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Letters & Sciences

Students Experience Southern Spain in New LanguageImmersion Program (page 8)

College of Letters and Sciences Highlights Vol. 10 - Fall/Winter 2017

Dean’s Lecture Series Launched (page 2) The Impact of Your Philanthropy (page 4) New Scanning Electron Microscope To Create Research Opportunities (back cover))

Also in this Issue Alumni Awards Recipients – 3 | Donor Honor Roll – 6 | Faculty Spotlights – 8 Internships – 14 | Student Spotlight – 16 | Faculty Publications – 17 | New Faculty – 18

Dean’s Welcome This printing marks the 10th issue of Letters and Sciences Today. It is appropriate that this special issue spotlights philanthropy and includes the testimonies of several students attesting to the compassionate impact donors have made in their Dr. Dennis Rome, COLS Dean. lives. A recent study by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences maintains that our society, more now than ever, must focus on the quality of education because college-educated Americans enjoy a higher quality of life than their high school-educated peers. Furthermore, this study argues that the public must continue to invest in higher education because an investment in students will yield advances such as greater intercultural understanding and increased civic participation, leading to a stronger democracy and more rewarding lives for graduates. Also featured in this issue is a description of the newly created Dean’s Lecture Series. The lecture series provides students with the opportunity to hear firsthand some of the career paths available to them and decisions they should make to ensure their professional success. If you are interested in becoming one of our speakers, please contact Jill Carroll, COLS Development Director, at 706-565-7574 or email her at Carroll_Jill@ As I read through this 10th issue, I am reminded how fortunate I am to serve as Dean of Columbus State University’s premier college. I wish you and yours a very happy holiday season and a great New Year!

Dean’s Lecture Series Launched The COLS Dean’s Office recently hosted two alumni in September for the new Dean’s Lecture Series.

Art Smith discussed his pathway to being a judge.

Judge Art Smith (B.S. Community Planning & Development ’76), a member of the COLS Leadership Council, addressed faculty, staff, and students about his pathway to judgeship. He is a Superior Court Judge for the Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit (a 6-county district). He attended Samford University Cumberland School of Law (J.D.) and University of Alabama (LLM – Master of Laws). Judge Smith has over 30 years of legal experience, including eight years as a United States Navy Reserve Judge Advocate General and 23 years in Aflac’s Legal Division.

Bruce Baldwin (B.S. Criminal Justice ’79) shared insights from his career, including two years with the Albany Police Department, four years at NCIS (Naval Criminal Investigative Service), 23 years in various positions with the Drug Enforcement Administration, and as owner/ president of Baldwin Consulting Services since 2008. His company specializes in complex sensitive Bruce Baldwin gave a talk about his career. inquires, background investigations, litigation support, employment related investigations, and investigative due diligence. Through the lecture series, students hear firsthand about career paths available to them and ways to maximize their potential success.

Letters & Sciences Today Editor/Writer - Barbara Hunt Circulation Coordinator - Jill Carroll College of Letters and Sciences, LeNoir Hall Design & Layout - MidMedia LLC


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College-Wide News COLS Graduates Honored by CSU Alumni Association Two College of Letters and Sciences graduates were recognized at the annual Alumni Awards Recognition Luncheon hosted by CSU’s Alumni Association during homecoming in October.

Boosting Enrollments in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics By Dr. Tim Howard, Associate Dean of COLS

Two COLS alumni were honored recently at the annual Alumni Recognition Awards luncheon – Judge Bobby Peters (left) and Chief Joel Baker.

Joel Baker (M.P.A. Justice Administration ’09) received the Distinguished Alumnus in Military/Public Service Award, which recognizes CSU alumni who are active duty, veterans or in public service who have brought distinction in their area of service to our country and in turn bring distinction to CSU. Chief Baker was appointed Fire Chief of the City of Atlanta in 2015. He oversees 36 fire stations within Atlanta and he is commander of 1,110 firefighters and civilians. Bobby Peters (B.S. Criminal Justice ’74 & M.Ed. ’76) received the Excellence in Alumni Achievement Award, which honors prominent alumni with records of exceptional career or personal achievement. Judge Peters serves as a Superior Court Judge in Columbus, GA. After twelve years as a city councilor, he served as Mayor of Columbus in 1994 and was re-elected to a second term in 1998. He is a former Deputy Sheriff, college instructor, Director of Regional Police Academy, and an attorney.

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Interest in majors in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) could be about to grow in Georgia thanks to a new law that took effect in the 2017-2018 academic year. On May 3, 2016, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal signed Georgia House Bill 801 into law, granting an extra half point to B, C, or D grades assigned in certain STEM courses approved by the University System of Georgia when computing the HOPE Grade Point Average. The law aims to counteract recent observations that meritbased scholarship systems, Associate Dean of COLS, Dr. Tim Howard. such as Georgia’s HOPE Scholarship, tend to depress interest in college majors that students perceive to be more difficult. In “The effect of Georgia’s HOPE scholarship on college major: a focus on STEM,” published August 2015 in the IZA Journal of Labor Economics, Georgia State University’s David L. Sjoquist and coauthor John V. Winters of Oklahoma State University find that the HOPE Scholarship reduces the likelihood that students will earn STEM degrees. The new law aims to counter that effect and keep students in STEM majors.


The Impact of Your Philanthropy – Student & Donor Testimonies COLS Summer Retention Scholarships Donations to the college from alumni and friends have funded a new scholarship initiative – the College of Letters and Sciences Summer Retention Scholarship. This $1,000 needs-based scholarship is awarded to juniors and seniors with a GPA between 2.5 and 2.99 (and are therefore ineligible for the HOPE Scholarship) who enroll in at least one summer class. This funding enables students to complete their degrees in a timely manner, as many of them are derailed during their studies due to limited finances, work commitments, or caregiving responsibilities.

Here are some of the exciting impacts of this initiative: • Since 2015, we have awarded 16 scholarships to students from all three discipline areas of the college – sciences, social sciences, and humanities. • In 2015, five students received scholarships. All of them have since graduated and four finished with a GPA above 3.0! • In 2016, we awarded scholarships to six students. One has already graduated and three have a GPA above 3.0. • This year, five scholarships were awarded and the GPAs of three recipients increased from spring to fall semester. Each year, the GPAs of our awardees often increase in the semester following their scholarship award.

Hear from some of our recipients in their own words… The summer retention scholarship was very beneficial for me. The scholarship not only helped me financially, but it also helped me to graduate within my desired time. I will always be grateful for how the scholarship helped me with my academic success, and hope that it could do the same for many other students. - Chloe Austin (B.S. Psych ’18) This scholarship helped with my success as a student because it has given me the chance to take summer classes. Being able to afford a summer class, even just one, has been able to keep me from staying further behind with my credits. I was able to knock down 3 more credit hours, which puts me closer to being able to graduate and I am truly grateful. - Deandra James (B.S. Psych ’18)


The summer retention scholarship was beneficial because it allowed me to study abroad in South Korea. This expedited my graduation process by allowing me to complete both my Linguistics minor and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) certificate. - Jermaine Tucker (B.A. EnglishProfessional Writing ’18) (second from left in photo on right)

Jermaine Tucker (center front) visited the historic South Korean city of Gyeongeu as part of Chonnam National University International Summer Session Korean cultural immersion experience during summer 2017.

