Page 1


Letters & Sciences College of Letters and Sciences Highlights Vol. 7 - Spring/Summer 2016

Recent Graduate At Forefront of Mars Exploration (page 8)

New Scholarships for COLS Students (page 3) Professor Bill Frazier Retires (page 13) English Professor Publishes First Novel (page 14) New Hybrid Associate’s Degree at Fort Benning (back cover)

In this Issue

Dean’s Welcome – 2 | Celebrating Carson McCullers – 2 | Alumni Spotlights – 4 | Quiz – 5 |

| CSU and the Community – 6 | Student Spotlights – 10 | Faculty Spotlights – 13 | Department Highlights – 20

Dean’s Welcome It is my pleasure to introduce our Spring/ Summer 2016 edition of Letters & Sciences Today. The high level of facultystudent engagement that happens in our College is particularly Dr. Dennis Rome, illustrated in this edition. COLS Dean You will read stories about our students, and graduates alike, who are winning awards, creating new technologies, traveling abroad, and presenting at professional conferences. These are only a few examples of our deliberate efforts to promote the success of all of our students and to make our College even more student-centered. Although many of the students who are featured in this edition hail from STEM disciplines (for example, Cameron McCarty (B.S. Earth & Space Science ‘14) who is featured in our cover story), our students majoring in and who have graduated in the humanities share the same respect for scientific inquiry. As Dr. Atul Gawande reminds us in his commencement address at the California Institute of Technology (June 10, 2016): Science is not a major or a career. It is a commitment to a systematic way of thinking, an allegiance to a way of building knowledge and explaining the universe through testing and factual observation. The thing is, that isn’t a normal way of thinking. It is unnatural and counterintuitive. It has to be learned. Scientific explanation stands in contrast to the wisdom of divinity and experience and common sense. Common sense once told us that the sun moves across the sky and that being cold produced colds. But a scientific mind recognized that these intuitions were only hypotheses. They had to be tested. And indeed our students and graduates are using their scientific minds to make significant contributions in various fields, including, as our cover story highlights, deepening our understanding of the nature of the universe. It is important for me to point out that our faculty in the College of Letters and Sciences do not teach students what to think; rather, we teach our students how to think. Any cursory read of major headlines would attest to the fact that the stakes for learning “how to think” could not be higher than they are today. We are not only grappling with what is science; rather, we are grappling with what it means to be civil. We are fortunate that due to the emphasis we place on student engagement, we have students past and present who are leading this all too important charge. 2

CELEBRATING MCCULLERS’ 99TH BIRTHDAY – AND MORE! On February 19 at the Smith-McCullers House on Stark Ave., Columbus State’s Carson McCullers Center for Writers and Musicians hosted a reception and party to celebrate the 99th birthday of acclaimed author Carson McCullers. A concert honoring McCullers followed at Legacy Hall in the RiverCenter for the Performing Arts. The concert featured ALIA 99th birthday celebration cake with edible laser Musica Pittsburgh, photo of Carson McCullers. an ensemble of contemporary music under the artistic direction of composer Federico Garcia de Castro. Both events were free and open to the public. Dr. Nick Norwood, Professor of English, serves as director of the Carson McCullers Center, which includes McCullers’ childhood home in Columbus and her adult home in Nyack, NY. In honor of McCullers’ 100th birthday in 2017, Dr. Norwood is planning an entire year’s worth of activities celebrating her life. Many local entities will be involved in this greater celebration: • The Chattahoochee Valley Library will make The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter its Big Read Book for 2016-2017. • The Columbus Museum will exhibit art, artifacts, and memorabilia related to Carson McCullers. • The CSU History and Geography Department will present lectures and a web-based map project on “Carson’s Columbus.” • The Selvage Collective, which consists of three Georgia-based artists, will create a textile facsimile of the Smith-McCullers House’s original back fence and text plaques relating to the history and culture of the “alley way” during McCullers’s childhood. • Columbus State University’s Schwob Memorial Library will exhibit letters exchanged between Carson and Reeves McCullers during his combat service in the Second World War. • The CSU English Department will conduct community book talks about McCullers’s work and screen the famous films adapted from her work. • CSU’s Corn Center for the Visual Arts will mount an exhibition of art from McCullers’s personal collection, including several portraits of her done by famous artists of her day. The culminating event will be the Carson McCullers 100th Birthday Celebration, which will occur on February 19, 2017, at Columbus’s RiverCenter for the Performing Arts, and constitute a multi-genre stage show: excerpts from McCullers’s works, selections of her favorite classical compositions, dramatic monologues in her voice, and an address by a keynote speaker. Letters & Sciences Today Editor/Writer – Barbara Hunt | Circulation Coordinator – Jill Carroll College of Letters and Sciences | LeNoir Hall | Carroll_Jill@ColumbusState.edu Design & Layout - Shelby Kellin

Letters & Sciences Today

New Scholarships New Endowed Scholarship for COLS Students The College of Letters and Sciences is the proud beneficiary of a new scholarship, The Hart Family Scholarship Endowment, established through the generosity of Mr. E. David Hart, Jr. (B.S. Political Science ‘77). The scholarship will be available, starting spring 2017, to full-time students in the College who exhibit a financial need. It is the first endowed scholarship for students across all disciplines in the College. David Hart knows firsthand the impact that scholarships can have on students. While he studied at CSU (then Columbus College), he was the recipient of an athletic scholarship and was a member of the tennis team. Mr. E. David Hart, Jr., has After completing his undergraduate studies, David went on to graduate from UGA’s School of created The Hart Family Scholarship Endowment Law. In 1979, he joined Mountville Mills, in his hometown LaGrange, GA. The company, which for COLS students. produces customizable floor mats, was founded by his father, Emmett, in 1963. His mother, Nancy, was among the first seven employees. David is now CEO & President of Mountville Mills. Today, the company has over 700 employees with plants in LaGrange and Dalton, GA, Canada, Belgium and China. It has come to be recognized as the leading manufacturer of floor mats in the world. It has received several awards, including 2013 Manufacturer of the Year from the LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce and the 2005 SBA Southeast Regional Award as the Family-Owned Small Business of the Year.

New Scholarships for Students Studying Foreign Languages The Department of Modern & Classical Languages offered two inaugural scholarships Spring semester 2016. The Caryl L. Lloyd Memorial Scholarship, created through the generosity of Dr. Craig Lloyd in memory of his wife and former French professor at CSU, is both a merit and needs-based scholarship that seeks to promote the study of foreign languages at CSU by offering $500 toward tuition and fees for one foreign language class. The department’s inaugural recipient is Spanish Major, Claire Belay.

Thomas Wingate, recipient of the Spanish Study Abroad Scholarship.

Dr. Bobby Nixon (Assistant Professor of Spanish), Dr. Joelle Bonamy (Assistant Chair, MCL Department), Dr. Craig Lloyd, Caryl L. Lloyd Scholarship recipient Claire Belay, and Dr. Alyce Cook (Professor of Spanish).

Letters & Sciences Today

The second scholarship is the department’s Spanish Study Abroad Scholarship, which seeks to promote the study abroad programs of CSU in Mexico or of the European Council in Madrid. This scholarship is also merit and needs-based and offers $1,000 in assistance. The inaugural recipient of this scholarship is Spanish Major, Thomas Wingate.


Alumni Spotlights Retired Cott Executive Joins CSU Foundation Board Prem Virmani (MBA ’82), retired Senior VP Science and Research at Cott Beverages, has recently joined CSU’s Foundation Board of Trustees. Mr. Virmani has resided in Columbus since 1977, when he started Cott’s local R&D operations. In 2015, he received CSU’s Thomas Y. Whitley Distinguished Alumnus Award, the highest honor given to a CSU graduate. For the past two semesters, Mr. Virmani has taught as an adjunct professor in the Department of Chemistry, sharing his knowledge of the applications of chemistry in the soft drink industry with students. We’re honored that he’ll continue to be a strong advocate for CSU in his new trustee role. Mr. Prem Virmani, new member of CSU’s Foundation Board of Trustees.

