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Past Awards

Selected Awards 2015-2016

Cherise FungCherise Fung presented her work, "The Doctrine of State Responsibility: The Case of China in Sudan," at the Social Research Social Justice Conference held at Muhlenberg College in April 2016. Her research employs Sudan as a case study to investigate whether Beijing can be held accountable for the displacement activities committed by its state-owned enterprises in their oil investment ventures and argues that the unique status of the China National Petroleum Corporation does render Beijing liable for its actions in Sudan. Her goal was to illuminate the extent to which states can be held culpable for the actions of their individual citizens and/or corporations under international law. Cherise plans to continue to research international affairs in a Ph.D. program in Political Science or postcolonial theory in a Ph.D. Program in English.

William Smith, a graduating History major, presented "Perspectives of Reconstruction: 1900 to the Present Day" at the Mississippi State University Student in History Undergraduate Research Conference in April 2016. In this work, he took the differing philosophical movements that argued Reconstruction's changing image and put those movements to a timeline in order to understand the placement of American History with the movements. William plans to continue to study the Reconstruction in grad school, expanding on the work he focused on in his conference presentation.

Trevor ArnoldA Communication Studies major, Trevor Arnold shared his work, "Gender on Instagram: An Updated Look at Goffman's Gender Advertisements," at the Eastern Communication Association's Undergraduate Scholars Conference in April 2016. For his research, he sampled the 100 most recent Instagram posts from the clothing retailers Kohl's and Abercrombie & Fitch in November of 2015 to find evidence of Erving Goffman's categories of gender stereotypes in advertising from his book Gender Advertisements. Trevor analyzed the results and concluded that examples of Goffman's ideas were apparent, largely depending on the marketing goals of each company. Trevor's goal is to pursue his interests in Media Studies in graduate school. Trevor has also recieved a Chambliss Silver Medal for his research.

Alicia HornbegerAlicia Hornberger, studying Special Education Visual Impairment with a dual certification in Elementary Education, presented her research project, "The Use and Benefits of Audible Pedestrian Signals on College Campuses," at the National Council for Exceptional Children in April 2016. This poster presented the results of her primary research in which she surveyed 73 private colleges and universities in Pennsylvania to determine whether they used audible pedestrian signals, what percentage of students on those campuses had visual impairments, how many signals are present, what decisions went into installing the signal(s), and the benefits they have seen from the installation of the signal(s). Her poster also identified ways in which audible signals could increase independence for students who are blind and visually impaired.

Heather BrowneHeather Browne presented her work, "Determining the Effectiveness of an Adaptive Science Curriculum for Students who are Visually Impaired," at the National Council for Exceptional Children in April 2016. Based on her knowledge that students with visual impairments often have difficulties learning concepts without hands-on activities and direct learning, but also recognizing that the bulk of the research has been performed on how to adapt math and reading in the primary grades, Heather investigated, through primary and secondary research, the best ways for primary teachers to adapt their science curriculum for students with visual impairments. She summarized the results on an informational poster. 

Matthew Kuna, a Secondary Education/Spanish major with certification in English as a Second Language, examined the effects of a dynamic art education program on the students at a local middle school and presented the results of that study at the Eastern Educational Research Association conference in February 2016. Based on the data collected, Matthew identified several factors leading to the authentic impact of the school's art education program on its students and argues for further support of arts education. Matthew has also received a Chambliss Copper Medal for his research. 

Julia SnyderDouble majoring in Secondary Education Spanish and Special Education, Julia Snyder presented her research, "Strike While the Iron's Hot: Immersion Programs for Young Learners," at a round-table discussion at the North East Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages in Feb. 2016. Julia studied language immersion programs in the United States, performed primary research to identify the reasons why schools are not implementing these programs, and presented arguments in favor of implementation.

