2016 Summer Scholars

To learn more about this scholarship, see the Summer Research Scholarship website.

 


Dhirgham Alobaydi | Architecture

Research Interests

Alobaydi's research has focused on studying the morphological processes in Middle Eastern cities. First, the research has examined the basic urban forms of the City of Baghdad, Iraq as a case study, back to the 11th century up to the present. Then, the research identifies underlying organizing principles, urban typologies, and patterns of growth processes. Finally, it provides some general recommendations that can be used to improve the quality of urban life in Middle Eastern cities.

 


Chelsea Bailey | Sociology

Research Interests

Despite widespread scientific consensus that anthropogenic climate change is occurring, a significant segment of the United States population remains unconvinced of its reality. Bailey’s dissertation will consider how the debate surrounding the science of climate change fits into and expands the theoretical concept of the culture wars, and will use this conception to address the question: What is the nature of the continuing political and ideological polarization among Americans concerning the issue of climate change? She will base her findings on an analysis of climate change-related media output from either side of the political/ideological spectrum: those who agree with the scientific consensus and those who remain skeptical.

 


Marty Baldwin | English

Research Interests

Baldwin's dissertation project explores nineteenth-century domestic literature and its engagement with classical philosophy, particularly Stoicism. She is interested in how Stoic engagements could paradoxically reinforce and challenge nineteenth-century hierarchies of race, class, and gender. Distressed by the demands of domestic labor and the difficulties of finding servants they found suitable, domestic writers turned to philosophy as a means to regulate their emotional states as well as their household aesthetics. The research funding Baldwin received from the University of Kansas enabled her to travel to archival libraries in both Britain and the United States in order to recover neglected texts and manuscripts written by domestic workers and their employers. 

 


Mandi Barnard | History

Research Interests

Barnard researches the intersection of social class and gender in early twentieth century British education through an examination of primary and secondary level science curricula.  Her focus on how science was taught based on gender and the likelihood that the student would continue to college studies reveals a key paradox in British society – one that hailed itself as progressive and scientific, yet clung to markers of class and gendered attitudes of educational attainment much longer than other Western nations prior to WWII.  In fact, science was used to support the natural division of state curricula by gender as it was unnecessary for a girl, who would be a mother, to be educated as the equal of a man, in a society which promoted marriage and family, stasis and social stability, over progressive societal change.  Barnard seeks to understand how this tension in social expectations in a world of rapid change affected working class British women after they received their primary education.

 


Frank Ceballos | Physics and Astronomy

Research Interests

Ceballos’s research interest is focused on Van der Waals structures, which are synthetic materials formed by stacking different two-dimensional (2D) materials on top of each other. They differ from conventional materials since they are designed and fabricated on the sub-nanoscale, allowing in principle for the design of materials that can be tailored to a specific application. Using monolayer transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs), superb semi-conducting materials, Ceballos and his team designed, fabricated, and studied new types of Van der Waals heterostructures with potential applications on producing great light emitting diodes (e.g. screens), photodetectors (that can be used in cameras), sensors (that can be used to detected single particles), and logic electronics (e.g. computer chips).  Putting this all together, ultra-thin devices can become a possibility. They successfully showed that we can design materials with specific properties using the family of 2D materials and characterize their properties using ultrafast laser spectroscopy techniques.

 


Yao Chen | Pharmaceutical Chemistry

Research Interests

Chen's research focused on quantitative analysis of protein expressions in humans’ liver. However this type of analysis is burdened by the complex nature of the samples because substances that other than protein of interest can interfere, suppress, or mask target signals, or even harm analytical instruments. Keeping the quantitative nature of all proteins would invariably include many interfering substances, whereas “cleaning” the interferences would require sacrifice of quantification accuracy.  It has always been challenging in the field to keep the sample “clean” and the analysis accurate at the same time. The new technique named quantitative filter-assisted sample preparation (qFASP) that Chen developed in Wang’s lab successfully obtained maximum sample cleanness, while keeping the quantitative nature of proteins of interest in human liver samples. 