Judge Art Smith, COLS Alum, Receives 2016 Thomas Whitley Award The Honorable Judge Arthur Smith III, a Columbus native and CSU alum (B.S. Political Science ‘76), was the 2016 recipient of CSU’s Thomas Y. Whitley Distinguished Alumnus Award. This award is presented each year, during the President’s Recognition Dinner, to a graduate who has most lived up to the high standards set by the award’s namesake, CSU’s first president. It is considered the most prestigious honor given annually to an alumnus. Judge Smith received his law degree from Samford University and obtained an L.L.M. in Taxation from the University of Alabama. He was a private practice attorney for 10 years prior to joining Aflac’s Legal Division in 1989, where he handled litigation and arbitration throughout the United States. He served as a JAG Officer in the U.S. Navy Reserves for 8 years. In 2011, Judge Smith was appointed by Governor Nathan Deal as Judge of the Superior Courts of the Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit. In 2012, he was elected to serve as judge for a full four-year term, then in March 2016 he qualified for re-election without opposition for another four-year term beginning January 2017. In July, Judge Smith will also assume duties as the Administrative Judge for the 3rd Judicial District of Georgia, which consists of four Judicial Courts comprised of 16 counties. He is a member of the Columbus and American Bar Associations and serves on many community boards. Judge Smith is known as a family man who cares deeply about his community. His wife, Sue, is also a CSU graduate (B.A. Communications ’78). The College of Letters and Sciences is proud of the recognition bestowed upon one of its graduates! 4

The Honorable Judge Arthur Smith III received CSU’s Thomas Y. Whitley Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2016.

Letters & Sciences Today

Ashley Chaplin—From Model Student to Successful Doctor When Ashley Chaplin graduated from CSU in 2004 she had a perfect GPA of 4.00. In the intervening years, she has continued to excel at everything she does. Today, she is Ashley Chaplin, M.D. After graduating from the Medical College of Georgia in 2009, Dr. Chaplin completed her residency in Internal Medicine at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, NC, in 2012. From 2012-2013 she served as Assistant Chief of Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, at Wake Forest before becoming a Fellow at the University of Virginia, where her specialty is Infectious Diseases. She finishes at UVA on June 30 of this year. Beginning August 1, she will work full-time at Novant Health Forsyth Medical Center in Winston-Salem, NC. While a student at CSU, Dr. Chaplin was a member of the Honors Program, graduating summa cum laude with a degree in biology. As vice-president of the Honors student organization, Honoris Causa, she participated in almost everything, whether fundraisers (car washes, yard sales), service activities (Relay for Life cancer walk, March of Dimes walk through Callaway Gardens), or enrichment (attending the Alabama Shakespeare Festival production of The Tempest). In addition, she was president of Beta Beta Beta, the biology student organization, a finalist for the Faculty Cup, and a member of the American Medical Student Association, for which she volunteered at St. Francis Hospital. Today, she continues her volunteer work at the Charlottesville Free Clinic in Charlottesville, VA, helping others just as she did years ago. The College of Letters and Sciences is proud of Dr. Chaplin’s success and knows that hers will be an exceptionally brilliant career.

Test Your Knowledge of Letters and Sciences Trivia!


Letters & Sciences Today

Q1. Harry Truman. Q2. Growth hormone. Q3. Walt Whitman (his poetry collection “Leaves of Grass” was published in 1855). Q4. Sugar and aspartame have nearly the same amount of calories. Aspartame produces 4000 kilocalories of energy per gram when metabolized and sucrose (table sugar) produces 3900 kilocalories. However, aspartame is a high intensity sweetener that is approximately 200 times sweeter than sucrose, so it is consumed in much smaller doses. Q5. The Supreme Court usually consists of the Chief Justice and eight associate justices; however, there is one vacancy since the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. Those currently serving are: John Roberts (Chief Justice), Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Samuel Alito, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan. Q6. a) Around Pine Mountain and Red Top Mountain State Park; they are 1-1.2 billion years old and are part of the oldest rocks on the east coast. b) 180200 million years ago, when the supercontinent Pangaea was breaking apart. Q7. Research suggests all are false. Q8. a) 7,000 languages. b) 10% (90% of all languages are used by 100,000 people or less).

Q1. Who is the most recent U.S. President to not graduate from college? Q2. Overproduction of which hormone (made in the pituitary gland) can lead to acromegaly in adults? Q3. Which poet is considered the founder of modern poetry (free verse)? Q4. Which has more calories: table sugar (sucrose) or aspartame? Q5. How many Supreme Court Justices are there and can you name them? Q6. a) Where are the oldest rocks in Georgia and how old are they? b) When was the last time Georgia had volcanoes? Q7. Which of these popular psychological myths are true? • Hypnosis is useful for retrieving forgotten memories. • If you’re unsure of your answer when taking a test, it’s best to go with your initial hunch. • Dreams possess symbolic meaning. • Our handwriting reveals our personality traits. • People with schizophrenia have multiple personalities. Q8. a) Approximately how many languages are spoken in the world today? b) What percentage of these are spoken by the majority of people on earth?


CSU and the Community College Hosts Cott Beverages at Cougar Basketball In February, the College of Letters and Sciences hosted employees from Cott Beverages and their families at the Lumpkin Center for home games against Montevallo. The Cougars and Lady Cougars both won their games – the men’s match-up (69-68) was a nail-biter until the buzzer sounded! It was a fun evening that provided the opportunity to welcome some of our alumni back to campus, introduce President Markwood, and expose many to the excitement of Cougar athletics!

Cott employees and their families enjoyed dinner before tip-off of the men’s game.

Cott employees and chemistry faculty participated in the half-time contest.


Letters & Sciences Today

Update on COLS Internship Expansion When Bridget Downs was tasked in fall 2015 with expanding internship opportunities in the College of Letters and Sciences, the first thing she did was determine the number and type of internships available and create a spreadsheet. Then she began meeting with local business, agencies, and industries to create new internships for COLS. All COLS departments now offer internships except one, the Department of Mathematics. She is currently pursuing an internship with the GBI for math majors and is working with the Math Department to create a course so students can enroll in an internship. The Department of Modern and Classical Languages offered its first internship fall 2015 with the Muscogee County Juvenile Court; this internship involved translation services. Thanks to Downs’ efforts, the Department of Chemistry has added an internship with High Performance Product Engineering (HPPE), bringing its available internships to seven. She has also helped land another internship for Criminal Justice majors with the fraud department of TSYS. The number of partnerships between a COLS department and the community does not always correlate to the number of majors in that department or to the number of students who are placed in internships. For example, a department may have a lot of majors and a high number of community partnerships, but only a few interns in a given semester. A lot depends on advisors and on whether the internship experience is required or elected. The department with the largest number of community partnerships is criminal justice (43), followed by the Bridget Downs, COLS Internship Coordinator. Department of Earth and Space Science (11), and the Department of English (8). While students in most COLS internships (90%) receive credit but no pay, most interns in biology and chemistry receive both credit and pay. Many departments, such as English, will not allow internships for pay, believing doing so presents a conflict of interest to the student. The main reason for a student to enroll in an internship is experience, which can give someone the edge in the job market after graduation. In addition, at the completion of the semester, many a student has taken an internship and rolled it over into a part-time position or even a full-time position with the same company. While most internships are department-run, Downs also coordinates with the Career Center because some internships are run through that office rather than the department. COLS requires that students take a 2-hour workshop prior to their starting an internship.

Supporting the College of Letters & Sciences With the help of our alumni and friends, the College of Letters and Sciences is able to provide scholarships and other significant opportunities that help make CSU a First Choice for students, faculty and supporters. Tax-deductible contributions to our scholarship funds or other programs can be made online at ColumbusState.edu/Giving. For more information about our programs and initiatives, please contact Jill Carroll, Development Director: 706-565-7874; Carroll_Jill@ColumbusState.edu.

