and practitioners in Italy. The first of these, an article on the Galleria Giustiniana, the catalogue of the antiquities collection of Vincenzo Giustiniani, was published last May. (2019)
Dr. Emily Hage
My interests include:
Modern and contemporary art
Race, gender, and religious identity
Topics of my current projects are:
Dada art magazines
Fortune magazine and art
African American artists and the media (2019)
Dr. Dennis McNally, S.J.
Art and Spirituality
Liturgical History (2019)
Dr. Catalina Arango
I study gene regulation in bacteria, specifically on a system that controls how bacteria use some food sources in preference to others, called catabolite repression. In many bacteria this system also controls genes that are important for virulence and symbiosis. The model organism I use is Sinorhizobium meliloti, a plant symbiont that helps alfalfa and other legumes to thrive in nitrogen-poor soil.
Research in my laboratory has uncovered the binding site of an activator participating in gene regulation, and we are investigating the role of a signaling protein that may transmit the catabolite repression signal to this activator and probably other proteins involved in turning genes on and off. (2019)
Dr. Shantanu Bhatt
Research in my lab revolves around the identification and characterization of virulence factors in the attaching and effacing pathogens, enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC) and the newly emerging pathogen, Escherichia albertii. More specifically, we are interested in determining how the RNA chaperone protein Hfq and Hfq-dependent sRNAs modulate bacterial virulence. Discoveries emerging from our studies will aid researchers and clinicians to develop more efficacious interventional strategies against these pathogens. (2019)
Dr. John Braverman, S.J.
Bioinformatics and genomics have emerged as very important sub-disciplines within biology. They touch on multiple topics, ranging from evolution to molecular genetics. I am looking for one or maybe two students to assist in skilled research to identify genes in newly-sequenced genomes of Drosophila (fruit-fly) species. The ideal candidate has taken my Bioinformatics course. This computer-based research helps students prepare for future careers in any life science are, including health professions, research, and teaching. (2020)
Dr. Jonathan Fingerut
My lab is working to understand the basic life-history and ecology of an invasive fruit-fly, Drosophila suzukii, which is a major agricultural pest nationwide and in our region. Students in this project will work cooperatively with students from the McRobert lab to design, execute and analyze data that will be used to develop sustainable and ecological sound control methods for this important pest. We are looking for detail oriented self-motivated creative students who want to learn about what research is like. (2019)
Dr. Brian Forster
(Science Pedagogy) Students will be given the opportunity to develop and/or optimize laboratory protocols that will be used in the GEP Natural Science Instructional Laboratories. Successful lab activities will be used by Biology 165 or Environmental Science 106 students (lab-based GEP science classes for non-majors). It is recommended that students interested in working on this should contact Dr. Brian Forster (firstname.lastname@example.org) before completing an application to discuss what lab activities can be developed. Currently, we are interested in:
(a) Identifying via 16S rRNA gene sequencing nitrifying bacteria that may be present in a wetlands filter that was constructed and in operation since summer 2016.
(b) Developing a new lab activity on ecology to be used in our non-majors Biology course.
However, other lab activities that the applicant may be interested in developing can be worked on as well. (2019)
Dr. Eileen Grogan
Field Research on the Bear Gulch Fossil Deposit
The opportunity exists for one or two undergraduate students to participate in a long-standing field research program dedicated to the collection and study of fossils from the 323 million-year- old Bear Gulch Limestone Deposit of Montana. Successful students will learn about the fauna and flora (biology, ecology, taxonomy, taphonomy) of a Paleozoic bay through study of the relevant literature, examination of lab specimens and by engaging in team-based field excavations in a remote region out west. During this process, the student will see and or discover fossil forms which are entirely new to science and, so, contribute to the Carnegie Museum of Natural History fossil collections. He/she will also be trained in the geology and formation of this deposit. Beyond science, the student will be exposed to “life out west” by virtue of our research teams’ interactions with the local ranch community. Qualified candidates must have prior field or significant camping experience, the physical stamina required for manual excavation of the rock unit, and are required interview with Dr. Grogan prior to submitting an application for a position on the expedition team.
Community Engaged Research – No (2020)
Dr. Christina King Smith
Dr. King Smith is a cell biologist whose research focuses on understanding mechanisms of intracellular organelle transport in eukaryotic cells. As a model system, her lab uses retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells from the eyes of fish. Fish RPE cells contain numerous melanin pigment granules that undergo massive migrations within the cells in response to light. RPE cells can be isolated and cultured in vitro, allowing study of the cytoskeletal mechanisms that mediate pigment granule motility. Summer research projects include characterizing the regulation and cytoskeletal requirements of pigment granule transport and other aspects of motility in RPE cells. Skills to be learned may include SDS-PAGE and immunoblotting, tissue culture, fluorescence microscopy and RPE cell isolation, among other techniques.
