2014 Summer Fellows

To learn more about this fellowship, see the Summer Research Fellowship website.

Mubarak Muhammad Alhajeri | Chemical & Petroleum Engineering

A Study of Polyelectrolyte Complex Nanoparticles in Fracture Proppant-Pack as a New Remediation Technology

Mubarak AlhajeriAlhajeri's research investigates the application of polyelectrolyte nanoparticles to carry, deliver, and control the release of breakers during the process of hydraulic fracturing (fracking). The resulting nanoparticle system will minimize the formation damage due to fracturing fluids and improve the fracture cleanup characterization, and thus will replace the common misconceptions about the polymeric hydraulic fracturing process in conventional reservoirs.

Raciel Alonso | Spanish and Portuguese

(Dis)articulations of the Nation: Intersections of Poetry and Music in Cuba and Chile, 1959-2010

Raciel AlonsoAlonso’s dissertation project explores the relationship between poetry and music in Cuba and Chile during the last three decades of the twentieth century. Specifically, it centers on the way both forms of art dialogue with each other in relation to popular and official notions of the nation(s) in order to conceptualize poetry and music as sites of cultural, social, and political negotiation.

Rachel Bloom | English

Going Global: Negotiating Literacies within Transnational Public Health Care Contexts

Rachel BloomBloom's research examines cross-cultural communication within a transnational health care program for U.S.-based students and professionals on immersion in the Dominican Republic. Specifically, she explores how participants and local residents can work together to expand their health literacies and develop hybrid interpretive strategies for communicating between multiple languages and dialects.

Yen-Yi Chan | History of Art

Buddhist Icons and Family History: Images in the Kōfukuji Nanendō and the Fujiwara Family

Yen-Yi Chan Chan’s research focuses on the role of the Nanendō (South Octagonal Hall) and its images at the Buddhist temple Kōfukuji in Nara, Japan, in the lives of the Fujiwara clan, one of the most powerful families in Japanese history. By doing so, my research will reveal the intricate relations of the family’s religious activities to court politics and religious institutions from the ninth through thirteen centuries.

Rachel Childers | Economics

A Reexamination of the Labor Market Returns to Board Certification

Rachel Childers Childers’ research compares physicians' returns to board certification and specialization across gender and race and over time. Additionally, she will explore the causes of the differences and returns.



Justin Robert Clarke | Philosophy

The Primitive Thesis: Defending a Davidsonian Conception of Truth

Justin Robert Clarke Clarke’s research focuses on the nature of truth, both as a property of beliefs, and as a concept we use to evaluate those beliefs. His dissertation builds on the work of Donald Davidson, articulating and defending a theory reconciling the claims that truth is objective, and that truth is an irreducible, primitive concept; he plans to use his fellowship to examine Davidson’s papers at the University of California, Berkeley.

Troy Clifford Dargin | Speech-Language-Hearing

Laryngeal Adjustments Associated With Semi-Occluded Vocal Tract Tasks

Troy Clifford Dargin Dargin’s research looks at different voice exercises that can help aid the speaker and singer. The different voice exercises include lip buzzes, hums, and tongue trills to name a few. These exercises cut off some of the air escaping the mouth causing a positive back pressure toward the vocal folds (voice box), which sets the vocal folds into a soothing “kissing” action, instead of a smacking sensation, which can help aid vocal efficiency and help people who are vocally fatigued.

Susan Gillmor | Psychology and Research in Education

Effect of the Summer Learning Differential on Value-Added and Student Growth Percentile Estimates for Educator Evaluation

Susan Gillmor Gillmor’s research focuses on understanding the effect of the summer months on estimates of student achievement growth. This research will examine how much of the error in growth models can be attributed to variability in summer learning patterns, and explore the validity implications for current teacher and school evaluation systems.

Sonia M. Hall | Molecular Biosciences

The Dynamics and Biogenesis of the Drosophila Septate Junction

Sonia M. HallUsing the fruit fly as a model organism, Hall is working to understand the highly coordinated tissue level processes that alter cell shapes and allow for cell intercalation to pattern and form complex three-dimensional tissues. The mechanisms that regulate these complex morphogenetic changes are required for the proper development of all multicellular organisms, including humans.

Minjie Huang | Business

Peer Effects, Social Networks, and Firm Performance

Minjie HuangHuang’s research focuses on the role of networks in managerial decision-making and value creation. In particular, he investigates whether and how social, educational, and professional connections between managers and directors of different firms affect corporate policies and financial performance.