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Susan M. Cochran Memorial Scholarship for Faulkner Studies Created in memory of Columbus resident Susan M. Cochran and her dedication to studies of the great American author William Faulkner, the Cochran Scholarship provides funding for high-achieving students majoring in English at Columbus State University to pursue their education in literary studies. The award includes a travel grant to attend the University of Mississippi’s annual Faulkner and Vivian Duncan, Yoknapatawpha Conference in Cochran Scholarship recipient. Oxford, MS. When approached about the Cochran Scholarship, I was incredibly excited and more than willing to apply for a scholarship that would not only supply me with muchneeded funds for college, but further education and a unique experience. I hope to gain a better appreciation of Faulkner and the genre that I have not explored as much as I have others. I greatly enjoy the pursuit of knowledge and I believe this study and conference will round out my diverse interests in literature, and it was also the last bit of funding I needed in order to not have to take out an additional personal loan! - Vivian Duncan (B.A. English - Professional Writing ’21)

William C. and Jane LeNoir Scholarship for Life Sciences The LeNoir Scholarship supports full-time juniors and seniors majoring in biology at CSU who have a financial need and a minimum GPA of 3.0. The endowment memorializes Dr. Bill LeNoir’s commitment to, and passion for, life sciences. Finances have been the main challenge in completing my education. After starting college, I worked more than 60 hours a week to afford tuition. I suffered from this heavy workload, leading to a low GPA and me dropping out of school in 2011. Upon returning in 2013, I took on substantial loans in order to focus on my studies. Since then, I have maintained a high GPA in rigorous science and mathematics courses, and I am making excellent progress toward completing degrees in biology and mathematics. Receiving this scholarship has enabled me to focus on my courses and be engaged in campus life and career preparation activities, including serving as president of Tri-Beta Biology Honor Society and Math Society, and doing summer research at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute and Johns Hopkins University. - Michael Rohly (B.S. Bio Pre-Med/Math ’18) Michael Rohly, LeNoir Scholarship recipient.

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The New Lab Science Facilities Construction of the new laboratory science building and renovation of the existing LeNoir Hall on CSU’s main campus is underway and expected to be completed by late fall 2018. The new and revamped facilities will provide additional lab space for the departments of Biology, Chemistry, and Earth & Space Sciences. These facilities also provide naming opportunities for the teaching labs, research spaces, and student work areas. Dr. Leonard J. Moore (B.S. Bio ‘07) recently made a $15,000 pledge to support the new facilities. He is the first COLS alum to contribute to this project. His contribution will assist us in providing much-needed space in LeNoir Hall for student research, study, and other work, which will better serve growing numbers of undergraduate students in the sciences. This space will be recognized as The Dr. Leonard J. Moore Student Engagement Area. Dr. Moore specializes in internal medicine in the Los Angeles area. He graduated with honors from Morehouse School of Medicine with his medical degree in 2011 and completed his primary care internal medicine residency at Yale-New Haven Hospital. He recently completed his Masters of Science in Health Policy and Management at University of California, Los Angeles. I chose to make a campaign pledge to support a student engagement area because I wanted students to have a place to study that was named after someone who was once in their exact same shoes. I am a first generation physician, so there was not a path to success in medicine laid out before me - I had to create my own path. My time at CSU, including the friendships formed with other students and mentorship from key faculty, helped build the foundation on which I was able to successfully complete medical school and reach my professional goals. I want other students to know that if I made it, they can too and to leave a legacy upon which other College of Letters and Sciences alumni will support rooms, buildings, and endowed chairs toward the advancement of student achievement for years to come. - Leo Moore (B.S. Bio ‘07, MD, MSHPM)

To celebrate our supporters, COLS will host a Donor Appreciation Luncheon in the spring that will provide the opportunity to meet our scholarship recipients and hear their testimonies in person. 5

Donor Honor Roll Donors to the College of Letters and Sciences (August 1, 2016 – July 31, 2017) The College of Letters and Sciences gratefully acknowledges those donors who have contributed to the various departments and facilities of the college. These gifts enable us to support our students through scholarships and provide one-of-a-kind programs. 1958 SOCIETY Cornerstone Partners Jennifer Foster Mrs. Richard R. Hallock D. L. and Sara Jordan University Partners Mrs. Jane LeNoir Mary W. Schley Diamond Circle Georgia Power Foundation Platinum Circle Harriette and Bob Buchanan E. David Hart, Jr. Pratt & Whitney/United Tech. Swift-Illges Foundation TOWER SOCIETY Gold Circle Muscogee County Friends of Libraries, Inc. Silver Circle Jimmy & Kitty McKinstry Bronze Circle Mark G. Holladay Mollie May Joan R. Mertens Marc Olivié and Marleen De Bode-Olivié John R. and Claudia Calvin Stephenson Dr. Glenn D. Stokes Copper Circle Raj Alappan Dr. Elizabeth A. Bernhard Kevin B. Boykin Cott Beverages Inc. Tom and Sam Gates Geotechnical & Environmental Consultants, Inc. Dr. and Mrs. P. Thomas Hackett, Jr. Robert A. and Melanie D. Houston Mr. & Mrs. Don Jones Dr. and Mrs. Ashok Kumar Craig Lloyd Estate of Mary E. Mercer Leonard J. Moore Dennis Rome Carole L. Rutland Dicky and Kay Saunders


Jack S. Schiffman, Jr. Brian W. Schwartz Arthur L. and Sue M. Smith Susan and George Stanton Prem and Neelam Virmani Cecil and Terry Whitaker PARTNERS SOCIETY Gateway Club James H. Alexander, Jr. Gary and Kathy Allen Julie Ballenger Brick Road Poetry Press Flint Energies EMC Steve Harrison Timothy G. Howard Ms. Kathryn Lenoir and Mr. Ted Woleslagle The Real Deal Dill Pickles Avery and Luke Wolff Dr. and Mrs. Bill Yoe Anniversary Club Mr. and Mrs. Scott Allen Sam and Victoria Andras Bruce E. Baldwin Dr. Richard B. Best Jerry Black Donald M. Bush Mr. and Mrs. Phillip Clark, Sr. Flora M. Clark Deborah Gober James E. Griffin Kerry W. Hand Janice and Mike Hudson Floyd Jackson Milton and Jeanette Jones Nancy M. Moore Manda Rees Randy Ritchey Mark Schmidt Gary S. Sprayberry Michael Starr Dr. Thomas A. and Sherry F. Wade Century Club Bennett and Patricia Adams Mae E. Allen Anonymous India S. and James Aycock Mr. and Mrs. Michael P. Bailey Sharon K. Barkman David and Karen Batson

Sheila A. Baylis Mr. Michael J. Bonaker Wiley Boutwell Sarah Bowman Margaret Buchanan Ronnie and Carolyn Caldwell Randall J. Casleton Patty Bass Chappel Adonna S. W. and Art Clark Andrew Clark Phillip B., Jr. and Karen M. Clark Dr. J. Alyce Cook Kizzy M. Dennard Mr. and Mrs. Paul W. Ezell, Jr. Tim Farris Deborah Ford Evan Griner Judy and Tom Hanley David & Debbie Hendrix Terry S. Holland Kathleen S. Hughes Kay M Jenkins Kenneth Jones Keep Monroe County Beautiful Dr. and Mrs. Troy Keller Raymond R. and Jennifer A. King Leigh Lamb and Marion Earl Alexander John & Kayron Laska Cynthia A. Laughlin Loudon United Methodist Church Jonathan McCollough Elmer and Dorothea Miller Billy and Meghan Mixon Louise H. O’Kelley James and Frances Parker Merryll S. Penson Mike and Geri Regnier Eliot F. Rendleman Cindy and Dan Ross Clifton and Christy Ruehl David Rush Richard Sawinski Spence and Susan Sealy Dr. Abiye Seifu Kimberly A. Shaw Latasha Warner Warren and Marilyn Williams Ralph and Dorothy Wilson Half Century Club Newton and Phyllis Aaron Amanda N. Adams

