Faculty awarded grants for summer scholarship

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Ten Northwestern College professors will conduct scholarship and research this summer with funding from the Northwestern College Scholarship Grants program.

Six will receive grants of up to $2,250 for their projects; the other four will be given up to $5,000 for collaborative research with students. The money is designed to encourage the production of scholarly work for publication and distribution beyond Northwestern’s campus.

Dr. Luke Dahn, a professor in the music department, initiated a collaborative project with four other composers, all of whom submitted a new piano work for a series of concerts this past spring. In May, the music—including Dahn’s composition, “Traces”—will be recorded for a commercially released CD on the Albany label, the foremost label of new music in the United States.

Theatre professor Dr. Robert Hubbard will continue to develop the five individual performances that comprise his solo show, Grace Notes: Stories of Surprise, Regret and Renewal. This summer he will travel to Baltimore, where he will consult with internationally known solo performer and director Dr. James Bunzli of Loyola University Maryland.

Philosophy professor Dr. Randy Jensen will continue work on a book tentatively titled The Gospel and the Good Life. His goal is to integrate philosophical views about ethics with a gospel-centered view of how believers ought to live.

Dr. Kim Jongerius will work with mathematicians at other Christian colleges on a book to be titled Mathematics Through the Eyes of Faith, to be published by HarperOne. She will co-author a chapter on proof and truth, and another on math as a metaphor for spiritual truths.

Dr. Mike Kugler, a history professor with an interest in graphic novels, will research and write about more than 100 comic drawings done by his father while growing up in rural Nebraska during the 1940s. Kugler will examine the historical and cultural context for the boyhood comics, with the goal of presenting his paper at a conference or submitting it for publication.

Another history professor, Dr. Robert Winn, will begin a new research project on the relationship between Saint Bede’s writings on early medieval English history and Bede’s interpretation of Scripture. In addition, Winn will use the summer to make final editorial changes to a revision of his doctoral dissertation on Eusebius of Emesa, which he hopes to publish as a book in the near future.

Grant winners collaborating with students include chemistry professor Dr. Karissa Carlson. Carlson will work with Adam Verhoef, a biology–health professions major from Pella, Iowa. The two will examine interactions between a specific protein and DNA using a fluorescence-based assay. Carlson plans to present the results of their research at the Iowa Academy of Science in spring 2011.

Dan Locker, a biology–health professions major from Orange City, will work with biology professor Dr. Sara Tolsma on her research into the genetic relationships between mayfly populations on Santa Cruz Island and the California mainland, as well as between mayflies in different watersheds in northwest Iowa. They hope to link evidence of genetic drift to the behavioral differences observed by Northwestern biology professor Dr. Laurie Furlong. Plans are to present their findings to the Iowa Academy of Science next spring.

Finally, Furlong and Dr. Todd Tracy, another member of Northwestern’s biology department, will study the impact of invasive plants on ecosystems in northwest Iowa. Furlong is researching how the plants affect invertebrates; Tracy is tracking their impact on other vegetation. Plans are to present their findings at the Iowa Academy of Science and in a peer-reviewed journal. Helping with their summer research are students Erin Brogan Vander Stelt, an ecological science major from Orange City, and Olivia Norman, an ecological science major from Saint Anne, Ill.

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