Wednesday, October 26

Arts And Sciences



Featured Stories

Message from Dean Richard Holz

It’s easy to feel a burst of optimism at the Helen Way Klingler College of Arts and Sciences. We have an exciting cluster of new programs, partnerships, majors and ideas in place that are helping us improve the lives and careers of our students.

We debuted four new majors this semester: Data Science, Environmental Studies, Latin American Studies and Bioinformatics. There is an immediate demand for graduates who have these skill sets, and each of these majors gives students the opportunity to gain the skills needed to be a successful and ethical leader upon graduation.

The idea of partnership is central to our work. We are working with regional businesses to develop more internship opportunities for our students. We hired a new internship coordinator to place an emphasis on this important task. Businesses want new employees with internship experiences, and we are doing more to provide access to this real-world training to students of all economic backgrounds.

Things are on the upswing for the university as a whole. A $96 million residence hall facility project will break ground early next month, and is scheduled to be completed for the 2018-19 school year. Two co-ed residence halls will have about 375 beds each and be connected through the ground floor by dining and campus community space. It will be built directly north of Humphrey Hall on a site that already is cleared and available, and will feature suite-like rooms.

A surge in student demand led to one of the largest and most diverse populations of incoming freshmen this fall. Twenty-three percent of the class is comprised of first-generation students and 30 percent are students of color, up from 28 percent a year ago. The more than 2,000 students come from 41 states, 22 countries and two U.S. territories.

As a whole, social justice continues to be woven into our courses, research and projects. We celebrate the diversity of our students, faculty and staff, and our commitment to justice and the common good. Collectively, we can have an enormous impact. Thank you for your continued support.

New internship coordinator for the college

In an effort to continue growing our internship program, Sarah Curry has been hired by the college as its internship coordinator. Curry, who graduated in May with a master’s of arts of education in student affairs in higher education, began her new position in July. In her role, she is raising the awareness of the importance of internships among students, fostering connections between students and employers in available internship opportunities, and collaborating with Marquette’s Career Services Center and faculty to help students find meaningful internships. “I see my role as empowering students to realize that they have access to meaningful internships, and that they have a lot of the resources necessary at their hands to find an internship that’s a good fit for them,” Curry said. “We want to keep the internship search process as similar as possible to the job search process. That’s how it’s going to be when they are graduated and are looking for a job. The internship search process is a good trial run for that.” Internships can enhance a student’s ability to land a great job, and research shows the importance to students’ academic, personal and professional development. “We’re trying to communicate to students that employers want recent graduates with internship experience,” Curry said. “We want our students to be as competitive in the job market as they possibly can, in addition to benefiting from all of the wonderful learning outcomes that occur with internships.” Curry also works closely with employers to help them create internships. Much of this is possible due to a $354,000 Career Ready Internship Grant the college received from the Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Program, helping Marquette establish The Arts and Sciences Internship Program. The program aims to create 170 new paid and for-credit internships during the 2015-2018 academic years, and is off to a great start. “We’ve gotten tremendous feedback from both students and employers about the impact of the program,” Curry said.

New faculty on campus

We welcomed some great new tenure track faculty on campus this fall. They took positions in eight of our departments. English: Dr. Elizabeth Angeli, Dr. Lillian Campbell and Dr. Ainehi Edoro; mathematics, statistics and computer science: Mr. Shion Guha, Dr. Satish Puri, Rev. Thomas Schwarz, S.J., Dr. Weinhui Sheng; psychology: Dr. Simon Howard and Dr. Brooke Magnus; social and cultural sciences: Dr. Emily Lynch and Dr. Aleksandra Snowden; foreign languages and literatures: Dr. Michelle Medeiros; history: Dr. J. Patrick Mullins; political science, Dr. Philip Rocco; and physics: Dr. Timothy Tharp.

