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Ohio University


S C H O L A R S H I P, A N D C R E A T I V E A C T I V I T Y



Capturing Ohio’s Past Documenting central Ohio’s German heritage in a changing landscape

D E T E C T I N G E X P L O S I V E S FA S T E R | I M P R O V I N G I N D O O R A I R Q U A L I T Y | P O P C U LT U R E ’ S I M PA C T O N C A R E E R S E L E C T I O N




Ohio University

[R E S E A R C H , S C H O L A R S H I P, A N D C R E AT I V E A C T I V I T Y ]



Mapping the Mind Andrea Gibson

Printmaker Karla Hackenmiller explores the gray matter of the brain and the dreams it conjures.

On the Cover: Photo by Larry Hamel-Lambert of the Abundant Life Church, north of Lancaster, Ohio


Mold Hunt Eric Hornbeck

Mold can make a mess in a home or business, but how do air quality professionals spot a problem? Researchers test new technologies in the hopes of thwarting the feisty fungus.

ISSN 1520-4375

Printed on recycled paper.


Getting the Media Message Anita Martin

Pop culture convinces kids that it’s cool to be an actress or an athlete. How can America get teens — especially girls and minorities — excited about science and technology fields?


[c o v e r s t o r y ]


Capturing Ohio’s Past


Karen Sottosanti

James Rankin

Germans settled central Ohio, dotting the landscape with simple but beautiful churches and barns. A geographer and a photographer record this history at a time when development is quickly transforming the scenery.


Roderick McDavis



Letter from the President and Vice President for Research A university research program thrives on talented people and innovative ideas. It also needs a space on campus where scientists, engineers, and scholars can create a community and be inspired. That’s why Ohio University is developing a new integrated learning and research facility to unite students, faculty, staff, alumni, and collaborators for learning and discovery. The $30 million building, which will be located near and connected to Stocker Center and Irvine Hall on the West Green, was born of the Fritz J. and Dolores H. Russ College of Engineering and Technology’s vision for a learning community and the College of Osteopathic Medicine’s desire to advance research and improve public health. The building project already has more than $25 million in combined support from private donors, the state of Ohio, and the university. The university seeks to raise an additional $4.6 million by December 2007 to complete this important project. The facility’s design is not about bricks and mortar. It is about an active community in which faculty, students, clinicians, and scientists will discover, teach, and learn. The new facility will enhance Ohio University’s multidisciplinary research efforts. Engineers, technologists, scientists, and clinicians will collaborate with researchers, clinical affiliates, and industry partners to engage in research to improve osteopathic healthcare, community health, and quality of life through the development of new diagnostics, therapeutics, and treatments. These multidisciplinary teams will take on newly emergent challenges and provide rapid solutions to complex problems. Students will gain unique insights into the research experience, from the preliminary thesis, through discovery and development, to production and implementation. Collaborative projects will range from research on diabetes and heart disease to student learning opportunities such as building robots that use artificial intelligence to play soccer. This interaction will make the facility a truly unique, and ultimately exciting, space at Ohio University. For more information about the project, please visit If you are interested in making a gift to support the project, please contact The Ohio University Foundation at 800.592.FUND, e-mail, or visit the Web at


[departments] Disordered Design Pam Frost Gorder

Physicist David Drabold has built a career on exploring new materials that will change the future of electronics and other technologies.

2 | ANTHOLOGY Reports in Brief Why plants and insects don’t freeze. How kids with ADHD perceive the world. Technology improves airport security. Fulbright scholar studies European history. How women end up in jail.

36 | BOOKMAKERS Published Work Video game cheating. Postwar schools in Europe.

37 | ON THE WEB Research Online Geothermal energy. Student fair. Courtroom bias.

8 | SECOND LOOK Story Update The strange tale of a Nazi war criminal. 34 | EXTRA CREDIT Student Research Will jobs really be outsourced to Asia? Prop artist makes bathtubs bleed.


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[a n t h o l o g y ] PHYSICS

[fending of f freeze] PROTEINS TAKE A BITE OUT OF FROST Ice growth can spoil organs, blood, and tissues used for medical research, destroy fields of crops on a subzero evening, and even cause freezer burn on your ice cream. A small injection of fish protein, however, might solve these problems. It’s not as peculiar as it sounds. Ido Braslavsky, assistant professor of physics at Ohio University, has been researching a unique group of proteins — commonly found in fish, insects, bacteria, and fungi — that prevent freezing by inhibiting ice growth. These proteins, called antifreeze proteins or ice structuring proteins, “are just like any other protein,” Braslavsky says. They are naturally nontoxic and safe for medical or commercial food use. For farmers, antifreeze protein technology may eliminate frost damage to crops. As a frozen plant thaws, small ice crystals melt first because they have lower melting temperatures. The resulting water freezes on the surfaces of larger, more stable crystals, increasing their size. As a result, the thawing process alters the structure of the plant tissue. “If you eat any vegetables that were frozen, the structure is floppy. It’s not as firm because the cells’ connections are broken by the ice,” says Braslavsky, who published the study in Biophysical Journal. In the same way, the freezing and thawing of organs and tissues destroys their structures. It is also the primary reason ice cream becomes grainy if melted and refrozen. Antifreeze proteins were discovered in the early 1970s by a group

[above right] Fluorescent dye from jellyfish is attached to antifreeze proteins to show scientists how the proteins stick to ice crystals. Images Courtesy of Ido Braslavsky

[ on the web] BRASLAVSKY: Photo:

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of scientists who wondered why fish don’t freeze in the icy seawater near Antarctica. Because of the difference in salt concentration between fish blood and seawater, they would have expected the blood to freeze — but the creatures were alive and well. Antifreeze proteins were the answer to this puzzle. What makes Braslavsky’s research unique is the creation of antifreeze proteins containing a fluorescent dye from jellyfish, which can be directly visualized using a fluorescence microscope. These fluorescent “chimera” proteins were generated by Peter Davies, a collaborator from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. Davies takes DNA from eelpout fish or spruce budworms that codes for an antifreeze protein and adds it to DNA from a jellyfish that codes for a green fluorescent protein. The combined DNA is then added to a bacterium in which the proteins are expressed, creating proteins with two parts. Braslavsky uses fluorescence microscopy to observe the way the chimera proteins adhere to the ice crystals. These studies have revealed that the proteins stick permanently to the surface of the ice, stopping local ice growth. Several companies already use antifreeze proteins in their products. These include ice cream manufacturer Unilever and Protokinetix, a biological preservation company that owns exclusive rights to manufacture synthetic antifreeze molecules for medical purposes. Braslavsky’s work seeks to improve our understanding of how these proteins act on a basic level in order to heighten the success of these types of applications. With funding from Ohio University’s NanoBioTechnology Initiative, he is currently working with postdoctoral fellow Natalya Pertaya and

2 | Antifreeze technology

6 | Fulbright Scholar examines NATO

3 | Gum disease treatment

7 | Women in prison

4 | Children with ADHD

8 | Nazi war criminals

5 | Explosive detection at airports



graduate students Yeliz Celik and Young Eun Choi to develop and build devices that can monitor the fluorescent chimera proteins with high sensitivity. And in collaboration with professor Alex Groismann of the University of California at San Diego, Braslavsky’s group already has developed microfluidic devices in which the composition of the solution around tiny ice crystals can be changed. Braslavsky plans to use these devices in the near future to further explore the behaviors of the antifreeze proteins, such as their tendency to adhere to ice in particular, patterned directions. “It’s a complicated experiment,” Braslavsky says, “but as my adviser told me, if it’s too easy, it’s already been done.” BRIDGET WHELAN

Nearly one in three adults suffers from periodontitis, an oral bacterial disease that causes gum inflammation, bone recession, and eventual tooth loss. At its mildest, periodontal disease takes the form of gingivitis. To battle this common problem, a dentist from St. Louis, Missouri, has enlisted the help of two Ohio University graduate students in evaluating his newly developed treatment. Lauren Wentz and Amy Blake in the School of Physical Therapy have conducted an initial analysis of the Perio Protect Method, developed by Duane Keller, to determine its effectiveness in reversing periodontitis. Keller has been referring his patients with jaw joint dysfunctions to Betty Sindelar, faculty adviser of the project, for the past 30 years. To curb disease progression, Keller’s system equips patients with a tray, built specifically to fit their mouths, which holds the medicine (hydrogen peroxide and tetracycline) firmly in place. Other methods usually involve scraping the gums and teeth, which can be painful, and antimicrobial medications that can easily wash away from the application site, Wentz says. “[The Perio Protect Method] is a lot less invasive and easier,” she explains. “[Patients] can do it at home for 10 to 15 minutes, two to three times per day, at their convenience.” Wentz and Blake received print-outs from a probing device that measured the depth of pockets between teeth and gums, which grow as periodontitis worsens, before the Perio Protect Method and up to six months after treatment. They studied the two teeth with the worst symptoms and the tooth with the least symptoms in 13 patients. By examining how the Perio Protect Method repaired bleeding gums and pockets between teeth and gums, they were able to conclude that the treatment was largely effective with these patients. Wentz and Blake, who presented their analysis last year at the American Association of Dental Research conference in Orlando, Florida, are relatively unfamiliar with dentistry as physical therapy students, Wentz says. But that had advantages. “It removes that factor of us potentially skewing any sort of result. Duane needed unbiased researchers so we decided to jump in and do it,” she says. But the research does have a big picture link to physical therapy, says Sindelar, who will continue research with Keller. Systemic inflammation decreased when subjects used the Perio Protect Method, she says, and that has implications for the treatment of heart disease, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s. BRIDGET WHELAN

[ on the web] SMILES:


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[ anthology] REPORTS IN BRIEF

Psychology researchers Nicole Evangelista and Julie Owens asked children with ADHD about their academic, social, and athletic competence. Photo: Rick Fatica


[ change of perception] KIDS WITH ADHD ACCURATELY JUDGE OTHERS’ SKILLS BUT MISPERCEIVE THEIR OWN Though scientists know that there is a biological basis to attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which affects 3 to 7 percent of kids in America, other researchers continue to examine the psychological aspects of the condition in the hopes of improving behavioral treatments for these children. Previous studies have shown that children with ADHD overestimate how well they perform certain tasks, which psychologists call the “positive illusory bias.” Nicole Evangelista, a doctoral student in clinical psychology at Ohio University, decided to explore the idea further by not only examining how ADHD kids perceive themselves but also how accurately they judge the skills of other children. The work builds on the research of her adviser, Assistant Professor of Psychology Julie Owens. Owens is the founder and director of the Youth Experiencing Success in School (Y.E.S.S.) Program, a school-based mental health program for elementary school age children and families in Athens, Gallia, and Hocking counties. For her project, Evangelista studied children with two types of ADHD, as well as nonimpaired

