grants and fellowships

Four outstanding SMU scholars named 2018 Ford Research Fellows

Four SMU professors received 2018 Ford Research Fellowships during the University’s Board of Trustees Meeting in May. Pictured left to right: SMU President R. Gerald Turner, Adam Herring, Klaus Desmet, Elfi Kraka, MinJun Kim, and SMU Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Steven C. Currall. Photo credit: SMU | Allison Slomowitz

Four distinguished SMU professors were honored for their scholarship as 2018 Ford Research Fellows. The awards were presented during the Board of Trustees meeting Thursday, May 8.

This year’s recipients are Klaus Desmet, Economics, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences; Adam Herring, Art History, Meadows School of the Arts; MinJun Kim, Mechanical Engineering, Lyle School of Engineering; and Elfi Kraka, Chemistry, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.

Klaus Desmet is the Ruth and Kenneth Altshuler Centennial Interdisciplinary Professor and professor of economics in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. His research focuses on international trade, regional and urban economics, macroeconomics, and political economy. In April, he was appointed as a research associate in the International Trade & Investment and Political Economy program of the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) – a prestigious national think tank that brings together researchers in economic policy and empirical economic analysis.

Adam Herring is the Emily Rich Summers Endowed Professor, chair and director of graduate studies in the Division of Art History, Meadows School of the Arts. Dr. Herring is a specialist in the art of the pre-Columbian Americas, with research interests that include visual theory and semiotics, anthropological and materialist critique of visual experience, and the history of the discipline. A 2017 Guggenheim Fellow, Dr. Herring has also received fellowships from Dumbarton Oaks, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and The Huntington Library.

MinJun Kim is the Robert C. Womack Chair in Mechanical Engineering in Lyle School of Engineering. He works in three unified subject areas: micro- and nanorobotics, single-cell and single-molecule biophysics, and transport phenomena. His research applies to a range of nano- and microfabrication techniques that are capable of producing small-scale functional materials and devices. These “microbots” create the possibility of exploring biology where fundamental processes take place, such as epigenetic and genetic control of single cells.

Elfi Kraka is professor and chair in the Department of Chemistry, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, and an expert in computational chemistry, quantum mechanics, and drug discovery. As head of SMU’s Computational and Theoretical Chemistry (CATCO) Lab, she researches computer-assisted drug design as a tool for reducing the time needed to develop new pharmaceuticals. She also investigates and develops new quantum chemical methods, the mechanism of chemical reactions with the Unified Reaction Valley Approach (URVA), and the structure and stability of van der Waals complexes.

Established in 2002 through a $1 million pledge from trustee Gerald J. Ford, the Ford Research Fellowships help SMU retain and reward outstanding scholars. Each recipient receives a cash prize for research support during the year.

For the Record: Spring Term 2018

Klaus Desmet, Ruth and Kenneth Altshuler Centennial Interdisciplinary Professor in Economics, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, has been appointed Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) in the International Trade & Investment and Political Economy program. It is a major recognition honoring senior scholars who have made deep impact in their fields, says Economics Chair Santanu Roy: “The NBER is the most prestigious national think tank that brings together researchers in economic policy and empirical economic analysis.”

Bonnie Wheeler, Associate Professor of English and Director of Medieval Studies, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, won the 2018 Robert L. Kindrick-CARA Award for Outstanding Service to Medieval Studies, presented by the Medieval Academy of America. “Professor Wheeler has been a powerful shaping force in our discipline for the past thirty years,” reads her award citation. “Inspiring and cultivating young scholars, fostering their intellectual growth and mentoring their professional possibilities, she is an award-winning teacher and galvanizing mentor…. Her service has been boundless and has reshaped the field in countless and powerful ways.”

25 SMU professors receive 2018-19 Sam Taylor Fellowships

Twenty-five SMU faculty members have received 2018-19 Sam Taylor Fellowships from the Sam Taylor Fellowship Fund of the Division of Higher Education, United Methodist General Board of Higher Education and Ministry.

The Fellowships, funded by income from a portion of Taylor’s estate, award up to $2,000 for full-time faculty members at United Methodist-related colleges and universities in Texas. Any full-time faculty member is eligible to apply for the Fellowships, which support research, “advancing the intellectual, social or religious life of Texas and the nation.”

Applications are evaluated on the significance of the project, clarity of the proposal, professional development of the applicant, value of the project to the community or nation and the project’s sensitivity to value questions confronting higher education and society.