Students who wish to be considered for SSP research should plan on doing volunteer research during the spring semester. (2020)
Dr. Edwin Li
My interest is in the dimerization of membrane proteins, with emphasis on proteins associated with cancer.
Students will learn basic molecular and cellular (bacterial and mammalian) techniques to measure dimerization and cellular trafficking. (2019)
Dr. Scott McRobert
My research involves studies in the behavior of animals. In one project we are studying the factors that impact aggregation and learning in fish. These studies involve asking fish to choose potential shoal-mates, or asking whether fish can remember objects within their environment. In another project we are examining the social and sexual behavior of an invasive fruit fly that has become an agricultural pest in the Unites States. These studies involve collection and study of wild populations as well as lab studies to document behavioral traits. (2019)
Dr. Matthew Nelson
Simple animals such as fruit flies and nematodes have become key tools in the sleep biology field. These animals are called “model organisms” because many of the same genes and molecules that drive their biology also controls ours. The nematode Caenorhabditis elegans is a microscopic, free-living worm that has been widely used in the lab as a model for understanding development and behavior. C.elegans displays sleep behaviors at regularly timed intervals during larval development and in response to stressful environmental stimuli. But, why study sleep in a microscopic worm? First, C.elegans is a powerful genetic system that we can manipulate with ease. They are transparent and grow from an embryo to an adult in 4 days, thus allowing for fast genetic alteration and experimentation. Because of their simplicity, we know the location of every one of their cells and the connection of every neuron in its simple nervous system (Only 302 neurons!). My lab takes advantage of this amazing animal in hopes to further our understanding of sleep. Specifically, my research focuses on the following: 1) Identification of sleep regulating neurons and how they communicate as neural circuits to control sleep behavior and; 2) Characterize the mechanisms of how signaling molecules called neuropeptides regulate sleep. We use a combination of techniques common in the following disciplines: genetics, molecular biology, neurobiology and behavior. (2019)
Dr. Karen Snetselaar
The main area of research in my lab is fungal disease of plants. We use the corn smut fungus, Ustilago maydis, as a model system. Projects range from characterizing mutants to doing basic research into the fungal life cycle and how it interacts with its plant host. It is also possible for students to do projects on the green roof of the science center. (2019)
Dr. Clint Springer
Projects in the Springer laboratory examine the physiological and developmental responses of plants to factors associated with human-induced climate change. Students will gain experience in techniques associated with molecular genetics, plant physiology, plant biochemistry, and plant development. (2019)
Dr. Jennifer Tudor
Molecular and cellular signaling pathways in the brain affect all facets of life. Projects are available to examine the impact of sleep deprivation on protein synthesis pathways critical for learning and memory in mouse brain. (2019)
Rev. Peter Clark, S.J.
The Institute of Clinical Bioethics has various research projects that are on-going dealing with ethical issues in the fields of neonatology, end-of-life care, beginning-of-life issues, pediatric genetics, pain management and the opioid problem, medical disparities, medical care for undocumented individuals, etc. (2019)
Dr. Bege Dauda
Dr. Jose Cerda
Heme proteins are a family of proteins that are involved in many types of biological functions. For example, heme b, a type of heme cofactor found in myoglobin, hemoglobin, and heme peroxidases, is used by heme proteins for oxygen storage and transport, electron transfer, oxygenase, catalase, peroxidase, and gas sensing. Although all these protein structures may be different, the heme cofactor is the active site in all of them and my research goal is to understand how heme-protein interactions uniquely define the biological role of a heme protein. For many years, we have used UV-vis spectroscopy and electrochemical techniques to study heme proteins because of the physical-chemical properties of the heme cofactor. In our studies, we have also used fluoride binding as a probe of the heme pocket structure of many proteins. Many heme proteins have the ability to bind fluoride ion and differences in the fluoride binding properties suggest differences in the heme pocket structure. Additionally, to achieve a greater scope in understanding the role of the protein structure, during the last few years, we have used temperature-controlled experiments to study the thermodynamic properties of fluoride binding. In doing this, we have been able to measure the enthalpies and entropies of fluoride binding in many heme proteins and have found that there are thermodynamic differences between oxygen binding proteins (hemoglobin and myoglobin) and horseradish peroxidase. Our objective is now to interpret the molecular significance of this finding and further use this method to understand molecular mechanisms in other proteins. (2019)
Dr. Mark Forman
The focus of my research program involves the synthesis and study of non-natural products that possess unique properties and enhanced reactivity as a result of forced deviations from their ideal geometries. In particular, my research group has been interested in studying the effects of bond angle distortion on the structures and properties of alkenes. (2019)
Dr. Jeffrey Niezgoda
My research is in the field of nanomaterials, with an emphasis on colloidal nanoparticles, or “quantum dots”. In particular, I deal with the modification of the small molecules that coat the service of these quantum dots to change their chemical properties. Students in my lab will become well-versed in quantum dot synthesis as well as fundamental chemistry laboratory techniques through the use of Schlenk line syntheses and a large glovebox system. Characterization techniques will include NMR, UV-Vis and FTIR spectroscopies, ICP-OES and external usage of electron microscopes. All students from chemistry, chemical biology and physics are encouraged to consider research in my lab. (2019)
Dr. Usha Rao
My research concerns water quality issues, the environmental effects of the use of nuclear energy, and STEM pedagogy. Students with interests in these areas are encouraged to contact me.