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Donor Honor Roll Janet H. Anderson Robert R. Baker Russell A. Baker III William E. Blankenship Dr. Alice Budge and Mr. John Greenman Jill and Wesley Carroll Jerry and Joyce Chandler Emma Curtis Dr. Baiqiao Deng Sharon Bittorie Dooley Nathaniel Dunlap, Jr. Dr. Gwen Gibson Jack Goble Frederick D. Gordon Robbin M. and Gregory Grantham Gregory A. and Mary Kay Green CDR Mary T. Hall (Ret.) Jim and Michelle Holtzclaw James and Karen Jorgensen Judith K. Livingston Loudon High School Class of 1960 Lynn Haven Wildlife Garden Club Betty Moore Jimmy and Barbara Motos Mr. and Mrs. Joseph D. Mourfield, Sr. Dr. Nick Norwood Carl Offutt Lenny and Susie Rheault Georgina Rogers David L. Roper and Jane Cofer

Steven Gill and Ilaria Scaglia Butler and Jane Shaffer Nancy Lee Sorrell Don L. Stenson Maryanne Tremaine Marjorie Waldrop Donor Emma J. Anekwe Vivian J. Bonamy Nancy Booth Jason and Dena Briscoe James and Marguerite Bussey Annie Carey Randy Carpenter Nathan Combes Joy N. Davis Taryn Diskin Annette J. Evans Alan K. Everidge Tyler D. Fleming Kimberly Foster Mary Garcia-Bowie Tan C. Hoang Bryan L. Holloman Jodie B. and Jason Hood Brad and Toni Huff Dr. Barbara J. Hunt Theresa Jackson

Janet T. Jamieson Angela Johnson Karen B. Kinard Charles M. Lee Patrick F. Luck Michael C. and Elizabeth R. McFalls Dana L. McGlon Jonathan Meyers Janet Nell Patricia Opperman Margery Planzo Denise Ramsey Dr. and Mrs. Hugh I. Rodgers James Scheck Kristine B. Scott Carrie Sharitt Robert T. Swygert Natalia Temesgen Milton and Elizabeth Thomas Kimberly D. Tucker Richard M. Tucker Marty Upshaw Joyce Wade William P. & Joyce Walsh Walter Wiesmantel Burley and Deborah Wright Jerrel and Laura Yates Mary Anne Youmans Jeffrey and Kimberly Zuiderveen

Giving Levels and Societies 1958 SOCIETY Cornerstone Partners ($50,000 + ) University Partners ($25,000 - $49,999) Leadership Circle ($20,000 - $24,999) Diamond Circle ($15,000 - $19,999) Platinum Circle ($10,000 - $14,999)

TOWER SOCIETY Gold Circle ($7,500 - $9,999) Silver Circle ($5,000 - $7,499) Bronze Circle ($2,500 - $4,999) Copper Circle ($1,000 - $2,499)

PARTNERS SOCIETY Gateway Club ($500 - $999) Anniversary Club ($250 -$499) Century Club ($100 - $249) Half Century Club ($50 - $99) Donor (Below $50)

Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this list; however, it is possible that errors have been made. If so, please accept our sincere apologies and call them to the attention of the College of Letters and Sciences Development Office, 706-565-7874.

Do You Know What Your Donations Have Supported? With the help of our alumni and friends, the College of Letters and Sciences has been able to provide 16 summer scholarships and other significant opportunities for our students! By giving back to CSU, you make a meaningful impact on students’ lives. Tax-deductible contributions to our scholarship funds or other programs can be made online at For more information about our programs and initiatives, please contact Jill Carroll, Development Director: 706-565-7874;

Letters & Sciences Today


Faculty Spotlight – Broadening Students’ Horizons Study Abroad in Southern Spain: Dr. Bobby Nixon takes CSU Students on a “Trip of a Lifetime” By Arianna Marealle Dr. Bobby Nixon, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages, led a group of students on a language-immersion program in Seville, Spain, this year. He is the Study Abroad Program Director for the summer 2017 and 2018 trips to southern Spain that take place from May 31 to July 1. Dr. Nixon’s inspiration to lead a study abroad program to Spain began when he was a university student in the city of Granada, where he had the opportunity to live with a family for over a month. There, he took intensive Spanish language classes through a similar study abroad program. “It was certainly an experience that changed my life,” says Nixon, who earned his PhD in Spanish Philology at the University of Seville. “Upon returning, I could communicate so much more easily in Spanish, and after having spent the time abroad, I gained a much broader understanding of the world around me. This led to personal growth, as well. Seville has always seemed to be an ideal place to lead a study abroad program.” In addition to the excellent opportunity to gain firsthand knowledge of the Spanish language, Dr. Nixon also explains southern Spain’s incredibly rich cultural past and present. “Many groups such as the Tartessians, Phoenicians, Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans, and Visigoths have left their mark on this area, and Muslims, Jews, and Christians coexisted under a policy of tolerance for nearly 800 years before the conquest of Granada by Ferdinand and Isabella in 1492.” According to Dr. Nixon, Seville is the fourth largest city in Spain, but it feels small because the city is compact and pedestrian friendly. Seville is also rich in architectural history, as the historic city center is one of the world’s largest, and many of the buildings and palaces were


built during the peak of Spanish wealth in the 16th century. Southern Spain, or “Andalucía,” is home to many other ancient cities such as Cordoba, Cadiz, Huelva, Malaga, and Almeria. Compared to other parts of Western Europe, life in the south of Spain is far more affordable. This allows CSU to offer students many opportunities at a great value. In Seville, students receive a genuinely Spanish experience. “While the larger cities of Spain are quite international and English is frequently heard, in Seville it is necessary to use all of your Spanish skills,” Nixon explains. “This is greatly beneficial to students and promotes greater language acquisition and fluency.”

During their stay in the city, students are able to take 9 credit hours of Spanish courses in both lower-level and intermediate language classes as well as upper-level Spanish peninsular courses. Students receive credit based on contact hours from pre-departure meetings, as well as cultural excursions and class meetings while abroad. The city also offers various exciting opportunities to explore sites such as the world’s largest Gothic cathedral, the 14th century Alca´zar de Seville (as seen in HBO’s Game of Thrones), and the Plaza de España. In addition, students attend workshops at the Foundation of the Three Cultures and the Museum of Flamenco Dance.

Performer at the Museum of Flamenco Dance in Seville. (Photo by Alice Méndez.)

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Soccer Stadium in Seville. (Photo by Alice Méndez.)