Mathematics, biology professors get big grants

Our professors continue to receive funding to pursue meaningful research that will advance their studies. Three significant awards from the National Science Foundation stood out, and two of these were awarded to our computer scientists. We received a $1 million grant to fund COSMIC (Change Opportunity — Start Masters in Computing), a program that will help low-income, academically talented students quickly learn the skills needed to change careers into computing, said lead principal investigator Dr. Gary Krenz, professor of mathematics, statistics and computer science. The Marquette team is developing a model for students with non-computing undergraduate degrees to cross over to work in the field of computing. Not to be outdone, a second $1 million grant was issued to our computer scientists this fall, this time for nearly 200 Milwaukee Public Schools teachers to receive certification to teach computer science. It will lead to thousands of MPS students learning computer science, and there will be enough trained teachers to provide computer science instruction in each MPS school. Collaborators on this grant are Dr. Marta Magiera and Dr. Dennis Brylow. Finally, Dr. Stefan Schnitzer, Mellon Distinguished Professor of Biology, was awarded a four-year, $900,000 grant for continued studies into determining the drivers of ongoing large-scale changes in tropical forests. Schnitzer’s research, done in Panama, shows these changes to tropical forests are critical to predicting the long-term effects of global climate change.

Alumnus honored with 2016 MA Essay Prize

Thomas Bouril, who received his master’s of arts in history, received the M.A. Essay Prize for “Forgotten Actors: The Agency of Female Kikuyu in the 1920-31 Kenyan Female Circumcision Controversy.” Nominated by Carla Hay, associate professor of history, the award will be presented in November at the North American Conference on British Studies in Washington D.C. The NACBS is a major disciplinary organization for a group of scholars working on British civilization from the medieval world through the Empire and its aftermath. Bouril is now a doctoral student at Syracuse University, focusing on African History.

Great lectures this fall in the college

Former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell led an impressive list of visiting lecturers that our college brought to campus this semester. Mitchell, whose lecture was sponsored by the college, the Center for Peacemaking and Raynor Memorial Libraries, discussed his memoir The Negotiator and developments in the Middle East in a room packed with students, faculty, staff and the public. Mitchell, former Senate Majority Leader and former chairman of the Walt Disney Co., played a leading role in negotiations for peace in Northern Ireland and the Middle East. He also was the main investigator in two “Mitchell Reports,” one on the Arab-Israeli conflict (2001) and one on the use of performance-enhancing drugs in baseball (2007). Besides Mitchell, the college brought an impressive array of researchers and scholars to campus. Dr. John Spencer delivered the Physics Department’s annual Coyne Lecture, discussing his work on the New Horizons spacecraft flyby of Pluto. Spencer, institute scientist at Southwest Research Institute’s Department of Space Studies in Boulder, Colorado, coordinated the search for flyby targets in the Kuiper Belt beyond Pluto and led the search for potential debris hazards in the Pluto system. Other great lectures were delivered by Dr. Marsha I. Lester, the Edmund J. Kahn Distinguished Professor of Chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania, who presented the Chemistry Department’s Nakamoto Lecture, “A New View on Tropospheric Chemistry of Alkenes;” Dr. Maria Clara Bingemer, professor of theology at the Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil , who gave the Theology Department’s annual Theotokos Lecture recalling the history of devotion to Mary in Latin America during the conquest period; and the History Department’s Klement Lecture, which this year featured Dr. Stephen Berry from the University of Georgia discussing Edgar Allan Poe’s decline due to alcoholism. In addition, Dr. Geraldo Cadava, an associate professor of history at Northwestern University, discussed Latin America and the roots of Latino conservatism, as the inaugural talk and reception for Marquette’s new interdisciplinary Latin American Studies major and minor. Meanwhile, Ulrich Lehner, a Marquette professor of theology, became the first Catholic to give the History of Christianity Lecture at Wheaton College.