Community Engaged Research – I am involved in a project on pediatric cancer research with the Institute for Clinical Bioethics and a non-profit foundation. (2019)
Dr. Mark Reynolds
My area of research interest is the heme-based gas sensing proteins that sense oxygen, carbon monoxide and nitric oxide and regulate important biological processes such as blood pressure regulation and neurotransmission. We study the heme-PAS subfamily of gas sensing heme proteins. In particular, we study the oxygen sensing mechanism of the heme protein FixL that regulates nitrogen fixation in alfalfa plants. Student learn how to use sterile techniques to work with bacteria, grow cell cultures, express and purify heme proteins, and characterize them with spectroscopic techniques and kinase assays. We use site-directed mutants and kinase assays to understand how the heme domain regulates the kinase domain of SmFixL as a model for the important heme-PAS family.
Community Engaged Research – Yes (2019)
Dr. Aimée Knight
This Summer Scholars project will immerse you in advanced digital media strategies. We will work together on a hands-on project to create a communication strategy for a nonprofit or community-based organization.
Community Engaged Research
This is a community-engaged research project ideal for Communications Studies and English majors looking for real-world experience. (2020)
Dr. Rachael Sullivan
Social media, social media and identity, social media and gender, the internet and gender, feminism and digital media, online harassment and misogyny, memes, political communication, political memes, digital poetry, electronic literature, online learning and digital literacy at the college level, graphic design, the ethics of design, design and social change, usability and user-friendly design. One project I am currently researching involves the 2018 Blasey-Ford / Kavanaugh Senate hearings, Twitter hashtags / memes, and the rhetorics of sexual assault. A second project is a study of Photoshop tutorial videos on YouTube and how effectively these teach digital literacy. I just published an article on user-friendly computer interface design and the implications for college writers and multimodal composers. (2020)
I am interested in working with one (or more) 2018 Summer Scholars student(s) in one of three areas:
1. Analytical approaches to scheduling volunteers: As the number of tasks requiring volunteers and the number of volunteers needed to support a project or event increases, the complexity of the scheduling process increases exponentially. Analytical approaches to scheduling volunteers bring powerful tools and methods to bear on the problem, and create greater and greater efficiencies as requirements get more and more complex. Student work in this area would involve an introduction to the tools and methods of analytical approaches to scheduling volunteers and, hopefully, finding one or more projects/events to which the student(s) can apply these tools and methods to schedule volunteers. Student(s) will also assist me in my research in this area.
2. Web analytics: Web analytics is a booming field. Student work in this area would involve an introduction to some of the tools and methods of web analytics and, hopefully, the completion of one or more projects in this area. Student(s) will also assist me in my research in this area.
3. Student preference: Having been involved in mentoring undergraduate students in research projects for a number of years, some of the projects have developed out of student interests. I would be happy to discuss potential projects generated from student interests. Student(s) choosing this option will be expected to complete original research in addition to possibly completing a project that applies their research to a real-world problem. (2019)
Dr. Krishna Padmanabhan
In collaboration with the Institute of Clinical Bioethics, I plan to conduct a research project in the summer developing patient education resources for Genetic therapies, which are a new kind of medical advancement just coming to the market. In addition, a framework of evaluating choices from an ethical perspective – both as potential patients or as clinical trial participants is proposed to be developed. A student summer scholar will be invaluable in conducting elements of this research and collaborating on this initiative.
Students interested in doing a Summer Scholars project should come up with a specific project proposal and meet with a suitable faculty member to determine if he or she will be able to mentor the project. Faculty areas of expertise and research interests are listed on the English Department website. Or contact Fr. Brennan, the departmental chair, at email@example.com to request a list. Some of the faculty have also asked to be listed here.
Anthony Berret, S.J.
Since about 2000 my main research activity has been on the relation between music and literature. I did some early essays on this topic in the works of Toni Morrison, but then switched to F. Scott Fitzgerald. I gave papers at conferences of the Fitzgerald Society on how songs functioned in Fitzgerald’s novels and stories, extended a couple of these papers into a journal article and a chapter in a collection of essays, and finally published a book, Music in the Works of F. Scott Fitzgerald (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2013). In 2002 I began offering the English course Music and American Literature every other year. This course treats mostly popular music of the 20th century as it appeared in songs, shows, and novels.