Faria T. Islam | Architecture

Effects of Intensive Care Unit (ICU) Design Features on Staff Perception

Faria T. IslamIslam’s research focuses on evaluation of staff perception on Intensive Care Unit (ICU) design. The study will examine the effects of various environmental features of adult ICU from staff perception on patient safety, family integration and staff working conditions. This research will open dialogue between clinical and design professions leading to better ICU design in the future.

Susumu Iwasaki | Health, Sport & Exercise Sciences

The Impact of Adolescent Student Athletes’ Perceptions of the Motivational Climate on their Mindful Sport Engagement

Susumu IwasakiIwasaki’s research focuses on the impact of high school student athletes’ perceptions of the motivational climate on their mindful engagement in sport and academics. Specifically, he is examining how a caring/task-involving climate (i.e., where athletes are treated with kindness and respect and encouraged to focus on their effort and improvement as markers of success) may facilitate athletes displaying greater mindful engagement in their sport participation and academic classes.

Alec Kirkeminde | Chemistry

Novel Magnetic Nanoparticle Synthesis for High-Energy Density Material

Alec KirkemindeKirkeminde’s research focuses on using nanoparticles to precisely control metal alloy phases in high-energy density magnetic composites. This research will further boost the knowledge of nanoparticle synthesis and ultimately improve the effectiveness of magnetic devices.

Liam Lair | Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies

Disciplining Diagnoses: A Genealogy of Trans* Subject Positions and Cisnormativity

Liam LairLair’s research examines the development of “transsexual” and “transvestite” diagnoses in the mid-twentieth century. He is particularly interested in drawing attention to how whiteness and racial norms were subtly written into these diagnoses in ways that affect how people accessed, and continue to access, transgender identity.

Sarah LeGresley | Physics

A Physics Approach to the Repositioning of DNA Damage

Sarah LeGresleyLeGresley's research focuses on deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) which is the instruction manual for our cells. Unrepaired damage can lead to developmental disorders, premature aging, and cancer. Specifically, her research seeks to understand how DNA repair proteins find the damage.

Joseph Manthey | Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

Landscape Genomics in Arizona Sky Islands

Joseph MantheyManthey’s research uses genomic and ecological data to investigate the effects of past, present, and future global change on species of the U.S. southwest. This research assesses potential genetic adaptation in a multitude of species, from plants to birds to ants, and ultimately impacts conservation decisions in a North American biodiversity hotspot.

Steve Marston | American Studies

Motors in Midway, U.S.A.: Dirt-Track Auto Racing in Kansas

Steve MarstonMarston's project addresses auto racing as a significant cultural practice in Kansas, as well as the Heartland region more generally. With fieldwork sites ranging from the State Archives to the dirt tracks themselves, he seeks to uncover how dynamics of identity, technology and a sense of place interact within the racing sphere.

Sarah Marten | Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Has Accountability Affected How Teachers View Themselves as Educators and How They Perform Their Roles?

Sarah MartenMarten’s research examines the impact of accountability policies on teachers’ conceptions of their roles as helping professionals. Her preliminary findings suggest teachers’ language has become less craft-like and more engineer-like since 1980. She will conduct interviews to determine if this same shift is happening in practice.

Tracy E. McElhattan | Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

The Effects of Teachers' Fidelity of Implementation and their use of Behavior Management Strategies on Preschool Children's Engagement and Early Literacy Outcomes During a Phonological Awareness Intervention

Tracy E. McElhattanMcElhattan’s research focuses on improving early literacy outcomes in young children by addressing factors such as: (a) teachers’ ability to implement evidence-based instructional strategies and behavior management strategies, and (b) children’s engagement during early literacy instruction. This knowledge will help design improved instructional practices in early childhood settings that address both academic and social emotional needs of young children.

Angela Moots | French

Functions of Fainting in Medieval French Literature

Angela MootsMoots researches the diverse narrative functions of fainting in Old French literature, and the unique relationship between imaginative literature and medieval medicine. An analysis of various texts ranging from the eleventh-century tales of saints' lives to the thirteenth-century Arthurian prose romances reveals that the increasing role of fainting in literature coincides with the increasing popularity of medical learning and treatments during the High Middle Ages.

