Gili Freedman, assistant professor of psychology, has received a grant for $49,051 from the Spencer Foundation for her work on “Changing Attributions to Improve Persistence of Women in STEM.” Partnering with Dr. Melanie Green from University at Buffalo, Dr. Freedman will conduct a set of three studies on women’s attributions in STEM fields to explore avenues to increase retention of women in STEM. Prior research suggests that women may make different attributions than men when receiving lower grades in introductory science courses than in other fields. Based upon initial research, Dr. Freedman and Dr. Green will design an intervention to help first-year students make better attributions such as seeing lower grades as an indication of the challenging nature of the courses rather than a lack of ability. The findings from this research will provide valuable knowledge about the attribution processes among women in STEM and new methods of intervening to increase retention.
Professor of Anthropology Julia King is featured in Nov. 21 edition of The Washington Post. King’s research team includes St. Mary’s College of Maryland alumni Scott Strickland (’08), Catherine Dye (’17) and Max Sickler (’18), along with current students through King’s anthropology classes.
King, in collaboration with the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, Chesapeake Conservancy, and the state-recognized Rappahannock Tribe of Virginia, has been tracing the history and development of the Rappahannock Indians in early American history (200-1850 AD). This research is supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings,
conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
The full Washington Post article can be found here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/virginia-politics/the-indians-were-right-the-english-were-wrong-a-virginia-tribe-reclaims-its-past/2018/11/21/2380f92c-e8f4-11e8-bbdb-72fdbf9d4fed_story.html?utm_term=.a8695d72b1b0
St. Mary’s College Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies Cassie Gurbisz’s research on Chesapeake Bay grasses is featured in an article in today’s Baltimore Sun. The article discusses the impact of flooding on oysters and grasses as another surge of stormwater and pollution flows through Conowingo Dam. Gurbisz is pictured on the front page and included in the video accompanying the story.
Gurbisz’s research project is being funded through an award from the Maryland Sea Grant program, a part of the University System of Maryland. Maryland Sea Grant works to develop scientifically sound ideas and practices that enhance the Chesapeake Bay’s ecology along with the businesses and jobs that depend on it. Gurbisz’s project is titled: Quantifying Nutrient Sequestration in Chesapeake Bay Submersed Aquatic Vegetation Beds.
Congratulations to the 12 students who presented their research on July 27, 2018 to conclude the SMCM Mathematics REU, a 7-week NSF-funded research experience for underrepresented students in mathematics who are early in their college careers. Over 100 students from across the country applied for the 12 positions. Two of the participants, Mariel Santos ’20 and Beth Thomas ’21, are undergraduates at SMCM. Santos’ team presented “Knots & Links: Local Moves & Polynomial Invariants.” Thomas’ team presented “Combating Tuberculosis: Using Time-Dependent Sensitivity Analysis to Develop Strategies for Treatment and Prevention.”
The Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program supports active research participation by undergraduate students in any of the areas of research funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). REU projects involve students in meaningful ways in ongoing research programs or in research projects specifically designed for the REU program.
David Gerrish, an undergraduate physics major at St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM), will be the first SMCM student to undertake a summer internship at the new Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Test Site located at the St. Mary’s Airport in California, MD. Under the mentorship of Dr. Troy Townsend, an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry and Materials Science at SMCM, David will be using Computer Aided Design (CAD) to build 3-D printed unmanned aircraft and test their performance at the University of Maryland UAS Test Site. This full-time 11-week internship is traditionally awarded to students attending the University of Maryland, College Park Engineering Program or the College of Southern Maryland Engineering or Computer Science Programs.
According to the UAS website, “UAS Test Site summer internships give students an opportunity to work hands-on with researchers and staff on the modeling, design, analysis, simulation, assembly, and experimentation of UAS. As members of the test site team, summer interns work full-time from offices in California, MD and … [conclude the internship] with a briefing to advisors and UAS Test Site staff on project outcomes. The Unmanned Aircraft Systems Test Site at the University of Maryland stands at the forefront of UAS rulemaking, commercialization, and national airspace integration. Formed in 2014, Test Site experts leverage their approximately 150 years of combined experience in military and civilian aviation, engineering, and project management to accelerate the safe, responsible application of UAS in public and private industries.”
St. Mary’s College of Maryland is Maryland’s Public Honors College and is heralded as one of the nation’s top public liberal arts colleges. David’s internship award is a testament to the quality of the applied science component of the SMCM student liberal arts experience. Dr. Townsend says, “One of St. Mary’s greatest values is student research. Every student is required to complete a senior capstone project to culminate their interdisciplinary studies, and I have a team of students who start in lab with directed research in their first two years of college. The applied nature of our research has initiated partnerships with the Navy and commercial partners, where our undergraduate students are conducting PhD level research. Projects like David’s are super cool and could lead to exciting opportunities with new discoveries in technology.”