Letters & Sciences Today


Cover Story Cameron McCarty and Mars Rover “Opportunity” Most people can imagine a dream job, but few ever get to experience it. But Cameron McCarty, a 2014 graduate of CSU’s Earth and Space Sciences program, is already living la vita dolce because, while in his Ph.D. program at the University of Tennessee Knoxville (UTK), he is working in a volunteer capacity for NASA in the kind of job he hopes to have someday. Since fall 2015, Cameron has operated the engineering cameras and the microscopic cameras on the Mars rover Opportunity. As “Engineering Camera and Microscopic Imager Payload Uplink Lead,” he works about 4-5 days every month, telling the cameras on the rover where and when to take pictures. The reason he seized on this opportunity to volunteer is that he hopes to gather data for his doctoral research on grain size of particles and to develop a thermal model for Mars. He explained that, through remote sensing, he can learn about the Martian surface by studying the heat coming off the different-sized particles he is photographing. Launched in 2004, Opportunity was (Cover photo): Cameron McCarty with a model of the Mars rover Opportunity.

Opportunity rover on Mars.

supposed to have a duration of activity of 90 sol (sol = a Martian solar day of about 24 hours and 40 minutes). Instead, the rover has exceeded its operating plan of 90 sol (92.5 earth days) by almost 12 years (earth time). But this is not Cameron’s first experience at NASA. Previously, he has worked in paid positions at

NASA Marshall Space Flight Center in fall 2013 and in summer 2014. In addition, he has served as Lead Student Research Assistant from 20122015 and as Planetarium Assistant at CSU’s Coca-Cola Space Science Center from 2008-2015, after which he moved to Knoxville to pursue his Ph.D.

Scan of East Ridge with shadow of Opportunity captured in shot.

8 8

Letters & Sciences Today

While his ideal job is to work for NASA on the Mars mission, his nextchoice ideal job would be doing educational outreach in a community. “While science and planetary geology are my focus,” he says, “teaching others about what I do will always be important to me,” he said. While working at the CSU planetarium from 2008-2015, he did “quite a bit of outreach and educational enrichment, going out to schools and teaching them about astronomy and science. I even created a hands-on science character ‘Astro Cam the Space Man’ where I dressed in the blue astronaut flight suit at the science center and did hands on activities with K-5th grade kids. We made slime, played with light and sound, even made rockets from straws.” A native of Columbus, Cameron attributes his interest in science to his childhood learning experiences at the Coca-Cola Space Science Center. He describes the Center as “absolutely instrumental” in his career choice and his love of planetary studies. He also lauds Dr. Shawn Cruzen, executive director of the Coca-Cola Space Science Center, saying that “Dr. C.” encouraged graduate-level

Panorama of Mars’ Knudsen Ridge with Opportunity’s tracks in right foreground.

work at the undergraduate level, thereby preparing him extremely well for the Ph.D. program at UTK. He applied to three graduate schools but felt that UTK was the best fit because of opportunities and mentors in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences there. When asked what the most exciting part is about operating the cameras

on the rover Opportunity, Cameron said it is when he tunes in at downlink time to see the images for the first time, knowing that no one else has ever seen this particular view of Mars before. That moment thrills him. Let’s just say that working on Opportunity is quite the opportunity for Cameron, one that will probably pay off in the future.

Opportunity sees a dust devil (a dirt tornado on the Martian surface) and explores slopes at Marathon Valley.

Letters & Sciences Today


Student Spotlights Three CSU Students Present at Southeastern Writing Center Association Conference The Academic Center for Tutoring (ACT) at Columbus State and Eliot Rendleman, Director of the ACT, had the privilege of hosting the 2016 Southeastern Writing Center Association Conference. The event took place February 18-20 at the Columbus Convention and Trade Center and the CSU RiverPark Campus. The SWCA is the regional, professional organization for the southeast, with members from up to 17 states. The organization has held this event for the last 31 years at various southeastern locations and institutions. This is the first time the conference was held in Columbus and sponsored by CSU. At this event, three Columbus State undergraduates and ACT employees presented research that they had conducted during the 2015 Fall semester. Abby Gibbons, a history major, contributed to a session on writing-across-the-curriculum with her presentation, entitled “Building a Bridge between Students and Professors: Using History to Examine CrossDiscipline Expectations and Miscommunications.”Ruth Holliday, a music performance Ruth Holliday, music major, gave a presentation on performance major. English as a Second Language

and writing centers, entitled “Helping Tutors Face Diversity.” Majoring in French with teacher certification, Gwendolyn LaBelle shared the results of her study in a presentation called “Accommodating Students with Learning Disabilities in the Writing Center.” Abby Gibbons, History major. This year saw a record number of participants, including 300 undergraduate and graduate student researchers and writing center administrators. Participants at the conference gave presentations that followed the theme of Writing Center Inclusivity, which supports the CSU core value of “fostering and promoting a campus that embraces diverse people, Gwendolyn LaBelle, ideas, views, and practices.” Languages major. Presentation topics included writing center inclusivity and English Language Learners; high school writing centers; digital tutoring and technology; and theory, ideology, and identity.

CSU Students and Faculty Meet the Carters The Jimmy Carter National Historic Site invited two CSU departments to come to a special President’s Day event at the old Plains High School Auditorium on February 15, 2016. Jimmy Carter served as the 39th President of the United States from 1977-1981. In 2002, Carter received the Nobel Peace Prize for his work through the Carter Center because of his desire “to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development” (Norwegian Nobel Committee). At the event in February, President and Mrs. Carter talked about Dr. Doug Tompson and Dr. Gary Sprayberry (Department of History and Geography) at the Jimmy Carter the 1976 presidential campaign to about 40 students and faculty Presidential Campaign Headquarters in Plains, GA. from the Department of Politics, Philosophy, and Public Administration as well as the Department of History and Geography. Overall, about 150 people attended the event. Afterwards, CSU students and faculty members were able to meet the former President and First Lady when they signed books. Before returning to Columbus, attendees also explored the town of Plains, GA. Taking students to Plains was a first-time event for these departments. Participants will now have memories of having heard and met the Carters. First Lady Rosalynn Carter and President Jimmy Carter.

10 10

Letters & Sciences Today

Kayla Parsons – Student Extraordinaire When Kayla Parsons first came to CSU, she intended to stay only two years, and then transfer to Georgia Tech to major in engineering. Instead, she decided to stay at CSU, compete on two athletic teams, be active in the Honors College, and earn both her bachelor’s degree in mathematics (May 2016) and her associate’s degree in engineering. Kayla decided to stay “because there are so many great organizations to join on campus.” After joining three such groups – the Track and Field team, the Cross Country team, and the Honors College – she made many friends and always had something to do. In short, she felt she belonged. As a student athlete, Kayla has received numerous awards including the Peach Belt Elite 15 Award (November 2014 and October 2015) as well as the NCAA Southeast Region AllAcademic Team Award (January 2016), which is presented to students who have a 3.25+ GPA and place in the top 30% at the Southeast Regional Championship. Since 2012, she has served as representative and as Vice President of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, and this year she was appointed co-captain of one of her athletic teams. In track and field, Kayla’s specialty areas are distance (5K, 10K) and the 3000m steeplechase, which involves running a 1.86-mile obstacle course complete with four 30” barriers and a water jump. Unlike the barriers used in hurdling, the barriers in this event do not fall over if hit. In cross country, she races on courses up to 3.7 miles over a variety of natural terrain surfaces such as grass, woodlands, open country, hills, gravel roads, and flat ground. Also enticing Kayla to stay at CSU were numerous scholarships: the Tower Scholarship (from the Honors College), the National Merit Corporate Scholarship, and the HOPE Scholarship. She received these scholarships due to her excellent test scores and GPA in high school; she has kept these scholarships all four years because of her perfect 4.00 GPA, an amazing feat since she has taken some of the most difficult courses CSU has to offer in mathematics, engineering, and physics. Kayla also belongs to two honors societies: Honoris Causa and Phi Kappa Phi. In her junior year, she served as Head of Production of Momentum, CSU’s undergraduate research journal. In summer 2014, she served as a Robert Noyce Summer Intern for high school students enrolled in a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) camp. This intern position required mentoring students and creating activities to support the campers’ learning process. It also involved assisting the Dean of the Honors College in doing research and creating assignments that culminated in a five-week study-abroad assignment at Oxford University in Oxford, England. There she took a specialized course entitled “Mathematics & Technology in Society.” So what are Kayla’s plans after graduation in May? She wants to finish that bachelor’s degree in engineering that she started four years ago! Then she plans to pursue a graduate degree in engineering. She has applied to four schools: Purdue University (her father’s alma mater), Georgia Tech, University of Colorado at Boulder, and Colorado State University. Her interest in Colorado is due to her parents having moved from Columbus to Aurora, Colorado, about two years ago. Kayla has proven the adage that you get out of life what you put into it. She Kayla Persons running cross country. has clearly reaped great rewards during her undergraduate years at CSU (Photo by Anthony McWilliams) and her efforts promise a bright and fulfilling future.

