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Arts and Humanities

Undergraduate Research:

The goal of this committee is to fund projects that go above and beyond the requirements of class work. A particular course or a specific assignment can inspire you to pursue a given subject in greater depth, but the impetus for the funded research must be your own intellectual curiosity outside of class - this work is a labor of love.

The most common kind of funding for students in the Arts and Humanities is travel assistance in order to present a paper at an academic conference. Funding to travel to a particular site to perform research, such as archival research in a particular library, is also available. We also fund supplies for experimental art techniques not covered in KU art classes. In addition, funding for other kinds of projects may be available as long as they are not specifically excluded below; please consult a member of the committee in order to determine whether your idea is eligible for funding.


Any student who is currently enrolled as a full-time Kutztown University undergraduate student may apply for funds. The student must maintain this eligibility throughout the duration of the work, from the time the proposal is submitted until the time the project is completed.

We fund three types of proposals:

  • travel to present completed research at professional conferences
  • travel to perform research at distant locations
  • cost of materials for research

We do not fund proposals for:

  • work required for a particular class, even for a capstone project
  • tuition or other funding to attend classes, seminars, or workshops, here or elsewhere
  • travel to conferences for which abstracts have not been accepted by the conference organization
  • wages for student workers or researchers
  • travel, wages, or any other expenses for faculty, graduate students, or part-time students
  • honoraria or gifts for participants in studies
  • travel to local study sites
  • software and/or hardware already available at Kutztown University
  • chemicals or other materials already available at Kutztown University or materials used in classes or labs at Kutztown University
  • travel to present research done solely with outside institutions (i.e., the URC facilitates research performed at and initiated by Kutztown University)
  • research where the only beneficiary is you (i.e., your results must be disseminated)

Instructions for Applying to the  Arts and Humanities Subcommittee:

  1. Complete the proposal using the template provided.
  2. Sign the signature page and have your faculty advisor sign.
  3. Email the cover sheet and the proposal to Dr. Eric Johnson.
  4. Bring the originally signed cover sheet to Dr. Eric F. Johnson at Lytle 141 or email a scanned copy of the signed and completed proposal to

Proposal Deadlines and Meeting Dates:

The committee meets monthly as proposals warrant. In order to be considered for the current month's meeting, your proposal must be completed and delivered to Dr. Eric F. Johnson, (Lytle 141) by 3:00 p.m. on the first Thursday of the month. For additional questions or concerns email

Members, Arts and Humanities Subcommittee:

Eric Johnson, History Dept. (chair)
Jennifer Forsyth, English Dept.
Daniel Haxall, Art and Art History Dept.  
Dan Immel, Dept. of Music
Heather Ramsdale, Art and Art History Dept.

Selected Awards 2016-2017

Megan Tiwold, who is dual majoring in Elementary Education 4-8 Math and Science, and Pre-K 8 Special Education, presented a poster at the 2016 Pennsylvania Council for Exceptional Children conference. In an effort to address the achievement gap in science between students with learning disabilities and their general education peers, Megan identified several essential classroom activities for students to complete. Peer mediation, graphic organization, and educational games all were included as a method to enhance science instruction. 

Emily Roman, Leigh Anne Machowski and Carol Watson

Concerned by the small percentage of college students from ethnically diverse populations, Middle-Level Education (4-8) majors, Emily Roman and Leigh Anne Machowski studied the effects of a "Middle School Day". KU invited local students for a one-day field trip to determine whether the experience of being on KU's campus changed the students' perceptions of college as an achievable reality. Mentored by Dr. Carol Watson, Emily and Leigh Anne presented the results of their research at the National Association for Middle-Level Education conference in Austin, Texas. 

Shubham Maini and Edward Probasco

English majors, Shubam Maini and Edward Probasco, presented their extensive research at the Ohio Valley Shakespeare Conference. Edward studied the role of sleep and the key term "watch" in Macbeth and Hamlet, ultimately arguing that Macbeth, Lady Macbeth, and Claudius's lack of sleep reflects their loss of innocence. Drawing upon postcolonial theory, Shubam's paper examines Omkara, a contemporary Indian adaptation of Othello, analyzing it as a cultural hybrid while introducing his audience to Indian cultural beliefs and myths that the film integrates with Othello's themes and ideologies. His paper, "Bard Meets Bollywood: A Site of Resistance," was awarded the M. Rick Smith Memorial Undergraduate Student Essay Prize. Both Shubam and Eddie will be attending graduate school to pursue Master's degrees in English. 

Heather Fox and Jessica Hische

Inspired by an internship with renowned designer, Craig Welsh, and several classes at Kutztown, Heather Fox, a Communication Design major, extended her knowledge of typography by studying the traditional means of producing wood type with a pantograph. She also studied emerging methods of type production and letterpress printing procedures at the Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum in Two Rivers, Wisconsin. Since then, Heather has graduated and is working on illustrating a children's book called, "Butts are Everywhere," scheduled to be released in December 2018. 