Matthew Bello and Kelly Esslinger, both Secondary Education Spanish majors, presented their individual research at a joint session entitled "Same Old Tune? Using Music to Keep Our Students!" at the Pennsylvania State Modern Language Association conference in October 2015. Matthew and Kelly both looked at the contemporary teaching practices in modern language classrooms in order to understand how to improve learning and retention: Matthew surveyed current and former secondary education Spanish students to analyze the reasons that students give for no longer continuing to take language classes, while Kelly interviewed current language teachers to understand their use of music in the classroom in order to evaluate the role that music can play in enhancing student engagement and thus persistence. 

Erich LenzErich Lenz, a student in the History department, received an award to present his research on the preservation of America's lighthouses in a poster presentation at the 2015 Annual Meeting of the Pennsylvania Historical Association at Lebanon Valley College. In his poster, "The Light Shines On: How America Preserves Its Historic Lighthouses," Erich presented research not only on what motivates Americans to preserve their historic lighthouses, but also how they go about the process. He further studied how the ownership of various lighthouses has changed in the past two centuries, how views of lighthouse preservation have evolved and led to government preservation programs, and lastly, what decides the fate of these critically important historic structures. 


Selected Past Awards

Nicholas Stover, of Communication Design, received an award to travel to research wooden type faces at the Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum in Wisconsin in order to create a wooden typeface that can be used to print with a letterpress. This artisanal process, foundational to modern typographic practices, remains known to few, and Nicholas hopes to preserve and disseminate this knowledge through his work. While in Wisconsin, he also attended the Wayzgoose Type Conference and workshops. Since his return, Nicholas has presented a report of his experiences on campus. 

Three studentsThree students in Secondary Education in English, Amanda Oswald, Amber Shoap and Lauren Sobczak, received awards to present their individual papers at the Ohio Valley Shakespeare Conference.

Amanda Oswald's paper, "Shakespeare's Hamlet in ESL Classrooms," drew upon her experiences teaching in Northeast Middle School in Reading, PA to argue that ESL students at every different language acquisition levels are capable of learning and understanding Shakespeare along with other difficult and complex texts despite their lack of experience with English literature, and that these students are often highly motivated to engage with such iconic cultural texts. She further presented different teaching methods and tools for teachers to use in order to elicit the greatest understanding from the students.

Amber Shoap's "Shakespeare and Pedagogy: Teaching the Humors in Hamlet" tackles the task of teaching Hamlet in a traditional high school curriculum through the use of engaging and interactive classroom experiences such as the webquest. Drawing upon the theoretical background of social construction, Amber highlighted the fact that learners are most empowered when they are both socially collaborative and active in their own construction of knowledge.

Lauren Sobczak's paper, "Shakespeare in Special Education: Using Adaptations to Improve the Skills of Students with Autism and Other Disabilities," argued for the necessity of including advanced material in the curriculum for special education students with mild disabilities, focusing in particular on the benefits of and appropriate methods for teaching Shakespeare's plays to students on the autism spectrum. Central to Lauren's work is the Hunter Heartbeat Method, adopted and used by Ohio State University's Nisonger Center. She presented a technique for adapting the method, previously used successfully in a camp-like atmosphere removed from the classroom, to be used in the secondary education classroom and/or in after-school support as well. Lauren's paper won the OVSC Undergraduate M. Rick Smith Memorial Undergraduate Student Essay Prize, which included a cash award. Since her travel to present on Shakespeare and autism, Lauren has written her Honors Capstone project on this subject and continues this work. Lauren has also recieved a Silver Chambliss Medal for her research.

Jessica Kolvites, a Special Education major, was granted a travel award to present her work on how tactile symbols can be used by special educators to implement task analysis and effectively communicate with students who are deaf-blind in a poster session at the National Council for Exceptional Children conference in San Diego, CA. Jessica worked with deaf-blind participants who learned how to break down a complex skill, such as making choices or understanding a schedule, into smaller steps and how to create tactile symbols of real objects to represent these steps. Her poster represented the results of her IRB-approved research project, which collected data on how effective tactile task analysis was compared to non-tactile processes. 