Letters & Sciences Today

11 11

Psychology – Educating and Advising Students with Future Employment in Mind What an advisor tells students can make all the difference. Dr. Stephanie da Silva, Associate Professor of Psychology, recommends that psychology majors interested in behavioral treatments earn an RBT (Registered Behavior Technician) certification while working on their degrees at CSU. Her recommended process involves taking two psychology courses at CSU (PSYC 3235 Learning and Behavior Analysis; PSYC 3555 Special Topics-- Applied Behavior Analysis) and completing a 40-hour online course from the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB). The online course culminates in a rigorous exam which the student must pass to receive the certification. After being certified, students can either work for pay or work toward credited internship hours at a local agency, as determined by the agency. Either way, students gain valuable experience and credentials that can help them, after they graduate, find a job and/or be accepted into graduate school. The BACB offers four levels of certification, two of which are available to undergraduates – the BCaBA and the RBT. According to the BACB website, “The Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA) is an undergraduate-level certification in behavior analysis” whereas the RBT is a paraprofessional who… is primarily responsible for the direct implementation of behavior-analytic services.” Students with either certification can enter the career field at the bachelor’s level and have good job security. Professor da Silva recommends that students get the RBT certification rather than the BCaBA because the RBT provides similar employment options as the BCaBA and is faster to earn. The BCaBA designation not only involves a complicated process of getting courses and transcripts approved, it is also a designation likely to be phased out in the near future. As a result, she advises students to pursue the RBT with options to pursue certification at the Master’s level if they plan to stay in the field. The value of the RBT certification is that “it provides students with a clear, sustainable employment path that is meaningful. Students are able to apply their coursework to real world situations for the sake of improving others’ lives,” says da Silva. Three of her current advisees have pursued this pathway. Whether an agency pays students who have the RBT certification or counts their work as internship hours depends on the agency’s policy. Shelly Langley, a psychology major who has completed the RBT certification, currently has a paid RBT position at the Autism Learning Center. Two prior CSU psychology graduates also work at the Autism Learning Center – one as an RBT and one as a Master’s level Behavior Analyst. 12

If students pursue a master’s degree, they can earn further certification as an applied behavior analyst (ABA) therapist. In 2015, Forbes named ABA therapist number 6 on its list of most meaningful jobs: http:// www.msn.com/en-us/money/careersandeducation/ the-most-and-least-meaningful-jobs/ar-AAaZIqs. Joshua LaPointe, a CSU psychology major who finished his RBT training course in February and passed his RBT certification exam in March of this year, earns credit hours as a clinical intern with Reading Milestones; this agency will pay RBT certificants after they have graduated with their bachelor’s degree. At Reading Milestones, Joshua helps “behavior technicians with data collection, assists with clinic operations and gains hands-on experience to eventually work as a paid RBT.” After his May graduation, Reading Milestones will employ him while he takes online classes through Ball State University, where he will work toward his Master’s degree in Applied Behavior Analysis. Another da Silva advisee, Abigail Cox, also is a clinical intern at Reading Milestones this semester, her final semester at CSU. Abigail plans to complete RBT certification after she graduates in May. Heeding the recommendations of an advisor can make a huge difference. While psychology majors are not required to pursue RBT certification, if they do, they can either earn money while going to school or earn money in an applicable position as soon as they graduate. This is real-world application of advice at its best.

Joshua LaPointe in costume while helping children at Reading Milestones.

Letters & Sciences Today

Faculty Spotlights Dr. Bill Frazier Retires After 41 Years

“My life has made a difference,” Dr. William (Bill) Frazier intoned as he recalled his retirement party at CSU’s Carson McCullers Center in Columbus on January 15. “I’ve been told that more people were there than had ever attended any other event at the Center.” Frazier retired January 1st, 2016, after 41 years at CSU, the last seven of which he served as Chair of the Department of Earth and Space Sciences. “I never thought I did a good job as chair,” he said, “but I got good reviews from faculty. My real love was teaching. I put students first.” And it was as a teacher that he was most celebrated at his retirement party. Droves of students (some from as far back as the 1970s) were there to commemorate the occasion with fond memories and photographs. Many had contributed to a slide show assembled by the new department chair, Dr. Clinton Barineau. The best compliment he ever received as a teacher was when a student said she had “learned more about teaching” from him than from any course she had ever taken, even though the course was not a pedagogy class. She was able to separate the subject (geology) from Frazier’s pedagogy and was praising him on how he taught the course, a distinction that pleased Frazier immensely. His teaching awards included the Golden Apple Award given by WRBL and the Educator of the Year Award in 1985. He also won Advisor of the Year Award in 2000. Three of the things that Frazier is most proud of during his tenure at CSU are his teaching, his chairing the committee that hired Frank Brown (CSU’s third president), and his contributions to geology guidebooks (published in the 1980’s) concerning modern sedimentology of the coastal plain. For the latter, he said, he is still “cited a lot.” A fourth source of pride is that, because he has served on almost every committee on campus, he has had a direct hand in the school’s growth and direction, from college to university and from undergraduate degrees to graduate degrees. Letters & Sciences Today

Dr. Bill Frazier, Department Chair and Professor of Geology, retired after more than 40 years of service to CSU.

When asked what he would have been if he had not been a geologist, he quickly replied “historian,” which was his first major in college. He’s particularly fond of reading anything relating to ancient Rome, including the Masters of Rome series of historical novels by Australian author Colleen McCullough. Currently, he is grabbling with an important decision: whether to stay in Columbus or move to be closer to one of his two children, Erin and Bruce. Frazier’s wife, Sandy, died in a 2014 car accident in which Frazier was severely injured. Sandy was driving and probably “just dosed off at the wheel,” Frazier said of that fateful day in Wyoming. He misses her tremendously and still considers himself married. They had been sweethearts since high school. After a six-month recovery following the accident, Frazier continued to work for three more years, but difficulties walking due to a benign brain tumor have finally forced him to retire. Though some might be bored after they retire, Frazier plans on staying busy doing crossword puzzles, reading, and answering the many emails he gets every day. “I was an only child,” he said, “so I’m used to filling my time.” He also plans on sifting through things he has accumulated over the years and selling some items to increase the funds for a new scholarship that has been established in his name. Even now, he’s thinking of students. 13

University Scholars Collect New Tree Species in the Amazon During a spring break expedition to the Amazon, a scientific team from Columbus State University collected the first-ever flowering samples of a new tree species in Ecuador’s Yasuní National Park. The discoverers were Samantha Worthy, a master’s student in CSU’s M.S. in Natural Sciences Biology Track; Kevin Burgess, professor of ecological genetics in CSU’s biology department, and botanist Alvaro Pérez, a professor from Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador (PUCE) in Quito and CSU’s 16th annual Elena Diaz Verson Amos Eminent Scholar in Latin American Studies. Pérez also serves as the curator of angiosperms (flowering plants) in PUCE’s world renowned herbarium. “This was an amazing find and would not have happened if not for Professor Pérez’s experience

