Faculty awarded grants for summer scholarship

Northwestern College has awarded Summer Scholarship Grants to 16 NWC faculty members for 2007.

Grants of up to $2,250 were presented to eight professors, while another eight were the recipients of grants of up to $5,000 for collaborative research with students. The grants are designed to encourage the production of scholarly work for publication and distribution beyond Northwestern’s campus.

Dr. Michael Avery, assistant professor of business and economics, will research microfinance and microdevelopment projects in Latin American and Africa to determine whether faith-based economic assistance programs are more effective than government programs.

Dr. Robert Hubbard, associate professor of theatre, will study the connection between the theological concept of “kingdom work” and the practice of community-based drama—such as the one he and 17 Northwestern students created last March in New Orleans for Hurricane Katrina survivors.

Dr. Randy Jensen, associate professor of philosophy, will spend the summer working on another chapter of his ongoing book project, “The Good Life and the Gospel: How Christians Should—and Shouldn’t—Think About Ethics.” The chapter’s topic is the use of Scripture in ethics.

Dr. Michael Kugler, professor of history, will pursue his interest in popular culture by exploring historical narrative and thought in the graphic novel—long, narrative comic books that have tackled such topics as the Holocaust, the Cold War, and the bombing of Hiroshima.

Dr. Timothy McGarvey, associate professor of music, will write and submit for publication a band transcription of the orchestral work entitled “Escales,” originally written by Jacques Ibert. McGarvey will focus on the movement “Valencia.”

Dr. Kimberly Utke Svanoe, associate professor of music, will travel to Austria to participate in the Classical Music Summer Institute. While there, she will visit places in Eisenstadt where Haydn worked as a composer and attend performance practice lectures and concerts of Haydn masterworks.

Dr. Joonna Trapp, associate professor of English, will continue her work on a book about lyceum oratory and culture in the South. Grant money will allow her to complete two chapters, request and secure permission for using archival materials in the book, and submit a book proposal to scholarly presses.

Dr. Joel Westerholm, professor of English, will research the religious writings of Christina Rossetti, a Victorian author who wrote about the relationship of materialism, or consumerism, with the Christian faith. His work will support a conference paper and published essay.

Collaborative projects with students are planned by Dr. Laird Edman, associate professor of psychology; Dr. Jennifer Feenstra, assistant professor of psychology; Dr. Laura Furlong, associate professor of biology; Dr. Elizabeth Heeg-Truesdell, visiting assistant professor of biology; Dr. Byron Noordewier, professor of biology; Dr. Abe Scheaffer, assistant professor of biology; Dr. Todd Tracy, assistant professor of biology; and Barbara Turnwall, assistant professor of English.

Edman will analyze data collected through tests designed to measure the impact of study or service abroad experiences on students’ educational development. Assisting him will be Jillian Groeneveld, a junior psychology major from Parkersburg, Iowa.

Feenstra will continue her study of the effect of and predictors for volunteering, also with the help of Groeneveld. Together, they will conduct a literature review of research about the topic, with the goal of publishing a paper summarizing the results of that review.

Furlong and Tracy will study the impact of European buckthorn on two local forest ecosystems. Furlong will explore how the invasive plant affects macroinvertebrates such as spiders and centipedes, while Tracy will investigate its impact on soil and vegetation. Assisting them will be Jesse Nieuwenhuis, a freshman biology health professions major from Primghar, Iowa, and Emily Vander Broek, a junior biology major from Hartley, Iowa.

Noordewier and Heeg-Truesdell will research how the anatomy of a rat population is influenced by the enzyme renin, which affects hypertension, or high blood pressure. Assisting them will be Jackie Knibbe, a sophomore chemistry major from Omaha, Neb.

Knibbe will also work with Scheaffer, who plans to evaluate and collect data on a 14-generation rat colony maintained at Northwestern for a study of the kidney-produced enzyme renin.

Turnwall will continue her work gathering stories of immigrant Hispanic families living in northwest Iowa. After collecting material last summer, Turnwall and her student assistant—Cecelia Salazar, a 2006 Northwestern English graduate—will self-publish several stories in bilingual books for use as pilot curriculum materials in various classes in Sioux and O’Brien counties this fall.