Faculty awarded grants for research

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Thirteen Northwestern College professors will conduct research and pursue further study this summer with funding from the Northwestern College Scholarship Grants program.

Four will receive grants of up to $2,250 for their projects; the other nine 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.

Chemistry professors Dr. Dave Arnett and Dr. Karissa Carlson will collaborate with Sam Santos, a biology health professions major from Yankton, S.D., and faculty at the University of Kansas and the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Their research will involve the use of fluorescent measurement to better understand how a signaling protein activates an enzyme involved in the dilation of blood vessels.

Dr. Paul Bartlett, who teaches kinesiology at Northwestern, will work with Lexy Maassen, an exercise science major from Brandon, S.D., to refine a measurement tool that assesses cross-cultural learning in students and to identify practices that contribute to such learning.

Jonathan Holm, a Spanish major from Orange City, will join Northwestern business professor Dr. David Befus in Honduras this summer, where they will attend various entrepreneurial training programs offered by a variety of nongovernmental organizations. The two will use their experience in that country to evaluate and improve materials for a similar course developed by Befus and to possibly publish a Spanish-language training manual for use in the U.S. or Latin America. 

Education professor Dr. Derek Brower will collaborate with three elementary education majors to explore the use of technology in education—such as one-to-one programs, iPads and SMART Boards—and to create tutorials for Northwestern students as well as other teachers. He will also continue his work on incorporating engineering into elementary science methods courses. Kori Heidebrink of Spirit Lake, Iowa; Becca Ortner of Preston, Minn.; and Katherine White of Story City, Iowa, will assist him.

Dr. Luke Dahn’s award will support the music professor’s upcoming Carnegie Hall concert this October, in which the chamber ensemble he co-founded with fellow Iowa composer Joseph Dangerfield—entitled Ensemble: Périphérie—will perform his composition “Calder Cadences.”

Dr. Laird Edman, psychology, will conduct research in the cognitive science of religion with the help of Kirsten McConnel, a psychology and Spanish major from Sioux Center, Iowa. The two will design studies to examine how the counter-intuitiveness of a theological concept affects people’s ability to remember and transmit it to others.

Biology professors Dr. Laurie Furlong and Dr. Todd Tracy will continue their research on the impact of the invasive European buckthorn and red cedar on local forests and invertebrate species in those forests. Assisting with setting pitfall traps, conducting vegetation surveys and analyzing results is Logan Hovland, a sport management major from Thompson, Iowa.

Theatre professor Dr. Bob Hubbard will revise his autobiographical “Grace Notes” play into an hourlong solo show; rehearse it under the tutelage of Dr. James Bunzli, a theatre professor at Loyola University Maryland; and perform it at a regional summer theatre festival.

Dr. Michael Kensak, director of integrative general education, will reflect on the challenges and rewards of collaborative course design in developing Northwestern’s First-Year Seminar. Kensak plans to present his findings at a national conference on general education.

Another English professor, Dr. Sam Martin, will spend three months in Newfoundland finishing the rough draft for his current novel, after which he will hire a professional editor to prepare the manuscript for publishing and then submit it to a literary agent.

And finally, music professor Dr. Tim McGarvey will return to Cuba, where he led Northwestern’s Symphonic Band on a spring break tour in March. McGarvey will work with Verónica del Puerto, director of the National Band of Cuba, and Moises Hernandez, the band’s former director, to select some of the group’s finest works for performance and publication in the United States. Assisting McGarvey will be Carolyn Kutzner, a music major from Winfield, Ill.

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