Botanist Alvaro Pérez holds samples of a new tree species in the genus Myrcia.

and knowledge of the Ecuadorian Amazon,” Burgess said. “We were in a canoe on the river when he spotted a tree in flower that he had never seen before. This new species is to be classified in the genus Myrcia and represents an immediate need for further plant discovery in this region.” The Yasuní National Park is the most biologically diverse place on earth, he said. Over the last 50 years, botanists have documented more than 4,000 plant species from this region with potentially hundreds of new species just waiting to be discovered. “Unfortunately, much of the Amazon rainforest is also under threat by local development, which has created an urgent need to document these plant species before they disappear,” Pérez said. Burgess and Pérez, along with groups of students from both universities, are also at the forefront of documenting plant genetic diversity through CSU graduate student Samantha Worthy, professor their work on plant DNA Kevin Burgess, Wampi (Waorani field guide) and barcoding. “DNA barcoding botanist Alvaro Pérez collecting samples of a new tree is a great tool for assessing species during a recent expedition to Yasuní National genetic relationships among Park in the Ecuadorian Amazon. 14

the plants we collect in the Amazon,” Worthy said. “This project has been an amazing experience and has provided me with a unique set of skills that I plan to use in future research in the area.” The team is preparing to expand their research with a botanical expedition along the Yasuní River of the Ecuadorian Amazon, an area that has never been fully explored by botanists. Burgess and Pérez are organizing an international team of 12 researchers comprised of faculty, staff and students from CSU and PUCE to travel the remote river in two canoes. The team hopes to spend two weeks collecting, photographing and identifying plant species in this secluded area to start an unprecedented plant inventory for future research opportunities. “The expedition is the first phase of a long-term initiative to conserve, discover and better understand the plant diversity of the Yasuní,” Burgess said. “We hope that this research will enable students and faculty at both our institutions to not only preserve and record the biodiversity of the Amazon rainforest but also provide unparalleled opportunities in research and training for future undergraduate and graduate students.” Letters & Sciences Today

Dr. J. Aaron Sanders’s First Novel, Speakers of the Dead In writing his first published novel, Speakers of the Dead, Dr. Aaron Sanders has learned a lot. Speakers is a mystery novel employing an historical person (Walt Whitman) as a fictional character, focusing on him when he was a journalist but before he became a famous poet. One thing Sanders learned was how to create “hooks” to attract a wider reading audience. Some of the hooks in Speakers are his focus on the first female medical doctor, the medical world’s involvement with body snatching, Walt Whitman, and Edgar Allen Poe – each topic of which pulls in different types of readers and requires extensive research. Another thing Sanders learned about was plotting. “I assumed it would be easier. Turns out, mystery readers are very smart and, as a writer, I have to outwit them.” That meant that Sanders had to write the entire book, including the ending, then revise it extensively. To do so, he gave drafts of the novel to “the best students” and colleagues, in some cases paying them money for their critiques so he could get their first impressions, and then revise the work. Total number of revisions? About 30. Sanders also learned about book tours and their added value to a writer and to a publisher. “Book tours,” he says, “don’t make money. It’s all about networking and getting your name out there.” To date, he has spoken at bookstores and literary events in Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Houston, Atlanta, and New Haven (Connecticut), among other places. “Lots of books lose money,” he explains, “so publishers balance that loss with books that do well.” Sanders speaks highly of both his agent and his publisher in helping him get the publicity he needs to help this and future books sell well. Sanders is under contract with his publisher, Plume (a division of Penguin Random House), to write at least two more novels in this Walt Whitman mystery series. Sanders came to CSU in 2008 and is now Associate Professor of English, holding a Ph.D. in American Literature from The University of Connecticut and an M.F.A. in Fiction from The University of Utah. His stories have appeared in Carolina Quarterly, Gulf Coast, Quarterly West, and Beloit Fiction Journal, among others. Reviews of Speakers have been overwhelmingly positive. Here’s a sampling: “Boldly plotted and compulsively readable, Speakers of the Dead is a welcome discovery for any fan of literary history thrillers. Sanders’s debut pulls off an elusive accomplishment, making us rethink what we know about favorite historical figures and entertaining us at the same time.”

—Matthew Pearl, author of The Last Bookaneer and The Dante Club “In Speakers of the Dead, J. Aaron Sanders gives us Walt Whitman as we’ve never seen him – a young, jaunty, and ambitious reporter, who risks his life for truth. Sanders’ confident prose and deft storytelling come together in a transporting novel that is at once a mystery, a tragedy, and a tale of deep friendship. From its stunning opening of a young woman at the gallows, the novel gallops along, taking us along for the ride, and all the while we see glimmers of the poet Whitman is to become. An old-fashioned novel in the best sense. Riveting and haunting.” —Rae Meadows, author of Mercy Train Because of the publication of this novel, many journals and news sources – such as Oxford American, Library of America, and The Rumpus – have asked him to write articles about his creative experience and thought processes, and Sanders has obliged them by writing about a dozen articles in just a few months. Sanders has two sons, to whom he dedicated this book. When asked why he writes, Sanders replied, “Compulsion. I have to do it. And at times, I even enjoy it.”

Editor’s Note: At publication time, Dr. Sanders had left CSU for an opportunity elsewhere. Letters & Sciences Today


Ancient Peruvian Archeological Collection Now Housed at CSU Columbus State University students are busy cataloguing and analyzing one of the oldest and bestpreserved Peruvian archeological collections in the world thanks to Facebook and the hard work of a techsavvy anthropology professor. Danielle Cook, a lecturer in CSU’s Department of Earth and Space Sciences, first learned about the 6,500-year-old collection from a Facebook group called Bioanthropology News. A friend of Cook’s tagged her in a post by University of Missouri professor Bob Benfer, who was offering the collection up to any interested parties. At the time, he was cleaning out his garage, where the collection was housed. Cook was the first to respond to Benfer’s post, and in just a month and half, eight boxes containing human skeletal remains (about 50% of the collection), textiles, skin, hair, brain and even fecal matter with Peruvian toilet paper arrived on CSU’s campus. Although she has never met Benfer, she knew of his excellent reputation in the field and is grateful to receive his collection of artifacts and bones dating 5,000 to 7,000 years old. “This collection is so unique and so rare because most archeological sites are looted, and artifacts are sold to private collectors,” Cook said. “There are no laws in Central and South America that protect these sites from theft.” Most of the materials in the collection are from the La Paloma site, a coastal desert area in Peru. The site was well hidden from looters, making it a treasure trove of bones. The collection contains some of the oldest preserved bones of the indigenous people of Peru. “Danielle’s efforts in securing the La Paloma

Danielle Cook, Lecturer in the Department of Earth and Space Sciences, with Peruvian bone (top) and brain matter in a collection bag (left).

collection were really impressive,” said Clinton Barineau, chair of the Department of Earth and Space Sciences. “There aren’t many universities the size of CSU that have access to a collection of this nature.” Cook is taking a collaborative approach to put the collection to good use. Anthropology students are examining the remains to learn more about ancient Peruvian lifestyles; geology students are running biochemical tests on bone crystals to see if salt was used in ritualistic burials; biology students are analyzing samples of DNA; and others are testing hair for recreational cocaine use. “Danielle spends a lot of time getting students involved in undergraduate research,” Barineau said. “Danielle and her students are already discovering new things about Peruvian (Continued on page 17) 16

Letters & Sciences Today

Danielle Cook with textile sample from La Paloma.

culture, and I have no doubt CSU students will continue to benefit from this collection for many years to come.” Cook is a bioarchaeologist (the study of human remains at archaeological sites) with a specialty in osteology (the study of bones). She is frequently called upon to analyze forensic cases to determine whether bones or bone fragments are human or animal. She has worked on many such cases in Mississippi and Alabama Cook plans to apply for a National Geographic grant as well as a CSU faculty grant to finish curating this collection, complete the research that needs to be done, revisit the site, and investigate the bones that Peru has in its collection from La Paloma. Peru’s collection, she has been told, is water logged so time is of the essence. She would like to acquire the rest of the collection, move it to the US, and make sure the dehydration of the materials is carried out properly.