Sahana Mukherjee | Psychology

Collective Memory and National Identity in India

Sahana MukherjeeSahana's research focuses on the bi-directional relationship between collective memory and national identity. Specifically, she examines the extent to which (a) memories of a national past reflect particular beliefs about national identity, and (b) the extent to which representations of history influence national identity and perceptions of present-day injustices in Indian society. A central theme across her work is to examine how systems of power and oppression are reproduced via collective tools, and the psychological phenomena that contribute towards social change.

Natalie Pennington | Communication Studies

The Invisible Audience, Self‐Disclosure, and Relational Development Online

Natalie PenningtonPennington's research looks at how individuals balance impression management and relational maintenance through social media. By analyzing data from interactions online, Pennington hopes to provide an understanding of how relationships form online and various maintenance strategies.

Nathan Rodriguez | Journalism

Constructed Credibility: Conspiracy Theory Discourse Online

Nathan RodriguezNathan’s research focuses on how individuals assess the credibility of information online. He examines three of the more prominent conspiracy theory-themed websites to better understand how such spaces are used, and how participants present and negotiate claims.

Allison Schmidt | History

Border Controls: The Leipzig Registration Station and East European Transmigrants, 1904-1914

Allison SchmidtSchmidt researches eastern European transmigration, or the journey Russians and Austro-Hungarians undertook during the height of their overseas emigration (ca. 1890-1914). She focuses on their experiences traveling through Germany en route to northern European harbor cities and how local German police and health officials reacted to these sojourners.

Juli Stone Pitzer | Film and Media Studies

Changes in 21st Century American Movie Theatre Business Practices: A Case Study of the Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas, Malco Theatres, and Warrens Theatres, 2000-2014

Juli Stone PitzerPitzer's dissertation research focuses on the changes in twenty-first century American movie theatre business practices utilizing the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema as its case study analysis. She is interested in how theatres are marketing and branding themselves in becoming community locations with multiple revenue options.

Brock Ternes | Sociology

Domestic Consumption of the High Plains Aquifer: a Survey of Water Conservation Among Well Owners

Brock TernesTernes’ research examines how dependence on wells and aquifers shapes the relationships well users have with water. Specifically, Ternes is analyzing domestic water conservation among well owners in Kansas, which could lead to a more precise understanding of how domestic water usage contributes to groundwater depletion.

José A. Vélez González | Geology

Use of Radar and Seismic Methods for the Determination of Ice Column Properties and Basal Conditions at the Jakobshavn Isbræ and NEEM Sites

José A. Vélez GonzálezObservational data show that Greenland outlet glaciers are discharging an increased amount of ice in the past three decades, raising the concern that their future contribution to global sea level rise may be higher than predicted. My work will improve ice sheet flow models by providing some of the first characterizations of basal conditions at Jakobshavn Isbrae, one of the fastest glaciers in Greenland.

Miriam Brack Webber | Music Theory

Self-Subversion and Carnival in the Middle-Period Symphonies of Dmitri Shostakovich

Miriam Brack WebberWebber's research focuses on literary and narrative devices in the mid-century symphonic works of Soviet composer Dmitri Shostakovich. Specifically, it considers self-subversive and carnivalesque strategies in selected scores and their performative application in live and recorded sources.

Stacia West | Social Welfare

Data Fusion: An Innovative Analytic Technique for Social Work Research

Stacia WestWest’s substantive research area is homelessness among single mothers. Due to a lack of available data to explore these substantive areas, her current work focuses on translating and applying data fusion, an analytic technique for combining large data sets, to social work research.

Lindsey Witthaus Yasarer | Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering

Examining the Influence of Climate Change on Surface Water Quality in Kansas Using the SWAT Model

Lindsey Witthaus YasarerYasarer’s research examines how climate change may impact surface water quality in Kansas streams and reservoirs by utilizing the watershed model, the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT). She will analyze how changes in precipitation intensity impact nutrient and sediment export from Perry, Tuttle Creek and Kanopolis watersheds. This research will be beneficial for statewide watershed planning efforts and for developing Kansas-specific climate change mitigation strategies.

Lidiya Zubytska | Political Science

Foreign Policy Making in Quasi-Democratic Societies: The Case of Ukraine

Lidiya ZubytskaZubytska’s research centers on foreign policy making in the post-Soviet space. More specifically, she is studying how different domestic and international factors influenced the tension between pro-Western (integration with the EU) vs. pro-Eastern (closer relationship with Russia) orientation of Ukrainian decision-makers and public since the Orange revolution until today.

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