The winning professors for this academic year, by college or school:

Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences

  • Jing Cao, Statistical Science

  • Simon Dalley, Physics

  • Alan Elliott, Statistical Science

  • Jo Guldi, History

  • Chrystyna Kouros, Psychology

  • Priscilla Lui, Psychology

  • Karen Lupo, Anthropology

  • Alicia Meuret, Psychology

  • Thomas Ritz, Psychology

  • Peng Tao, Chemistry

  • Hervé Tchumkam, World Languages and Literatures

  • Jingbo Ye, Physics

Meadows School of the Arts

  • Amber Bemak, Film and Media Studies

  • LaShonda Eaddy, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs

  • Amy Freund, Art History

  • Yan Huang, Advertising

  • Anna Kim, Advertising

  • Zachary Wallmark, Music

  • Hye Jin Yoon, Advertising

Lyle School of Engineering

  • Ali Heydari, Mechanical Engineering

  • MinJun Kim, Mechanical Engineering

  • Jaewook Myung, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Perkins School of Theology

  • Jack Levison, Old Testament Interpretation

  • Natalia Marandiuc, Christian Theology

  • Priscilla Pope-Levison, Ministerial Studies

Simmons School researchers receive $2.5 million NSF grant to develop math-skills assessment system

Lindsey Perry and Leanne Ketterlin Geller

Lindsey Perry and Leanne Ketterlin Geller

SMU researchers have received a $2.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation to target the ongoing struggle of U.S. elementary and high school students with math.

The new four-year grant, to the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development, is led by SMU K-12 math education experts Leanne Ketterlin Geller and Lindsey Perry. They will conduct research and develop an assessment system comprised of two universal screening tools to measure mathematical reasoning skills for grades K–2.

When it comes to the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and math, research shows that U.S. students continue at a disadvantage all the way through high school and entering college. The NSF grant provides “an opportunity to develop an assessment system that can help teachers support students at the earliest, and arguably one of the most critical, phases of a child’s mathematical development,” said Ketterlin Geller, a professor in the Simmons School and principal investigator for the grant developing the “Measures of Mathematical Reasoning Skills” system.

Teachers and schools will use the assessment system to screen students and determine who is at risk for difficulty in early mathematics, including students with disabilities. The measures also will help provide important information about the intensity of support needed for a given student.

Few assessments are currently available to measure the critical math concepts taught during those early school years, Ketterlin Geller says. “Providing teachers with data to understand how a child processes these concepts can have a long-term impact on students’ success not only in advanced math like algebra, but also success in STEM fields, such as chemistry, biology, geology and engineering.”

— Written by Margaret Allen

> Read the full story from the SMU Research blog

Apply for a 2018 Sam Taylor Fellowship by Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017

Full-time SMU faculty members seeking additional funding for research projects in Spring or Summer 2018: Don’t forget to apply for a Sam Taylor Fellowship by Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017.

Provided through the Sam Taylor Fellowship Fund of the Division of Higher Education, United Methodist General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, the Fellowships provide up to $2,000 for full-time faculty members at United Methodist-related colleges and universities in Texas. They support research “advancing the intellectual, social or religious life of Texas and the nation.”

Applications are evaluated on the significance of the project, clarity of the proposal, professional development of the applicant, value of the project to the community or nation and the project’s sensitivity to value questions confronting higher education and society.

Funds provided through the Fellowships support a variety of research-related expenses, including travel and lodging for research in the United States or abroad, work at archaeological sites, costs of interview transcriptions, lab chemicals, and acquisition of photos for publications.

The Fellowships do not support instructional materials or equipment, salary replacement, or travel to conferences or other venues not associated with the specific project.

All full-time faculty members are eligible to apply, including faculty who have received fellowships previously. Last year, 21 SMU faculty members at all levels, in five schools and 15 departments, received Sam Taylor Fellowships. Award notices will be sent in November 2017.

To apply, contact Kathleen Hugley-Cook, director of the Office of National Fellowships and Awards, 214-768-3325.

Three SMU graduates receive 2017 Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Awards

Three recent SMU graduates have received 2017 Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Awards (ETA). The program place Fulbright recipients in classrooms abroad to provide assistance to local English teachers. The ETA’s help teach the English language while serving as cultural ambassadors for the United States.

Adam GarnickAdam Garnick, a graduate of the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development, has received an ETA to teach next year in Budapest, Hungary.

Garnick earned a Master of Education degree in May. A native of Philadelphia, Garnick is an eighth-grade history teacher at Dallas’ E.H. Cary Middle School and a member of the Teach for America program. In Hungary, he will be teaching English with a focus on academic writing at Budapest Metropolitan University.

“My teaching along with my courses at SMU have provided a great foundation for what’s next,” Garnick said. “I feel prepared to teach at a university. I’m going to take the strategies I’ve learned in teaching English language learners to Budapest.”