Why Do Gun Sales Increase After Highly Publicized Mass Shootings? When the media reports a mass shooting, why is it that gun sales go up? Research indicates that when humans feel threatened, they become more conservative; in short, they react emotionally (sympathetically) to stabilize an unstable situation. But it’s not just that conservatives become more conservative; even liberals become more conservative after they are exposed to a perceived threat. Dr. Katherine White, Assistant Professor of Psychology, is currently exploring the mediating role of personal control between exposure to gun violence in the media and attitudes toward gun control legislation. Her theory is that gun sales go up because, through the purchase of a gun, people exert a (symbolic) sense of control of a situation. But how do you measure that theory? What questions do you need to ask so that you can tease out the information you need to validate or repudiate such a theory? With the help of student volunteers, White has been gathering data for more than a year and so far has about 175 responses from participants. In addition to using data gathered at CSU, White is working with Dr. Rose Danek, who used to teach at CSU and who is gathering data in Arkansas for the same research project. Here is how White has designed her experiment. First, participants are shown one of two videos on a computer: either one showing a news report on a mass shooting or one showing a news report on the spread of germs in a mass transportation system. After the video, either a participant is asked to choose an activity (such as sorting beads) or is told to do something (such as count colored dots). Then she has participants answer a

variety of questions (using paper and pencil) including some demographic ones designed to reveal whether the participants are politically conservative or liberal and what their views are on gun legislation. The variety is such that participants are not likely to see what issue is being studied. The independent variables in the study are that of the guns vs. germs videos and that of the control vs. no control activities following the video. The dependent variable is that of the participants’ support Dr. Katherine White, Assistant (or lack thereof) of gun Professor of Psychology. legislation. Her prediction is that those who are given a choice to exert control following the video will have a less conservative response. In other words, exerting personal control mitigates their response to mass shootings. Those who have no choice following the video, will find their views – whatever they are to begin with – shifting to be more conservative. White hopes to publish her study in Basic and Applied Social Psychology or a similar journal. She completed her Ph.D. in the Social Cognitive Neuroscience Program at the University of Texas at El Paso in 2012 and, since coming to CSU that same year, has published three articles.

Editor’s Note: At publication time, Dr. White accepted a position at another institution. Letters & Sciences Today


Saving Students Money with Open Educational Resources Virtually every college course requires at least one textbook, and a typical text costs about $100. In some courses, textbooks can cost much, much more, depending on the discipline, and some courses require numerous texts. While CSU is already assisting students financially by allowing them to rent texts from its bookstore, there is another, even less expensive alternative: Open Educational Resources (OERs). Students usually pay little or nothing for online access to OERs, and students can often print a copy of the text for a modest fee, usually $10-$50. Some faculty falsely assume that OERs are synonymous with no textbooks or bad textbooks. But of those faculty who have created or adopted OERs, the experience is usually positive – they get the materials they’ve always wanted because they have a hand in designing it or modifying the resource and students get access to texts, multimedia, and study guides that are free or very low cost. For the most part, it’s a win-win situation. Since 2013, the University of Georgia (UGA) has saved students about $2 million through the adoption of OERs, mostly in core courses. UGA has accomplished this by focusing on large enrollment courses that use expensive textbooks. According to Mark Flynn, Dean of CSU’s Schwob Memorial Library, “For CSU it’s about $300,000 a year so far in student cost avoidance.” In the past, printed materials have been governed by intellectual property laws involving conventional copyrights of 78 years. In recent years, however, much more flexible licensing agreements have been made available through Creative Commons, where you can find out what types of permissions an author will allow for an OER text. “A Creative Commons (CC) license is one of several public copyright licenses that enable the free distribution of an otherwise copyrighted work. A CC license is used when an author wants to give people the right to share, use, and build upon a work that they have created” (https:// en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creative_Commons_license). Some OERs involve all permissions, while others allow nocost adoption but no modification. Sites where faculty can go to peruse available OERs include those of • Merlot (merlot.org), • University of Minnesota (umn.edu/opentextbooks/), • OpenStax College (openstax.org), • Affordable Learning Georgia (affordablelearninggeorgia.org), • College Open Textbooks (collegeopentextbooks.org), • Open SUNY (opensuny.org), • BC Campus Open Ed (bccampus.ca), and • Creative Commons (creativecommons.org). There are two key reasons why OERs have become popular. With student loan debt growing and tuition increasing, institutions of higher education are trying to find ways to save students money. In addition, studies have shown that students are more likely to complete and pass courses that use OERs. About 30% of students do 18

not purchase the textbook at all or purchase it only after their federal grant money becomes available; OERs allow students to have a textbook from the first day of class. Thus, OERs can positively affect grades and retention. Here are some other statistics regarding textbooks and higher education: 30%-40% average increase in GPA Dr. Susan Hrach, in a one-year period due Campus Champion to use of OER texts (based of OERs and Director, on Virginia State OER pilot Faculty Center program) for Teaching and 31% of students photocopied Learning. friends’ book chapters for a course in 2013 rather than purchase a textbook 82% increase in textbook prices over the last decade 85.7% of the textbook publishing market is controlled by four firms 94% of non-textbook-buying students are concerned the lack of a textbook will affect their grades $ 1,200 cost of course materials per student annually Each institution in the Georgia system has identified a campus representative (Campus Champion) to inform faculty, staff, and students about Affordable Learning Georgia and market the benefits of open educational resources. CSU’s Campus Champion is Dr. Susan Hrach, Director of the Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning. For faculty who are not currently using OERs, she recommends that they seek out open materials to cover the first week or two of class, while students are in the process of purchasing the required texts. “OERs are instantly accessible online, and faculty may discover some great new materials in the process of browsing around (open resources),” says Hrach. Recently, Dr. Richard Stephens, Professor of Mathematics, was the Featured Advocate on the Affordable Learning Georgia website (see sidebar story) and named an Affordable Learning Champion due to his use of OERs in various courses. Stephens was an early adopter of OERs on the CSU campus. According to Dr. Tim Howard, chair of the Department of Mathematics, “the department voted to adopt OpenStax texts for 2016-2017 in MATH 1111, 1113, 1131, 1132, and 2135. That’s hundreds of students who won’t have to buy $100+ textbooks….Pretty soon, we may find the entire math core being taught with free or lowcost resources.” However, OERs are not without their drawbacks. Because the text often lacks the vetting process that respected publishers use, instructors must go the extra mile to validate that the open text is accurate, appropriate, and thorough. Also, some students may need to access electronic materials in class and be unable to do so. However, these are minor setbacks, considering the many positive outcomes.

Letters & Sciences Today

How and Why I Started Using OERs By Dr. Richard Stephens, Professor of Mathematics During my second year at CSU, 2009-2010, I attended a presentation in the University Hall Auditorium by representatives of the University System of Georgia who would go on to develop Affordable Learning Georgia (ALG). This presentation was about reducing the cost of textbooks for our students. A nocost OER Statistics text called Collaborative Statistics was recommended. I did not give this issue much thought until the next academic year, when I gave Collaborative Statistics a serious review and liked what I found. At that time, students had an on-campus printing allowance of 500 pages, so I provided my Stat 1127 students with this PDF text and asked them to print certain chapters. Right away, I began developing my own custom compact Dr. Richard Stephens, Professor of Mathematics, is an Affordable Learning version of this material. After each semester, I did a complete review and Champion. revision of this material. By altering the format, spacing and content, I was able to reduce the material needed for Stat 1127 to a little over 200 pages. At this point, the structure of my course was quite traditional. As this OER went through a second edition and then morphed into a totally new product, Introductory Statistics, it included more web resources. Utilizing these resources, including WebAssign for only $32.95, the structure of my Stat 1127 course has evolved in such a way as to be about 95% student centered with web-based assignments and exams. The evolution of the course material and delivery format was followed by increased student success. Thus, I became even more motivated to find appropriate OER materials for other courses. For a couple of years, I spend several hours each week searching the web for high quality no-cost texts on other subjects. This was a difficult task, but I was able to find no-cost materials for most of my courses, including Understanding Data Analysis and Probability, College Algebra, Introduction to Linear Algebra, Calculus, Mathematical Theory of Interest, Introduction to Actuarial Science, and Introduction to Real Analysis. Now, with resources such as Affordable Learning Georgia, MERLOT and Open Textbook Initiative of the American Institute of Mathematics, it is much easier to find quality OERs on a wide variety of subjects.