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children. She asked the students to fill out a questionnaire about their perceptions of their own academic, social, and athletic competence. She also gave surveys to the children’s teachers and parents about the students’ academic and social performance and behavior. “This is one of the places where we find discrepancies,” Evangelista says. “Teachers rate the student as doing poorly in school, while the student thinks he or she is doing well.” Next she administered an achievement test on reading, math, and spelling. Students also watched a 16-part series of 30-second video clips created by Evangelista, featuring child actors who performed different academic and social tasks. The children in the study also viewed 20- to 30-second clips, and then completed a four-part questionnaire about how well the child actors performed the tasks. Evangelista’s study provided more confirmation for the positive illusory bias, as children with ADHD significantly overestimated their academic competence, while children without the disorder did not. The project did find for the first time,

however, that the ADHD children could accurately evaluate other kids’ skills, even if they couldn’t correctly judge their own. This might suggest that the positive illusory bias could be a form of self-protection for these children, Evangelista says. The big picture, she notes, is that if children with ADHD don’t perceive their own behavior or academic difficulties accurately, behavior therapists may have a more difficult time motivating them to change. Evangelista has presented her research at The Kansas Conference in Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology and the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies in New Orleans, and is preparing her thesis for publication. She hopes to secure additional grant funding to continue the research in the hopes of ultimately finding better treatment options for the many children in America diagnosed with ADHD. DWAYNE STEWARD

[ on the web] 5PSYCHOLOGY:


Illustration: Christina Ullman


[ baggage check]


Anyone who has traveled by air recently knows the frustration of passing through security checkpoints, where long lines and luggage searches have become commonplace.  Airports have sought to improve security since September 11 and other terrorist attacks, and have looked at a variety of high-tech equipment that could eliminate vulnerabilities in the baggage screening process. One innovative project in development at Ohio University is attempting to dramatically improve forensic chemistry techniques to detect explosives at a faster, more accurate rate. “The technology used in airports takes about seven seconds but doesn’t contain a confirmatory technique to detect false positives,” says Glen Jackson, an assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry. “Our system has cut down the number of false positives but it takes longer to complete the process.” Jackson and his team must find a way to make the detection process quicker — the FBI, working on a similar technique, aims for 10 seconds. Jackson thinks the government might consider using the university’s technology someday, but the researchers must get it to work in less than a minute. What they’ve accomplished

so far, however, is still much more precise than what’s currently used, Jackson says. Airports employ a device called an ion mobility spectrometer. After a security agent swabs a suitcase, she places the cotton swab on a small heated platform, which is sucked into the machine. It breaks down the molecules and measures the time it takes the molecules to drift through the device. Each explosive takes a known amount of time to drift through the spectrometer, which is how they are identified. Once the sample reaches the end, a red or green light flashes, showing whether or not it’s an explosive. “The problem with the ion mobility spectrometer is that some molecules in hand lotions may have the same reading as RDX or TNT, which is why there are false positives,” says Jackson, who is working with the Ohio University Technology Transfer Office to secure a patent for the research. The device Jackson and his students use is called a gas chromatography-mass spectrometer or GC-MS. It has been used for many years in courtrooms but has traditionally taken 25 minutes to process the data. The university’s researchers have cut that down to less than two and a half minutes.

The process mixes the material on the cotton swab with a liquid and sends it through a very thin tube in an oven, where it undergoes separation. When the compounds exit the gas chromatograph, the mass spectrometer then measures the molecular mass of each of the explosives present in the sample. That’s important, because the mass of an ion is unique and can help distinguish it from interferences, or false positives. “It’s so selective that it’s essentially blind to interference and cuts out false positives,” says Jackson, who has published part of the findings in the Journal of Forensic Sciences and also presented the research at the Federation of Analytical Chemistry and Spectroscopy Societies in Orlando, Florida. Eliminating inaccurate readings and cutting down the process, however, will not get the university’s new device rushed into airports. At this point the GC-MS produces only a readout with charts and figures that must be interpreted by a specialist with an advanced degree in chemistry — someone not typically found on TSA or airport staff. “The ultimate goal,” Jackson says, “is to create some sort of intelligence that interprets the data the GC-MS produces so that a green light or red light reading makes the presence of a chemist unnecessary.” DWAYNE STEWARD


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[ anthology]

Robert Davis tutored Norwegian kids and visited Germany’s Reichstag building as a Fulbright Scholar. HISTORY

[ up close and personal ] FULBRIGHT AWARD OFFERS GRADUATE STUDENT A LOOK AT EUROPEAN HISTORY As a graduate student in Ohio University’s Department of History, Robert Davis often lectured about Nazism, the rallies at Nuremberg, and the subsequent trials after World War II. He showed his students clips of the Nazi propaganda film Triumph of the Will, explaining how Nuremberg’s ties to the First Reich made it important to Hitler. Last year, Davis found himself in that infamous city, looking at the location where rows of Nazi workers once saluted Hitler. As Davis surveyed the town, he understood why Hitler believed it was so enchanting. Nuremberg holds an indescribable allure. Nuremberg was one of many important historic locations Davis visited during his 10 months in Europe as a Fulbright Scholar. Being there added to his understanding of history, which would help his writing and teaching. He applied for the Fulbright Scholarship to continue research on his dissertation topic, NATO’s maritime strategy in the Cold War. Davis wanted to study at the University of Oslo, where Helge Pharo, a professor of modern history, hoped to start a program similar to Ohio University’s Contemporary History Institute. In Norway, Davis could easily study the naval policy of NATO in the North Atlantic, an aspect of NATO that was important but often overlooked by historians. He would also see the interaction between two history departments on two different continents. Davis was one of nine Fulbright Scholarship winners from Ohio University in the 2005-2006

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year. For the 2006-2007 year, the number climbed to 13. The Chronicle of Higher Education placed Ohio University in the list of top 25 research universities that produce Fulbright student awardees. The school ranked 14, tied with five other universities, but ahead of institutions such as Vanderbilt University, Stanford University, and the University of Notre Dame. Beth Clodfelter, director of the U.S. Fulbright Scholars program and liaison for international partnerships at Ohio University, says that more than 130 professors helped Ohio University students qualify for Fulbrights by proctoring language exams, explaining how to conduct research in foreign countries, conducting interviews, and writing letters of recommendation. “I am really pleased about the way the program has grown and strengthened over the past several years,” she says. “There has been an increase in visibility.” The Fulbright gave Davis access to records he couldn’t have found in the United States, such as British government archives. “I can’t conceive of a better way to have a whole academic research year,” Davis says. “I had a little more time to be patient. I still continue to believe today that it was a really fantastic year to go see the things I teach about.” MEGHAN HOLOHAN

[ on the web] 5HISTORY:



[ behind bars ]


For decades, criminology researchers have debated whether there should be unique theories for understanding female criminality, or whether past theories developed from studying males can provide insight into the crimes of women. Some maintain that men and women walk the same path to criminal behavior. Janice Proctor, assistant professor of sociology/criminology at Ohio University’s Eastern campus, recently conducted studies that may provide more insight into that controversy. Proctor tested three of the leading theories of male criminality on female inmates at a correctional facility in Topeka, Kansas, in 2001. She surveyed a random sample of 120 inmates about their lives, and then conducted extensive interviews with 22 of the women. What she discovered, to her surprise, was an overwhelming amount of physical and sexual abuse in the inmates’ lives before their incarceration. In fact, 44 percent of the women surveyed were physically abused as children; 13 percent described the abuse as “very often.” About 51 percent were sexually abused during childhood, and roughly 32 percent were under the age of 10 the first time they were abused. Most were violated by male family members (“not strangers,” Proctor notes), and frequently, the women reported being abused by more than one man. “It was kind of shocking,” she says, “to think of little girls being exposed to that.” Many of the women had already been through incredible hardships by the time they reached their teenage years, and they often had nowhere to turn. “Even their mothers didn’t believe them,” Proctor says. She based her research to some extent on a study conducted by Mary Gilfus in 1987. Gilfus examined sexual and physical abuse in the lives of women imprisoned in Framingham, Massachusetts. Proctor, with funding from the Henry A. Murray Research Center at Harvard University, modified Gilfus’ questionnaire to test Agnew’s Extended Strain theory, Hirschi’s 1969 Social Control theory, and Sutherland’s Differential Association theory, all of which have been influential in understanding the crimes of men. The first theory, introduced in the 1990s, suggested that people turn to criminal behavior in response to the strain of negative interactions with others. In other words, Proctor says, the essential insight of Agnew’s theory is “if you

treat someone badly, they might turn to criminal behavior.” Hirschi’s Social Control theory argues that individuals are subject to constant temptation, but their social bonds deter them from criminality. A lack of social bonds, however, removes the “insulation” between people and their temptations. Finally, Sutherland’s Differential Association Theory, developed in 1947, emphasizes that a preference for crime is learned through social interaction. If someone is socialized among criminals, Proctor explains, she will learn their techniques of committing crimes and their rationalizations. Although all three theories showed correlations to female criminality, Proctor determined that the Strain Theory was most applicable because childhood abuse led many of the women to fall in with the wrong crowd. Proctor felt compelled to “ask more questions, not less” once she was given access to the prison, she says, and decided to include prison health care as a secondary focus of her study. Most women reported being dissatisfied with the care they had received in prison, even when it was on a comparable level with care outside of prison. To complicate matters, Proctor says, there is a perception among prison staff and the public that prisoners don’t deserve high-quality health care. After receiving a Baker Fund award from Ohio University, Proctor was able to return to Topeka to present her findings to the prison staff. “They knew that the physical and sexual abuse was bad, but they didn’t know it was that bad,” she says of the staff’s reaction to the life-history interviews. Proctor says her study was intensely gratifying because of the thanks she received simply for sitting down and listening to these women’s stories. Despite everything they had been through, she says, most were hopeful for a better life and expressed a desire to help others avoid their mistakes. “We can go through life telling kids — and I do speak to kids here — [that they] … are going to bump their heads about one hundred times,” one female inmate told Proctor. “Maybe if I can save one, that is going to make it all the better for me.” “I didn’t expect to find that sort of spirituality,” Proctor says, “…the triumph of the human spirit in spite of so much adversity.” BRIDGET WHELAN

[ on the web] 5PROCTOR:


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[ anthology]

[ oppos i t e a n d t h i s p a g e ] After the Nuremberg trials, Nazi war criminal Rudolph Hess (this page, bottom left) was sentenced to Spandau Prison, where he lived until his August 1987 suicide. Images Courtesy of Norman Goda

For the last 20 years of his life, Hess was the only inmate at Spandau. He illustrates what a liability a notorious political prisoner can become. 8 |

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[ on the web] NORMAN GODA:


S E C O N D L O O K [ solitar y confinement ] U P D AT E O N A PA S T S T O R Y


A shopping center sits where the prison once stood. It’s a testament to the desire of the world’s major powers to scrub the prison from the landscape. Not so much as a single brick is left behind. For the last 20 years before it was demolished, this prison in the suburbs of West Berlin, big enough to house hundreds of inmates, was operated at considerable expense under international jurisdiction for just one man.