 


John Cooley | Clinical Child Psychology

Research Interests

Cooley's research investigates factors that attenuate or exacerbate youth’s risk for peer victimization and aggression and their associated negative outcomes. A major focus of this work is devoted to better understanding the roles of individual-level factors (e.g., emotion regulation and coping strategies) in relation to these social problems. Yet, he also applies an ecological perspective and examines contextual risk and protective factors at the parent, peer, school, and community levels. It is hoped that the findings from this research will aid in the identification of at-risk youth and inform the development and refinement of targeted interventions for peer victimization and aggression during middle childhood and early adolescence.  

 


Jeri Damman | School of Social Welfare

Research Interests

Damman’s research explores birth (biological) parent engagement and involvement strategies in child welfare and how these strategies contribute to improved outcomes through system improvement and reform.  She is conducting a qualitative study with birth parents who have prior child welfare service experience and are employed as peer mentors.  The study explores how parents perceive their involvement opportunities, what they hope to accomplish, and how their involvement contributes to system improvement.  Damman’s research aims to inform the development of meaningful and effective involvement practices.

 


Matthew Girard | Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Research Interests

Girard’s research explores the evolutionary history of carangiform, or Jack-like, fishes using anatomical and genomic data. Carangiform fishes are among the most economically important groups of fishes in the world—heavily utilized in commercially farmed fisheries and prized among sports fishermen.  They also include some of the most anatomically diverse fishes in the world––such as Trevally, Flounders, and Marlin, which have numerous modifications to the dorsal-fin, bauplan, and feeding apparatus. Understanding how these fishes are related and how their anatomical and genomic features have changed over the course of time allows for a broader understanding of how evolutionary processes operate.

 


Brittany Hartwell | Bioengineering

Research Interests

Hartwell's research interests are set on developing better immunotherapies for multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune diseases through targeted drug delivery. She’s attracted to the field of drug delivery where she is faced with design problems that require knowledge of biology, medicine, chemical engineering, and creativity to solve. 

 


Jingxian Hu | Economics

Research Interests

Hu’s research interest lies in open macroeconomics. Specifically, she studies the economic dynamics and monetary policy implications under different levels of capital account openness and exchange rate regimes. Using theoretical models and computational methods, her research aims to provide a further understanding of the Mundell-Fleming trilemma by analyzing the economic complexity and uncertainty.

 


Matthew Josephson | Molecular Biosciences

Research Interests

 


Jamal Kakrasul | Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering

Research Interests

Limited fill space geosynthetic-reinforced retaining (LFS-GRR) walls, which are special types of retaining walls, are increasingly built to support highways, bridge abutments, and service roads throughout the world. Because no widely accepted design guideline is present for LFS- GRR walls, it has posed challenges of designing and construction of such walls with satisfactory performance. Thus, the motivation of Kakrasul's study was to better understanding the performance of LFS-GRR walls, and developing a practical construction guideline for this special type of wall. 

 


Aryn Kamerer | Speech-Language-Hearing

Research Interests

Kamerer studies inner ear physiology using electrophysiologic techniques and mathematical modeling. More specifically, she is focused on developing a new diagnostic tool for sensorineural hearing loss, one that can pinpoint the site-of-lesion at both the cellular level and spatial location within the inner ear, using objective measures that do not require a behavioral response. The age of raising one’s hand to beeps and boops is coming to an end, as more sophisticated and sensitive measures can help audiologists make accurate diagnoses and treatment plans for patients suffering from hearing loss. 

 


Eric Lackey | Film and Media Studies

Research Interests

Lackey’s dissertation is a discourse analysis of 21st-century U.S. films which focus on narratives of the immigrant experience. His research seeks to analyze and explain the ways in which these films constitute a range of statements about immigration-related issues such as labor, xenophobia, border security, civil rights, and contemporary ideas of citizenship. Further, Lackey is interested in the ways in which the cinematic discourse of the immigrant experience relates to other areas of public discourse on these issues.