Using OER Texts in Physics By Dr. Kimberly Shaw, Professor of Earth and Space Science and Co-Director (Science), UTeach Columbus In Fall 2014, my PHYS 1111 class (Physics 1) started to use the OpenStax College Physics text, which I continued to use with the PHYS 1112 class (Physics 2) in Spring 2015. There were several reasons that I chose to adopt this text for my classes. Over the years, I had gotten frustrated when many of my students did not obtain a copy of the textbook for my classes for at least two, and often four or five, weeks into the semester because of the cost of the book and the time for their financial aid to process. Those textbooks often cost $200-$300, and the publishers issue a new edition every 2-3 years. However, OpenStax books offers a free PDF text for all students, or an interactive online text. Students can also choose to purchase a paper copy of the textbook for $50, if they prefer. Further, it was also useful to students and to me not to have to carry around a copy of a 1,500 page text, the length of the previous text I had used. The OpenStax textbook is a good text, incorporating Physics Education Research findings and links to labs, simulations, and practice problems. At the time that I adopted the text, there were 3 different companies that integrated this text with their online homework systems. This has now expanded to seven different homework systems, several of which link problems directly to the sections of the text a student might need if they are struggling. The order in which topics are presented is fairly standard, as is the Letters & Sciences Today

depth of coverage. There are also checkpoint questions in each chapter designed to test student understanding at well-known trouble points. I have continued to use the OpenStax text for a second year, in 201516. During the spring semester, my students were also pilot testing OpenStax’s new Concept Coach feature of the interactive web textbook. That feature was developing adaptive learning technologies in order to quiz students and improve their reading comprehension using spaced practice, retrieval practice and Dr. Kim Shaw with John Nicols, a math and secondary education major. feedback. 19

Department Highlights Biology Nineteen students and nine faculty members from the department were bused to the most recent meeting of the Association of Southeastern Biologists in Concord, NC, where they won a host of awards and honors, including: • Beta Beta Beta National Biological Honor Society, Mu Omicron Chapter – Most delegates at meeting • Michael Rohly – Elected District II president, BBB Mu Omicron Chapter • Rachael Pearson – Elected District II vice president, BBB Mu Omicron Chapter • Jacob Dirkman – 2nd place for talk, “Estrogen’s Effects on the Viability of Astrocyte Cells Exposed to Oxidative Stress” • Micah Staples – Honorable mention for poster, “Screening for Pathogenic Escherichia coli in the Chattahoochee River, The large contingent of students and faculty who Columbus, GA” attended the latest meeting of the Association of Southeastern Biologists. • Dr. Julie Ballenger, professor and chair of CSU’s biology department – named outstanding advisor of the year, elected vice president for Southeast Region, BBB, National Biological Honor Society

Chemistry Dr. Rajeev Dabke, Professor of Chemistry, and Blake Pritchett, chemistry major and intern in CSU’s Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship program, conducted several hands-on chemistry activities with a group of 32 students participating in CSU’s STEM Camp this summer. Students enjoyed preparing a colorful slime; this activity helped them understand the process of ‘polymerization’. Students also prepared a silver ornament, which helped them to understand the application of the oxidation-reduction process. In the ‘red cabbage juice’ activity, students identified a ‘mystery’ liquid using red cabbage juice as a colorful pH indicator. Students in CSU’s STEM Camp display the slime they prepared.

Criminal Justice and Sociology James Fielding is a 2016 May graduate with a B.S. in Criminal Justice. Here is his success story: “I started at CSU in Fall 2012. I competed with the rifle team until it was disbanded last year (3 years total), and I had the opportunity to be team captain for 2 years. My freshman year I placed 11th at the Junior Olympics. “Academically, I was a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, National Honor Society, Who’s Who Among Students in American Colleges and Universities, Phi Kappa Phi, the Order of Omega, Phi Alpha Delta and the Phi Alpha Delta Society of Scholars. In spring 2013, I joined Pi Kappa Alpha and have served as Scholarship Chairman. I was able to be a part of the group that got the actual charter to be a chapter (Mu Iota). “I was on the Peach Belt and Ohio Valley athletic conference honor rolls all 3 Recent criminal justice graduate, James Fielding. years our rifle team existed. Ohio Valley Conference also awarded an Academic Medal of Honor (for the individual with the highest GPA in his/her given sport), and I was honored to be awarded three of those. The biggest honor so far has been to receive the Thomas Keith Slay Memorial Scholarship in spring of 2015.  “I was accepted to Emory University Law School and will be starting there in August of this year.”


Letters & Sciences Today

Earth and Space Sciences Faculty News

The department has seen several big changes in faculty makeup over the past year: • Dr. William “Bill” Frazier, Chair and Professor of Geology, retired after 41 years at CSU (see article on page 13). • Dr. Roger Brown, who joined CSU in 2006, relocated with his wife to Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he now teaches Environmental Science at Santa Fe High School.

Faculty Awards

The department was awarded the Regents Teaching Excellence Award for a Department or Program at the 2016 CSU Honors Convocation Ceremony. Overall, ten ESS students and two faculty members were recognized at the ceremony, including: • Kenneth “Joel” Roop-Eckart, who received two university awards – the Phi Kappa Phi Senior Award and Academic Recognition Award. • Dr. Kimberly Shaw (pictured above right), who received the 2015 Georgia Professor of the Year Award from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education. • Dr. Clinton Barineau (pictured right), who received the 2016 CSU Faculty Research and Scholarship Award.

English Awards and Grants

Creative Writing major Leah Vahjen won Third Place in Poetry for the Southern Literary Festival Writing Contest. She also received a university SRACE grant to participate in a summer poetry workshop and complete a poetry chapbook for her Senior Thesis. Dr. Joe Miller (pictured right), Assistant Professor of English, received a Moody Research Grant to study at the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library. Dr. Shannon Godlove (pictured right), Assistant Professor of English, won the “Columbus State University Teaching Excellence Award” at the annual Scholastic Honors Convocation on April 22. She will be CSU’s nominee at the state level competition for the USG-Regents Teaching Excellence Award. For the next level of competition, Godlove must create a portfolio that includes a narrative statement from the department or program that addresses the criteria for the award (2-4 pages) and evidence showing student successes, such as graduation rates, student retention, job placement, acceptance to other schools, etc.

Alumni Success

Stefan Lawrence (pictured right), who earned his bachelor’s degree in English from CSU in 2009 and his master’s degree in 2012, was named the 2016 Teacher of the Year in the Muscogee County School District. For six years, Lawrence has taught English and Advanced Placement English at Carver High School. CSU graduate Jonathan Vogler (pictured right) had his first short film, “The YouTube Star that Helped Save a Football Club” (https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=9cxPqgyljKc), purchased by VICE media. Jonathan, who directed and produced the film, was a creative writing major at CSU and now works as a producer at Mandalay Sports Entertainment in Los Angeles. He says CSU’s creative writing courses gave him the skills needed for the real world.

Letters & Sciences Today


History & Geography Faculty Research

• Dr. Doug Tompson (pictured right), Associate Professor of History, and Dr. Ilaria Scaglia (pictured below right), Assistant Professor of History, visited Cuba in September 2015 to develop a study abroad spring break program. If approved, the program will commence in the spring of 2017. • Dr. Fred Gordon and Dr. Gary Sprayberry are conducting an oral history project for the River Valley Regional Commission. They are interviewing dozens of people who participated in the civil rights movement in southwest Georgia. The videotaped interviews will be transcribed and stored in the state and CSU archives. • Dr. Ilaria Scaglia received a Volkwagen-Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Humanities at Universities and Research Institutes in Germany. It will support her and her family for a year in Berlin while she works on her book manuscript, The Emotions of Internationalism: Feeling International Cooperation on the Mountains in the Interwar Period.