That prisoner was Rudolf Hess, a member of Adolf Hitler’s inner circle and deputy leader of the Nazi Party, who escaped the gallows at Nuremberg and instead drew a life sentence at Spandau Prison. Most stories about the rise and fall of Nazi Germany end with the Nuremberg trials, where many of Hitler’s associates were tried for war crimes before the first international tribunal of its kind by the four powers that had defeated Nazism — the United States, Great Britain, France, and the Soviet Union. In his new book from the Cambridge Press, Tales from Spandau: Nazi Criminals and the Cold War, Ohio University Professor of History Norman Goda picks up the story where Nuremberg ends. It’s a story that might still remain untold if not for a bit of serendipity. Goda was researching the book by using United States, German, British, and French diplomatic and military records, but he was unable to access the records of Spandau Prison itself. The original files were burned after Hess’ death so as not to become Nazi relics. Four copies of the records exist on microfilm, but the British, French, and Russian copies remain classified. Goda requested the records at the National Archives in Washington, D.C., but they couldn’t be found. He persisted until one day he found someone who remembered them. It turns out the records had never been classified after Hess’ death, and then they had been misfiled from day one, placed with the Army’s archives instead of the State Department’s.

Goda knew then that he was probably the first American ever to review the reels of microfilm imprinted with 80,000 pages of records from Spandau Prison. “With everything that’s known about the Nazis, with everything that’s known about the Cold War, nobody knew these stories,” he says. Goda’s book reveals that Spandau itself was something of a historical accident. During the Nuremberg trials, little thought was given to incarcerating convicted war criminals. “Nobody was supposed to go to prison; they were all supposed to get the death penalty,” he says. But Hess and six other Nazis escaped the gallows and instead drew prison terms. Spandau had about 600 inmates at the time, and all were moved out to make way for the seven Nazis — men believed to pose such a threat even behind bars that they could not be housed with other prisoners. The United States, England, France, and the Soviet Union took turns on guard duty, with month-long shifts. The four powers also developed prison policy. The decision to oversee the prison together was a deal struck among allies. But soon after the war ended, relations between the West and the Soviet Union disintegrated. The result, Goda writes in his introduction, is that Spandau ended up on the fault line of the Cold War. Through a twist of history, the Americans and the Soviets were forced to work together inside Spandau while outside they worked to destroy each other. Some of the best material from the prison’s records, and featured in Goda’s book, reveals

the exhaustive preparation for the death of the prison’s last inmate and the extraordinary care he received until then. For the last 20 years of his life, Hess was the only inmate at Spandau, and he illustrates what a liability a notorious political prisoner can become. Prison staff attended to his every need, including expensive medical care, because “nobody wanted Hess to die under their watch,” Goda says. A suspicious death could have become propaganda for Nazi sympathizers. “Basically, Spandau became a nursing home for Rudolf Hess,” he notes. In August 1987, Hess fouled up all the careful planning by committing suicide. His death raised suspicions: How could a frail, 93-year-old man hang himself? The suicide also delayed plans to start dismantling the prison immediately upon his death. The four powers, and especially the Soviets, worried that the prison would become a pilgrimage site, or that pieces of it would end up as Nazi souvenirs. “The Soviets didn’t want anything to be a holy relic of this prison,” Goda says. After an investigation into Hess’ death, which confirmed the suicide, the prison was demolished, and every piece of it recycled, buried, or burned. The prison’s voluminous records were tossed into a bonfire, but not before a few microfilm copies were made. Otherwise, Spandau’s tales may have died along with it. DAVID FORSTER


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44 (Detail) 5

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LIMINAL SLICE #8, collaged etching, 12x43x4” (Detail) NEW COMMANDMENT: WISDOM, etching & relief, 24x18”

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D P THE MIND PING THE MIND THE MIND NG THE MIND ND s a child growing up in the corn fields of northern Iowa, Karla Hackenmiller was forced to use her imagination. The town of Stacyville, home to a population of about 400 souls, was devoid of malls, movie theaters, or video games. It was, however, steeped in Catholic religion. Hackenmiller attended Catholic grade school, went to mass several times a week, and celebrated the sacraments. She became fascinated by the notion of mystical beings and magical rituals holding a place in everyday life. It helped the nascent artist escape the boredom of the rural Midwest. “Learning to draw enhanced this sense of having a life beyond the physical limitations of my surroundings since I had the freedom to create characters and environments of my own design,” she writes in an artist’s statement. “These seemed as ‘real’ to me as anything else.” After leaving for college, Hackenmiller discovered a similar fascination for science. She contemplated a major in psychology, drawn to the inner workings of the mind. Though she would later marry a psychologist, Hackenmiller soon realized that her true calling was art. It gave her a deeper understanding of the world. “That’s still what attracts me – not only as a viewer of art, but as the one who can create those connections for others,” she says. Hackenmiller, now an associate professor and chair of printmaking at Ohio University, is gaining a reputation in the art world for her intricate prints that explore the gray matter of the brain and the dreams it conjures. She has exhibited her work nationally and operates “giusto!studio” in Athens, Ohio.



Hackenmiller’s early work represents a fantastic landscape of strange animals and symbols that borrow from Christian myth and modern psychology. Her New Commandment series explores the connections between an individual’s dreams and visions and religious imagery and thought. “The Christian Commandments offer us some guidance in defining who we are and who we hope to be,”


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HOLE [var. 7], etching & relief, 9x3” #1, collaged etching, 36x24x3”

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she wrote in her artist statement on the series. “My New Commandments further consider these ideas, as well as speaking about that transitional place in between reality and identity.” The artist also created a series of self-portraits, including “Self-portrait in Pea Soup,” which features a sacrificial hen in a rising fog of pea soup. Another series focused on characters she calls the “devil dogs,” which were inspired by psychologist Carl Jung’s work on the archetypal shadow, or the dark side of human nature. Within the last two years, Hackenmiller has taken a departure from these figure-oriented prints to focus more on the actual markmaking, much like a painter who might focus more on the brush stroke than the overall image he creates. That’s one of the appeals of printmaking for Hackenmiller and others. While drawing allows the artist to focus on the subtleties of an image, the marks scratched into wood, metal, or other surfaces used in printmaking create a beautiful richness, she says. Her latest series, “Liminal,” offers a dynamic display of the power of the mark. Hackenmiller creates these pieces by etching abstract marks into a zinc plate, printing it in black ink, and then reconfiguring the pieces in a collage. The finished works, which call to mind the gray matter of the human brain, are visual representations of the connections and re-connections that the brain quickly makes between the layers of consciousness and subconsciousness. The images are meticulous and mesmerizing. “This automatic inner life is so vibrant and also so out of our control,” Hackenmiller notes. Hackenmiller has exhibited nationally and has given lectures on her work at 30 venues, most recently at the University of Utah, Anderson Ranch, Northern Illinois University, and the University of Minnesota at Morris. She also frequently participates in national, invitational print exchange portfolios. “Because the work is about those internal spaces, it is very personal,” she says about exhibitions. But it’s also good to get feedback on the work from external sources, she adds, “because when people respond to the work, they are responding to that space, which creates a deeper connection.”

6EQUILIBRIUM, etching, 15x22”


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MENTOR I N G M I N D S In the spacious printmaking studios in Seigfred Hall, Hackenmiller connects with her students. The printmaking department usually consists of between 10 to 20 undergraduate majors and eight to 12 graduate students, though Hackenmiller’s classes also include nonmajors — the department usually has between 80 to 100 students enrolled in print classes each quarter. During a class last fall on monotype, a painterly process involving printing ink from a flat, plastic plate, Hackenmiller offered soft-spoken critiques of the student work pinned to a corkboard wall. A gaunt, hairless woman with desperate eyes stared out from one image. Another page captured the delicate tendrils of a spring plant. Hackenmiller mused about the subject matter and offered technical advice on printmaking — from mentioning a technique called dry brush to create grass-like markings to suggesting that a student reduce the tackiness of the ink when printing flat shapes of color. “She’s a wealth of technical knowledge,” student Claire Jacobs later says. Jacobs was already familiar with Hackenmiller’s reputation and work from print exchanges when she chose Ohio University for graduate school. “She’s very thoughtful when she talks about my work. When she comments on something, it really resonates with me.” Teaching undergraduate and graduate students is good for Hackenmiller’s creative work, the professor says, because the students challenge her and force her to ask the same questions about her art. Hackenmiller notes that her courses aren’t just about imparting technical skills, but prompting her students to become intellectual. “The conceptual part of art is just as important as what it looks like,” she says. “We talk about philosophy, psychology, science, religion, and how they tie in to the ideas that they’re addressing in their artwork.”



SLICE #6, #2, AND #3, collaged etchings, 12x43x4” each 4NEW COMMANDMENT: WISDOM, etching & relief, 24x18”

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Though printmaking is an established genre, some artists who draw, paint, or sculpt still view it as a lesser art form, Hackenmiller says. Yet printmaking continues to flourish, she adds, and has been a vital component in contemporary mixed media work as well. Those who doubt might only need to spend a few days in the company of a passionate community of printmakers to understand the appeal of the art form. Hackenmiller and her Ohio University colleagues hosted 500 members of the Mid American Printmaking Council for the annual conference last fall in Athens. They not only exchanged wisdom and technical expertise, but offered an array of hands-on workshops and exhibitions for students and members of the public. The keynote speaker of the event was not, however, an artist, but a science writer who spoke about creative thinking. The appearance of author Steven Berlin Johnson was no coincidence. His book Mind Wide Open inspired Hackenmiller’s “Liminal” series of prints. Hackenmiller is quick to point out that she’s not an expert on neuroscience or psychology, though the fields highly influence her work. But experiencing the artist’s body of work, from the figureoriented pieces that celebrate Christian myth to the abstract images of the human brain, doesn’t require such analytical tools. The work speaks to a deeper, fundamental part of the mind, the place where nightmares, dreams, fears, desires, and hopes reside.