Students visited various cities within Spain, such as the Roman cities of Italica and Carmona, as well as Granada, Cordoba, and Madrid. There, they explored and learned about each city’s unique history. During their free time, students organized independent trips to nearby beaches in Cadiz and Malaga, and a few students crossed the Mediterranean and traveled to Morocco.

my academic curriculum in an immersive way,” she remembers. “My time in Seville also inspired me to share my experiences abroad as a Global Ambassador for Columbus State in order to promote study abroad programs and to engage my fellow students in conversations about studying internationally.” Dr. Joelle Bonamy, Chair for the Department of Modern and Classical

Languages, describes study abroad as an integral component of learning a second language. “Our students study from professors who teach in Spanish universities; tour important historic and cultural sites; and simply develop a daily routine that allows them to live as any other Spanish university student who attends classes, studies, prepares assignments, socializes, etc.” The study abroad course to southern Spain offers many opportunities for students to receive a hands-on approach to learning about Spanish language and culture. It is a comprehensive, yet fully immersive program coordinated by Dr. Nixon in which students can explore and experience the wonders of Spain while also gaining personal growth and a global perspective. As Seifu states, “In less than 5 weeks I learned more about myself and the world around me than I would have ever imagined. ‘A veces tienes que viajar lejos para acercarte más a ti mismo.’ Which translates to: ‘Sometimes you have to travel far to get much closer to yourself.’”

Leah Seifu, Jasmine Navarro, and Madison Chen posing on the bridge over the Guadalquivir River in Seville, Spain. (Photo by Alice Méndez.)

The study abroad course to southern Spain will continue in a very similar way for Maymester 2018. “We are really excited to be working with CLIC (International House Seville) for the first time,” says Nixon. CLIC is centrally located within walking distance to all host families and just blocks away from the Cathedral and the main shopping district of Calle Tetuan in the middle of the historic district. Two students have shared their experiences studying abroad in Spain. Leah Seifu calls it “the trip of a lifetime” where she met “the most generous and loving people, one being my house mother, Carmen, with whom I still talk to this day.” According to Alice Méndez, “It gave me the opportunity to complete

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Taken at Seville’s Renaissance palace known as the Casa de Pilatos, photo shows CSU’s study abroad group to Southern Spain: (left to right) Joshua Checa, Dr. Nixon, Davis Taylor, Amanda Murdock, Jasmine Navarro, Alice Méndez, Daniela Martínez Rodríguez, Naomi Brito, Madison Chen, Charlie Elliott, Kendra Wilson, Leah Seifu, and Ying Xu.  


Faculty Spotlight – Service to Campus and the Community Dr. Brandt Smith: A Man on a Mission It’s been said that “The purpose of life is a life of purpose” (Robert Byrne). Dr. Brandt Smith, Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology, has found his purpose – he wants “everything to work right,” whether that be something related to veterans or to his teaching and research interests. Dr. Smith is passionate about many subjects, but especially veterans. He is particularly interested in studying and working with veterans in their transition to civilian society, which includes advocating for them in navigating the criminal justice system, helping them receive the financial and educational benefits they deserve, and raising awareness about the nature of PostTraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). A veteran of the Air Force, Dr. Smith has quickly become invaluable to CSU and the region. As a faculty affiliate for the CSU chapter of Student Veterans of America, he can cut the red tape for students who have had difficulty getting problems solved. For example, he recently assisted a student veteran in getting back pay from the Department of Veterans Affairs. The student had been trying to get a response for over a year; Dr. Smith managed to get the problem fixed in about a week. In addition, working with Ms. Susan Lovell of the Military Enrollment Center, he wrote a grant and received funding of $2,500 to start a Green Zone program on campus. Green Zone training is for faculty and staff who want to learn what issues military-affiliated students face and where to send them for assistance. Trained individuals would be able to lend a sympathetic ear and direct them to appropriate resources. Such a program will be especially valuable to CSU since 14-15% of the student body is military affiliated (veterans, family members of current or former military members, current service members, etc.). A positivist, Dr. Smith always assumes he will get a grant; in this case, he was notified in late October that he did. If he hadn’t, he would have viewed the denial as just a “speed bump” and would have applied


Brandt Smith in his office in Arnold Hall.

again. Confidence like that is often selffulfilling. For example, he is confident that Columbus will soon get a Veterans Clinic, and, with him as an advocate, it probably will. As Senior Vice Commander, Post #35 American Legion, Dr. Smith also extends his expertise to aiding veterans’ affairs in the community. His post recently hosted a prostate cancer screening which identified two men who were at risk and helped them catch the disease in its early stages. The American Legion is the primary veterans’ organization in the United States with 2.2 million members. Post #35 is one of three posts in the Columbus area.

Dr. Smith is establishing an American Legion Ham Radio Club on post to work with state Emergency Medical Assistance (EMA) for disaster preparedness and relief. If electricity and cell phones fail, another way to communicate is for amateur radio operators to use a radio frequency spectrum designated for noncommercial purposes. In addition, with Dr. Smith’s help, his post raised approximately $1,000 for the Children’s Miracle Network by hosting a Karaoke Gong Show. With this fundraiser, people pay money to make a singer stop singing! So, if a singer pays (donates) $20 to sing, audience members need to pay twice as much ($40) to make the singer stop. According to Dr. Smith, people lined up to get him to stop singing! As Senior Vice Commander, he wants to facilitate post renewal and growth and to use his grant writing skills to access funds to support the causes of veterans in the Chattahoochee Valley, a goal he also fulfills in his position as Vice Chair of the Chattahoochee Valley Veterans’ Council. When asked how often he is involved avocationally with issues related to veterans, he responded “3-5 times a week—sometimes at home, other times at the [American Legion] post itself, still other times in my office—it depends on what is happening.” Dr. Smith’s interest in veterans also intersects with his role as Assistant

The Missing Man Table at Post #35, American Legion.

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Medals of Tech Sgt William D. Jenkins from the Battle of the Bulge (WWII) on display at Post #35, American Legion.

Professor of Psychology, for one of his primary areas of research is PTSD in veterans, especially as it relates to the criminal justice system. Dr. Smith, who earned both his master’s and doctoral degrees at University of Texas at El Paso, published an article in 2016 on how jurors prefer to mete out “curative alternative verdicts” for veterans with PTSD. Columbus is one of 300 communities in the country that offers a special “treatment court” for veterans who commit certain crimes. The court is run like a drug treatment court where targeted actions are mandated (counseling, medication, community service, etc.) in lieu of jail time. So what is PTSD? In highly stressful situations, the body floods the brain with stress chemicals (hormones) that literally change the physical makeup in the brain, thus changing how people behave. Approximately 12% of people in such situations (war, for example) develop long-term problems as a result of PTSD. Rather than seek out treatment, some veterans self-medicate their symptoms with alcohol and drugs. PTSD is not a

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sign of weakness but a natural response to fear-inducing events. He explains the nature of PTSD in an interview on YouTube entitled “Raven Talk Episode 56: PTSD Awareness with Dr. Brandt Smith.” Another research interest is how religious priming (whether through imagery, discussion, scripture, etc.) affects decision-making. His research indicates that primed individuals are more likely to be involved in risky group behavior (do what they would not as individuals want to do). Religion can cause, in effect, a kind of group mentality that allows people to rationalize what they would otherwise view as unethical. A recent example would be jihadism in Islam, or the violence perpetrated by anti-abortion protesters in years past. In 2014 and 2015, he published two journal articles on this subject. A third research interest involved creating a new term for a personality type (Need For Drama or NFD), as well as developing and testing a scale to measure it. His article on this compound maladaptive personality

trait—whereby “people impulsively manipulate others from a position of perceived victimhood”—concludes that men and women are equally likely to display this condition. The presence of NFDs in an organization can be disastrous since such people can create “counterproductive workplace behaviors” and negatively affect all those who get sucked into their vortex of chaos. While he teaches a variety of courses in psychology, four rank at the top of his list of favorites: Research Methods, Social Psychology, Evolutionary Psychology, and Meta-analysis. He would like to see CSU add a master’s program in psychology. Dr. Smith is an experimental psychologist who believes that all science should ultimately serve humanity. As a scientist, he approaches problems/issues with this philosophy: how do we best address this so everything works right for everybody? No doubt, such a “can do” attitude will take him far in work and in life.


