2016 University Graduate Fellows

Graduate Studies anticipates distributing approximately $1,000,000 in university graduate fellowship (UGF) funding to doctoral programs. The intent is to support departmental efforts that are aligned with the strategies and action items identified in strategic goal 2 of Bold Aspirations, the University’s strategic plan. That goal is to “Prepare doctoral students as innovators and leaders who are ready to meet the demands of the academy and our global society.”

 


Lia Thomson | Anthropology

Research Interests

Thompson’s research interests lie in understanding how economic vulnerability, cultural ramifications, education, and past and present health practices influence the development of health, illness and disease of African-Americans and Swahili speaking individuals. Her interests also entail exploring the patient-doctor relationship of both cultures in addition to the aforementioned factors and their contribution to negative health outcomes and the rise of health disparities.

 


Tiffany Kichline | Clinical Child Psychology

Research Interests

Kichline's research interests are to better understand the influence and interplay of psychosocial factors, such as parent-child interactions, on children's quality of life and health behaviors in pediatric populations. She is very interested in the use of technology in promoting psychosocial health outcomes and physical health.

 


Alexandra Monzon​ | Clinical Child Psychology

Research Interests

Monzon’s research interests primarily reside in the field of pediatric psychology and behavioral medicine. She is interested in researching ways to promote healthy behavior in children and adolescents (i.e. physical activity and sleep) while simultaneously improving mental health outcomes. Her goal is to utilize novel tools in health assessment to better understand health-related quality of life and how chronic conditions impact children and adolescents. 

 


Anthony Guy | Communication Studies

Research Interests

Guy's research in Communication Studies is a mix of pragmatism and entertainment as he is looking at how pop culture mirrors the world at large. Specifically, he is comparing how professional wrestling storylines reflect current political sentiments. Likewise, he is interested in working with disadvantaged populations within the state.

 


Catherine Ann Ausland | Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Research Interests

Ausland's research seeks to utilize next generation sequencing techniques to establish functional changes in plant defense expression under different nutrient and symbiont treatments. In addition, her research strives to understand anthropogenic effects on plant-microbe symbioses.

 


Matthew Jones​| Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Research Interests

Jones' research has focused on the evolution of terrestrial locomotor abilities of bats from a functional morphological, ecological, and phylogenetic perspective. He currently studying the evolution and paleobiogeography of bats, with a focus on archaic fossil species and possible close relatives of bats in the fossil record.

 


Anthony Boynton​ | English

Research Interests

Boynton's scholarly interests rest on the relationship between African American literary history, race, gender, and representation. He plans to write his dissertation on the ways in which African American writers respond to state-sanctioned violence throughout the 20th and 21st century. The study will include an examination of lynching and radicalized police brutality, the black literary imagination, and how socio-political moments shape genre.

 


Wenting Tang | Linguistics

Research Interests

Tang's research interest focuses on the acquisition of second language(s), particularly the population who started to learn their second languages post puberty. Her main aspects of research involve the acquisition of syntactic structures and its relation to cognitive capacities such as working memory. 

 


Angelo Andres​ | Medicinal Chemistry

Research Interests

Andres' current research involves the synthesis and biological evaluation of inhibitors targeting heat shock protein chaperones. He was previously involved in drug discovery research to identify a novel class of antibiotics to curb the growth of drug-resistant tuberculosis. His efforts led to the development of assays to determine drug mechanism of action in mycobacterial species.

 


An Sasala | Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Research Interests

Sasala's research uses Digital Humanities methods and focuses on the intersections of pop culture, media, embodiment, gender, and sexuality. Currently, An is working on theories of technological gender construction, "Is Gender Real?," "Non-Compliant: Foucauldian Incarceration of the Monstrous Woman in Bitch Planet," and "Dream or Nightmare? tumblr feminism as the Post-Modern Prometheus."

 


Ling Zhang​ | Special Education

Research Interests

Ling’s research focuses on the effects of instructional technology on student learning outcomes. Her research goal is to investigate how Universal Design for Learning and educational big data help to innovate modern learning classrooms that accommodate diverse learning needs of all students, especially students with disabilities. Currently, she is interested in understanding how the research on personalized learning tailored for diverse learners is conducted across discipliners of educational research, learning science, and computer science.