Blake MyersBlake Myers, from Art and Art History, received an award to present his work at the National Council for Undergraduate Research's national conference. His study, "Refusing to Wear the Pants: A Persisting Crisis in Representing Masculinity," is a research paper and body of artwork that is largely based upon the groundbreaking work of art historian Abigail Solomon-Godeau in her book, Male Trouble: A Crisis in Representation (Thames & Hudson, 1997.) The artworks and paper work together to reexamine the painting of Neoclassicism and their meanings for our contemporary time, demonstrating that our culture's narrow definition of masculinity, one rooted in the history of visual culture, is damaging to the male psyche and is itself a form of oppression. 

 Breann YoungBreann Young, majoring in Fine Arts with minors in Chemistry and Art History, received an award to perform independent research during the summer of 2015 at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., investigating the origins and history of the murals, dioramas and related works deinstalled from various Anthropology exhibitions. Breann performed significant archival research, studied the materials and construction of the American Indian mannequins and props used in the dioramas, and interviewed anthropologists and other experts associated with the Smithsonian. Breann examined the changes in the processes used to construct the mannequins and studied the reuse and repurposing of mannequins, such as changing female mannequins to male. Breann has also recieved a Gold Chambliss medal.

Chloe Jackson received a travel award to present her paper, "Church Architecture of the Sixteenth Century Conversion Efforts in News Spain," at the annual conference of the Southeastern College Art Association in November 2013. This paper examines how church architecture constructed during this era, built jointly by the friars and the indigenous population, became a key tool in the conversion process. Specifically, Chloe argues that the apparent success of the spiritual conquest of New Spain had much to do with the mendicant monks in charge of the mission and the overall freedom they enjoyed there which allowed them to carry out conversion techniques that would have been considered controversial by authorities of the Catholic Church. Examining the parallels between the Catholic and Mesoamerican faiths that were often emphasized to give the impression of native spirituality, she further suggests that these parallels were also drawn upon in the construction of the church, affecting its general appearance and resulting in the addition of a number of distinctive structures that reflected native elements of worship such as the open chapel, posa chapel and patio cross. Ultimately, she finds that they represent a blending of Mesoamerican and Spanish ideas and the emergence of a unique Mexican identity. 

Andrew Marth and Robert AdamsIn January 2014, two Physics Secondary Education Majors, Andrew Marth and Robert Adams, presented a poster, "Meeting Common Core Standards in an Inquiry Based Physics Classroom," at the Winter Meeting of the American Association for Physics Teachers. Andrew and Robert presented reading and writing strategies that can be used to meet common core standards in an inquiry-based physics classroom. In this presentation, they highlighted misconceptions about meeting common core standards, three specific strategies that they had found worked in practice with their peers and explanations of how to implement those strategies. 

In the field of Fine Arts, under the advisement of Professor Rose DeSiano Galjanic, Tiffanie DeVos received a grant to fund an art installation in which she explored the gendered and generational influences on children, even when the children do not perpetuate the beliefs or practices of the older generations. In this body of work, Tiffanie collected ephemeral memories and documents of her predecessors within her family. While piecing together the past, she worked to comprehend the idea of family and the way in which her family has perceived it, how her beliefs clashed with those who came before her and to discover the intersection between generational influences. Her artwork consisted of a small house constructed out of PVC pipe and fabric; video projectors displayed family videos on the exterior of the house and the interior walls were covered with a variety of printed documents and photographs. 

Victoria BeckVictoria Beck, with the encouragement of Professor Evan Summers, was granted funding to help her travel to Otego, New York in order to complete an edition of 20 stone lithography prints, arguably the most technically complicated form of printmaking, in the shop of a Master Printer, Tim Sheesly. Her research in stone lithography will give her the opportunity to learn the necessary steps to prepare the surface of the Bavarian limestone, the careful attention required to keep contaminants off of the drawing surface and the precise measurements of required chemicals to etch the drawing permanently into the stone so that it will print. She will further take advantage of the opportunity to interview Tim Sheesly about his journey to become a Master Printer and about how to run a modern lithography studio. 