Amanda Deerfield, assistant professor of economics, and Sriparna Ghosh, visiting professor of economics, presented research at the Association of Private Enterprise Education in Las Vegas, Nevada, in April. Deerfield’s research in “Examining the Relationship Between Economic Freedom and Ridesharing Legislation” found that states with less economic freedom take longer to pass ridesharing legislation. Her research was supported by a grant from the Charles Koch Foundation.
A second paper, co-authored by Deerfield and Ghosh, found that states with greater occupational licensing requirements have lower rates of entrepreneurship. Both research papers have implications for policy-makers concerning how to encourage entrepreneurship by improving regulatory conditions.
An archaeologist and adjunct instructor, Scott Strickland is one of many successful alumni working to enrich the St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) community. A 2008 graduate, Strickland has worked on SMCM archaeological projects for almost a decade. Strickland began his archaeological career with Professor of Anthropology Julie King, finding and testing Moore’s Lodge, the first courthouse of Charles County, MD. He has since worked on a wide variety of projects, and was instrumental in the discovery of Zekiah Fort, a defensive fortification established in 1680 by Gov. Charles Calvert to protect Piscataway people from northern Native American raiders. Strickland received his Master of Science from the University of Southampton in the UK, specializing in archaeological computing. He also worked on the Colonial Encounters Project, an effort funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities focused on cataloging artifacts and analyzing historical maps for future use.
Currently, Strickland is working on a project funded by the National Park Service, entitled “An Ethnographic Overview and Assessment of Piscataway Park in Prince George’s County.” The grant funding this project was awarded to Dr. King in September, 2017. Strickland, along with SMCM staff member Travis Hanson, hopes to document changes to the Piscataway Park community in Prince George’s County by talking with local residents, gathering historical documents including land grants and tax forms, and recording alterations to the physical landscape. He also serves as an adjunct instructor at SMCM, teaching anthropological applications of Geographic Information Systems and computational methods in anthropology. Strickland is one of countless SMCM alumni that are giving back to the St. Mary’s community through his commitment to historic preservation and ability to teach.
The views and conclusions contained in this document are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as representing the opinions or policies of the U.S. Government. Mention of trade names or commercial products does not constitute their endorsement by the U.S. Government.
As the Spring 2018 semester draws to a close, a group of students with diverse interests and backgrounds are preparing to take part in the St. Mary’s Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program this summer. The SURF program partners students from intentionally varied disciplines with faculty mentors to engage in directed research or creative work. While working full-time for eight weeks on their individual projects, students will also participate in workshops and group meetings to develop their professional skills. The SURF program will culminate in a symposium in July 2018, allowing each student to showcase their finished projects to the campus and local community.
Nine students were chosen during a competitive selection process to participate in the SURF program this summer:
Justyce Bennett, a junior DeSousa-Brent Scholar studying anthropology, is working on a project entitled “Visual and Material Cultures of Slavery: The View from Art History” under the guidance of Assistant Professor of Art History Emily Casey. Justyce will research the methodology of archaeologists and art historians to establish an interdisciplinary approach to the interpretation of artifacts found on sites that relate to slavery. The project’s purpose is to develop a critical method for approaching these artifacts that connects them to larger visual cultures and provides insight into the culture and lives of enslaved people, while also allowing room for personal agency and creativity.
A sophomore studying chemistry and applied math, Nick D’Antona is conducting the project “Printing Perovskite Solar Cells: A Low-cost Production Method for Renewable Energy”. Nick and Assistant Professor of Chemistry Troy Townsend hope to layer inks with an automated printing process so that they consistently produce stable and efficient solar cells. Nick hopes to earn his PhD in chemistry, but first wants to be a research chemist and explore the materials sciences. He hopes to gain better presentation skills and is thankful for the research experience available through the SURF program.
James Judlick is a junior studying psychology. His project “Queer Eye for the Employer: A Résumé Audit Study for LGBTQ Individuals” is a study of possible discrimination against LGBTQ men as they apply to administrative, clerical, and management positions. The project will be mentored by Dr. Ayse Ikizler, an Assistant Professor of Psychology with a background in the effects of oppression of marginalized groups and the intersectionality of identity. James is looking forward to the collaborative and interdisciplinary aspects of the SURF program, hoping to become a group therapist in the future.
Bethany Laffan is a sophomore English major who is working with Professor of English Jeffery Coleman on the project “Literary Rock Star: A Reception Study of Haruki Murakami’s Popularity in Japan and the United States”. Analyzing the novels Norwegian Wood and The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle through various psychoanalytical theories, Bethany hopes her research will reveal intercultural connections between readers in Japan and the United States. She hopes to use SURF to gain more experience in research and analysis and later become an English professor or librarian.