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Indoor health specialist explores new method to detect mold in homes, buildings by ERIC HORNBECK

[ on the web] TIM RYAN: Photo: Getty Images

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im Ryan opens a mini-fridge in his laboratory to reveal a series of jars. When he opens the lids, the scents of pine trees, forest floors, and beets waft out, until finally one unpleasant odor hits: It’s the smell of an old, wet basement. That’s the work of geosmin, a common microbial volatile organic compound. Geosmin is released by molds and other compounds into the air and can cause noticeable smells, although most are odorless at the concentrations normally found in houses or buildings. Acting like the indicators added to natural gas, and using highly sensitive, chemically specific detectors, microbial volatile organic compounds can be used to identify which molds are present in a room, Ryan says. Working in industrial hygiene for 25 years, Ryan, associate professor of health sciences at Ohio University, knows the smell well and has seen the scope of the problem firsthand. He’s studied and consulted on a variety of indoor air quality problems that range from assessing the safety of a mold-infested abandoned apartment complex in Ohio to helping a Texas university save its rare books collection from mildew. Indoor mold and air quality have become a growing concern in America. High profile instances include the Mississippi delta in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the 1992 Chicago flood, and flooding in the buildings surrounding the World Trade Center when sprinkler systems sprayed water for days after workers fled the area following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The problem, Ryan says, is not acting fast enough. Once the water is there in the carpet, in the walls, or anywhere else, mold will grow and only worsen with time. In the field of mold detection, however, there are no industry standards for “fast”— or even “accurate.” There is no official spore level considered safe or unsafe, and spore sampling results can take over a week for a lab to process. But that’s where Ryan’s research may make a difference. A TELL-TA L E S M E L L Ryan’s focus on the low-level microbial volatile organic compounds (MVOCs) makes his original research on mold detection methods stand out. Industrial hygiene and mold detection companies currently use a multistep process that has several disadvantages — it’s expensive and time consuming. Dianne Grote Adams, president of the Westerville, Ohio-based Safex, Inc., an industrial hygiene training and consulting company, investigates mold complaints in work environments. She explains that the inspection involves looking for visual signs of moisture intrusion, swab sampling to determine if a substance is mold or just a stain or salt deposit, and air sampling. The problem, according to both Adams and Ryan, is that there are no government standards for acceptable levels of mold and mold spores. “The biggest issue in the field right now is ‘what is safe?’” Ryan says. There also can be huge variations in spore levels from day to day. Weather conditions, temperature, humidity, and a host of other factors can skew results — even within the same day. Finally, the whole process is expensive and takes time. “People don’t want to wait two weeks for results,” Adams says. In a study funded by the Ohio University Research Committee, Ryan tested mold levels in 22 homes. He compared techniques by using the traditional method employed by industrial hygiene companies and his MVOC mold detection method

to measure mold levels in different parts of the houses. For his method, Ryan used a device called a gas chromatograph to separate out the different MVOCs and another device known as a mass spectrometer to identify them. This equipment — used in fields from chemical engineering to medicine — is readily available and can deliver more consistent results. In forensics and law enforcement, the method can help solve crimes and even detect explosives. The goal of Ryan’s project is to get instant readings of MVOC levels in a room but also tell the exact types of mold present. The method could lead to the development of a portable detector, he says, that provides immediate results. If the technique can be standardized, it holds the promise of being less subjective than traditional methods. CLEANER SOLUTIONS That’s good news for anyone concerned about indoor air quality and health. High exposure to damp buildings — where indoor mold growth is most likely to occur — has been linked to the development of asthma, according to Elliott Horner, a building consultant with Air Quality Services, Inc., in Marietta, Georgia, and a member of the American Industrial Hygiene Association. But whether mold itself or some other factor causes the health maladies is still unknown. But it is clear how expensive battling a mold problem can become. Small-scale leaks and water damage generally aren’t a big problem, Horner says. But if mold begins to grow and covers more than 100 square feet, the cleanup resembles an asbestos scene, with workers donning suits, masks, and goggles. Nearly a decade ago, fears about “toxic” mold received significant media and public attention, which the insurance industry said was partially to blame for the surge in mold claims and litigation. Big jury awards, like a $30 million verdict in Texas against one insurance company, prompted insurers to offer incentives to building managers to prevent leaks and moisture intrusion. Within the last several years, Horner says, “there’s been a more proactive approach to control it.” Ryan can vouch for a proactive approach as well. When a water line malfunction flooded his work space and about 70 other nearby offices and classrooms last year, Ryan’s expertise came in handy for the cleanup crew. Though the water was receding, the researcher urged them to tear up and ditch the carpet. He knew that wet carpet and drywall could become an enticing food source to mold and mildew, which could create further damage. Though no stranger to working with mold, Ryan would prefer to keep the feisty fungi in their place — safely tucked away in his laboratory jars. perspectives

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Using a large-format camera, Larry Hamel-Lambert captures a portrait of himself (right) and Timothy Anderson (left) outside a church. Due to the camera’s viewfinder, each image was composed by Hamel-Lambert upside down. 4

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It’s a blustery November day in Lancaster, with a cold front bringing rain-swollen clouds and a chill wind, but Ohio University professors Timothy Anderson and Larry HamelLambert are taking the weather in stride. They’re on a mission to record the existence of churches and cemeteries built in the 1800s by Pennsylvania-German settlers — churches and cemeteries in danger of being swept away by exurban development — and a little rain can’t dampen their enthusiasm.


turin p a


A geographer and photographer document the churches, cemeteries, and barns that mark central Ohio’s German heritage in a fast-changing landscape by KAREN SOTTOSANTI photographs by LARRY HAMEL-LAMBERT perspectives

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Although many of the churches and cemeteries are still in use, some are abandoned


The Pennsylvania Germans brought with them many distinctive building traditions, including their simple churches and cemeteries. The architecture of the churches reflects the restrained aesthetic of the Lutheran and German Reformed settlers who built them — streamlined, wooden buildings without much adornment. Some may have a bell tower, a steeple, or a bit of gingerbread trim. The simple beauty of these modest white buildings communicates dignity and grace.

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because, as the area’s population grew, the congregations needed bigger buildings.

[ opposite page ] 333Olivet

Church of the Brethren

[ this page ] 33A

hand-carved folk gravestone that is typical of cemeteries in the area with respect to design and motifs; the inscription gives the birthplace as Berks County, Pennsylvania — one of the major origins of early German settlers in Ohio; the gravestone is signed by John Strickler, a noted gravestone carver whose work appears in dozens of cemeteries in the area. 3(Hallsville Evangelical United Brethren church): Built in 1845, one of the oldest extant churches in the area; the lack of overt religious symbolism and plain form is typical of German Reformed religious architecture. 6 Trinity Lutheran Church, Crumley Road, Lancaster, Ohio


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“I call it a sort of extended Pennsylvania landscape. It’s a relic landscape of folk f you grew up in central Ohio, the type of church and cemetery that the professors document might escape your conscious notice. They are such an organic part of the landscape, like trees and cornfields, that it seems as if they always have been, and always will be there. That’s the purpose of Hamel-Lambert’s and Anderson’s project: They want to bring them to the public’s attention, hoping that people will become interested in getting qualifying churches placed on the National Register of Historic Places. “Settlers really at first did not establish towns,” Anderson says, noting that rural communities usually centered around churches. Standing in a tiny cemetery on Tschopp Road, Anderson points out a tombstone written in German while Hamel-Lambert searches for a good angle from which to photograph St. Peter’s United Church of Christ. (A sign out front dubs it “The Little Country Church.”) “I call it a sort of extended Pennsylvania landscape,” Anderson says. “It’s a relic landscape of folk culture. It’s a very distinctive thing that I think should be valued.” Pennsylvania-German churches are most often plain wooden buildings without much adornment. Some have a bell tower, a steeple, or a bit of gingerbread trim, Hamel-Lambert says, but for the most part, the churches reflect the restrained aesthetic of the Lutheran and German Reformed settlers who built them. In this case, plain is beautiful. There is dignity and grace in the simple lines of these modest white buildings. At the Abundant Life Church of Mt. Pleasant, farther down Tschopp Road, a field of rustling brown cornstalks begins just a few yards behind the building. It’s an iconic image, especially with a turbulent November sky in the background. SEARCH E S F O R C H U R C H E S


fter securing grants from the Ohio University Research Committee and the Ohio Humanities Council, HamelLambert and Anderson began their project in March 2006. Anderson, whose interests lie in cultural and historical geography, had previously published several articles on German immigrants in the Midwest and on Pennsylvania-German migrants in Ohio. Hamel-Lambert, a former newspaper photographer and photo editor who has worked for The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, Ohio, and the Associated Press in Washington, D.C., had previously produced a series of photographs of Milan, Ohio, called “Hometown Structures,” with the same kind of large-format camera he is using for this current project. They are focusing on churches at the southern and eastern edges of Columbus, a region settled in the early 19th century mainly by German farmers who had originally established residence in southeastern Pennsylvania. These farmers built distinctive churches, barns, and houses that are now being threatened by new housing complexes and other development pushing out from Columbus. Modernization also poses a threat to the churches’ continued existence, says Anderson, an associate professor and chair of the Department of Geography. Although many of the churches and cemeteries are still in use, some are abandoned because, as the area’s population grew, the congregations needed bigger buildings. At other churches, congregations didn’t have the funds to make the buildings conform to modern code regulations, and so they moved to or built other churches. Some modern churches have all the architectural appeal of industrial buildings, the professors say, and the trend has spread across the country. “That’s kind of what got us started,” says 22 |