At Simmons, Garnick conducted research on the “flipped classroom” as part of a technology and discourse course taught by Dara Rossi, clinical associate professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning. In a flipped classroom, students use classroom time for exploratory and collaborative work, and watch video lectures at home to prepare. “It’s a strategy I’ve been able to use in my classroom,” Garnick says. “I’m convinced it’s the future of education.”

Kristen BiedermannMaster of Education graduate Kristen Biedermann has accepted an ETA to spend 10 months teaching English at the University of Cauca in Popayan, Colombia, starting at the end of summer 2017.

“I had an opportunity to travel to Guatemala to help one of my professors with research and professional development for Guatemalan teachers on behalf of SMU,” Biedermann says. “I learned that when people acquire more than one language, it gives them an ability to connect across cultures, which is important to me, so I’ve become passionate about helping people cross barriers through learning a second language.”

That international classroom experience – and the time she spent teaching in bilingual Dallas-area classrooms before earning her Master’s in 2016 at SMU’s Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development – sparked Biedermann’s interest in pursuing her studies further.

“When I come back from Colombia, I would love to go into the Ph.D. program, become a professor and do research on retention and promotion of language-minority students at the university level,” Biedermann says. “I hope to be able to work on a campus and help adult English-language-learner students succeed in higher education and conduct research that eliminates the inequities that exist at that level.”

Jennie LeeBachelor of Music and world languages graduate Jennie Lee has accepted an ETA to spend 10 months teaching English in Germany.

Building on the interests and activities she discovered at SMU before graduating in 2016, she’ll teach English through extra-curricular activities like after-school yoga classes and singing lessons.

“I studied opera in college and got a degree in vocal performance and world languages,” says Lee, who came to the University from a traditional conservatory prep school background and earned a place in the musical honor society Pi Kappa Lambda.

“The thing that drew me to SMU is the ability to get conservatory-style training – a super-intense program where I would study arts and music – but also have the opportunity to double major, because I wanted to do that too and a lot of schools don’t offer that,” Lee adds. “That was a huge pull for me.”

> Read more of their stories from SMU News

Four distinguished SMU scholars named 2017 Ford Research Fellows

Four outstanding SMU professors were honored for their scholarship and research with 2017 Ford Research Fellowships. The awards were presented during the Board of Trustees meeting Thursday, May 4.

This year’s recipients are Stephanie Al Otaiba, Teaching and Learning, Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development; Jeffrey Kahn, Dedman School of Law; Zhong Lu, Earth Sciences, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences; and Bruce Marshall, Perkins School of Theology.

Established in 2002 through a $1 million pledge from trustee Gerald J. Ford, the fellowships help SMU retain and reward outstanding scholars. Each recipient receives a cash prize for research support during the year.

Stephanie Al Otaiba is the Patsy and Ray Caldwell Centennial Chair in Teaching and Learning in the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development. Her research interests include school-based literacy interventions, response to intervention, learning disabilities, diverse learners, and teacher training. She has published more than 110 journal articles and book chapters and has also developed reading curricular materials. Her research has been supported by several federally funded grants from the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences and Office of Special Education Programs, and from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

Jeffrey Kahn is a professor in Dedman School of Law whose areas of expertise include U.S. constitutional law, administrative law, Russian law, human rights and counterterrorism. His latest research focuses on the right to travel and national security law; his most recent book, Mrs. Shipley’s Ghost: The Right to Travel and Terrorist Watchlists, critically examines the U.S. government’s no-fly list. Professor Kahn’s work on Russian law has been noted by name by the editors of The New York Times and published in various law reviews, as well as the peer-reviewed journals Post-Soviet Affairs and Review of Central and East European Law. Professor Kahn is a founding member of the Advisory Board of SMU’s Embrey Human Rights Education Program and a Fellow of the John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies.

Zhong Lu is the Shuler-Foscue Endowed Chair and director of graduate studies in the Huffington Department of Earth Sciences, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences. His geophysics research focuses on the use of satellite-borne radar to detect subtle changes in the earth’s surface preceding volcanic eruptions. He also researches volcano deformation, earthquake deformation mapping, fault geometry and modeling, and ground-water basin analysis. His work with InSAR (Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar) includes underground nuclear explosion monitoring, landslide monitoring and water-level changes of wetlands. Professor Lu has been awarded more than $3 million in grants from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the U.S. Geological Service, and the U.S. Forest Service.

Bruce Marshall is the Lehman Professor of Christian Doctrine in Perkins School of Theology. He ranks among the top scholars in the world who conduct research and write about the most enduring and debated of Christian beliefs – namely, the doctrine of the Trinity. His research and writing focus on this doctrine, as well as the relationship between Christianity and Judaism. He is also an expert on the theology of St. Thomas Aquinas and has lectured widely throughout the United States and abroad on topics ranging from Trinitarian theology to Christology. Professor Marshall has written two books and more than 90 articles, book chapters, and reviews, and is a frequent speaker in both national and international venues.