Carolyn Wasser

Carolyn Wasser, a dual major in History and Library Science, presented two research projects at the Pennsylvania Historical Association's annual conference. Her projects, "The Fall Brook Coal Company and Railway Records" and "The Citizens' Commission to Investigate the FBI," was mentored by Dr. Andrew Arnold and Dr. Louis Rodriguez. Her research into the Fall Brook records contributes to a greater understanding of the complex business model and the far-reaching impact of coal and railways in the 1800s. In her second paper, Carolyn presented the results of the primary and secondary research she conducted to investigate and document the impact of the 1971 burglary of a small FBI office in Media, PA. It was there when a group calling itself the "Citizens' Commission to Investigate the FBI" stole and eventually published over 1000 pages of files that revealed Hoover's secret domestic counterintelligence program. Carolyn won the Pennsylvania Historical Association's "First Prize", in the undergraduate division, for the student research poster session. 

Victoria Walker and Angela Cirucci

Communication Studies major, Victoria Walker, presented her research project, "Recovering with Social Media: A Digital Exploration of Recovering from a Substance Abuse," at the 2016 Mid-Atlantic Popular and American Culture conference. Mentored by Dr. Angela Cirucci, Victoria examined the role of Facebook communities of Alcoholics Anonymous. Her preliminary research indicates that there are three main similarities: their focus on social, institutional, and personal aspects of the self may support recovering addicts by encouraging the portrayal of an authentic person. Victoria hopes that this project will be part of an ongoing effort to remove the negative stigma associated with addiction. She recently graduated with her B.A. and four minors: Public Relations, Professional Writing, Psychology, and Digital Communication and New Media. 

McKenzie Fagan and Carly Erdmann

Five students from the Special Education/Visual Impairment program presented the results of their research at the National Council for Exceptional Children conference in Boston. Carly Erdmann and McKenzie Fagan presented a poster on appropriate adaptations to physical education programs for students who are blind or visually impaired. Their argument, that this often-overlooked aspect of education, needs to present specific techniques that educators can adapt to their exercises for students with visual impairment. Megan Middlebrook studied the advantages of teaching thematic units for students with visual disabilities. According to her poster, this strategy could develop a classroom routine that can promote student investment in subjects of interest, which will improve the students' understanding of the subject matter. Lindsey Thompson and Kelsey McGuire examined the role of educational apps in teaching students with visual disabilities. They also created a poster which documented how specific apps can help with core curriculum studies and research and problem-solving skills. 

Ali Weaver, Autumn Booths, Taylor Lahey and Cheyenne Strohl

Four students from the Special Education/Visual Impairment program presented their work at the National Association for Professional Developmental School's conference in Washington, D.C. Autumn Booths researched the effectiveness of using math terms in instruction for students with visual impairments. She noted that difficult concepts of higher mathematics tend to make it more difficult for students with visual impairments to excel. Her poster was designed to educate instructors of appropriate methods to accommodate this population of students. Cheyenne Strohl and Taylor Lahey focused on identifying ways to accommodate students in the classroom, to help their families understand how to use those methods at home and to exercise them in everyday life. Their poster highlighted strategies to incorporate technology, tactile graphics, and auditory and visual representations as common practices. Allison Weaver reviewed the discrepancies between the way people with visual impairments are viewed in society and the way that people with visual impairments view themselves. Her ultimate goal was to improve group interactions and to remove any social barriers that people with visual impairments experience.

Heather Luster

Special Education (Mental-Physical Handicapped) concentrated in Pre-K to 8 and Middle-Level Education Math and Science major, Heather Luster, presented an informative poster that she and Elementary Education/4-8 Math and Science major, Amanda Shelsky, had created at the National Association for Professional Developmental School's conference in Washington, D.C. They informed other educators the differences between the Kutztown Lesson Plan format and the Backwards Design Lesson Plan format, allowing each educator to see the advantages and disadvantages of the two. They hoped to help those educators form their own plan by adopting particular aspects of each format as appropriate for their own needs. 

Sarah Shiley, a Secondary Education and Spanish ESL major, researched the use of individualized action plans as a method for increasing a second language learner's level of oral proficiency to "Advanced Low," as required by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. She presented her results as part of a research roundtable at the Northeast Conference of the Teaching of Foreign Languages convention in New York City.

In March 2017, Studio Art and Art History double major, Emma Osle, attended SUBVERSIONS: the 6th Annual Undergraduate Art History Conference at Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec. She presented her research project on the work of contemporary sculptor, Teresita Fernández, and the issues that arise when framing her work within the contemporary discourse. By focusing on the frequency of motion-based experience and a minimal aesthetic, the paper considers how Fernández's work challenges cinematic, digital, and identity-based interpretations. Since then, Emma also received one of Kutztown's highest student honors, a Gold Chambliss Student Academic Achievement Award, in four categories, including original artwork, artistic performances, research projects, and service. 

Elaine Atherholt and Lauren Kaufman, Communication Studies majors, studied the habits of Instagram's micro-celebrities in attempt to discover any pattern in the creation and maintenance of celebrity status. They started a qualitative content analysis of the micro-celebrities' profiles and studied their photos, identifying general trends in their subjects' Instagram behavior. They presented the results of their research at the Undergraduate Scholars' Conference linked with the Eastern Communication Association's 108th annual convention in Boston.