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Hamel-Lambert, an assistant professor of visual communication. “Some modern churches are prefabricated metal buildings.” He cites a church in Logan: “It could be a warehouse.” “That’s typical of pop culture,” Anderson adds. “Similarity across space.” Hamel-Lambert speaks of driving past a particularly striking area building for years and then suddenly finding it gone, torn down to make way for development. “You say, ‘Someday I’m going to stop and take a picture of this,’” he says, but then time runs out. The professors conceived of their project with the hope of preserving at least the memory of historic churches and, perhaps, spurring people to save the actual physical structures. To find the churches, Anderson and Hamel-Lambert rely on several sources: libraries, historical societies, and personal observation. Sometimes, they say, they just get in the car and start driving through an area in their study region, asking locals and road crews along the way for directions to old churches. Once on site, Anderson maps the churches’ locations with a hand-held global positioning system (GPS) device. With the help of Margaret Pearce, an assistant professor of geography and the director of the university’s Cartography Center, the information gathered by the GPS is used to create a map of the churches’ locations in central Ohio. “As the years go by, we can just keep making [the map] bigger and bigger,” Anderson says. Equally important to the project are Hamel-Lambert’s photographs. Hamel-Lambert uses 5 x 7 inch black-and-white film and a large-format view camera to capture crisp, clean images of the churches and the small cemeteries that accompany them. His images and Anderson’s maps will become part of a traveling exhibition that is the culmination of their project. The results of their research also will be submitted for publication in scholarly journals and professional photography publications. But right now, there are GPS readings to take and photographs to shoot. The professors move through the cemetery at Zeigler Emmanuel Lutheran Church of Pleasant Township, examining tombstones that feature sunbursts, a characteristic of PennsylvaniaGerman folk art. Some markers are in German, and Anderson says he’s seen some in other cemeteries that featured English on one side, German on the other. “You’re not going to find gravestones this old much farther west,” he says, noting that soldiers who died in the Revolutionary, Civil, and Spanish-American wars are buried in cemeteries in the area. The grave markers vary widely in appearance. Some are so weathered and eroded, so scarred by lichens, that they are unreadable. Others have had more luck in surviving the elements and look as if they could stand for several hundred more years. Anderson points out other symbols that, being popular nationally, were adopted by the Pennsylvania Germans for their tombstones: willows and urns, hands pointing to heaven, Bibles, vines, and roses. Hamel-Lambert examines a beautifully carved gravestone with elaborate cursive writing. It is signed by J.W. Jungkurth, a noted German stonecutter who moved from Pennsylvania to Lithopolis, Ohio, in 1834. “All these tombstones are handmade,” Anderson says, explaining that Jungkurth and another prodigious area stonecutter, John Strickler, usually signed their gravestones much like artists sign their paintings. “Folk means not made according to plan,” Anderson says. “You don’t download it from the Internet; it’s handmade.”

culture. It’s a very distinctive thing that I think should be valued.” G E RMAN MIGRATION


he story of the migration of German settlers from Pennsylvania to central Ohio is part of a larger narrative that few Ohioans know. With the exception of Texas, Anderson says, there are very few parts of the country that have such a variety of regional cultural landscapes. While settlers from Virginia and Kentucky moved to southern Ohio, and settlers from Connecticut moved to northeast Ohio, central Ohio was dominated by an influx of German settlers from Pennsylvania. The “Pennsylvania Dutch” (a misunderstanding of the word Deutsch) settlers came to Ohio from the 1790s through the 1850s by way of the National Road and Zane’s Trace. By 1850, they accounted for roughly 10 percent of the state’s entire population. The majority of Amish and Mennonite German settlers moved to Holmes and Wayne counties, in east-central Ohio. But the majority of German Reformed and Lutheran Germans moved to Fairfield, Perry, Pickaway, Ross, and Hocking counties, in central Ohio — the focus of Hamel-Lambert’s and Anderson’s project. They came, Anderson says, mainly in search of affordable land. The Pennsylvania Germans brought with them distinctive building traditions, including their simple churches and cemeteries. Another of their imports is the Pennsylvania forebay bank barn, a large, two-level barn with a second story that projects out over the first. The barns are normally “banked” into a hillside to provide additional access to the upper level, Anderson says. German settlers, unlike most other settlers, concentrated equally on crops and livestock, and they built their barns to accommodate both. Staples of Pennsylvania-German folk art — tulips, hearts, stars, circles, doves, and peacocks used as decorations on many buildings and objects — are almost entirely absent from the wooden Ohio barns built by transplanted Pennsylvania-Germans. “That gets diluted the farther west you move,” Anderson says, noting that he and Hamel-Lambert have seen only one barn in Ohio with the folk art. Anderson and Hamel-Lambert hope to document the Pennsylvania-German barns, which are also threatened by development, in a later stage of their project. “There are at least 85 barns in the Columbus area,” Anderson says. “They’re held together with wooden pegs, mortise, and tenon.” The Pennsylvania Germans also built many homes known as I-houses in central Ohio. These buildings are one room deep, two rooms wide, and two stories in height. I-houses are actually British in origin; they became popular in the colonies in the early 1700s. The floor plan became a favorite of German settlers in Pennsylvania, and they brought it with them to Ohio. Unlike their churches and barns, I-houses are found in urban as well as rural settings. In a third possible phase of their project, Hamel-Lambert and Anderson hope to document I-houses before they, too, succumb to development. F R AMING THE SCENE


ack at the Abundant Life Church, Hamel-Lambert unpacks his camera. It’s not a simple matter, as his view camera has a lens standard in the front, a film standard in the rear, and a flexible bellows that connects the two pieces. He mounts the camera on a tripod and throws a large cloth over the film standard and his head and shoulders. It’s the sort of camera one can imagine immigrants posing for in the late 1800s, and it’s somehow fitting that it should be used to record the images of churches from the same period.

timothy anderson

Under the cloth, an image of the church, upside down and backwards, appears on a glass panel scored with a grid. While trying to line up a shot, Hamel-Lambert often walks around a church looking through an empty white cardboard frame because it is difficult to work with an image that is the exact opposite of what the eye sees. Hamel-Lambert uses lenses that project a large image circle onto the film so that he has maximum flexibility in raising the front of the camera. These lenses have small lens openings, however, which require longer exposure times. On a sunny day, exposure time is half a second; on a somewhat overcast day, the time needed is one minute. On a gray day like today, with charcoal storm clouds racing across the sky, exposure time is five to 10 minutes. The methods used in architectural photography are exacting. Hamel-Lambert demonstrates how to raise the lens standard up so that the entirety of the church is in the frame. This way, the film standard does not have to be tilted, and so what he calls an “inverted keystone look” — in which the walls of the church would appear to lean in — can be avoided. There is more work to be done with light meters, photographers’ loupes, and filters before the shutter can be opened. Afterwards, in the dark room, Hamel-Lambert will use a particular pyrocatechin developer that slightly stains the negatives and makes the small details of the white churches and gravestones stand out more clearly. It’s a lot of work. But it makes for beautiful photographs. H E R I TA G E O N D I S P L AY


nderson and Hamel-Lambert expect to finish their project by June. Starting in late spring, they will concentrate on bringing the traveling exhibition of maps and photographs to as many places as possible, perhaps Baker Center in Athens, the Ohio Historical Society in Columbus, the Lancaster library, and the Ohio University Lancaster and Pickerington campuses. Anderson plans to use their research on Pennsylvania-German churches in a book he is writing about Ohio’s rural regional cultural landscapes, including the parts of the state settled by former Connecticut, Virginia, and Kentucky residents. Hamel-Lambert would like to continue photographing more rural churches in other areas of Ohio, which might lead to a book. The professors plan to apply for grants that would allow them to document Pennsylvania-German forebay bank barns in 2007 and I-houses in 2008. They are only too aware that, with the rate housing developments are being built in central Ohio, some of the structures they want to document might soon be torn down. Back in the cemetery at Zeigler Emmanuel Lutheran Church, Anderson and Hamel-Lambert walk among the gravestones, reading names and dates and taking photographs. Some of the stones bear inscriptions with misspellings characteristic of the time period: Life is aspan a fleeting hour How soon the vaper flies Man is a tender transient flour That even in blooming dies Cold rain suddenly fills the air, threatening the professors’ equipment. They take shelter near the church’s door to wait out the squall. Anderson surveys the graveyard and, across the street, the Abundant Life Church, ringed by rattling cornstalks. “Who knows?” he says. “They could be gone tomorrow.”


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a i d e M A Pop culture may be turning future professionals, and especially young women and by ANITA MARTIN minorities, away from careers in math, science, and computing. text by ANITA MARTIN illustrations by CHRISTINA ULLMAN

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s any middle school teacher can attest, if you ask a group of adolescents to name their top career picks, the overwhelming majority will say either pro athlete or pop star. Media teacher Karen Ambrosh adds that out of the sea of aspiring athletes and hip-hop artists, chances are, one or two students want to work as medical examiners for crime investigation. Despite the striking contrast, pro sports, MTV, and forensic science all share one thing: They’re sexy on TV. “This age group spends more time interacting with media than in school or with family, or even with their peers,” says Joseph Bernt, Ohio University professor of journalism. In 1999, the Kaiser Family Foundation found that adolescents spent more than eight hours a day interacting with mass media — more than any other age group. But do today’s youth really rely on videos and celebrity profiles to define their professional aspirations? Joseph Bernt and Phyllis Bernt, Ohio University professor of information and telecommunication systems, recently completed a nationwide study to find out. They analyzed adolescent media habits hoping to shed light on one specific issue: the under-representation of women and minorities in the information technology industry. The investigation, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), looked at media messages American middle school students receive about technology-related careers. It’s part of a larger effort, the Information Technology Workforce Initiative, which is attempting to address a mounting concern: American global competitiveness in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).