Faculty Spotlight – Maximizing Student Research Opportunities

Effects of the Great American Total Solar Eclipse It may only be Dr. William (Scott) Gunter’s second year at CSU, but he is already a grant recipient and key researcher for the National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). In preparing for the total solar eclipse on August 21, five teams from CSU’s CocaCola Space Science Center 2017 Total Solar Eclipse. By NASA/ Aubrey Gemignani [Public domain], via (CCSSC) and the DepartWikimedia Commons. ment of Earth and Space Sciences (ESS) fanned out across the country to observe it. Dr. Gunter, Assistant Professor of Atmospheric Science in the ESS Department, took seven students and three staff members of the CCSSC to Nebraska to collect meteorological data. Other CSU researchers went to Wyoming, Missouri and South Carolina. Dr. Gunter’s project, dubbed ARTSE (Atmospheric Response to a Total Solar Eclipse), measured how different atmospheric variables—including temperature, humidity, turbulence (gustiness of the wind), and atmospheric gas concentrations (such as that of carbon dioxide and water vapor)— change with the temporary blocking of the sun. Dr. Gunter’s group collected measurements at two locations in Nebraska—Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer at Grand Island (in south central Nebraska) and in a cow pasture in northern Nebraska. Having two locations turned out to be fortunate since Grand Island experienced some cloud cover

Dr. Gunter in his office.


CSU Earth and Space Sciences students Care Bacon and Sydney Barker learned about the electronics of the weather station while helping Larry Kennedy and John Militzer from the National Center for Atmospheric Research to install it at the Stuhr Museum in Grand Island, Nebraska.

during the event but the cow pasture did not. The eclipse “path of totality” was only about 70 miles wide, so being in the right spot was crucial to collecting data. According to the NCAR website ( projects/artse), Grand Island was chosen because it provided an optimum site not only for data collection but also for public outreach. CSU not only set up instrumentation for measuring atmospheric phenomena but also a temporary weather station for educating the public. The eclipse was “a tremendous and relatively rare opportunity for both research and education,” Gunter said. “This project offers a diverse department at CSU [ESS] the chance to bring students to the field to participate in cutting-edge, hands-on research.” Dr. Gunter and his students in ATSC 5555 Special Topics: Meteorology of the Eclipse left for Nebraska on Thursday, August 17, and returned Wednesday, August 23. Since then, these students have been learning how to analyze the data they will receive from NCAR, whose instruments they used to collect the data. While the grant received was from NSF, the equipment used was on-loan from NCAR. While researchers all over the country were studying the eclipse in many ways, Dr. Gunter’s research was unique in that it was looking at the atmospheric response of the eclipse. Preliminary indications are that there was about a 5 degree Fahrenheit drop in temperature, a measureable drop off in wind speeds, and a significant dip in incoming solar radiation during the eclipse.

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Faculty Spotlight – Meeting Students’ Course Needs Two Professors Use a Grant to Revamp a Class By Alex Jones Drs. Amanda Rees and Brad Huff, from the Department of History and Geography, spent their summer revamping a class with the help of a grant. They received a $10,000 Affordable Learning Grant (ALG) to help reduce the cost of course materials for students. Faculty who are part of the University System of Georgia are eligible to apply for this grant, the goal of which is to reduce the cost of textbooks to the more than 318,000 students in the University System of Georgia’s 28 universities and colleges. After receiving this grant, Drs. Rees and Huff worked for about two months reviewing course materials and developed a brand new version of an open-sourced text for one of their classes, World Regional Geography. Because the textbook is open-sourced, students can access materials electronically at no cost. The professors worked backwards, deciding what they wanted their students to be able to do at the end of the class and then developed course modules implementing active learning that supports those outcomes. This fall, Dr. Rees taught a section of World Regional Geography with 38 students while Dr. Huff had 30 students. The version of the textbook Dr. Rees previously used for World Regional Geography cost students $182, if purchased new. Some students had been able to find a $5 version from about 8

Dr. Amanda Rees, Professor of History and Geography.

years ago, but that version had grown out-of-date. In the redesigned course, the only cost to students is to access a web-based personal response device called Intedashboard ($18), designed for the type of team-based learning the course utilizes. “The challenge of teaching this class is that you have to keep up on world events and update each of the modules in light of what’s happened in the 6 months since you taught the class the last time,” said Dr. Rees. “That requires a lot of review and revision every six months, and it is not something that I take lightly.” The updating of course materials is necessary because “new countries are created every few years, countries are invaded by others, which often has regional implications, and, of course, dramatic events like the challenges to

In Memoriam – Joel Horowitz On October 2, 2017, Dr. Joel Horowitz (retired CSU professor of sociology) passed away, leaving behind those whom he had touched with his critical, controversial and sometimes incendiary thoughts about life and the society in which we live. If you were to visit his obituary on Vander May Wayne Colonial Funeral Home’s website, at the top right of the webpage you will see that his obituary has been visited over

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Dr. Brad Huff, Associate Professor of History and Geography.

the EU system from migration [occur],” said Dr. Rees. During fall semester 2017, Drs. Rees and Huff met weekly to discuss which modules worked well and what should be changed or modified for the spring. They also are working on dissemination; they hope to share their materials with other colleagues in geography across the University System of Georgia, so that other USG students can benefit from the no-cost restructuring of World Regional Geography. They will be published at CSU e-Press in the next two months. “Not only did we rewrite our course, we also developed new course assignments using active learning strategies, so there is very little lecture and much more team-engagement as students work to solve problems or assess impacts,” said Dr. Rees. Through feedback from others who had previously applied for the grant, help from Mark Flynn, Dean of Libraries, and Dr. Susan Hrach, Director of the Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning and Professor of English, the application process for the grant was a smooth, relatively painless procedure. Because of this grant, the 68 students in Dr. Rees’ and Dr. Huff’s courses this fall saved a total of $12,376. It’s a safe bet that those students are more than grateful that their professors spent their summer the way they did.

By Rik Newtson and Mark Berger

twenty-two hundred times. They say that the greatness of a man can be measured by how many people come to his funeral. Even though Wayne, NJ, is a long way from Columbus, GA—where Joel made his home for 25 years while teaching at Columbus State University—people from across the country have visited his online obituary because they longed to take one last look, read about one last memory, smile one more time when thinking about his passionate lectures, and pay their last respects to a man who influenced so many. Dr. Horowitz served as department chair for many years and his exemplary teaching

style earned him CSU’s teacher of the year award on more than one occasion. As a result of his unique style a dear friend made up business cards and a hat for Joel with a tag line “answers questioned.” Dr. Horowitz was an extraordinary teacher. He did what was most important in higher education: he challenged his students to think critically about the world into which they had been born. So many students responded to his challenging and engaging teaching, and were encouraged to pursue higher education. The students whose minds were “set on fire” by Dr. Horowitz are his greatest legacy.