Mario Schulz, a Political Science major working with Dr. John Riley, has been awarded a grant for international travel to Sierra Leone in order to study the impact of international organizations on the implementation of Security Sector Reform. As Mario notes, the western international community has adopted a new development model, Security Sector Reform, which emerged in the late 1990s. His goal is to investigate why these Western actors have adopted this model and why developing states are willing to implement the corresponding reforms. Findings from this study will contribute to our understanding of norm formation and the interplay of power and ideas during the implementation of a norm that makes development more democratic and aims at the improvement of human rights.  

Troy SpierWith the support of Dr. Yuri Yerastov and Dr. Elaine Reed of the English Department, Troy Spier received funding to present his paper, "Final Vowel Elision in Ekegusii: An Experimental Study," at the 2012 Language and Linguistics Student Conference at the University of Central Oklahoma.  His research aims to provide a theoretical explanation for final vowel elision in Ekegusii, a Bantu language spoken in Kenya. By recording three native speakers as they read the same passage, he was able to analyze the phonological process as it occurred in the speech pattern of each participant. These speech patterns were then recorded and analyzed from a morphological perspective, viz. to see if the elision was occurring consistently and more frequently with certain grammatical words. He also analyzed the structure of the words themselves to see if the patterns could be explained with Optimal Syllable Law, i.e. whether or not there was a tendency to create a more preferred syllabic structure.Since his conference presentation, Troy won a Gold Chambliss Student Academic Achievement Award in April 2014 and accepted a full ride to Tulane University in order to pursue a Ph.D. in Linguistics. After studying for a year at Tulane, Troy traveled to Macedonia on a Fulbright, which he has chronicled on his blog.  

 Jessica Lembo, an English major with a concentration in Cultural and Media Studies, was approved for funding to present a poster project, "The Role of Metaphors in Public Comprehension and Retention of Science," at the 2012 Geological Society of America Annual Meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina. Supervised by Dr. Jacob Sewall from the Physical Sciences Department, Jess surveyed undergraduate students in order to determine to what extent metaphors tailored to the life experiences of undergraduate students, in contrast to the more conventional abstract or nonspecific metaphors, affect the reader's ability to understand and remember scientific information.  

2008 - 2012

Samantha MillerSamantha Miller, supervised by Dr. Eric Johnson, received funding for presenting her paper, "The Quiet Jacobin: The Art and Politics of Jacques-Louis David," at the Phi Alpha Theta biennial national conference in Orlando, Florida. Phi Alpha Theta is an honors organization for history majors with nearly 10,000 new members joining each year. Out of that group, Samantha was one of nearly 400 history students to present there, and the only student from Kutztown on the program. After graduation, Samantha Miller was accepted on a five-year fellowship to complete her Ph.D. in History at the University of Pennsylvania, where she hopes to continue to consider art history as an element of her work as she focuses on Pennsylvania German Cultural and Religious History. 

Two students in Elementary Education, Matthew Johanson and Douglas Sullivan, received funding to present work at the Eastern Educational Research Association Annual Conference, advised by Dr. Carol Watson. Although they presented their work separately, both of their projects were inspired by the same experience, which was observing the effects of the high-stakes standardized testing on elementary school students and faculty as part of their professional semester.Matthew Johanson

Matthew's paper, "The Effects of High-Stakes Testing on Third through Fifth Grade Students," draws upon student journals written during PSSA testing to demonstrate students' perspective of the testing process in their natural voice. While previous studies have also examined student responses, they have been based more on surveys, which can influence students to portray certain opinions, potentially affecting the validity of the response, compared to the undirected journaling that was used for this study. Matthew was awarded Kutztown University's Chambliss Academic Achievement Award for this project; he plans to continue working on research projects as he looks for employment as a full-time teacher. (Matthew appears in this picture with Dr. Darrell Garber, Dean of the College of Education.)

