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Faculty and Staff

Faculty and Staff Achievements, Fall 2012

October 31, 2012 by Editor in Faculty and Staff with 0 Comments

Lisette Balabarca, Ph.D., assistant professor of modern language, conducted academic research at Biblioteca de Catalunya and Archivo de la Corona de Aragón during July in Barcelona, Spain. She was given this opportunity through a Siena College Summer Faculty Research Fellowship. Also, Balabarca received a NEH grant for a Summer Institute in Barcelona. The institute, titled “Networks and Knowledge: Synthesis and Innovation in Muslim-Christian-Jewish Medieval Mediterranean,” allowed Balabarca to participate in a series of conferences, exchange ideas and develop enriching discussions with colleagues in Medieval Mediterranean Studies from other American institutions.

Jon Bannon, Ph.D., associate professor of mathematics, worked with Francesca Romano ’14 on a project extending the work of Skidmore mathematics professor David Vella. The project focused on extending formulas expressing the Euler and Bernoulli numbers, which are important numbers occurring in number theory. Bannon and Romano have submitted their paper to INTEGERS Electronic Journal of Combinatorial Number Theory.

Bannon was also accompanied by Maureen Jeffrey ’13 to Shanghai, China for the 65th birthday conference of mathematician Donald Hadwin, a prolific mathematician with more than 170 publications in many areas of mathematics. Jeffery is Hadwin’s youngest coauthor to date, due to her paper with Hadwin and Bannon titled A note on moments in finite von Neumann algebras that was published in Involve: A Journal of Mathematics. The paper explores the validity of using matrices to model infinite-dimensional phenomena.

George Barnes, Ph.D., assistant professor of chemistry, received a XSEDE grant that is supported by NSF. The grant will provide computational resources to perform modeling of chemical reactions on a surface. It can be very hard to “watch” such reactions experimentally and computer simulations can fill in some of the missing details. In addition, the resulting simulations yield beautiful and insightful movies of the reaction taking place.

Robert Colesante, Ph.D., professor of education, received a $30,000 continuation grant from the Albany City School District to support Siena’s Urban Scholars program. This program brings middle school students to Siena for enrichment experiences that promote their gifts and talents.

John Cummings, Ph.D., assistant professor of physics, received a $243,689 grant from the National Science Foundation to continue his particle physics research that contributes to the Daya Bay Reactor Neutrino Experiment. The project is an international collaboration of physicists that recently announced a highly-publicized finding that could pave the way for explanations of why matter exists in the universe.

Leonard Cutler, Ph.D., professor of political science, co-edited a collection titled “The Obama Presidency: A Preliminary Assessment” that was released in July 2012 by SUNY Press. The book provides a scholarly evaluation of Obama’s effectiveness while in office.

Jennifer Dorsey, Ph.D., associate professor of history, wrote the application for a $175,000 grant awarded to the Center for Revolutionary Studies (CRES) from the National Endowment for the Humanities to support a Landmarks of American History and Culture: Workshop for School Teachers. Dorsey wrote the grant application in collaboration with Sharon Finnerty, Siena College’s Director of Grants and Sponsored Programs; Francis Butler ’15; New York State Historian Bob Weible and representatives from the New York State Museum, New York State Library, Shaker Heritage Society, Hancock Shaker Village and Mt. Lebanon Shaker Museum and Library. The workshops will take place at Siena in July 2013, with the theme “Heaven on Earth: Shakers, Religious Revival and Social Reform in America.” The workshop will focus on the history, contributions and legacies of American Shakers as a model for understanding the utopian impulse in American History.

Mara Drogan, Ph.D., visiting assistant professor in history, organized two panels for the annual meeting of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations in June 2012: “After the Nuclear Revolution, Part I: American Efforts to Confront the Challenges of the Postwar Era” and “After the Nuclear Revolution, Part II: Global Challenges to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Regime.” Drogan also presented a paper for one of the panels titled “The Nuclear Imperative: U.S. Policy on Exporting Nuclear Power in the 1950s.” She also co-authored a paper titled “Bomb Culture” in June 2012, that was translated into Italian by Anna Bissanti.

Mary Fitzgerald-Hoyt, Ph.D.,  professor of English, presented a paper, “Long Legacy, Short Form: The Potato Famine in the Contemporary Irish Short Story,” at Bridges to Modernity, the biennial conference of the International Society for the Study of the Short Story in English, held in North Little Rock, Arkansas, in June. In November she will present another paper, “Torching the Thatched Cottage: Claire Keegan’s New Rural Irish Fiction,” at a conference on the Irish short story sponsored by the Center for the Study of Ireland in Europe and Katholieke Universiteit, Leuven, Belgium. Fitzgerald-Hoyt also had a book chapter titled “The Child, the Famine, the Future” accepted for inclusion in The Country of the Young, edited by Kelly Matthews and John Countryman. This is to be published in 2013 by Four Courts Press, Dublin, Ireland.

