Faculty awarded grants for scholarship

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

Five 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. Frank Bentrem, who teaches physics, will continue his study of electroclinic liquid crystal elastomers—thin sheets that can change their shape through the application of electricity and whose potential applications include artificial muscles and micromachines. Collaborating with former colleagues at the Naval Research Laboratory, he plans to compile a report of their research results.

Art professor Arnold Carlson will spend the summer exploring the absent among the still physical memories of place within abandoned rural Midwest homesteads. In addition to creating detailed textual and visual maps of his observations, he will draw on sculptural practices to recontextualize each location using materials from each site. Both the documentation and created objects will become part of a public presentation.

Theatre professor Dr. Robert Hubbard will submit his show, “John, Dad, and Me,” to the Minnesota and Kansas City Fringe Festivals and, if accepted, write retrospective reviews about each festival. He will also prepare a panel presentation for an Association of Theatre in Higher Education conference in which he will explore practices that integrate faith and learning in the theatre classroom and curriculum.

Dr. Juyeon Kang of Northwestern’s music department will serve as a guest artist performer and adjudicator at the Mozart International Piano Competition in Bangkok, Thailand, in June. She will also perform selected works by Mozart and Liszt in Hong Kong and Vienna in May and June, as well as at Northwestern and other colleges and universities in the United States next fall.

Dr. James Mead, a member of the religion faculty, will continue his research on the intersection of Jewish and Christian biblical theology. Mead has been exploring the formative documents of Judaism beyond the Hebrew Bible in anticipation of writing a book. He also plans to participate in a study tour of Israel this summer.

Grant winners collaborating with students include English professor Dr. Michael Kensak. Kensak will work with Skylar Tiahrt, a writing and rhetoric major from Wakonda, S.D., and Sarah Lichius, a literature major from Box Elder, S.D., both of whom are interested in pursuing graduate studies. The three will research poets Andrew Marvell and Thomas Crashaw and their works “To His Coy Mistress” and “Hymn on the Name of Jesus.” Kensak plans to present their findings at an academic conference and submit them for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

Two biology-health professions majors—Daniel Locker from Orange City and Preston Leader from Crofton, Neb.—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, biology professors Dr. Laurie Furlong and Dr. Todd Tracy will continue their 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 Meghan Green, a biology major from Brooklyn Park, Minn., and Olivia Norman, a biology-ecological science major from Saint Anne, Ill.