Douglas's paper, "Rethinking Educator Accountability Considering Student Transiency," uses data to challenge the No Child Left Behind policy that teachers should be held responsible for all current students, no matter how recently the students transferred in. Implicitly supporting the increased attention to assessment, Douglas nevertheless challenges the logic of holding teachers equally accountable for Adequate Yearly Progress measures in areas with high transiency rates, arguing that without taking transiency more fully into account than current legislation allows, educators' abilities to improve their effectiveness will be hampered rather than helped by the reports. Since graduating, Douglas has been accepted to Villanova School of Law. 

Under the supervision of Professors Evan Summer and James Rose, three seniors with majors in Studio Art/Printmaking-Alicia Bonilla-PuigFelicia DiGiovanni, and Rosalba Finazzo-jointly applied for and received funding to pursue studies in "Kitchen Lithography," which is a process not currently covered in printmaking coursework. As a part of their explorations, they made a video to teach other people how to use the simple and inexpensive process, posting a link to their tutorial on the Art and Art History website. Since being loaded, the "Kitchen Litho" video has received over 100,000 views as of August 2015. 

Stefan Schein, advised by Prof. Rose DeSiano, received approval to pursue his work in "The Collodion Wet Plate Process" with funding from the URC-AH. As a senior in Studio Art/Photography, he is intrigued by the cultural value of the processes used to create art and how they affect its creation and reception. One of his goals of creating portraits through the collodion wet plate process is to help other people become more aware about artistic techniques often considered archaic, but which he would argue are still relevant. His work was displayed at the Brick Wall gallery in September 2012. Matthew Anderson

Matthew Anderson's art installation, "Heart of Industry," funded in the 2010-11 school year and championed by Professor Rose DeSiano, was mounted and displayed on KU's old heating plant in April 2012. This artwork fused photography with sculpture and integrated images of abandoned, haphazard facilities of production plants, with the shape of a human heart, in order to create a commentary on how America's past was driven by industry and production.  

Highlights from Previous Years:

Matt Roberts, a Political Science student working with Dr. John Riley, presented his paper to the Midwest Political Science Association, "Men with Guns," arguing in favor of legalizing and regulating Private Military Corporations  in order to hold them accountable for international humanitarian law. This is perhaps the second most highly respected national conference in the field. The committee awarded Matt funding for travel expenses to present his paper.

The committee likewise awarded Michael Barkasi, a Philosophy major working with Dr. Allan Back, funding to help defray costs for travel to New York to present his paper, "Plato's Generation of Number in the Parmenides," to the fourth International Conference on Ancient and Medieval Philosophy. In this paper, Barkasi argued for correcting the received understanding of a passage in the Parmenides in order to demonstrate a pictorial understanding of Plato's philosophy of numbers (rather than one founded on theories that were generally outside of Greek experience) and suggest, based on a variety of contextual information, that Plato wished to provide a foundation to Pythagorean number theory. Michael Barkasi went on to pursue a Ph.D. program in Philosophy at Rice University with a full fellowship.

Daniel Kotran was awarded funding to help him acquire unusual art supplies that would allow him to extend his expertise with photographic processes (particularly liquid emulsion) beyond that which was supported in studio classes. Combining the style of artist Jean-Michel Basquiat and the liquid emulsion techniques of John Baldessari to print photographs on canvas, more typically associated with the medium of painting, Kotran created a series of photographs of his family to explore the way this unusual technique allowed him to communicate different perspectives through the varied media.

Jessie Horning, a BFA student in Studio Art and Printmaking, applied for and received a travel grant to work in Sarajevo studying the art revival after the civil war. Because of a variety of restrictions that had led to a lack of published studies on Bosnian art, especially postbellum, in situ study was a realistic and viable option. (Horning travelled in company of a Kutztown Professor, Dr. Christine Atiyeh, who was studying archaeology in Sarajevo.) Horning's study resulted in a variety of prints which were presented in the McFarland Student Union Gallery at Kutztown University.