 


Martin Leon| Chemistry

Research Interests

Leon's research is focused on the development of novel chemical probes and therapeutics, called mimotopes, to induce antigen-specific immune tolerance in the mouse model of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), which is a validated model for multiple sclerosis. A mimotope is a synthetic peptide that mimics a peptide antigen epitope, but that skews the immune response (i.e. towards immune tolerance). Multiple studies have indicated that co-administration of mimotopes with an immunosuppressant will induce antigen-specific immune tolerance. By conjugating drugs to our mimotope it may induce immune tolerance and reverse autoimmune diseases that are caused by autoreactive B cell and auto-antibodies. The proposed mimotope-drug conjugate will be used in the EAE model, in an attempt to yield an antigen specific regulatory immune response.

 


Christina Lord | French & Italian

Research Interests

Lord’s dissertation research focuses on fluctuating human identities in the works of four creators of modern French science fiction literature or film: J.H. Rosny aîné, Jean-Claude Dunyach, Luc Besson, and Eric Chevillard. For her theoretical framework, Lord uses the interdisciplinary theory of posthumanism, which questions the ethical and social implications of 1) human superiority over nonhuman entities and of 2) the physical and intellectual enhancement of humans through technology. In the works of Rosny, Dunyach, Besson, and Chevillard, she explores contact between humans and nonhumans, such as integrations between humans and artificial intelligence (cyborgs), or the extinction of an alien species caused by humans.

 


Monique Luisi | Journalism

Research Interests

Luisi’s research focuses on media, health, and underserved populations. She recently completed her dissertation which examined Kansan parents’ perceptions and social media representations of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine and their connections to low HPV vaccination rates among Kansan children. This research will assist in learning about reasons for non-compliance to preventive health behaviors, including risk perception.

 


Megan Luttrell | Slavic Languages & Literatures

Research Interests

Luttrell’s research focuses on the interaction of the visual and literary arts in 19th and 20th century Russia. Her dissertation “Color, Line, and Narrative: Visual Art Techniques in L. N. Tolstoy’s Fiction,” investigates Tolstoy’s anxiety over the written word and its ability to communicate truth to the reader. She examines how Tolstoy compensates for the perceived shortcomings of language by borrowing techniques from painting, sculpture, and drawing. Luttrell notes how the visual nature of his work, in connection with his philosophy, shifts from a more painterly and dynamic aesthetic to one that is more static, sculptural, and black-and-white. Hers is the first project in the field to explore visual art techniques in Tolstoy, and reevaluates the author’s later works that are often dismissed as aesthetically inferior to his earlier writing.

 


Christy Miller | Music

Research Interests

Miller investigates the use of American folk music as radio propaganda during World War II. Her work focuses on the way in which American folk music programming on the BBC helped to promote solidarity and fraternity between the American and British home fronts. Utilizing scripts, planning documents, correspondence, and recordings from archives in the United States and England, Miller considers rhetorical strategies and audience perception of these wartime broadcasts.

 


Cuong Ngo | Mathematics

Research Interests

Ngo's research focuses on numerical solution to partial differential equations (PDE). His current work deals with developing an optimal and robust moving mesh method for solving porous medium equation and other nonlinear and/or free-boundary problems. 

 

 


Maged Nosshi | Geography and Atmospheric Science

Research Interests

Nosshi's objective is to determine how a diverse ecosystem performs in comparison with a simplified version of it. To explain the mechanisms involved, and address this question in the context of water, Nosshi used stable isotopes methodology which allows us to look at source water taken up by plants, thereby able to map the niche space of different species combinations and compare their performance. A highlight of this work will hopefully inform how ecologists conceptualize complementary interactions, as well as what defines biologically available water.