Most recently I have done a paper and an article on religion and literature and applied successfully for a Faith and Reason course in the English department. (2019)
Dr. Shenid Bhayroo
Journalism, international media, political economy of media and culture industries, South Africa and study abroad.
Community Engaged Research
In my capacity as adviser for The Hawk newspaper, and faculty director of the summer South Africa study abroad program, I am able to facilitate opportunities for community engaged research in a number of areas. (2020)
Dr. Owen Gilman
My areas of interest are literature/film of war, literature/social change related to the 1960s in America, Southern literature, literature of New England and imaginative ways of representing the American West. (2019
Dr. Ann Green
Creative nonfiction, writing that engages with race, class, gender, and disability. Medical narratives, hospital stories, and writing and reading that explores health, wellness, and ability. Service-learning and community-engaged research projects.
Community Engaged Research
We have many connections with our local community partner organizations (CPOS) through the Faith/Justice Institute and other offices. Some community partners might be interested in finding students who can help amplify their stories or tell their stories to new audiences. I would be interested in mentoring students who wish to engage in direct service and write about the experience, as well as possible community-engaged scholar projects. (2019)
Dr. Jenny Spinner
Interests include journalism, women essayists, writing center pedagogy and creative writing.
Community Engaged Research – Yes (2019)
Jill Amitrani Welsh
While completing my master degree in social work, my research and publications focused on youth violence using photovoice, a participatory action research method. My research interests include: youth violence, domestic poverty and social policies, and community organizing/engagement with consideration(s) of specific social justice issues, cultural competency, Jesuit values and/or an experiential learning component. Previous Summer Scholar mentoring projects were: A Macro level and Micro level Analysis of Chronic Homelessness (this project included a direct experiential learning component at a homeless shelter) (2013) and Fair Trade and The Ignatian Imagination: Striving for Justice through Student Organizing (2011). (2019)
Dr. Ernest Baskin
My research involves the psychology of consumer decision making with a focus on food, consumer judgments and mis-predictions and environmental nudges to change purchase behaviors as well as to encourage healthy eating. Students working with me would have a number of options regarding their project. One option would be to work on market research related to Millenial and Gen Z views on careers in retailing. Another area would consist of writing business cases for classroom discussion and publication. Previous students have worked on cases such as the viral marketing of the Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino as well as the Amazon/Whole Foods acquisition.
Community Engaged Research
Research above is relevant to food marketing companies and may involve contact with them. (2020)
Dr. Emily Moscato
My research revolves around consumer wellbeing and my interests include social and environmental food sustainability, food pleasure and play, and food practices within consumption communities. I am primarily a qualitative researcher, which uses interviews, observations, archival data (e.g. ads or social media), and other activities (e.g. photography, which I like to use) to gather information and analyzes it. My current projects include research on edible insects (you read that right), experiential pleasure and food wellbeing, and diversity and inclusion within foodservice distributor industry. I would be happy to work with a student interested in expanding a current project or help develop a new project within one of these general areas. (2019)
Dr. John Stanton
Consumer in the area of GMOs – it will involve collecting and analyzing consumer attitudes and beliefs.
Community Engaged Research
The Food Marketing business community is interested to find out our Gen Z and Millennials think about the topic (2019)
Dr. Anne Fetherston
Approximately one million people are bitten by dogs annually in the US. Dog bite prevention programs, which have primarily been based on education, have failed to decrease the problem. A simple way of decreasing dog bites and thereby improving community health is The Yellow Dog Project. In this program any dog who needs space wears a yellow ribbon. However, this program has never gained widespread awareness or acceptance. In a series of studies I am investigating why this program has not been used and then how to increase the use of yellow ribbons to decrease dog bites and improve health in the US. (2019)
Dr. Thomas Martin
Study #1: The use and adoption of health information technology is a major focus among healthcare providers and administrators. The U.S Department of Veterans Affairs utilizes an EHR called VistA across 1,243 facilities. The VA Department is widely expected to move services to a large scale commercial platform in the near future. This study seeks to understand current level of integration of VistA and VA sites with regional health information exchanges (HIEs). Students will be exposed to survey design and piloting as well as the role of technology in healthcare settings and potential partnership with regional HIEs.
Study #2: Patient-reported outcomes measures (PROMs) are widely deployed globally to assess improvements in a patients health status. The emergence of mobile devices is seen as a tool to further capture PROMs. In conjunction with student interest the research team will identify a specific disease state with existing PROMs available for data collection. The study will then attempt to review consumer oriented mobile applications for the presence or ability to collect and transmit PROMs to healthcare settings.
Community Engaged Research
Work with local VA site for pilot testing of instrument or work with regional health information exchange – HSX (2019)
Dr. Michelle Rowe
A Survey Study to Identify the Outstanding Educational Needs and Sources of Education for School Nurses regarding Autism and the Needs of Students with Autism
Approved SJU IRB: 620840-1
The purpose of this study is to identify the current educational requirements, gaps in these requirements and the sources of education for school nurses regarding autism and the needs of students with autism.