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“Middle school is a crossroads. They’re not yet adults, but they’re not merely kids anymore. They’re constantly looking for models of what’s appropriate, what’s cool, and how to be successful socially. And this is also when they become interested in gender identity.” PHYLLIS BERNT

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Women and minorities represent America’s two main untapped talent pools for STEM jobs. Because women represented only 22 percent and African Americans only 8 percent of undergraduate computer science and engineering degrees in 2001-02, the Bernts believe that the IT demographic disparity demands intervention earlier than college or even high school. Research indicates that women and minorities tend to avoid the early educational training required for IT careers, such as math and science courses, and the Bernts wanted to know why. One 2000 report, by the American Association of University Women, suggested that the media representation of IT occupations deserved investigation. Considering the high media usage of middle school students, the Ohio University professors took on the challenge. HANDS-ON S C I E N C E was surprised when one little girl said she wanted to “ open up a coroner’s office — because of CSI, I guess,” Ambrosh says. She can tell you the dream careers of all the students who participated in the Bernts’ “Getting the Media Message” research project at Audobon Technology and Communication Center, the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, charter school where she taught video production and media analysis before moving to W.E.B. Dubois High School. Part of the Bernts’ research included surveying the media habits of 1,501 middle school students in 12 schools across the nation, but the study also asked the students to take on the role of researchers themselves. The professors created a curricular enrichment project in which students surveyed each other about their media habits, observed and analyzed media content, recorded and interpreted the data, and finally, discussed and presented their conclusions. The Bernts developed this approach with Sandra Turner, Ohio University professor of educational studies. Turner, a scholar of “authentic learning” theory — which involves a hands-on, interactive pedagogy — helped to write the NSF grant and participated for the first two years of the research project before traveling to Ghana on a U.S. Fulbright grant. The “Getting the Media Message” student project gathered data while engaging students in scientific research. “The great thing about this curriculum project is that it forces students to analyze their behavior and how outside influences affect their behavior,” Phyllis Bernt says. The Bernts wanted a comprehensive representation of ethnicities and race, so they targeted schools everywhere from Athens, Ohio, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to Port Angeles, Washington. A full range of teachers responded, including instructors of science, communications, and English. Each teacher approached the project in a slightly different way, but the initial survey was always the same. Ambrosh and her students focused on the scientific process itself, crossing over into media analysis. “This was such a handson, practical kind of thing,” she says. “It really showed them with numbers how to collect data and interpret their habits. And that gave them something real to talk about.” Meanwhile, Betsy Anderson, an English teacher at Athens Middle School, saw the project primarily as an opportunity for dialogue. After Anderson’s students completed the survey,


Phyllis Bernt visited the class to participate in the discussion of the students’ findings. “The students were very involved in the discussion,” Anderson says. “They found it interesting to look at how they’re being targeted by the media, and to hear an authority figure come in and tell them to question these messages they ordinarily take for granted.” The project does more than gather data and promote critical thinking skills, Joseph Bernt says. It allows young people to work on a national project. “These students are pioneer researchers, sponsored by the National Science Foundation,” he says. “They feel like they’re part of a bigger enterprise and that their input is valued.” MODELING IDENTITY he media habits survey on which the students listed their top three career preferences showed that science and technology-related jobs ranked low for both boys and girls, though boys were slightly more likely to list a STEM career than were girls. Boys overwhelmingly aspired to professional athletics, and girls were far more interested in pursuing careers in the performing arts. During the class discussions of the survey results, students often found parallels between their career aspirations and the content of popular media. Anderson and Ambrosh had their students analyze magazines and other media targeted to their age groups. “If you look at males, especially in magazine images, unless they’re shown in some high-paced professional context, they’re all very muscular and athletic,” Anderson says. Meanwhile, “it was difficult to find any picture of a female that isn’t related to health and beauty and scantily clad.” According to Phyllis Bernt, this could help explain why girls wish to be on display as singers and actresses, while boys feel compelled to compete. “Middle school is a crossroads,” she says. “They’re not yet adults, but they’re not merely kids anymore. They’re constantly looking for models of what’s appropriate, what’s cool, and how to be successful socially. And this is also when they become interested in gender identity.” Sherry Turkle, director of the MIT Initiative on Technology and Self Program in Science, Technology, and Society suggests an additional explanation for low participation rates of women in STEM careers. While completing Tech Savvy: Educating Girls in the New Computer Age, a commission study she co-chaired for the American Association of University Women, Turkle discovered that women’s attitudes toward science and technology careers have changed over recent decades. “We found that there had been a movement from an early period when women said, ‘This is something I can’t do but wish I could,’ to the current situation where women say, ‘This is something I could do, but don’t want to,’” Turkle says. She believes this current disinterest stems from a “widespread sense that careers in technology and most particularly, in computer technology, take people away from people, were isolating, did not get one into the flow of life.” The commission study found these attitudes as early as middle school and found also that they persisted through high school and college.



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[ on the web]

This comes as no surprise to the Bernts, who noticed that female students greatly value social interaction. “The media use for girls is more people-oriented,” Phyllis Bernt says. “They e-mail or instant message, or look up information about people.” Boys of all ethnic backgrounds devoted most of their media use to playing games and looking up sports information. Images of minorities in the mass media, aside from sports and popular music, proved scarce, especially images relating to science and technology. BREAKING THROUGH any people, including the Bernts, consider Barbara Simons one of the leading computer scientists in the field. She’s a former president of the Association for Computing Machinery and now a consulting professor for Stanford University. Despite being ranked among the “Top 100 Women in Computing” by Open Computing and named by C/NET as one of their 26 “Internet visionaries,” she betrays the self-doubt reportedly common to her generation. “I never would have gone to Berkeley on my own if my boyfriend had not transferred out there,” says Simons, who earned her Ph.D. in computer science from the University of California at Berkeley in 1981, a goal she says she had not expected to reach. “Women tend to underestimate our own capabilities.” Simons represents the earlier generation who, according to the AAUW commission, lacked the confidence for science and math, yet “wished they could.” Ironically, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reports that a higher percentage of women earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in computer science in the early 1980s than today, steadily decreasing from 37 percent in 1984 to just 21 percent in 2001. “In the early days of computer science, women were studying it. But then, not many people were. The field was not welldefined, so it was wide open,” Simons says. “It didn’t have the status, money, and power that it has now.” Despite a gradual improvement in other science and technology majors (NCES reports an upward trend for women’s participation in STEM degree programs overall), Simons expresses disappointment with the white male-dominated field of computer information, and believes that today’s youth receive false messages about such careers. For example, the idea that computing jobs are isolating. “It’s just not true,” she says. “Computing is a very large field encompassing many different disciplines, most of which require a lot of teamwork and a huge amount of interaction among the people involved.”


C A M PA I G N : S T E M opular media, however, do not send the wrong message to only women and minority students, the Bernts found. For all young people, “the media are a vacuum of career information,” Joseph Bernt says, especially in terms of STEM career information. “Sure there are shows like CSI,” he says, “but the characters don’t talk about how they got there. What the kids do understand is how to become a basketball player: They practice and play hard.” Nearly a third of the students who completed the survey said

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they would go first to the Web to learn more about their career choice. A quarter cited family members, and fewer still would turn to teachers, school libraries, or school counselors. “When you do find career information related to STEM jobs on the Web, it tends to be inaccessible and dull — not at all geared for consumption by young people,” Joseph Bernt says. Since the Bernts know that Hollywood won’t promote their agenda, they suggest offering “an antidote to Hollywood,” Phyllis Bernt says. “We don’t need some boring Web page with a black and white photograph of some IT professional looking uncomfortable.” Their report recommends an online career resource designed in the format of a popular magazine: one that profiles young, hip — and diverse — tech professionals who illustrate the full diversity of such jobs themselves. In particular, the Bernts recommend a Web resource that connects information technology to such popular adolescent career choices as sports, fashion, and the performing arts. “Information technology is broader than computer programming,” Phyllis Bernt says. “You can build networks, you can do Web page design. Technology and computing play a role in fields students find attractive.” The professors, who submitted their final report to the NSF in late 2006, have presented their findings at such conferences as the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication and have published them in such academic journals as Middle School Journal. They are currently seeking funds for an online pilot project that uses “magazine-style” profiles of people in IT sectors relating to careers popular among this age group. They hope to interest the industries themselves. “These kids are looking for models of what they want to be,” Joseph Bernt says. “They don’t want to be geeks sitting at a keyboard all day. They’ll respond when they see real human beings communicating in a compelling way.” Such a resource could be accessed for school projects, or within other adult-supervised youth group settings, to ensure exposure. The Girl Scouts, for example, have made similar efforts on the Web. In addition, the Bernts, as well as the teachers they’ve worked with, believe that students need more exposure to real professional experiences. Students, they say, are isolated from the work world so that their perceptions of reality come more from unrealistic mass media representations than from firsthand experience. What’s more, socio-economic factors further restrict less affluent students, whether minority, female, or white male. “In this country, wealthy parents know how the system works so they make sure their children are prepared for it,” Phyllis Bernt says. Still, says Anderson, middle school represents a unique opportunity to effect change, especially if students can be engaged on their terms, utilizing their media habits and what they consider popular. “This is a time when gender roles are being explored, yet middle school is also when you see boys and girls still trying out different things,” she says. “It’s a crucial age where you can help them see that they can do anything and be anything.”

“These kids are looking for models of what they want to be. They don’t want to be geeks sitting at a keyboard all day. They’ll respond when they see real human beings communicating in a compelling way.” JOSEPH BERNT


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Physicist David Drabold explores the materials that will build the next generation of electronics

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text by PAM FROST GORDER portrait by LUIZ SANTOS

“If you had asked me when I was 10 years old what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would have said a professor of history.” But when 10-year-old David Drabold wasn’t devouring books on ancient Rome or medieval England, he was tinkering with radios and TVs in his basement workshop in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. On holidays in Detroit, he listened to his grandfather’s tales of automobile technology from the 1920s, when that industry was brand new. Then there were the clear winter nights he spent huddled over his backyard telescope, which inspired him to model the motion of the planets on his programmable calculator. perspectives

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Some materials’ structures are so predictable that their atoms resemble bricks in a wall; by comparison, Drabold’s materials look more like wild frescoes designed by abstract artists.

A Distinguished Career PUBLICATIONS More than 140 academic journal publications, 2,700 citations by other scientists, one book published, and one forthcoming. CURRENT RESEARCH GROUP 4 doctoral students, 1 postdoctoral, all supported by external funding. MAJOR UNIVERSITY AWARDS Distinguished Professor Award and Presidential Research Scholar (2002-2007). Ohio Magazine’s “Excellence in Teaching Award.” CURRENT FUNDING National Science Foundation, Army Research Office. Previous support: Office of Naval Research, Motorola, Inc., and Axon Technologies, Inc. Research team has more than $6 million in external funding over 5 years. PARTNERSHIPS University of Cambridge, University of Illinois, Penn State University, Lehigh University. West Virginia University, Arizona State University, Texas Tech University. TEACHING Elementary physics; graduate courses in quantum mechanics, solid state physics, and computational physics; and tutorials with the Honors Tutorial College.