 


Kamuran Osmanoglu | Philosophy

Research Interests

Osmanoglu's research focuses on the nature of race. In his dissertation, he lays out and defends a new hybrid psychological-social constructionist account of race that can capture global racial discourse and which is faithful to the biological, psychological, historical, and sociological realities underlying this discourse. With this new account of race, Osmanoglu aims to move the discussion away from the discussion of problematic metaphysics (social vs. biological) of race, which has hindered the debate for a long time in philosophy of race.  

 


Eunyoung Park | History of Art

Research Interests

Park’s dissertation research examines the development of contemporary Korean art from the late 1980s through the 2000s under the influence of globalization. Through the study of selective internationally known Korean artists, her research investigates the impact of the transnational migration of language, culture, labor, and capital on cultural, social, and critical spaces of Korea and discusses the construction of contemporaneity and cultural identity of Korean art. 

 


Soroush​ Rezvanbehbahani​ | Geology

Research Interests

Existence of thermal features beneath ice sheets can melt the basal ice layers, enhance the ice velocity, and hence, increase the ice discharge to the oceans. Using a suit of numerical ice sheet models and machine learning techniques, Rezvanbehbahani's research aims at improving our understanding of basal thermal conditions, including the geothermal heat flux of the Greenland Ice Sheet. The new findings serve as a crucial boundary condition for numerical ice sheet models to have reliable predictions of future sea level rise.

 


Jen Schon | Communication Studies

Research Interests

 


Elizabeth​ Stigler | Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Research Interests

Stigler's dissertation explores the relationship between ancestral foodways and ethnic identity within Chicago's Czech-American communities. As a Gender and Food Studies scholar, Stigler is interested in the confluence of gendered labor and food-based practices of distinction. For her dissertation, she developed a method she refers to as 'co-culinary oral history' that is a combination of feminist oral history while cooking or baking. This method forefronts the importance of the kitchen as an anchor for individual, familial, and ethno-cultural identity. 

 


Alex Stucky | American Studies

Research Interests

Stucky's research focuses on the impact of racial hierarchy, exclusion, and vulnerability as white authors created black identities and personas in the 1960s and 1970s comic books. This work examines how the inclusion of black identities in superhero comics altered the complex constructions of power and race in American culture.

 


Peng Seng​ Tan | Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Research Interests

The advent of mobile apps like Facebook and Instagram, high data-rate communication protocols like 5G and the Internet of Things have placed new demands on the Radio Frequency Spectrum traditionally dominated by radar systems. Therefore, Tan's doctoral research aims to address this challenge by a two-prong approach of designing spectrally well-contained radar waveforms to facilitate RF spectrum sharing with communication systems as well as an optimal sparse spectrum allocation scheme to allow radar systems to maintain essential performance metrics while using less of the original spectrum.

 


Adrian Villicana​ | Psychology

Research Interests

Villacana's research focuses on issues of social identity. He is interested in how our social categories—like gender, ethnicity, and sexual orientation—interact to influence how we perceive and evaluate each other. And, he looks at this in three lines of research. In the first line of work, Villacana's focus is on the stereotyping process. He examines how the different combinations of our social identities influence the stereotypes we have for  each other as well as how these different sets of stereotype content influence later judgments. In the second line of work, the focus is on prejudice. He examines how positive feedback associated with one social category over another can increase, decrease, or have no effect on prejudice against others. Finally, in a third line of work, Villacana explores how the intersection of ethnicity and sexual orientation influences gay people’s understandings and experiences of gay identity and the “coming out” process. He focuses on coming out as a gay individual—therefore disclosure a concealable identity—and how verbal and nonverbal routes to disclosure differentially effect gay White, Latino, and Black men’s well-being and mental health.

 


Junjian Zhang​ | Aerospace Engineering

Research Interests

Zhang's research studies acoustic propagation under different conditions by using the Computational Fluid Dynamic (CFD) method. Currently he is helping the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to study the acoustic noise generated from airplane fly over and corresponding noise effect to the ground level building under different ground conditions. The study results will provide a prediction of the noise affected area and help to design the noise control method on the ground.

 


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