 


Cassandra Hunt​ | Special Education

Research Interests

Hunt’s pervious research focused on work experience programs for middle school students with emotional and behavioral disorders and their impact on student learning and student behavior. Her current research focuses on the extent in which academic interventions for students with emotional and behavioral disorders integrate technology into their instructional design; more specifically, how academic interventions for students with emotional and behavioral disorders embed the universal design for learning framework.

 


David Royer​ | Special Education

Research Interests

Royer is a fourth-year doctoral candidate whose research interests include comprehensive, integrated, three-tiered (Ci3T) models of prevention, supporting systems change at the secondary school level for academic, behavioral, and social success of all students and prevention of emotional and behavioral disorders and learning disabilities. David also promotes the use of low-intensity teacher-delivered strategies as part of daily teacher practice for primary (Tier 1) plan prevention and core instruction, and as secondary (Tier 2) interventions. Additionally, he is an advocate for student-directed individualized education programs (IEPs) and created My IEP, a curriculum for teaching students to lead their full IEP me

 


Amittia Parker​ | Social Welfare

Research Interests

Parker's research interests cover several areas including spirituality in social work, work with faith-based communities, access to mental health services for people of color, health disparities, cultural diversity, leadership in social work, and early childhood mental health. She has a vision to research ways to connect and partner with churches, as this appears to be an untapped resource in terms of helping clients access mental health services in African American communities.

 


Thomas Ball​ | Psychology

Research Interests

Ball's research interests center around intergroup relations and stigmatized group identities. Some specific questions of interest include: How do members of stigmatized groups cope with perceived disadvantage due to their devalued status? How do asymmetric power relations complicate intergroup exchanges, and how can we promote more positive interactions across group boundaries?

 


Adrian Villicana​ | Psychology

Research Interests

Villicana'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.

 


Justin Preddie​ |Psychology

Research Interests

Preddie’s work focuses on stereotyping, prejudice and discrimination across several domains. He is interested in: (1) how we use non-verbal cues to make judgments about sexual orientation, (2) the relationship between brief exposure to a foreign language and negative attitudes towards immigrants & (3) the impact of perceiving either a similar or unique history of discrimination on intention to engage in collective action on behalf of another group. 

 


Jack King​ | Physics and Astronomy

Research Interests

King plans to work with the High Energy Particle Physics Group. As a member of the High Energy Particle physics group at KU he will be involved in research with the CMS experiment on the LHC at CERN, including analysis of detector data to look for physics beyond the standard model and the testing of electronic systems to be used in the upgrade of the CMS detector.

 


Aidyn Medina Lopez​ | Pharmacology and Toxicology

Research Interests

Medina-Lopez's research interest aims the mechanism of action and effects of microbial toxins, specifically clostridial neurotoxins. Her project focuses on toxin A and toxin B from Clostridium difficile and their effects on a three-dimensional blood-brain barrier model.

 


Maria Tickerhoof​ | Pharmacology and Toxicology

Research Interests

Tickerhoof's research interests encompass the role of neuropeptide and neurotransmitter circuits in the formation of social bonds and the connection between social behavior and stress. her will be using a socially monogamous rodent, the prairie vole, as a model to study the neurobiology and circuitry behind the formation and maintenance of social relationships, social buffering, and social loss.

 


Melinda Townsend​ | Physics and Astronomy

Research Interests

Townsend's previous research focused on galaxy cluster identification using existing catalogs of extragalactic X-ray sources. Her current research interests involve observational studies of galaxies with the aim of determining how the universe evolved over time.

 


Gopolang Mohlabeng​ | Physics and Astronomy

Research Interests

Mohlabeng’s doctoral research is to study various aspects of dark matter and determine how they fit together to form one coherent picture that can help us possibly understand the nature of this illusive matter.

 


Jaden Anderson​ | Computational Biology

Research Interests

Anderson performed a study of cell cycle orthologous genes to understand their evolutionary relationship using comparative genomics techniques in algae to investigate multicellular evolution. This sparked his interest in the fields of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology. Currently, he is rotating through labs in the Center for Computational Biology. My research interests include investigating cellular signaling networks, fitness responses of cells, and evolutionary relationships using computational simulation methodology.