New J-Session courses feature trip to Cuba for history students

Marquette is piloting a “J-session” of classes, which will run from Dec. 19 to Jan. 14. These sessions are a great way for students to speed up their degree progress, lighten their academic loads for the spring semester or catch up on credits. One of the J-session classes will be a study abroad trip to Cuba, led by Dr. Michael Donoghue, associate professor of history. Students will learn about the contemporary development in Cuba, a country whose relations have thawed with the United States in recent years. There is also a travel abroad class to India on religious peacemaking, led by Dr. Irfan Omar, associate professor of theology. Other J-Session classes include a philosophy class, Theory of Ethics, an English class, Literature and Genre, and a psychology class, Psychology of Happiness.

Neurobiology students expand Wiki article

Did you know that coffee can encourage the onset of panic attacks? It’s an intriguing side effect, and one you would know about if you read Wikipedia’s article on “Caffeine-induced anxiety disorder.” Students in a neurobiology course with Dr. Michelle Mynlieff, professor of biological sciences, expanded an article that was less than 400 words by more than 10 times its original length. It discusses how caffeine works and how it affects anxiety. Dr. Mynlieff’s course is part of the Wikipedia Education Program, which consists of professors using Wikipedia in their classrooms. The Society for Neuroscience has prioritized the expansion and enhancement of neuroscience content on Wikipedia, identifying a list of neuroscience stubs that are in need of improvement and expansion. Groups of three or four students work together on a single stub, helping to bring it up to the quality of a good article. It also helps the students increase their scientific writing skills, improves their critical thinking and research skills, fosters their abilities to work in a collaborative environment and gives them an in-depth knowledge in a small area of neuroscience. In addition to the article on anxiety disorder, Marquette students also have expanded articles on several other topics, including Adipsia, the rare decreased sensation of thirst that can be a sign of diabetes, Myoclonus or Myoclonic dystonia, a muscle disorder that causes abnormal posture and Camptocormia, a bent spine often seen among the elderly. Since the students improved the articles, they have been viewed more than 600,000 times, giving the world access to knowledge that helps understand how the human body works. 

Provost podcasts feature two Arts and Sciences professors

Illuminating Intellect, a podcast series highlighting the personalities and pursuits of Marquette faculty members, debuted this fall and the first two featured professors from the college. Dr. Julia Azari, an associate professor of political science, talked about the upcoming election and the party divide as it pertains to knitting and crafting. In the second episode, Dr. James South, associate professor of philosophy and associate dean for faculty, discussed Jesuit philosophy and his research on the hit television show Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The series is hosted by Marquette provost Daniel Myers. 

Marquette press celebrates 100th anniversary

About the time Marquette opened its colleges of business and journalism, and a few years after it became the first Catholic college in the world to admit women, the presses started rolling. They haven’t stopped since. Marquette University Press this year celebrates its centennial anniversary. Computers and high-tech digital printers do the work now, replacing the loud, ink-thirsty mechanical press that long ago churned out books and other printed materials. Today, the press accepts about 10 percent of the publishing requests it receives. Leading the press into its second century of operation is Maureen Kondrick, who succeeded Dr. Andrew Tallon earlier this year. Tallon, who was a professor of philosophy at the time, rescued the press in 1992 when it was losing money. Kondrick joined him as manager in 1995 before succeeding him this year. To recognize his years of service, the Milwaukee County Historical Society honored Tallon and the press during an event in May.

Marquette political scientists offer expert commentary

When the media needs experts to explain developments in our election process, they often turned to our political scientists. Dr. Julia Azari, associate professor of political science, was a regular contributor to Nate Silver’s and Dr. Paul Nolette, assistant professor of political science, was regularly quoted in Milwaukee media, and was a frequent in-studio guest at Milwaukee’s CBS affiliate. Dr. Jessica Rich, assistant professor of political science, was interviewed by Telemundo about social issues in Brazil. Dr. Karen Hoffman, adjunct assistant professor of political science and associate director of the Les Aspin Center for Government, was interviewed by Wisconsin Public Radio.


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