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“It’s the quintessential mechanics problem, right?” the Ohio University physicist remembered. “It’s kind of funny — I’m a computational theorist now, and I’m not within a mile of astronomy or astrophysics, but in the sense that I was using a computer to model a physical process, I still do that today.” Drabold devises equations to describe the behavior of atoms in the newest electronic materials. But while he could observe the planets’ paths with relative ease from his backyard, he can’t directly observe the paths of electrons flowing through these materials. He combines the data from his colleagues’ experiments with what he knows about quantum mechanics and probability to work backward to the equations. On a recent cold February day in his office in Clippinger Lab, Drabold recalled how his desire to solve complex physics problems eventually eclipsed his original career goal as a historian. Now, reading history books and collecting rare coins are what he does when he needs a break from deciphering the physics of tomorrow’s electronics. A bachelor’s degree in applied mathematics and a master’s in physics from the University of Akron led him to a doctorate in physics from Washington University in St. Louis. From there, he went on to two prestigious postdoctoral fellowships: one in physics at the University of Notre Dame, and another jointly in physics and materials science and engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He joined the Ohio University faculty in 1993, and except for the occasional sabbatical, hasn’t left since. He’s Distinguished Professor of Physics (the highest academic distinction at Ohio University), and a Fellow of the American Physical Society and the British Institute of Physics. THE MATERIAL WORLD rabold studies disordered and amorphous materials, meaning that the atoms aren’t arranged in neatly repeating patterns as in crystals. Some materials’ structures are so predictable that their atoms resemble bricks in a wall; by comparison, Drabold’s materials look more like wild frescoes designed by abstract artists. The patterns aren’t easy to discern, and the math that describes them is complex. His methods for modeling these materials are being utilized by scientists across a broad range of disciplines, as they develop the next generation of electronics. Case in point: Pure silicon, the essential element of today’s electronics, has a regular crystal structure, with atoms periodically stacked one on top of the other. Scientists have understood much of how electrons move through silicon since the 1930s. But jumble the atomic positions and add some hydrogen atoms, and you get a different material entirely: hydrogenated amorphous silicon. The atoms form a quirky latticework that looks entirely random. The material still conducts electrons, but when exposed to heat or light, its conduction changes dramatically. Why that happens is a mystery, one that Drabold is trying to


[ on the web]

solve. To do so, he goes literally back to the drawing board, to derive from scratch the equations that govern how silicon and hydrogen atoms in that crazy configuration interact. Scientists already have begun incorporating hydrogenated amorphous silicon into heat-vision goggles (used to see infrared “heat” images in absolute darkness) and solar cells. But since they don’t know everything there is to know about how the material works, they’ve hit roadblocks in cost and performance. So Drabold’s theoretical work is critical to moving these technologies forward. He’s made progress. In 2005, he and his colleagues discovered one reason that defects form in solar cells made from the material. And he thinks they’ve just figured out why it’s so sensitive to changes in temperature — the feature that makes it ideal for heat-vision goggles: Electrons are confined inside pockets in the material, and those electrons are very sensitive to movement in the surrounding atoms. So incoming heat energy may jostle those atoms only a little, but to great effect to the electrons and therefore the conductivity. Colleague Alex Kolobov, a senior scientist at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Tsukuba, Japan, is looking for Drabold to help solve another mystery: why re-writable DVDs work the way they do. Laser light alters the data on these disks by changing the structure from a crystalline to an amorphous state. Even though the technology has been commercially available since 1999, scientists don’t understand exactly why the change takes place. Kolobov called simulating this transition a “major challenge,” and added that Drabold “is one of the very few people who can, perhaps, do this.” Looking to the future of electronics, power generation, and computer memory, Drabold sees strong potential for disordered materials — from materials like hydrogenated amorphous silicon, to glasses and polymers. All require innovative methods to predict their properties. The ultimate goal is designing electronic materials to order. “Ideally, you’d like to be able to say, ‘I want a material with this particular property — give me the recipe.’ We’ve taken a first step in that direction,” he said. Just determining a material’s structure can be a difficult task. “If you give me the data from one experiment, one curve on a graph that characterizes the material in some way, there’s literally infinity of possible structures that would be consistent with that,” he said. “How do I find an optimal model expressing all we know about the material (from experiments) and from theory work at the same time?” MAKING P R E D I C T I O N S or that, he often turns to Bayes’ theorem, a centuries-old statistical method that was once very controversial but is now gaining a foothold in the scientific community. The method involves taking an educated guess about the likelihood


of something happening, and gradually making that prediction better by factoring in results from scientific experiments. To Drabold, calculating the likelihood that one of his computer models accurately describes a material is a “disarmingly simple” use of the theorem: “It’s just two lines [of equations]…. What you’re doing algebraically is utterly trivial, but somehow the results are profound.” Richard Martin, professor of physics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, recalled that Drabold was already employing innovative methods such as Bayesian statistics when he was a postdoctoral researcher in Martin’s lab in the early 1990s. “David was already very mature and independent at that time, and he became the leader for much of our work,” Martin said. He was especially impressed with the way Drabold was able to unite the theory from so many different fields — including statistics, mathematical analysis, and advanced numerical methods for creating algorithms — with experimental problems. Drabold traces his use of Bayes’ theorem to his graduate study, where he met one of his most important mentors, E. T. Jaynes. Though Jaynes was a physicist, he was best known for advancing the use of statistics in science. Bayesian techniques are still somewhat controversial, but they were much more so in the 1980s, when Jaynes was a strong proponent. “No matter what course [Jaynes] taught, somehow it always had a lot of Bayesian probability theory in it,” Drabold said. “Somehow, coming from him, it worked.” While Drabold was still a graduate student, Jaynes paid for him to travel to a science meeting at the University of Cambridge. It was his first trip to England, and so his interest in statistical mechanics collided joyously with his interest in medieval history. Ever since, science has brought Drabold experiences that any history buff would envy. When he returned to Cambridge for a sabbatical in 2001, the chemist with whom he was collaborating arranged for him to visit the Parker Library, at Corpus Christi College known as one of the finest libraries specializing in early medieval works in Europe. There, he read the oldest known copy of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, including the entry for the year 1066, when William of Normandy conquered England. (He added, with relish, that the librarian permitted him to turn the pages with his bare hands.) Meanwhile, he said, his love of old coins lives on. From a cabinet in his office, he pulled a small but heavy box, packed with specimens that date all the way back to ancient Rome. As he showed off a few of his favorites, he mentioned a friend at the University of Michigan who is using the latest technology to study ancient coins’ composition, to infer where and when they were made. “At some point in my career, when I’m not so busy with other things, I may try to do something like that myself,” he mused with a smile. “It would be great fun.” perspectives

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[ extra credit] BUSINESS



career forecast


s universities nationwide experience a steady decline in the number of students majoring in information systems (IS), information technology (IT), and computer science programs, an Ohio University undergraduate is examining whether perceptions of outsourcing have contributed to low enrollment. Offshore outsourcing, the hiring of foreign labor for production of goods that will be sold in the United States, has been a hot-button topic in political and economic discourse over the last decade. Prominent studies have predicted that IT/IS offshore outsourcing could greatly reduce job availability for business graduates in America, with some forecasts suggesting that outsourcing would grow at a rate of more than 50 percent in just two years. In 2004, the Gartner business research firm estimated that one of every 10 IT jobs would be outsourced that year. A study by the Computing Research Association found that the percentage of incoming undergraduate students at universities nationwide who intended to major in computer science declined by 70 percent from 2000 to 2005. Figures for IT and IS programs are similar, says Jon Greene, a senior management information systems (MIS) major in the College of Business. He argues that lower IS, IT, and computer science enrollment figures can be directly linked to these outsourcing predictions. In a paper Greene presented at the American Conference of Information Systems in Acapulco, Mexico, in August 2006, he offered data from Ohio University that show the combined student headcount for the management information systems and computer science programs was 458 students in 2000. That figure plummeted to 171 in 2004. To examine the possible link between enrollment decline and outsourcing perceptions, Wayne Huang, professor of management information systems at Ohio University, conducted focus group interviews with MIS students about the impact of outsourcing on the job market. Huang turned the data over to Greene, who compiled and analyzed it for his study with support from the university’s Provost Undergraduate Research Fund. He found that 46 percent of respondents named “parents” as their primary source of information about offshore outsourcing, and 31 percent named “news.” Less than 10 percent cited “research” or expert opinion. After reviewing and analyzing existing studies, Photo: Rick Fatica particularly at, Greene determined that the “outsourcing scare,” the notion that there is little demand for IT, IS, and computer science professionals in the U.S., was greatly exaggerated, fueled mostly by politics and media attention. In his paper, Greene cites studies that suggest offshore outsourcing is actually decreasing nationwide, and poses only a minor threat to IT, IS, and computer science graduates in the United States. “Most of the lower-skill level jobs were the ones being outsourced to other countries, and an MIS major with a degree from the College of Business is not [going to get] the type of job that would be outsourced,” says Greene, whose project coincided with a year-long study by the Association of Computing Machinery, which drew similar conclusions. Greene’s study was well received by information technology scholars attending the conference, says Huang, who points out that Greene was the only undergraduate student to have a research paper accepted at the meeting. Huang and Greene already have begun working on a subsequent project to identify strategies for American companies to compete in the global economy by increasing their outsourcing success rate for low-paying employees to generate enough revenue to hire more domestic employees for management positions. In other words, company management and high-skill, high-value jobs will remain here even as some low-skill jobs move overseas, says Huang. BRIDGET WHELAN

[ on the web]

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[ on the web] THEATER



top of the props


iza Kindl is what folks in the do-it-yourself age used to call handy. Give her a table saw and she’ll build an 18th century Russian desk. Give her a blow torch and she’ll weld a medieval dagger. Give her fabric and she’ll upholster Prince Charming’s throne. Kindl developed many of her technical skills while growing up amidst the creative bustle of the theater world. She’s sharpening those skills at the School of Theater Prop Shop at Ohio University. The school trains students to create props that meet industry standards. It encourages undergraduates like Kindl, a senior in the Honors Tutorial College, to apply their knowledge at professional summer theater companies around the country. Work experience builds portfolios, and portfolios snare jobs. Being handy runs in Kindl’s blood. Her father, a carpenter, works as a technical director for summer theater productions. In college, her mother specialized in costume technology. Kindl says she learned as a child that if something was broken, you figured out how to fix it. By college, she had become an expert at laying floors. She knew her power tools. And she liked them. But she never imagined hobbies could lead to employment, even though her father said she could use her skills to make a living in the theater.

5Liza Kindl built props Photos: Courtesy of Liza Kindl

such as a bathtub and a restraint chair for the insane asylum setting of the play Marat/Sade.