Jeffrey Flagg, lecturer in English, sat on a panel at the Annual Conference of the American Society of Environmental History, titled: “Making Alternative Power: Considering Local Examples on a Global Scale.” His presentation was titled “Reconciling Hydro-Development and Preservation: Defending the Adirondack Park, 1940-1950.”

Mathew Johnson’93, Ph.D., associate professor of sociology and director of academic and community engagement (ACE), received a $25,000 continuation grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service to support Siena’s VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) program. Funding will be used to support 34 VISTA placements across various not-for-profit agencies in partnership with ACE.

Merle Longwood, Ph.D., professor emeritus of religious studies, published a book titled Forging the Male Spirit: The Spiritual Lives of American College Men. Longwood and two other authors include historical and sociological perspectives on men and spirituality. The book provides an expanded case study of how Saint John’s University in Collegeville, Minn. pioneered in the development of men’s spirituality groups, which became a model for Siena College and other campuses. The book’s most extensive discussion is based on a qualitative analysis of 36 interviews with male college students, including students at Siena College, focusing on their understanding of the relationship between their masculinity and their spirituality.

Michele McColgan, Ph.D., assistant professor of physics and Robert Colesante, Ph.D., professor of education, received a $71,000 grant to partner with the Albany City School District on a NYS College Access Challenge Grant to increase the percentage of Hackett Middle School students who plan to pursue a college education. Siena’s role in the multi-organization program will be to provide seminars that enable college and career exploration, as well as engage the students in science, technology and math projects designed to strengthen their motivation and performance in these areas. Several of the seminars will include parent/family participation.

Katherine Meierdiercks, Ph.D., assistant professor of environmental studies, received a $9,521 grant from the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission in partnership with New York State’s Department of Environmental Conservation’s Hudson River Estuary Program. This award will enable the study of flooding and water quality issues in the Kromma Kill watershed.

Fareed Munir, Ph.D., professor of religious studies, presented a paper on Islam in the African American Experience for the God Talk Project. The paper contributed to Talk with Black-Thinkers: African-American Perspectives on Christianity and Islam at Drew Theological Seminary, Madison, N.J.

Paul Ricciardi, M.F.A., assistant professor of creative arts, spent August 2012 observing Kristin Linklater, a leader in voice training for actors in the United States and abroad, at Shakespeare and Company in Lenox, Mass. The month-long observation led to Ricciardi’s certification as a Designated Linklater Teacher, joining the ranks of a select community of voice practitioners from around the world. This project was supported by a Siena College Center of Teaching and Faculty Development research grant. Ricciardi was also hired by Stageworks, a professional union theater in the Hudson Valley, to serve as a dialect coach for the premiere of “Tomorrow in the Battle.”

Fanny Söderbäck, Ph.D., assistant professor of philosophy, organized the inaugural meeting of the Kristeva Circle Conference at Siena. The conference, held October 11-13, is an international event that brings together scholars from various liberal arts fields for a conversation about Julia Kristeva’s philosophical work.

Scott Taylor, Ph.D., associate professor of history, received a $45,000 fellowship grant from the American Council of Learned Societies and a $6,000 summer stipend from the National Endowment for the Humanities. These awards will enable him to further his research for “A Genealogy of Addiction: Stimulants in Early Modern Europe,” a book that assesses the ways Europeans began to understand addiction through their growing dependence on habit-forming commodities such as chocolate, tobacco, coffee, tea, distilled spirits and opium.

Beverly Yuen Thompson, Ph.D., assistant professor of sociology, was awarded a book contract for her book “Covered Women: Challenging the Social Stigma of Ink,” by NYU Press, to be published in 2014. This book is based on ethnographic research of heavily tattooed women and female tattooists working in a male-dominated industry. It covers such topics as family rejection, employment discrimination and media representations of tattooed women. Thompson has also produced a documentary, Covered, the Movie: Women and Tattoos.

Allan Weatherwax, Ph.D., professor of physics and dean of the school of science, received a $57,971 grant from the National Science Foundation to continue his atmospheric studies through the development and delivery of a suite of miniaturized detectors for optical, radio and energetic radiation measurements of lightning to the FireStation International Space Station.

Weatherwax also received notice that the National Science Foundation has recommended funding for two Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) collaborative grants for a combined award amount of $713,191. These are the first ever MRI grants awarded to Siena College. The larger grant will be awarded to Siena in collaboration with the University of Calgary to design, test and build a synchronous direct digital receiver. The construction of the receiver will be done in Siena’s Space Science Laboratory with the assistance of undergraduate students. The second will be a collaborative effort between the New Jersey Institute of Technology and Siena College titled the South Pole, Antarctica, Solar Radio Telescope (SPASRT): Advancing Our Understanding of the Solar-Terrestrial Environment. Grant funds will be used for the development, construction, and installation and testing of a solar radio telescope at South Pole station for 24-hour continuous, long-term observations of the sun.

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