 


Jose Hector Cadena​ | American Studies

Research Interests

Cadena’s research currently focuses on how Latinos embrace social programs and educational incentives that aim to bridge the educational gap but in turn fortify Latino exceptionalism and a subscription to white supremacy.

 


Latavia Hill | Molecular Biosciences

Research Interests

Hill is a first year student in the Molecular Biosciences Program. Her research interests include Microbial Ecology, Bacteria-Host Interactions and Pathogenesis, and Microbiology. Her past research focused on the importance of hydrocarbon degradation in marine microorganisms, predominantly during oil spills and the effects of 17-α Ethinyl estradiol on Heterandria formosa. After conferring a doctoral degree in Microbiology, Latavia hopes to work in Government Industry to help educate future leaders on the relevance of microorganisms and help to bridge the gap between public policy and science to initiate the use of better environmental practices for preservation of microbes.

 


Marjorie Galelli | History

Research Interests

Galelli focuses on 20th century American history with an emphasis on military and cultural history. she is particularly interested in the relationship between volunteerism and military recruitment advertisement.

 


Phil Duncan | Linguistics

Research Interests

Duncan's research primarily focuses on the syntax and morphology of Indigenous languages in North America. His dissertation work is on Meꞌphaa, an Otomanguean language from Guerrero, Mexico. Duncan is particularly interested in Meꞌphaa’s complex patterns of verbal agreement, and what they reveal about the language’s unique manifestation of ergativity, as well as broader insights Meꞌphaa can provide regarding how syntax relates to argument structure in natural language.

 


Sarah Mullinax | Molecular Biosciences

Research Interests

Mullinax's research has included work on the influence of the mycobiota on a mouses susceptibility to malaria. It was observed that mice from different vendors showed different levels of susceptibility to malaria. When examining the microbiome of mice that are susceptible to malaria against those that are resistant to malaria it was seen there is a difference in the bacterial diversity of the gut. Her research goal was studying if the fungal diversity differed between mice who were susceptible to malaria and ones that were not.

 


Tarrah Mitchell | Clinical Child Psychology

Research Interests

Mitchell's research interests include pediatric health promotion and weight management. More specifically, She is interested in psychosocial predictors and outcomes of disordered eating, physical activity, and sedentary behavior in children and adolescents.

 


Taylor Hersh | History

Research Interests

Hersh’s research focuses on women and religion in early modern Spain. Her dissertation uses Spanish Inquisition cases, spiritual autobiographies, and religious manuals to examine how women’s social roles impacted their religious experience.

 


Vincent Crowley | Medicinal Chemistry

Research Interests

Crowley’s research currently focuses on the design, synthesis, and biological evaluation of isoform-selective Heat Shock Protein 90 inhibitors. Selective inhibition of individual Hsp90 isoforms manifests desired biological activity without the detriments associated with pan-Hsp90 inhibitors. These inhibitors have broad applications from treating glaucoma to preventing the progression of aggressive forms of cancer.

 


Vitoria Paolillo | Molecular Biosciences

Research Interests

Paolillo’s current research project focuses on understanding how the protein γ-tubulin regulates the cell cycle in the filamentous fungus Aspergillus nidulans. This work continues to reveal exciting new insights into the complex regulatory mechanisms that ensure proper progression through the cell cycle.

 


William Duncan | Economics

Research Interests

Duncan's research focuses on international development and international economics. His most recent work has looked at the impact that non-violent protest has on various economic indices and he is also beginning to examine whether there are specific differences between globalization and regionalization regarding non-tariff barriers to trade. He will be working in the future on projects looking at connections between measures of political corruption in specific industries and how this impacts non-tariff barriers to trade (the project looks first at Egypt and Tunisia). He is also currently on a project to explore the status of innovation in the MENA region, and hopes to contribute to understanding some of the environmental factors at work in that part of the world contributing to, or hindering, further innovation.

 


Adam Terrazas | History

Research Interests

Terraza is a first year Ph.D student studying 19th century American environmental history. His research interests include race, borderlands, and the construction of identity.

 



KU Doctoral Hooding Ceremony starts in 90 minutes! Watch nearly 300 new doctors be celebrated at https://t.co/r5Lq0O4h8S


KU Safety

The first studio art class at KU began in 1869
One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
—U.S. News & World Report
Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
—ALA
23rd nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets," Military Times
KU Today