Lily Pohlenz is working on a biology-focused project, “What’s the Buzz on Somatic Wolbachia Infection? Using Drosophila Melanogaster as a Model Organism to Understand the Control of Disease Transmission in Mosquitoes”. She will be conducting research under the guidance of Assistant Professor of Biology Kevin Emerson. Since somatic Wolbachia infection limits disease transmission among mosquitos, Lily and Dr. Emerson are attempting to learn its method of growth as a potential mechanism for preventing the spread of vector transmitted diseases. Lily is majoring in biology, with a minor in philosophy. She hopes to travel and help others during a future stint with the Peace Corps and later work as a physician’s assistant. Lily is looking forward to designing a project and conducting experimental research as part of her SURF experience.
Collaborating with Research & Instruction Librarian Amanda VerMeulen, Stephanie Schoch is working on the project “Visualizing Refugee Health Data: Impact of Domain-specific Knowledge on Comprehension”. Stephanie is a computer science and psychology double major graduating in May 2019. Her project will investigate the role of domain-specific knowledge in health data visualizations. This research specifically focuses on how healthcare domain knowledge affects comprehension of data visualizations with varying properties and attributes. She plans to apply for PhD programs in the fall, with current research interests including human-computer interaction, UX (user experience) design, and data visualization.
Kelly Healy will work with Assistant Professor of Biochemistry Shanen Sherrer on her project titled “Cutting a Pathway: Locating Binding Site of Environmental Contaminant Cadmium in Metal-binding Protein”. Kelly is a junior, double majoring in biology and biochemistry with a minor in music. She hopes that SURF will give her more research experience and prepare her for grad school.
With Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies Barry Muchnick, Elizabeth (Izzy) Peterson is conducting the project “A Call to Animate: A Study and Subversion of Propaganda’s Power”. A studio arts major with a minor in film & media studies Izzy hopes to work in the film industry as a production designer. Her research is focused on analyzing propaganda films of the early 20th century, such as Disney war bond shorts, Charlie Chaplin’s The Great Dictator, the films of Leni Riefenstahl, and more. She intends to uncover the techniques behind successful propaganda films and employ them in her own animated short film she hopes will serve as a “call to enlist” for women in the arts.
The SMCM community wishes this summer’s cohort of SURF students the best of luck and anticipates many exciting outcomes from their scholarship!
~St. Mary’s Undergraduate Research Fellowship~
Angela C Johnson, professor and department chair of Educational Studies, is interested in the challenges that women of color face in physics, math, computer science, and other similar fields. In preliminary research, Dr. Johnson has found that St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) may be on the right track in supporting these historically underrepresented students.
Johnson recently finalized a subaward agreement to serve as co-principal investigator on an NSF-funded project titled: Centering Women of Color in STEM: Identifying and Scaling Up What Helps Women of Color Thrive. Dr. Johnson is partnering with Dr. Apriel K Hodari of Eureka Scientific, Inc. on the project which will use data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) to compare the inclusivity and success of women of color across college campuses.
Johnson will co-lead the overall project, manage the quantitative data collection, and contribute to data collection, coding, and analysis, and report production. Two SMCM students, Rose Young and Elizabeth Mulvey, will assist with data collection, including conducting interviews with women of color in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields. Ultimately, the researchers hope to provide information to help guide organizations committed to creating supportive environments for women of color to thrive in STEM fields. The two-year project is scheduled to run through the summer of 2019.
St. Mary’s College of Maryland held the first Annual Research Forum on January 12th 2018 in the beautiful Blackistone Room in Anne Arundel Hall. The goals of the multi-disciplinary forum were to: offer both general advice for faculty and staff seeking external funding and specific feedback for those with developed project ideas, to provide a venue for intentional networking with external guests and among existing colleagues, and to celebrate active awards and recent efforts to secure external funding.
The day’s events included:
- Panel Discussion: Writing More Competitive Grant Proposals: Tom Wenzel, professor of chemistry and grant writing consultant, and SMCM faculty-scholars (Drs. Bailey, Deane-Coe, Grossman, Neiles);
- Lunch Buffet & Networking: Featuring external guests representing the Maryland State Arts Council, St. Mary’s County Arts Council, National Park Service and Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Units Network, Conservation Branch of Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) at Patuxent River, Naval Air Warfare Center- Aircraft Division at Patuxent River, and Southern Maryland Higher Education Center;
- Panel Discussion: Securing External Funding in the Humanities and Arts: Christine Kalke, NEH Senior Analyst and International Coordinator (retired), Amy Stolls NEA Director of Literature, and SMCM faculty-scholars (Drs. Başaran, Brodsky, Gabriel, King, Wooley);
- Individual Consultation Sessions: Review and expert feedback on grant proposals with Dr. Tom Wenzel, Dr. Christine Kalke, and Amy Stolls;
- Wine & Cheese Reception: Open to all faculty, in recognition and celebration of active awards and recent efforts to secure external funding, with remarks from Provost Wick; co-sponsored by the Offices of the Provost and Institutional Advancement.
The forum was well attended, with active discussions continuing throughout the day. The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs plans to hold annual research forums in support of faculty and staff scholarship. If you have ideas about future topics of interest, please contact Dr. Sabine Dillingham at x4192, email@example.com.