“I said, ‘No. That’s fun. You can’t have fun for a living,’” says Kindl. She was wrong. The Derry, Pennsylvania, native enrolled at Ohio University. The School of Theater Prop Shop has earned a reputation for turning out top-notch technicians with a high level of craftsmanship, a reputation noted by the Santa Fe Opera Company Properties Director Randy Lutz, who hires many Ohio University students. It’s more than craftsmanship that lands jobs, however, says David Russell, head of the School of Theater’s crafts technology program. It takes dedication, a willingness to take on challenges, and a pleasant personality to be successful in the business: qualities the 22-year-old Kindl possesses. She has already discovered that the career requires adaptability and a sense of adventure. Jobs are usually temporary and scattered across the country. In 2004, she worked in Philadelphia, Massachusetts, and New York City. Her most recent apprenticeship was with the internationally renowned Santa Fe Opera Company, which drew 85,000 people to its performances in 2005. Kindl spent last summer upholstering chairs and feathering birds for the SFO’s highly publicized 50th anniversary season. Five shows — Carmen, The Magic Flute, Cinderella, Salome, and The Tempest — entertained opera lovers beneath the sweeping roof of Santa Fe’s open-air theater. It was Kindl’s second year working for the opera company, which pioneered what was considered an innovative apprenticeship program for singers and technicians during the 1960s. The program accepts about 10 percent of applicants. For its season last summer, SFO’s Lutz interviewed 137 people for 16 positions. Kindl, having stood out as an energetic team player and a quick learner during her first apprenticeship, was asked to return. “I was glad [Liza] wanted to come back a second year,” says Lutz. “She’s a great craftsperson and has a great sensibility for theater arts.” Where Kindl heads next is a mystery, but that’s part of what attracts her to the profession. A prop artisan transforms, often from scratch, a designer’s vision into something tangible. Build a moldy, water-damaged restraint chair for an insane asylum? Not a problem. Make a bathtub bleed? You’ve got it. Challenging projects from productions like Marat/Sade, Romeo and Juliet and Turandot helped Kindl assemble a robust portfolio. But unlike a watercolor created by a painter, Kindl’s work is finite. It is memorialized in the portfolio. It may get her another job, but at the end of a production, Kindl picks up a sledgehammer. What she built, she destroys. Nothing is permanent in her profession. She can’t take the props with her. “You know, I put a lot of work into that,” she says. “It looks beautiful and served a good purpose, and now I get to build something new.” LISA FORSTER


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an antifascist




he split screen is a fairly common sight in multiplayer video games. But it bothered one group of players. Being able to see each other’s whereabouts, they reasoned, amounted to cheating. Their solution? They taped a piece of cardboard across the screen, hiding one player’s half from the other’s view. “Such activities by players challenge the notion that there is one ‘correct’ way to play a game, or that games can have specifiable ‘effects’ on players,” writes Mia Consalvo, an associate professor of telecommunications, in her new book Cheating: Gaining Advantage in Videogames. Although the scholarly study of video games dates back to Nintendo’s original release in the 1980s, when social scientists studied its effect on violence and hand-eye coordination, video games as a field of study is relatively new, Consalvo says. It emerged about six years ago. Cheating can mean different things to different people. “There are forms of cheating that are OK,” Consalvo says, such as buying a strategy guide or using a cheat code. An entire industry that walks players through game levels — which most people consider acceptable — has developed alongside the $7 billion gaming industry. But some forms of cheating are not OK, such as tampering with a game’s code or employing computer-generated artificial players known as bots, Consalvo says. And things can get messy when people don’t agree on how to play the game. Game developers have taken legal action against strategy guide publishers that use unauthorized maps. For example, Nintendo sued the manufacturer of the Game Genie, a cheating device, in 1992. Cheating also can cripple online gaming, which happened to the online component of the game Diablo in the late 1990s. To conduct her research, Consalvo talked to game developers, players, and even customer service representatives at MMOGs (Massively Multiplayer Online Games). She found that people are more likely to cheat — and find it acceptable — in single-player games, but won’t cheat in online multiplayer games. Those who do cheat are usually male, but not always. One developer told Consalvo that most of the cheaters at its female-dominated MMOG were women. A whole industry has sprouted to prevent more malicious forms of cheating. PunkBuster, a software brand that runs with some new games to prevent tampering with a game’s code, is one example. In the young field of video game study, cheating is an even younger field. Consalvo’s book is the first to address the topic in a systematic way. Researching video games requires Consalvo, of course, to play video games. Her favorites include Final Fantasy 11 and other online games. “The online games just suck you in,” she says.

hen Benita Blessing went to Germany to conduct research on education in East Germany following World War II, she hoped to find teachers’ notebooks. When she uncovered boxes of handwritten essays by students, she knew her project had a different focus — education through the eyes of children. These essays showed that teachers in communist East Germany taught the students to think critically rather than indoctrinating them. Children wrote papers about what it was like to have water and electricity again. Yet they also wrote essays that questioned communism. Students argued that teachers had told them for 12 years under Hitler’s rule that Nazism was right, but suddenly, it was wrong. “These kids weren’t just kids following adults. They were agents with ideas of their own,” says Blessing, an assistant professor of European women’s and gender history at Ohio University. These German educators felt that teaching critical thinking skills would be one step in preventing a movement like Nazism again. Blessing’s study provided the foundation for her recently published book, An Antifascist Education: School and Society in Soviet-Occupied Germany 1945-1949. Blessing thinks that educators today can learn from the techniques discussed in her book. “No matter what the situation is, post-war or post-catastrophe, it is impossible to go in and give young people a new set of memories that are going to stick,” Blessing says. “Even post-Katrina, those kids have been through horrors and have been betrayed by their government. Are you going in and saying democracy always works?” Eastern German educators in the immediate postwar years did a good job of asking the children what they felt, she notes, instead of trying to make them feel a certain way.



[ M ia Consalvo]

[Benita Blessing]






[credits] ISSN 1520-4375 Printed on recycled paper.

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Perspectives: Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity at Ohio University is published twice a year by the Office of Research Communications, part of the Vice President for Research division. The magazine serves its readers by providing information about the research, scholarly, and creative activities of Ohio University faculty, staff, and students, and about the contributions of university research in general through the publication of

accurate and balanced journalistic content that informs, stimulates intellectual discussion, and promotes scholarly inquiry.

Athens, OH 45701-2979; Phone: (740) 593-0370; E-mail: Web:

Text, photographs, and artwork may not be reprinted without written permission from the editor. More information about the research program at Ohio University is available from the Vice President for Research, 120 Research and Technology Center,

Comments and queries regarding editorial content should be addressed to Editor, Perspectives, 114 Research and Technology Center, Athens, OH 45701-2979; Phone: (740) 593-0946, E-mail:

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CORE ENERGY GEO L O G I S T T R O U B L ESHO O T S P R O B L E M AT GEO T H E R M A L P L A N T S In the debate over alternative energy resources, geothermal technology has received scant media attention. Advocates call it one of the cleanest, sustainable energy resources available. However, steep construction, equipment, and drilling costs have prevented more widespread development of geothermal technology. An Ohio University hydrothermal systems expert is working to change that. Geothermal technology harnesses energy created by heat at the Earth’s core.  Internationally, geothermal power plants supply electricity to about 60 million people, mostly in developing countries. In the United States, geothermal power plants supply four million residents with electricity. Power plants are built where there is access to a geothermal reservoir, which typically occurs along continental plate margins. The Pacific “Ring of Fire” provides some of the hottest spots on the planet for geothermal power.  Because of this, Central America is a prime building area for geothermal power plants and draws researchers such as Ohio University hydrogeochemist Dina Lopez.

470 STUDENTS PRESENT WORK STUDENT RESEARCH AND C R E AT I V E A C T I V I T Y F A I R H A S B E S T PA R T I C I PAT I O N Read more about it: index.php?item=364

Read more out it: news/index.php?item=355

EDITOR Andrea Gibson SENIOR DESIGNER AND ILLUSTRATOR Christina Ullman INTERNS Eric Hornbeck, Lisa Forster, Dwayne Steward, Bridget Whelan

ADVISORY COMMITTEE David Holben Associate Professor Human and Consumer Sciences Nancy Tatarek Assistant Professor Sociology and Anthropology

Images above (top to bottom, l-r): Courtesy of Dina Lopez; Rick Fatica; and Christina Ullman

Ohio University awarded prizes to 103 students for their research and creative endeavors at the 6th Annual Student Research and Creative Activity Fair May 3. Winning projects included a documentary film on Ohio’s controversial role in the 2004 presidential election, a study on optimizing fuel cells that use alternative energy sources, a new treatment for pancreatic cancer, and an analysis of advertising in Cosmopolitan magazine. More than 470 undergraduate, graduate, and medical students and post-doctoral fellows presented their original work at the event, which marked the biggest exhibition of student Ohio University research, scholarship, and creative work to date.

CAMERA PERSPECTIVE V I D E O TA P E D C O N F E S S I O N S C A N C R E AT E B I A S Police often videotape interrogations of suspects for use in criminal trials. Video confessions that focus exclusively on the suspect, however, can bias judges and law enforcement officers to consider the suspect’s statements as voluntary, according to a new Ohio University study. Many law enforcement agencies focus the camera on only the suspect, says Daniel Lassiter, an Ohio University professor of psychology. Lassiter’s research shows that this practice creates what he calls a camera-perspective bias that leads trial participants to view the confessions as voluntary, regardless of how interrogators obtained them. Read more about it: php?item=356

2006 CASE Silver Medal, Research Magazines

Patrick O’Connor Assistant Professor Anatomical Sciences Lynne Lancaster Associate Professor Classics and World Religions

2003 Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence Awards

2002 CASE Bronze Medal, Periodical Staff Writing 2002 AWC Clarion Award, Feature Articles

2003 League of American Communications Professionals Gold Medal for Organizational Magazine or Newsletter

2001 CASE Gold Medal, Research Magazines

2003 CASE Silver Medal, Research Magazines 2003 AWC Clarion Award, Feature Articles

1998 CASE Bronze Medal, Special Constituency Magazine

2003 CASE Bronze Medal, Best Articles of the Year

1998 CASE Silver Medal, Periodical Staff Writing

1999 CASE Silver Medal, Best Articles of the Year


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It’s hard to imagine the scale of the Milky Way galaxy, but Ohio University artist John Sabraw is giving it a try. His new project, “Scale,” on display at the university’s Kennedy Museum of Art through December 16, draws on the expertise of astrophysicists to capture a sense of our place in the universe. The first step? Working with art students to create a 10.5 x 85 foot charcoal drawing of the Milky Way galaxy, pictured here, in a local warehouse.

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Perspectives magazine  

Spring/Summer 2007 issue Research, scholarship and creative activity at Ohio University