Student News

• The first three graduates from the M.A. in History program – Mark Sciuchetti, Doug Allen, and Rachael Cofield – are now working on Ph.D.s in Geography at Florida State University.

Mathematics Faculty News

The department welcomed temporary lecturer Ms. Liz McInnis and was very pleased that Mr. Randall Casleton, Mr. Hassan Hassani, and Dr. Nehal Shukla joined the Department of Mathematics after serving admirably in the Department of Basic Studies.

Student Success

Michael Rohly, Math Club president conducted research with Dr. Guihong Fan that led to getting selected for a summer research experience with the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis.

Community Collaborations

The department serves the community by organizing math contests and providing development opportunities for teachers in the region. These three projects are supported by nearly $150,000 in state grants awarded through the Improving Teacher Quality Program: • Dr. Houbin Fang organized the CSU Invitational Mathematics Tournament with the help of other faculty, hosting 146 area high school students in March. • Dr. Ben Kamau planned the department’s April 29 Calculus Contest, with cash prizes for top high school and college participants. • Dr. Houbin Fang, Dr. Tim Howard, and Dr. Brian Muse each cooperated with the Columbus Regional Mathematics Collaborative and the CSU Department of Teacher Education to provide professional development for grades K-12 math teachers at high schools in the area.

Modern and Classical Languages Study Abroad Programs

• The CSU in Mexico program, directed by Dr. Alyce Cook, Associate Professor of Spanish, will be taking students for the summer semester to Cuernavaca, Mexico. This total immersion program broadens linguistic and cultural competencies by enhancing students’ understanding of the Spanish language within the Mexican culture. Dr. Cook has offered this summer program in Mexico for almost 20 years. • Dr. Bobby Nixon, Assistant Professor of Spanish, will again be leading the CSU contingent on the European Council’s Study Abroad to Madrid, Spain. Dr. Nixon, along with other USG professors, will be teaching courses related to Spanish language, culture, and history. Students live and take classes at the Colegio Mayor de Padre Poveda.


Letters & Sciences Today

Community Outreach

• The department hosted a city-wide Foreign Language Fair on Friday, March 3, and Saturday, March 4 in the CSU Davidson Center. Middle and High School students from several local Columbus schools showcased their abilities in Spanish, French, and Japanese through participation in talent categories such as Poetry, Music, Art, and Gastronomy as well as by testing their knowledge of world geography and language specific vocabulary.  • Since mentors can help students succeed, the MCL department and Hardaway High School’s International Baccalaureate program are partnering to provide college student mentors for high school students. Each college student will be matched with a pair of high school students and the mentors will spend one year helping the students meet their IB requirements. In addition, the Spanish program and Camino al éxito, a Big Brothers/Big Sisters program have partnered once again this year to provide college student mentors to Spanish-speaking children in the Columbus community.

Language Learning Center

The department’s language learning center, now fully installed in its new home in Howard Hall 107, was recently renamed the Jacqueline Konan Language Learning Center (JKLLC) in honor of retired chair, Professor Jackie Konan, who served as first chair of the MCL department. The JKLLC is equipped with computers, microphones and headphones, and a printer for student use. The MCL department’s language classes use the facility daily to practice their respective languages using a variety of language learning software, among other applications.

New Curriculum

Professor Jacqueline Konan, retired, after whom the Language Learning Center is now named.

Beginning in fall 2016, the department will offer a certificate program in Translation and Interpreting to meet the needs of students who seek careers outside of the areas of education. The certificate program requires 24 hours of language study in the Spanish/English pairing and also includes two capstone courses that will delve into the theory and practice of translating and interpreting for a variety of purposes.

Politics, Philosophy, and Public Administration The department has hired three new faculty to start Fall 2016: • Nathan Combes, Ph.D., University of California San Diego. • Daewoo Lee, Ph.D., University of Indiana. • Jacob Holt, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin Lacrosse.

Psychology • Professor Harvey Richman (pictured right) retired in spring 2016 after 19 years at CSU. He taught several courses covering various aspects of psychology, including personality theory, abnormal psychology, and psychological tests and measures. He regularly mentored student research and independent studies. Dr. Richman was named CSU Educator of the Year in 2001 and received the CSU Psychology Club’s “Professor of the Year” award in 2004. He was selected as the College of Letters & Sciences Faculty Teaching Fellow in 2014. Dr. Richman regularly published and presented his research on personality, disorders of personality, student academic behavior and performance, and aspects of pedagogy in higher education. • Dr. Mark Schmidt (pictured right), Professor and Chair, completed a study in Fall 2015 investigating the electrical activity of the brain when people estimate how many objects they see. This research utilized EEG hardware and software purchased with CSU university grants. Students in the CSU Honors College served as participants and got to experience how a brain psychophysiology experiment is conducted. The research was presented at the April 2016 meeting of the Cognitive Neuroscience Society in NY. • Dr. Stephanie da Silva (pictured right), Associate Professor, has collaborated with PAWS Columbus on its volunteer dog training program which addresses problems with dogs being stressed due to variation in volunteer behavior (e.g., incorrectly approaching dogs, incorrectly walking dogs, and reinforcing problem behaviors such as jumping and barking). Psychology students worked with the PAWS dog trainer in fall 2015 on the schedule, regulations, and training needed to create knowledgeable volunteers. It is now a fully funded and supported program at PAWS and will help numerous volunteers and dogs. Letters & Sciences Today


4225 University Avenue, Columbus, GA 31907

Non-Profit Organization U.S. Postage Paid Permit No. 10 Columbus, Georgia

New Hybrid Associate’s Degree Offered at Fort Benning Beginning Fall 2016, CSU is offering a hybrid associate’s degree, specifically targeting active duty soldiers. The Associate’s Degree in Applied Science in Criminal Justice features shorter, 7.5-week courses instead of the usual 15week courses. For select courses, this shortened time is possible because the seat time that is normally required is reduced 50% by putting half of the class online (“hybrid”). Thus, some courses will require 50% less face-to-face time and can be completed twice as fast. The shortened course time affects both the criminal justice courses offered, as well as the general curriculum (core) courses that students must take to complete the degree. In the semester rotation of courses, there is no sequencing and no prerequisites (except for English Composition II), thereby allowing students to enter at any point in the rotation. The criminal justice courses will be taught around noontime on Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday so that soldiers can participate in “lunch time learning.” To maximize student-teacher ratio, class size is limited to 20 students, and active duty personnel will receive one promotion point per hour taken. The core courses will be taught at Fort Benning at various times – noontime, evening, or weekends – on the same 7.5-week schedule. The soldier who wants to complete this associate’s degree in two years would enroll in two or three courses per 7.5-week session or about five courses per semester. Such offerings should be particularly attractive to soldiers who are sometimes “in the field” and whose schedules frequently change. While non-commissioned officers are the targeted participants for this degree, others such as veterans and dependents may enroll as well. Bridget Downs, the Internship Coordinator for COLS and Lecturer for the Department of Criminal Justice and Sociology, is helping to design this program and tested the 7.5-week course design in Spring 2016 by teaching two criminal justice courses at Fort Benning. She says, “It is such an honor teaching at Fort Benning, educating our nation’s heroes. The knowledge I am helping them achieve to advance their careers and preparing them for life after the military is truly a humbling experience.”

Profile for Columbus State University

Letters & Sciences Today - Summer 2016  

Columbus State University's College of Letters and Sciences newsletter spotlights the achievements of students, faculty and alumni. Highligh...

Letters & Sciences Today - Summer 2016  

Columbus State University's College of Letters and Sciences newsletter spotlights the achievements of students, faculty and alumni. Highligh...


Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded