Summer Scholars

2015 Summer Scholars

 


Emily Beck | Bioengineering

Research Interests

One focus of Beck’s work is transforming traditional hydrogels to be paste-like prior to crosslinking them to enable the material to be more easily molded and shaped by a surgeon into a cartilage defect. The other focus of her work is making these hydrogels out of naturally derived cartilage matrix, which signals cells to regenerate and make new cartilage tissue.

 


Miriam Webber | Music Theory

Research Interests

Webber's research focuses on Mikhail Bakhtin's literary and narrative devices in the works of Soviet composer Dmitri Shostakovich. Specifically, she is interested in the implications of dialogue and carnival as they arise in select songs and dramatic scenes.

 


Drew Burks | History

Research Interests

Burks’s researches advertising in the popular press in the Austro-Hungarian cities in present day L’viv, Ukraine. He examines how changes and consistencies in advertising by businesses and in classifieds reflect urban culture from pre-war Europe, through the First World War, and into the first few years of the newly reunified Polish state. The aim of his study is to better understand how one facet of everyday life, advertising in the popular press, was affected by the upheaval of total war and the turbulence of changing political boundaries from 1911 to 1921.

 


Seena Eftekhari | Philosophy

Research Interests

Seena's research focuses on the status of economic liberties and whether or not they qualify as basic rights. Political philosophers from different liberal traditions employ ideals of persons to determine the status of various economic liberties in their political theories. Seena argues that the ideals of persons found within each of the liberal traditions serve as an insufficient basis for determining the status of the economic liberties.

 


Jean Eichhorst | Geography

Research Interests

Eichhorst explores human-environment interactions with a specific interest in socio-hydrology, the relationship between society and water. She is currently researching water management for the 1943 Republican River Compact with an emphasis on how anticipated climate change, especially decreased precipitation and stream flow, could impact compact compliance and conflict in the basin’s irrigation districts.

 


Jennifer Friessi | History of Art

Research Interests

Friess’s dissertation research examines the unexplored significance of new types of photographs made common with the aid of electric light in Paris between the World Wars. She seeks to discover why photographers, who were practitioners of a medium uniquely dependent upon light-sensitive materials, simultaneously began exploring the visual possibilities afforded by electric light and the historical significance of electric light to Parisian culture.

 


Chris Goode | Psychology

Research Interests

Goode’s research focuses on the roles of pervasive cultural beliefs, social identities and attitudinal norms in the justification and maintenance of inequality. Working within social identity and compensatory control theories, his work explores the ways individuals use culturally dominant ideologies to protect themselves from personal threat and how systematic social inequality affects intergroup relations.

 


Mahekta Gujar | Molecular Biosciences

Research Interests

Gujar’s use the nematode worm C. elegans as a model system to understand the development of the nervous system, specifically how the nervous system and brain circuits are wired. Knowledge of these mechanisms will translate to human nervous system development and disorders of neuronal development such as cognitive disorders and schizophrenia, and could have use in the treatment and regeneration of central nervous system trauma such as spinal cord injury and stroke.

 


Hannah Kang | Journalism

Research Interests

Hannah’s research has focused on how social media is related to college students’ drinking and how social media can affect prevention of binge drinking and underage drinking. In particular, she examines how and to what extent the non-profit organizations related to college students’ drinking have used social media to target and communicate with people to increase their engagements in the social media and how and to what extent this affects their prevention behaviors.

 


Emily Kennedy | Sociology

Research Interests

Kennedy's research examined the question: what is the effect of the Digital Age on sex work, the sex industry, and stigma. Over the summer she finalized two dissertation chapters thanks to this fellowship. One chapter examined popular culture representations of sex workers over 23 years in the Digital Age, and the other chapter uses in-depth interview data with 36 workers to capture their perceptions of change in their industry.

 


Natasa Kravchenko | Educational Psychology

Research Interests

Kravchenko’s research focuses on the psychological processes involved in making moral decisions, including empathy and moral reasoning. Her research plans for the near future involve examining the use of literary works as a vehicle for promoting empathy and expanding the circle of moral concern.

 


Khoa Nguyen Minh Le | Mathematics

Research Interests

Le's research focuses on well-posedness and fine properties of solutions for stochastic partial differential equations (SPDE). Using tools from probability theory and stochastic analysis, he studies how randomness can affect a certain model and how the solution of a SPDE behave over a large period of time.

 


Sarah Marten | Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

Research Interests

Marten’s research explores the impact of accountability policies on the interpretive frameworks that drive teachers’ classroom decision-making. She is conducting a qualitative study that draws on sociology of work literature to determine if teachers’ interpretive frameworks shifted from more craft-like in the pre-NCLB era to more engineer-like in the post-NCLB era. Her preliminary findings suggest that teachers’ frameworks are segmented into three dimensions: instructional, relational and civic; and that the instructional dimension shifted from craft-like to engineer-like in more substantial ways than the other two. These conclusions offer a crucial perspective on the effectiveness of accountability policies that may have gone unnoticed in previous policy research.

 


Kyungjin Min | Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

Research Interests

Min explores how soil microorganisms will respond to changing environments, such as increasing temperature and land-use change. She uses various lab and field techniques to investigate microbial decomposition of soil organic matter and subsequent greenhouse gas emissions. Also, using DNA sequencing, she analyzes how soil microbial structure shapes with environmental changes.

 


Felicia Mitchell | Social Welfare

Research Interests

Felicia’s research centers on the health and well-being of historically underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, particularly in relation to chronic diseases, social and environmental determinants of health, and health policy. Felicia is currently working on her dissertation that aims to support the Kickapoo Tribe in Kansas in sharing their story of how their perceptions of the environment influence their use of and interactions with water in their community and the potential implications it has for the health and well-being of their Tribe.

 


Tarrah Mitchell | Clinical Child Psychology

Research Interests

The goal of Tarrah’s research is to understand the psychological and social predictors and outcomes associated with physical activity and eating attitudes and behaviors in youth. Specifically, her research explores the associations among children's emotions, peer relations, physical activity, and eating attitudes and behaviors over time.

 


Gopolang Mohlabeng | Physics & Astronomy

Research Interests

The standard model of elementary particle physics is a very successful theory, able to explain many aspects of fundamental particles and their interactions. The recent discovery of the Higgs Boson at the Large Hadron Collider in CERN, means that the standard model is complete. It however leaves some unexplained, open questions, one of which is the long-standing puzzle of dark matter. The identity of dark matter remains one of the greatest mysteries in physics and thus provides the most compelling evidence for new physics beyond the standard model. Understanding the physics beyond the standard model gives us a better insight into the physics governing our Universe. Dark matter is believed to be the entity responsible for the structure (galaxies, galaxy clusters, etc) we see in our Universe today, in fact there is exceptional astrophysical evidence that points to this fact.

 


Lisa Mullinger | Musicology

Research Interests

Mullinger's research investigates the plurality of Russian identity as expressed through choral music during the late nineteenth century, a period of flourishing nationalist sentiment, industrial progress, and socio-economic development. Examining elements of composition, performance, and reception of choral music as experienced by a variety of social groups will expand our current understanding of "Russianness" and the role of choral music as a substantial proponent of national and social pride among ethnic Russians. Additionally, this work examines the impact of the Imperial government on nationalistic ideals through financial support, social reforms, and educational programming.

 


Brandon Neal | Mechanical Engineering

Research Interests

Brandon’s research focused on improving the design and manufacturability of a spinal fusion implant. The implant is made of a piezoelectric composite material which generates electrical power as the implant is deformed. This electric power stimulates bone growth allowing for faster recovery times.

 


Sho Ogawa | Film and Media Studies

Research Interests

Ogawa's dissertation is the first in-depth historical analysis of the 1990s “gay boom” in the Japanese media, which was the first major media phenomenon in Japan that prominently featured homosexuality. His research analyzes the gay boom as a complex incident that was derivative of a dynamic convergence of Japan’s turbulent economic situation and the resultant phenomena such as fluctuation in gender norms, renewed concepts of class and attractive lifestyles, impending immigration problems, and changing practices within the media industry.

 


Kristina Roney | French & Italian

Research Interests

Roney’s research situates 19th-century French novelist Honoré de Balzac’s literature within the historical economic movement of the Industrial Revolution with an emphasis on capital investments. As France transitioned from an agricultural to a modern economy, Balzac illustrates society and their relationship with nascent financial markets and social-class structure.

 


Sabrina Shafique | Architecture

Research Interests

Sabrina’s historical research focuses on the extent to which American architects and planners were involved globally, as well as the larger dynamic of the mid-century global dissemination of American architectural agendas through agencies such as the Ford Foundation, World Bank, and the United Nations. Her Dissertation builds on the work of American planning pioneer Catherine Bauer’s post-WWII career trajectory as an advocate and mediator for integrating housing and planning research at the global scale.

 


Phillip Wagner | Communication Studies

Research Interests

Phillip Wagner’s research focuses on the intersections of bodies, identity, and communication. Stemming from previous work on gender identity and body politics, Phil interviewed transgender individuals across the United States regarding body-policing and identity affirmation in healthcare settings.

 


Travis Wentworth | Chemical and Petroleum Engineering

Research Interests

Wentworth’s research focuses on identifying mechanisms of catalyst degradation in automotive catalysts systems. Specifically focusing on the reduction of N¬¬Ox in lean burn diesel exhausts. This research will help improve emissions in the automotive industry through improvements in the understanding of catalyst degradation over the lifetime of operation.

 


Sarah Woody | Pharmacology and Toxicology

Research Interests

Woody’s research focuses on the explaining the pathways that govern activity in the brain; specifically the regulation and trafficking of genes by male and female sex hormones under both normal and neurodegenerative conditions. The goal of these investigations are to identify the key molecular pathways and biomarkers for translational development of therapeutic strategies aimed at prevention, risk reduction, and early intervention.

 


University of Kansas Postdoctoral Association host the fifth-annual research symposium 9-4 today. Check it out! https://t.co/Kx0Fm6Qk4e


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