Unique stresses have been identified in parents caring for a child with autism (Schieve, Blumberg, Rice, Visser, & Boyle, 2007). In the school system, children and parents rely on the health office and the school nurse to provide health screenings, injury assessments and medication administration. A direct connection to the school nurse may be necessary to aid in seizure disorders, food allergies, and/or injuries for children with autism (Galinat, Barcalow, & Krivda, 2005). Communication within the school health system is imperative due to comorbid conditions which are common in those children diagnosed (Memari, Ziaee, Mirfazeli, & Kordi, 2012). A recent study by Strunk showed school nurses were knowledgeable regarding autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to include symptoms and medication usage however the study also showed that school nurses showed decreased knowledge when it came to communication skills, therapies for behaviors, and issues relating to safety in relation to ASD (Strunk, 2009). Confirmation of school nurse educational gaps have been identified in the literature however, research is necessary to identify how school nurses obtain their continuing education and if this continuing education provides obtainable resources regarding ASD for effective communication.
Potential Study #2:
Use of TimeSlips™ Creative Expression to Show Reduced Anxiety and Agitation in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
The purpose of this study is to determine if a non-pharmacologic creative expression storytelling activity can decrease agitation and anxiety in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) as compared to a Control Group. (2019)
Dr. James Carter
Modern China, especially Chinese-US relations, but any aspect of Chinese history, politics, and culture from the 18th century to the present. (2019)
Dr. Alison Lewin
Ancient Greek History; Ancient Roman History; Dark Ages, Church History; Justice systems in the West 3000 BCE-1600 CE; Gender History 3000 BCE-1600 CE; Italian Renaissance History. (2019)
Dr. Randall Miller
Randall M. Miller, Ph.D., is the William Dirk Warren `50 Sesquicentennial Chair & Professor of History. He publishes in the areas of American slavery, regions (especially the South and the Mid-Atlantic), Revolutionary America, Civil War & Reconstruction, religion, politics, race, and immigration and ethnicity. He is author or editor of 25 books, including “Dear Master”: Letters of a Slave Family; Lincoln & Leadership: Military, Political, and Religious Decision-Making; The Northern Home Front during the Civil War; and Unto a Good Land: A History of the American People. Dr. Miller teaches courses on colonial America, America in the Age of Revolutions, the Civil War era, elections, civil rights, and the politics of literature during the Civil War era. (2019)
Research interests include the following:
Gender issues in the workplace
Diversity in the workplace
Discrimination in hiring
Measuring work behaviors and attitudes
International Human Resource management (2019)
Dr. Stephen Porth
My research interests include ethics in the pharmaceutical industry; a continuation of research into how ethical issues are reported in the media. (2019)
Dr. Ken Weidner
My main research project is The Living Wage Policy Study (justwage.org), a series of studies regarding the prevalence and nature of living wage policies and practices in American higher education. I encourage prospective 2019 Summer Scholars to review the website, which provides background information and explains the rationale behind the study, which originated with one of my 2015 Summer Scholars, Liz Sohmer (’16).
In Summer 2020, several aspects of the project are available for Summer Scholars, including survey analysis, interviewing study participants and analyzing results, database management and analysis, and data visualization. Note that this is a research project, not an advocacy initiative.
I am happy to meet with prospective Summer Scholars who would like to learn more this project.
Community Engaged Research
This is community engaged research to the extent that it involves the “community” within and around each higher education institution in the United States. However, it is not a community-based advocacy initiative or intervention. Thus, I have ticked “yes” here because I am open to community engaged, practical applications of my work, but I am not partnering with a community based organization or group. (2020)
Dr. Tetyana Berezovski
Sporthematics is the study of the relationship between mathematics and sports. It refers to a
broader cluster of ideas ranging from mathematics of scheduling tournaments to sports and
mathematics education. The goal of sporthematics is to contribute both to the understanding of sports and the understanding of mathematics, along with underlining the importance of the connections between the two.
For the past six years I investigated the role of sports-related activities as instructional and learning tools. I have been designing and implementing mathematical models as well as the sports-related tasks appropriate to students ranging from the middle school to the graduate level. The contexts for the design included ice-skating, lacrosse, karate, soccer, basketball, car racing, rhythmic gymnastics and volleyball. (2019)
Dr. Hongjun Ha
My research interests are:
1. Quantitative Risk Management: In this topic, I want to study how to measure risk to ensure the solvency of an insurance company. In particular, I want to explore how to apply the simulation methods to estimate Value at Risk or Expected Short-Fall, which is regarded as a financial buffer for insurance companies.