Three SMU professors receive 2017-18 Colin Powell Fellowships

SMU Colin Powell Fellows 2017-18Three SMU professors have received 2017-18 Colin Powell Global Order and Foreign Policy Fellowships from the University’s John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies.

The award gives SMU faculty members up to $5,000 for research contributing to knowledge of what President George H.W. Bush referred to as the New World Order. The professors will present their findings at a Tower Center seminar in fall 2018.

The three honorees and their projects:

  • Sabri Ates, associate professor of history in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, will use the award to finish writing his latest book, Seyyid Abdulqadir Nehri’s Pursuit of an Independent Kurdistan. Ates explores the historical conditions that account for how the Kurds became the largest ethnic group without its own nation and is writing the work “as part of an ongoing discussion about the Kurds in particular and the greater Middle East in general.”
  • Michael Lusztig, professor of political science in Dedman College, will use the award to finish his new book, The Culturalist Challenge to Liberal Republicanism, which has been accepted for publication by McGill-Queen University Press. Lusztig explores the risks multiculturalism poses to liberal democracy through examination of Mexican immigration to the United States and Islamic immigration to Europe.
  • Hiroki Takeuchi, associate professor of political science in Dedman College, plans to investigate the security implications of global value chains in the Asia Pacific. Takeuchi will explore whether cross-border relationships built off of trade – such as those created by multinational corporations that have different stages of production in different countries – contribute to peace and international cooperation.

> Read the full story from the SMU Tower Center blog

SMU’s Tower Center, Latino Center for Leadership Development award nine new research grants

Latino Center for Leadership Development logoThe Latino Center for Leadership Development (Latino CLD) and SMU’s John Goodwin Tower Center for Political Studies have awarded nine grants to 13 scholars tapped to provide meaningful research geared to promoting a stronger understanding of the Latino community and creating a dialogue about key societal issues.

As the Tower Center-Latino CLD partnership’s first class of grant recipients, each research team will provide final reports that include a white paper with context, analysis and policy recommendations.

> More about the SMU Tower Center-Latino CLD research partnership

Awards were chosen by research grant advisory board members Miguel Solis, Latino CLD president; James Hollifield, SMU Tower Center academic director; and Alicia Reyes-Barriéntez and Aileen Cardona-Arroyo, SMU Tower Center postdoctoral fellows.

“Issuing these grants marks the beginning of a new approach to policy and research related to the Latino community,” Solis says.

“The research will not only find its way into academic journals and classrooms, but also will inform the decisions of emerging policy makers,” he adds. “The Latino CLD is serious about ensuring future leaders are armed with substantive policy ideas rooted in research, so the allocation of these grants will help ensure our vision becomes a reality.”

Grantees include faculty, post-doctoral fellows and graduate students from U.S. schools including SMU, Vanderbilt, UT-Austin and UCLA. Their research projects will focus such topics as education policy, public opinion/surveys, transnational students, African American-Latino coalitions, deportation’s effect on children, border enforcement and human rights, access to legalization as well as non-profit organizations’ services and resources.

The grantees’ first round of research findings will be presented at a public forum Saturday, April 1, 2017 at the Hall of State at Fair Park in Dallas. Additional research will be discussed at a fall forum that also will be free and open to the public.

For more details about the research grants, contact Melissa Alfaro, 619-249-9055.

SMU professors Zachary Wallmark, Sabri Ates earn 2017 NEH grants

Zachary Wallmark

Zachary Wallmark

The National Endowment for the Humanities has named SMU professors Zachary Wallmark and Sabri Ates as fellowship grant recipients in January – the only two recipients in North Texas for the current funding cycle.

Wallmark, assistant professor and chair of music history in Meadows School of the Arts, is using music studies, cognitive sciences and original brain imaging experiments to research the nature of our emotional response to music.

“I am deeply honored to receive this recognition,” Wallmark said. “With the support of the NEH, I hope in my work to help people better understand music’s grip on human emotion and imagination.”

Sabri Ates

Sabri Ates

Ates, associate professor in the Clements Department of History, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, is drawing on a variety of archival sources from different languages to write Sheikh Abdulqadir Nehri (d. 1925) and the Pursuit of an Independent Kurdistan. In the book, Ates will explore the quest for a Kurdish state between 1880-1925, when the creation of such a state emerged as a distinct possibility and then quickly unraveled.

“What this grant tells us is that our work has national relevance,” Ates said. “Recognition of SMU’s faculty work by a prestigious institution like NEH further cements SMU’s standing as a research university. With the support of NEH, I hope to answer one of the enduring questions of the contemporary Middle East: the Kurdish statelessness.”

> Read the full story from SMU News

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