Internships – Providing Invaluable Opportunities to Kick-Start Careers

Internships Lead to Full-Time Job for Recent Graduate, Matthew Frye By Arianna Marealle CSU alumnus, Matthew Frye, was recently hired at the Department of Juvenile Justice as a Probation and Parole Specialist in Columbus, Georgia. He graduated in spring 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice after completing two internships in his senior year. He first interned in Columbus at the U.S. Marshals Service from August to November 2016, where he was responsible for assisting the Deputy U.S. Marshal in conducting Facebook searches for offenders. In addition, he also drafted warrants and searched databases for offenders’ information. “There are only three people assigned to the local office, which allowed for a relaxed environment,” remembers Frye. In this way, he was able to develop lasting professional as well as personal relationships with the marshals. “Even now, I am able to contact any one of them for advice and direction.” Frye spent January to April of the following year interning with the Department of Community Supervision where he supported the Probation and Parole staff by writing warrants and drug testing offenders. During his internship, Frye also wrote amending orders, telephoned offenders, and assisted with home visits. Frye described this experience as Recent graduate Matthew Frye used internship contrasting greatly opportunities to kick-start his career in law enforcement. with his time spent with the Marshals Service. The latter is a branch of federal law enforcement, whereas the Department of Community Supervision is a state division. As a result of these internships, Frye was exposed to and learned from both areas of law enforcement. “Every day was new and motivating,” said Frye, when asked about his


Badges Frye received during his internships.

experiences as an intern. “Everyone in both departments was very nice and willing to help me when I needed it. If I had a question, they were more than happy to answer it.” Ultimately, Frye’s time as an intern helped him decide the direction of his career in law enforcement. During his internship with the Department of Community Supervision, he discovered an interest in Probation and Parole. “I found this out by just talking and networking with many people,” he said. Frye has benefited greatly from his experiences as an intern and stresses the importance of seizing the opportunity. It has ensured him useful connections and enduring friendships. “I know my intern leads and professors are there for me. I just have to make a phone call.” Frye now works as a Juvenile Probation and Parole Specialist in Columbus, Georgia. His responsibilities include managing and supervising juvenile caseloads and reentry needs as ordered by the court, supervising a caseload of up to 40 juveniles, and testifying in court. Frye also credits CSU for his preparation. “The Criminal Justice Department and professors helped me tremendously. I would not be where I am today if it were not for them,” he says. He explains that the Criminal Justice Program at CSU inspired him to think outside of the box, helped him hone the ability to think critically, as well as consider problems from many different points of view. “By being at CSU, I was able to make many connections with the local community, as well. I am extremely proud to be a CSU alum and I was very proud to represent the school at both the federal and the state levels of law enforcement.”

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Internships – Providing Invaluable Opportunities to Kick-Start Careers

Psychology Student Lands Full-Time Job After Internship By Alex Jones While many students were spending their summer going to classes, doing homework, and repeating it the next day, one psychology student was adding in a bit of work in the field she wanted to pursue. Jackie Barragan wants to be the first in her family to graduate from college, which she will do this fall, go to graduate school and pursue counseling psychology, Psychology alumna, Jackie becoming the first Dr. Barragan, found her calling during her internship at the Barragan in her family. She took another step toward this Brain Center. goal during the 2017 summer semester when she began an internship at the Brain Center in Columbus. “I was so eager to be in the field to see what therapists and clinicians do. I knew that an internship would be a window into what my career path would look like. I really wanted to immerse myself in the lives of patients that allow this field to exist,” said Barragan. The Brain Center ended up being the perfect place for her. From the moment she walked in, the staff and the lead psychologist, Dr. Franciska Kocsner, were welcoming and ready to help her learn. Dr. Kocsner was eager to have Barragan in the office with her, getting invaluable experience in the field. The best part of the internship? Learning that she wanted to work with children. Barragan recalled watching Dr. Kocsner engage in play therapy with a patient and was shocked to see the amount of underlying issues brought to the surface in just thirty minutes. Dr. Kocsner must have seen something very special in Barragan because Dr. Kocsner offered her a job at the conclusion of her internship. “When she asked me if I wanted to come back and work for her, I chuckled because I thought she was joking with me,” recalled Barragan. Now, she says, it does not feel like work anymore. She gets to go in every day doing what she loves: helping people. She says that her friends and family are proud of her and are thrilled to see that she is reaping the fruits of her labor as a student and an intern. “I am proud to call The Brain Center my place of work.”

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International Internships: South Korea, Mexico and the UK The College of Letters and Sciences (COLS) offers dozens of internships every semester, most with Columbus-area companies and organizations but a few elsewhere. This last summer, several COLS students engaged in internships abroad. For example, seven CSU students—three of whom were from COLS—participated in CSU’s Busan Global Village program in South Korea. The three COLS majors were Stephanie Carney (Biology), Meyia Johnson Thomas Wingate working (English), and Celestine Garcia (English). on Uninter’s website in In 2015, Dr. Seon Jeon (CSU English Mexico. Professor) negotiated a paid internship for CSU students who practice teaching English there. CSU TESOL (Teaching English as Second or Other Language) students have participated every summer since then. In total, 16 students have completed this study abroad internship. Former interns Trinity Chavira (English) and Candace Lee (Communications) currently teach English there full time. Two students participated in internships in Mexico: Samantha Wooden and Thomas Wingate. Universidad Internacional, also known as Uninter, has a School of Spanish for foreign students studying Spanish, and it is there they did their internships. Uninter’s web page to date has been in English, not in Spanish. Lately, heritage speakers of Spanish from the U.S. have expressed interest in studying at Uninter, so the university decided to create a comparable website in Spanish. Thomas’ internship was in technology, and he worked on a new platform for the Spanish-only website. Samantha translated the English pages into Spanish, and her director would check her Spanish translations each day. She worked in the main office of the university, and Thomas worked in the equivalent of CSU’s Information Technology Services. No English was spoken in either office. There were also two COLS students who studied abroad/worked in London over the summer. Shyla Tapscott, a history major, worked at the Foundling Museum. Hugurn Elvarsdottir, a political science major, worked for a nonprofit called Afford UK. Hugrun is also an international student from Iceland—the first international student to participate in this CSU study abroad opportunity.

South Korean students learning English at Busan Global Village.


Student Spotlight John Hetzel—From Dual Enrollment to Double Major In 2012, between his sophomore and junior years of high school, John Hetzel enrolled in two college chemistry classes at CSU. Thus began his adventure in dual enrollment (taking college classes that also earned high school credit toward graduation) and ultimately his double major in math and biology. Although he could have graduated earlier, he delayed his high school graduation to May 2014 because he wanted to play soccer his senior year of high school, he was valedictorian, Hetzel taking a selfie in and he wanted to Greenville, SC. graduate with his friends. When he entered CSU full time in fall 2014, he was already a junior with 60+ college credits! For two years John commuted several days a week to Columbus from his hometown of Hogansville, GA, but the drive-time of 10 hours per week cut into the hours in which he could be involved in campus activities. In December 2016, he officially moved to Columbus so he could be more involved in campus organizations and network better with faculty and other students. He also tutors in a variety of subjects—chemistry, biology, physics, and math—while maintaining a 4.0 GPA. His double major in math and biology has led to amazing opportunities. For example, in summer 2017, John participated in an NSF grant at Auburn University aiding research in breast cancer genetics. And in August, John and another student presented their math project at the PIC (Preparation for Industrial Careers) Math Student Recognition Conference in Chicago. Their project, titled “Fitting a circular arc to the curved corner of a twodimensional profile composed of data points,” was undertaken in collaboration with industrial partner Starrett Bytewise