2. Pricing of an insurance contract: Recently, insurance companies are selling Variable Annuities, which contain financial option features. To price these hybrid products, one should be able to combine the standard actuarial pricing and risk-neutral pricing. In this project, I want to set up a pricing framework and numerical method to find a good approximation for a price when a closed-form is not available.
3. Machine Learning: In this topic, I want to study how to apply the predictive modelings from Machine Learning to predict quantities such as default rate or mortality rate. However, any number involved in uncertainty can be a target of prediction. In this project, one should be familiar with 1) regression analysis and computer programming using R or Python and 2) Matrix Algebra to set up a vectorized code to speed up optimization.
Also, I am always interested in any actuarial topic such as capital allocation or statistical analysis of insurance data. (2019)
Dr. Paul Klingsberg
My fields of research are combinatorics and graph theory. In very general terms, combinatorics deals with enumeration of the number of ways to perform a mathematical task (such as choosing a delegation of three people to represent a group of 15 people), and graph theory is concerned with diagrams you make by connecting dots with lines. Since these areas are relatively accessible to undergraduates, they are often sources of undergrad-level research problems, but not all the projects I have directed have been purely combinatorial, because the choice of topic is in large part driven by the student’s needs and interests. I have directed projects each of the last five summers. In ’06, I directed two summer scholar projects: The role of invariance in mathematics (which, among other things, investigated the use of an invariant in a number of combinatorial problems) and Generalized Möbius Inversion (which is abstract combinatorics). In Summer ’07, I directed a project in another area of combinatorics, Pólya-de Bruijn Theory, which deals with enumeration questions in which not all the ways of performing a task count as different. (For example, consider painting the faces of a cube using k colors. Rotating the cube will make some colorings coincide with others.) I directed a project centered on probability theory in ’08, on stochastic processes and the Black-Scholes formula in ’09, and on problem solving in ’10. For more details on these projects, please see the one-page summaries prepared by the students. (2020)
Dr. Rommel Regis
I can help students on projects in the areas of Mathematical Optimization, Probability, Statistics and Machine Learning. Mathematical Optimization involves finding the maximum or minimum of a mathematical function of input variables. It is used to determine the best (or optimal) solution to a real-world decision problem (e.g., how to maximize system performance, minimize risk, maximize yield, maximize profit, or minimize cost). It has applications in a wide variety of disciplines, including engineering, the sciences and business. Machine Learning is a sub-field of Artificial Intelligence that involves the design of algorithms that build mathematical models of sample data to make predictions (e.g., classification or regression tasks) or extract patterns from data (e.g., clustering). (2019)
Dr. Kristopher Tapp
My current research relates to the mathematics at the heart of recent lawsuits seeking to overturn gerrymandered congressional and state legislative maps. When the outcome of an election is uneven, how does one prove that it was the maps fault? This is a very new area of mathematics/statistics with many questions left to explore. Some coding skills (in Python or R) is necessary to run simulations. (2020)
Dr. Kristin Burr
Medieval French Literature
French Women Writers (Especially in the Middle Ages and Renaissance)
Relics in French Literature
French-Speaking Communities in North America (2019)
Dr. Konstantinos Nikoloutsos
I am eager to supervise students interested in investigating the reception of Greco-Roman antiquity in the cinema. In particular, I welcome proposals that seek to explore the ways in which the classical world has been used and abused in the medium, and how celluloid antiquity intersects with modern concerns and ideas (i.e., politics, gender, and sexuality). My area of expertise is postwar Hollywood, but I am happy to supervise work on all periods, from the silent era to recent releases, and on all genres, from epics and drama to comedy and comics. I will not provide supervision on proposals about other areas of classical reception or about antiquity itself. (2019)
Dr. Peter Habdas
Microrheology of dilute colloidal suspensions.
Particle dynamics in dense colloidal suspensions with inter-particle attraction. (2019)
Dr. Douglas Kurtze
Interaction of Ocean Circulation and Sea Ice (computational)
The Meridional Overturning Circulation is a planetary-scale pattern of flow in the Atlantic Ocean which is a major contributor to the energy balance that determines the Northern Hemisphere climate. This project uses a simplified computational model to explore how the extent of Arctic sea ice affects, and is affected by, this circulation. The idea is to explore a number of scenarios modeling past climates and also possible future climates as affected by global warming. The project may also involve modifying the model to incorporate interactions between the circulation and the carbon cycle.
Pattern formation (analytical)
This project involves using mathematical tools to investigate systems in which patterns form spontaneously. I am currently focusing on the formation of traffic jams, but I would also be interested in looking at the theory of formation of washboard patterns on roads, or of the formation of ripple marks by waves on a sandy shore. (2019)
Dr. Mark Scafonas
Research interests in large-scale atmospheric waves and its interaction with the mean flow of the atmosphere, particularly under conditions of anthropogenic climate change. (2020)
Dr. Lisa Baglione
I would love to have a student work with me on one of two projects:
1) authoritarian peacebuilding (particularly in Russia). The peacebuilding literature tends to assume that after conflict, peace is best assured with democracy; yet, Russia has created a form of “peace” in the Caucasus that needs to be understood and could be relevant to other areas of the world. Types of research: theoretical work in peacebuilding and substantive analysis of Chechnya, Dagestan, Ingushetia (also potentially looking at Abkhazia, South Ossetia, and Crimea)
2) Russian foreign policy: I am interested in exploring Russia’s relations with Europe, in particular with its former Warsaw Pact allies and former Soviet states. Under Putin, Russians have reasserted their interests in that area, contending that these states are part of a “natural” Russian sphere and that Russia has done so much for these peoples. I want to explore the Russian sense of entitlement to dominance in Europe, and particularly look at why Russia has felt no need to apologize or make amends for its previous brutality there. I am also interested in the ways that Russia is seeking to make new connections to these states, particularly through far right parties and other movements. We will explore the theoretical literature on apology, as well as to analyze Russian actions toward Europe in the post-Soviet era.
If you are not interested in working on one of these projects, I suggest that you look for a different summer scholars mentor. (2019)
Dr. Richard Gioioso
I am working on expanding my research on Latin America, with a special emphasis on Central America. Concretely, my participation in SJU service and immersion trips to El Salvador through Campus Ministry and the Faith-Justice Institute have inspired me to explore future collaborations between Salvadoran entities – non-profits, universities (UCA), communities and individuals. Some connections already exist for female entrepreneurial and community empowerment and economic development, but they have to be further cultivated and institutionalized.
Community Engaged Research
The research efforts that I am undertaking combine documenting the needs of local individuals and communities in El Salvador with regards to health and human services (e.g., water access and purification, dental and eye care) as well as human rights issues. Furthermore, I am exploring research opportunities for myself and students to perform qualitative research in communities in a northern Salvadoran department – Chalatenango – regarding the influence of Monsignor (Saint) Oscar Romero there. All of these projects will be carried out in partnership and solidarity with the communities, and will primarily focus on aiding in the achievement of community goals, and secondarily for academic research purposes. (2020)
Dr. Susan Liebell
During the 2020 summer, I will be completing a book on the Second Amendment, Stand Your Ground laws, and the use of guns during the Civil Rights era, and the relationship between guns and domestic violence. There will be many different projects related to these topics open to student research. Though it is not required, I encourage students interested in working with me as Summer Scholar to consider taking a class with me (on any subject) to acquire skills and background. It is possible that the Scholar will co-author a conference paper with me and attend a conference in the Fall.
Students with interests in political theory and/or constitutional law with other topics are encouraged to talk to me about supervising their projects.
Community Engaged Research
My 2019 Summer Scholar began work on a website to provide accurate information on gun violence and the Second Amendment. Part of 2020 work may include continuing that project. (2020)
Dr. Elizabeth Becker
Correlational studies indicate that antidepressant use by pregnant and lactating mothers may be associated with the development of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in her children. In the Becker Lab, we use the California mouse to study the effects of parental behavior, including maternal drug use, on offspring brain and behavior. Our data show that the levels of care offspring receive during development program future parental and aggressive behavior through changes in several neuroendocrine systems. Moreover, we show that antidepressant use impacts the Oxytocin system, a neuropeptide associated with social bonding and implicated in the development of ASD. We use pharmacology and histology to study how neurotransmitter, and neuropeptide systems mediate behavioral responses to differences in the early life environment. (2019)
Dr. Clare Conry-Murray
Autism spectrum disorder, moral development and gender development. (2020)
Dr. Joseph McCleery
Based in the Department of Psychology and the Kinney Center for Autism Education and Support at Saint Joseph’s University, Dr. McCleery’s Cognitive and Behavioral Intervention Research Laboratory is focused on conducting clinical and pre-clinical intervention trials, including community-based clinical trials, with a particular emphasis on interventions for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Topics for these intervention trials include communication skills, social skills, stress/anxiety, and executive functioning, among others. (2019)
Dr. Alex Skolnick
I am a biopsychologist interested in health and emotion research. Some examples of research topics include: gender differences in emotion, how people’s emotions influence their views on animals and nature, how to make bats less disgusting to the public, how one’s view of the origins of behavior influences emotion, how emotions might influence casual sexual behavior, hook-up behavior and sexual compliance, among other related topics. I am also interested in the history of the concept of disease contagion and the history of some ideas about emotion. (2019)
A summer scholar would be helping conduct and transcribe interviews, organize data collection efforts, conduct basic qualitative data analysis, and write memos to help identify patterns. I am looking to work with students who have basic qualitative data analysis skills and sharp sociological insights. (2019)
Dr. Susan Clampet-Lundquist
Along with other people at SJU, I’m working with POWER, an inter-faith grass-roots community organizing group in Philadelphia. One of our campaigns is addressing inequality in public school funding. Over the next several months, we’ll be collecting stories from people from PA school districts that are among the most under-funded in the state. These will be collected from interviews and focus groups. I would be looking for a student to work on this storytelling project via collecting stories, transcribing them, examining them for patterns, and creating various “products” from them, including briefs, and video/audio outlets. The ultimate goal is to reach multiple audiences to raise awareness about inequality in school funding and push for change. (2019)
Dr. Chunrye Kim
Sex trafficking is a serious social and health issue in the US. Nowadays, Uber or Lyft services have become very common and there are 2,500 registered drivers in Philadelphia alone (Billy Penn). This number is higher than the number of registered cab drivers (i.e., 1,600). As they tend to encounter various clients and go to different locations, including from some types of commercial sex industry establishments (such as strip clubs) to individuals’ houses, they have much potential to encounter sex trafficking victims and traffickers as their clients. If they can recognize the signs and contact law enforcement, many victims can be freed from their vulnerable situations.
As no empirical study has examined whether commercial drivers really encounter potential victims, and if so, whether they can identify victims and know whom to contact, we are not sure whether they can be important resources to help them. Thus, I would like to examine the role of Uber and Lyft drivers in helping sex trafficking victims.
A summer scholar would be helping recruit participants (Uber or Lyft drivers), conduct interviews, and analyze data. (2020)
My research primarily centers around the impact of aerobic exercise on academic and other behaviors of individuals with disabilities. I love to include undergraduate and graduate students as researchers, data collectors, and conference presenters. For the Summer 2019, the project we would be working collaboratively on is a virtual reality exercise biking project with the adult day learners who have ASD at the Kinney Center for Autism Education and Support. (2019)
Dr. Janine Firmender
My research interests are in the areas of gifted education and elementary mathematics education, primarily related to pedagogy, curriculum, and mathematical writing. In addition, I am interested in investigating how teachers’ expectations effect their instructional decisions and the mathematics learning opportunities they provide for their students and the integration of technology in mathematics instruction to enhance teaching and learning at the elementary level. (2019)
Dr. Virginia Johnson
Through my teaching of EDU 150 “Schools in Society” and EDU 151″Cognition & Learning” in a full year service-learning Education sequence I continue to be interested in the policy implications for teachers and classrooms. In particular, I analyze the strengths/weaknesses of proposed federal laws or reform movements embraced as “what schools need.” My background as a classroom teacher, educational psychologist, teacher educator, social justice advocate and twice awarded policy and leadership center studies fellow (PA, UPenn). I believe that I can offer micro and macro systemic analysis of schooling in the 21st century to the Summer Scholars interested in a range of educational topics.
I have enjoyed mentoring Summer Scholars seven times previously and look forward to doing so again. (2019)
Dr. Kaitlin Moran
My research interests are in early childhood education, the expansion of Pre-K programming, and the early education workforce pipeline. Specifically, I am interested in how families living in high-poverty urban settings access childcare settings, what the distribution of quality looks like across neighborhoods, and how the expansion of Pre-K can meet the needs of at-risk children. (2019)
Dr. Stacy Olitsky
I am currently engaged in a qualitative study of the relationship between identity and the retention of science and math teachers in high-need urban secondary schools. (2019)
Dr. Philip Cunningham
I am interested in theologies and the history of Christian-Jewish relations, in biblical studies, and in religious education. In particular, the transformation in relations between Jews and Catholics that has unfolded since the Shoah (Holocaust) and the Second Vatican Council (1965) has given rise to questions rarely considered since New Testament times and to an interreligious dialogue that is historically unprecedented. (2019)
Dr. Millicent Feske
My research interests include western Christian thought; feminist theologies; christologies; infertility and pregnancy loss as theological issues and PTSD as a theological issue, with special attention to the idea of the imago Dei (all human beings being born in the image of God, Genesis 1:26-28). (2019)
Dr. Adam Gregerman
Jewish Studies; Jewish-Christian Relations
Community Engaged Research
Interreligious Relations, Contemporary Judaism and Christianity (2020)
Dr. Gerard Jacobitz
Topics in systematic theology, especially sacraments, signs and symbols.
Fundamental theology: problem of God, relationship of faith/reason and dialogue with modern atheism.
Eco-theology: environment, sustainability, gardening and Benedictine values.
Community Engaged Research
Projects that would address interests in eco-theology. (2019)
Dr. Shawn Krahmer
My interests include gender studies and Christian spirituality, as well as mysticism, monasticism, pilgrimage, ecstatic experiences and visionaries. (2019)
Dr. Umeyye Isra Yazicioglu
My research interests include Islam, interpreting the Quran in the contemporary age, Christian-Muslim relations, science and religion and faith and reason. (2019)