John Hetzel at Buckingham Fountain in Chicago to present at the PIC Math Student Recognition Conference.

to help improve a 3-D scanning tool. John comes from a family that believes in the value of education. One of his brothers has a degree in industrial systems from Columbus Tech; another brother, who also attends CSU, is majoring in math and computer science. His sister is a graduate of Georgia Tech in polymer textile and fiber engineering. While his father is a computer science engineer and his mother commutes to Columbus to work at TSYS, his family life is essentially rural—his family lives on a farm and raises horses. The latest development in dual enrollment education is for high school teachers to be trained to teach collegelevel courses in their high schools. In other words, college comes to the high school student rather than the student coming to college. The strengths and weaknesses of each approach are much debated. When asked about this, John quickly assessed the advantages and disadvantages of this change. For advantages, he noted that students would “stay inside their comfort zone,” save drive time, more likely participate in dual enrollment, and prefer the experience since they would be with their friends. But he thought the disadvantages

of having high school teachers teach college classes at the high school outweighed the advantages. He said that going to the university forces high school students into a more serious environment, enables students to learn from professors with PhDs who know their content areas far better than high school teachers do, allows students to network immediately with professors, and—most importantly— forces students out of their comfort zones. “The more I step outside my comfort zone, the more I get done, the more I learn,” John said. “Like studying abroad—you’re afraid, but it’s invigorating. You can accomplish a lot more than you thought you were capable of when you challenge yourself with newness.” John will take the MCAT exam in spring 2018, graduate with a double major in May 2018, and apply to medical schools in summer 2018. He plans to “take off” 2018-2019 by enrolling in post-bac classes or in a master’s program while waiting to hear from medical schools. He has his sights set on Emory, the Medical College of Georgia, or a school in California. Clearly, his is a life well planned.

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Faculty Publications Publications by COLS Faculty College of Letters and Sciences faculty publish far and wide—online journals, international newspapers, national book publishers, small presses, university presses, and so on. Here is a small sampling of the range of publications by COLS faculty in 2016-2017. COLS is proud that so many professors are on the cutting edge of their fields. • Dr. Florence Wakoko (pictured at right), an Associate Professor of Sociology, published three articles in various journals, including the Pan African Medical Journal and Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship. • Faculty in the Department of Mathematics scored nine publications in the past year on a wide variety of mathematical topics ranging from confidence intervals to mathematical word problem solving performance to bisecting binomial coefficients. Published faculty included Drs. Madhusudan Bhandary, Houbin Fang, Allin Stancu, Eugen Ionascu, William Muse, and Hassan Hassani. • Chemistry faculty members Drs. Samuel Abegaz and Daniel Holley published on monofloral honey, soft nanoparticles, and chemistry interactives for blind and visually impaired students. Their work appeared in RSC Advances, ACS Journal of Chemical Education, and Food Science and Technology, among others. • Dr. Tom Dolan’s article “The Good News About North Korea: They Love Their Children Too” appeared August 28 in London’s The Observer. Dr. Dolan is a Professor of Political Science and former department chair. • “The Self: Kierkegaard and Buddhism in Dialogue” by Dr. David Wisdo—a Professor of Philosophy—was published in the July issue of Comparative Philosophy. Five other faculty in the department published an additional eight articles.

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• Dr. Stephanie da Silva, Professor of Psychology, published an article in the June 2017 issue of Applied Animal Behaviour Science on the food guarding behavior of shelter dogs. This article was the culmination of a 3-year collaboration with researchers from Northern Michigan University and various shelters. • The book Ranger: A Soldier’s Life was co-authored by Colonel Ralph Puckett and Dr. Dan Crosswell (CSU’s Colonel Richard R. Hallock Distinguished University Chair in Military History) and published March 2017. Dr. Crosswell is a tenured faculty member in the Department of History and Geography. Six other faculty in the department also published articles or book chapters in the past year. • The Department of English boasted several major publications among its faculty. Dr. Eliot Rendleman, Director of Academic Center for Tutoring, and Dr. Judith Livingston, Chair of the Department, co-authored a book chapter for a book published by Palgrave McMillan. Dr. Joe McCallus, Professor of English, just published his fourth non-fiction book, Forgotten Under a Tropical Sun: War Stories by American Veterans in the Philippines, 1898-1913. • An article by Dr. Kyongseon Jeon entitled “Sorry! Apology Strategies in ESL Learners” was published in the September issue of The Linguistic Association of Korea Journal. Another linguist, Dr. Carolina PelaezMorales, Assistant Professor of English, published an article in Journal of Second Language Writing. • Kevin Burgess, Associate Professor of Biology, published six articles in the last year on orchids, rhododendrons, pollen barcoding, and DNA barcoding in forensic biology. His works appeared in a variety of journals ranging from Genome to Applications in Plant Sciences. • Four faculty in the Department of Earth and Space Sciences—Drs. Warren Church, William Gunter, Andrew Puckett, and Rosa Williams—published six articles concerning Peru, atmospheric measurement, exploding stars, and supernova remnants. Journals included those of Astronomy and Astrophysics, The Physics Teacher, Atmospheric Measurement Techniques, and American Journal of Physical Anthropology.


College of Letters and Sciences – New Faculty Department of Biology

Department of English

John Hanson, Temporary Lecturer of Biology Dr. Hanson earned a B.S. in Biology and a B.S. in Environmental Science from Abilene Christian University. He earned an M.S. (‘03) in Biology at Angelo State University where he studied behavioral ecology in woodpeckers, and a Ph.D. (‘08) with a focus on Zoology at Texas Tech University. After teaching at Texas Tech for 2½ years, he worked at a genomics laboratory, which he went on to direct, and he is board certified as a High Complexity Laboratory Director. He joined the Biology Department in January 2017 and teaches Mammalogy and Principles of Biology.

Rebecca Gerdes-McClain, Assistant Professor of English and Director of First-Year Composition Dr. Gerdes-McClain earned her B.A. and M.A. in English from Indiana University South Bend. In spring 2017, she earned her Ph.D. in Composition, Rhetoric, and Literacy from the University of Oklahoma where, in addition to research on the history of labor in First-Year Composition, she served for two years as Assistant Director of OU’s First-Year Composition program. She has taught various composition courses (Expository Writing, Technical Writing, Teaching Composition, etc.) as well as courses on Genre Studies and Film Adaptation. At CSU, she will serve as the FirstYear Composition director where she will teach various writing courses as well as administer, assess, and develop the First-Year Composition program.

Department of Chemistry Jaimie M. Gonzalez, Lecturer/Stockroom Manager Ms. Gonzalez earned both of her degrees from CSU – a B.A. in Chemistry (’09) and a M.Ed. in Teacher Education (’12). She taught biology, chemistry, and physical science at Northside High School. For the past four years, she has also taught introductory lecture and laboratory classes part-time in CSU’s Department of Chemistry. Ms. Gonzalez serves as a Lecturer/Stockroom Manager; she teaches some introductory lecture and laboratory courses, maintains chemical inventory, prepares reagents for lab classes, manages chemical waste, and oversees undergraduate lab assistants.

Department of Criminal Justice and Sociology Vy Thuc Dao, Assistant Professor of Sociology Dr. Thuc Dao earned her Ph.D. in Sociology at Tulane University in New Orleans with a primary emphasis on qualitative methods, theory, and inquiry. She also completed her M.A. at the University of Houston and, prior to her appointment at CSU, served as a visiting assistant professor at Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA. Her most recent publications draw on her research in the Gulf South involving a multi-year, multi-site, ethnographic study that looks at the post-disaster recovery patterns of three Vietnamese American communities in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. Her current research interest involves protest culture and its intersection with race and gender.


Clayton O’Dell, Temporary Lecturer of English Mr. Clayton O’Dell earned both his B.A. and M.A. in English and Secondary Education at CSU. He has been teaching first-year composition at CSU since 2016. As an undergraduate, Mr. O’Dell studied abroad for two consecutive summers with the CSU in Mexico program. Because of his passion for study abroad, he added a Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages endorsement as part of his M.A. Other areas of interest include minority, gender, and international studies, particularly related to literature and modern fiction. Natalia Naman Temesgen, Assistant Professor of Creative Writing Mrs. Temesgen earned her B.A. in English from Princeton University (’08), and her M.F.A. in Dramatic Writing from the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University (‘10). She has a passion for writing stories (plays, screenplays, and teleplays/webseries) that present seemingly stereotypical individuals or scenarios, then exploding and expanding the narrow understanding that the audience may have previously held. Her plays have been produced in New York City, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Boston, Atlanta, and Columbus, Georgia. Since 2013, Mrs. Temesgen has taught in different positions in the English and Theatre departments at CSU.

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Carey “Scott” Wilkerson, Assistant Professor of Creative Writing Mr. Wilkerson earned his B.A. and M.A. from Auburn University, an M.F.A. from Queens University of Charlotte, and is a Ph.D. candidate at Georgia State University. He is the author of numerous plays, including Seven Dreams of Falling (Black Box Press) and The Minotaur Trilogy (Otoliths), two poetry collections including Threading Stone (New Plains Press), three operetta libretti including Eddie’s Stone Song: Odyssey of the First Pasaquoyan (a collaboration with composer James Ogburn, CSU Schwob School of Music), and a forthcoming novel, Ariadne’s Knot (Negative Capability Press), as well as editor of a poetry anthology Stone River Sky (Negative Capability Press). He is a Pushcart Prize-nominated poet. His plays have been produced in Columbus, Los Angeles, New York, and Atlanta.

Department of Mathematics Kristin Lilly, Assistant Professor of Mathematics Dr. Lilly earned her undergraduate degree in Applied Mathematics and her Ph.D. in Mathematics with a concentration in Statistics, both at Auburn University. While at Auburn, she became interested in applied statistical analysis, and she continued this interest by researching robust variable selection methods for grouped data for her dissertation. In addition, she interned as an applied statistician for a medical device company and helped other graduate students with their own statistical analyses in their fields. After graduating, she worked full time as a statistical data analyst for a medical device company before returning to academia.

Department of Modern and Classical Languages Sheryl Bernardo-Hinesley, Assistant Professor of Spanish Dr. Bernardo-Hinesley earned her B.A. in Spanish Language, Literatures, and Cultures, and her M.A. in Modern Languages with Concentration in Spanish Literatures and Linguistics from the University of Texas at Arlington. While pursuing her Ph.D. in Hispanic Linguistics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, she accepted teaching assistantships in the university’s

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Spanish and Portuguese Program, and a one-year visiting professorship at the Universidad de Oviedo, Spain. Her dissertation analyzed the variation in the pronominal system of an understudied Spanish-lexified, Tagalog-substrate creole variety called Cavite Chabacano, spoken in the Manila Bay region of the Philippines. She presented empirical support to theoretical claims on codeswitching as a socially motivated act that may cause language shift. She teaches introductory to advanced courses in Spanish and foreign language teaching methodology, coordinates lower division Spanish courses, and serves as a mentor for the foreign language teacher education students. Sonia Rivera, Temporary Lecturer of Spanish Ms. Sonia Rivera earned her undergraduate degree in Mathematics Education from Florida State University (’93) and her M.A. in Teaching Foreign Languages/Spanish from University of Southern Mississippi Hattiesburg (’97). In 2010, she earned a DEA (Diploma de Estudios Avanzados/Advanced Studies Diploma) from Universidad de Nebrija Madrid, Spain. She has been an adjunct professor at CSU since 2000, teaching elementary and intermediate Spanish, Phonetics, Studies in Civilization-Spain, Advanced Grammar and Composition, Literature, Contemporary Film: Spain, Spanish Conversation, and Golden Age Theater. Her research interests range from Applied Linguistics to the teaching of Spanish as a Foreign Language.

Department of Psychology Amber K. Lupo, Temporary Lecturer of Psychology Dr. Lupo earned her M.A. in Cognitive & Social Processes at Ball State University and her Ph.D. in Psychology, with a certificate in Quantitative Methods, at the University of Texas at El Paso. Her research tests how social memory and perceptions, such as prejudice and stereotypes, develop and change over time through memory consolidation processes. In a second line of research, she investigates the social-cognitive factors that lead to police brutality. Her dissertation tested how police uniform color impacts civilian perceptions of police hostility and how uniform color influences aggressive police behavior.


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4225 University Avenue, Columbus, GA 31907

CSU Awarded Grant for an Electron Microscope The National Science Foundation recently awarded Columbus State University $293,575 to acquire a scanning electron microscope. The grant was written by faculty in the College of Letters and Sciences – Drs. Kevin Burgess (biology), Clinton Barineau (earth and space science), Daniel Holley (chemistry), and Elizabeth Klar (biology) – to support and expand a diverse group of research programs for faculty and students within the departments of Biology, Chemistry and Earth and Space Sciences. Students working directly with faculty will use scanning electron microscopy (SEM) to enhance on-going research programs that involve the university’s field sites, museum collections, herbarium collections and molecular and chemistry laboratories. Students typically present at international, national, and regional scientific meetings and are co-authors on publications. “Ultimately, the incorporation of SEM technology into the curriculum at Columbus State University will directly increase undergraduate and graduate participation in research,” said Dr. Kevin Burgess, professor and herbarium curator at Columbus State University. “This could encourage students to pursue careers as professional biologists, chemists, environmental scientists and geologists.”

Colorized pollen (magnified x500) from a variety of common plants: sunflower, morning glory, hollyhock, lily, primrose and castor bean (Wikimedia Commons).

The machine should be in place on the first floor of LeNoir Hall sometime in February. Then the training in the use of the machine will begin. Elizabeth Klar has been given reassignment time to train faculty and students as well as to create a scheduling system so those trained can sign up for appointments

Eye of an aphid (plant lice) in green (colorized) by Robert Berdan. (Used with permission from

to use the machine. According to Klar, having this equipment will serve three main purposes. It will improve research opportunities for faculty and students, enhance CSU’s recruitment efforts of gifted students, and contribute to CSU’s outreach programs for area high schools and teachers. In particular, she plans on offering summer workshops for high school teachers and on creating slides for these teachers to use in their own classrooms. The accompanying pictures show the kinds of things faculty and students will be able to see with the use of this microscope. Typically photos are in black and white with color added later to enhance effect and dimensionality.

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Letters & Sciences Today - Fall/Winter 2017  

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

Letters & Sciences Today - Fall/Winter 2017  

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