Wednesday, October 28

Arts And Sciences



Featured Stories

Dean's message

The fall 2015 semester is well underway and there is a great sense of momentum and accomplishment being celebrated in the Helen Way Klingler College of Arts and Sciences. Our faculty continue to receive accolades for their research and scholarship, we have welcomed an excellent crop of new students to campus and we recruited great new faculty members in many of our departments.

Marquette President Michael R. Lovell’s goal is to double our research expenditures over the next five years, and the College of Arts and Sciences faculty are pursuing exciting scholarship and research initiatives towards achieving this important goal. Faculty members in both the sciences and humanities have recently received significant grant awards and fellowships from the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Medical College of Wisconsin, U.S. Department of Education, NASA, American Chemical Society, Duke University, Milwaukee Public Schools, the International Conference on World Christianity and Aurora Healthcare Inc. These varied funding sources show the breadth and depth of research that takes place in the college.

We are pleased that The Les Aspin Center for Government has moved into the college. The Les Aspin center enables students to study in Washington D.C., Milwaukee or Ghana, Africa, and provides hands-on internship experiences with classroom instruction opportunities. Their diverse internships are tailored to the students’ field of study. More than 2,200 students have interned through the Aspin Center to date and they have worked in nearly 100 congressional offices, the State Department, the White House, the Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Secret Service and the Department of Defense, to name a few. The Les Aspin Center also oversees the Kleczka Internship Program on campus, which places students with interests in government, public policy and advocacy in local legislative offices throughout Milwaukee.

Curious about upcoming lectures and events? Want to know more about faculty and student research? Interested in little-known stories about the college’s past and present? We now have several ways for you to catch up on news in the college: “Like” us on Facebook, follow us on Medium, or check out our new Calendar of Events.

Our college is a leader in so many fields, and we want to be the standard-bearer in the disciplines we pursue. We also will continue to break new ground as we emphasize innovation, scholarship and research and internship opportunities for our students.

Impressive new faculty members

We are excited to welcome several outstanding new tenure-track faculty members to the College of Arts and Sciences this fall. This impactful roster of new tenure-track faculty members includes Stefan Schnitzer, professor of biology, Tony Gamble, assistant professor of biology Edwin Antony, assistant professor of biological sciences; Karen Andeen, assistant professor of physics; Elizaveta Strakhov, assistant professor of English; Tara Daly, assistant professor of Spanish; Jennifer Finn and Bryan Rindfleisch, assistant professors of history; Despoina “Debbie” Perouli, assistant professor of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science; Mark Berlin, assistant professor of political science; Jesse Cheng, assistant professor of social and cultural sciences; and Conor Kelly, assistant professor of theology.

Department of Biological Sciences

Robert Fitts, a professor in biological sciences, in collaboration with Sandra Hunter, a professor of exercise science in the College of Health Sciences, received a $2.8 million National Institutes of Health grant to conduct a four-year study on the effects of exercise on the elderly. Michael Schläppi received a $500,000 grant from the Agriculture Food Research Initiative from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, to continue his research into the cold tolerance of rice and to determine how the grain can be grown in colder areas of the United States such as Wisconsin. The Department also has been awarded a prestigious Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN) fellowship grant by the U.S. Department of Education. This grant provides almost $600,000 to financially support graduate students with excellent academic records and demonstrated financial need in their Ph.D. studies. Finally, Stefan Schnitzer published a significant research paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that found an increase in vines, called lianas, in the tropical forests of Central America may be significantly accelerating climate change.

Department of English hosts distinguished scholar

Our English department is honored to welcome Carolyn Forché as the 2015-2016 Association of Marquette University Women’s Chair in Humanistic Studies. A distinguished poet, Ms. Forché’s books of poetry include Gathering the Tribes, The Country Between Us, The Angel of History, Blue Hour, and the forthcoming In the Lateness of the World. She gave the distinguished Eleanor Boheim Lecture on Oct. 12.

Spanish professor curates impressive museum exhibit

Scott Dale, an associate professor of Spanish, is the curator of a wonderful exhibit, What Is Hispanic?, at the Haggerty Museum of Art. The exhibit, which was supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, represents an inquisitive research project and showcases two dozen of the 80 works of art in the museum’s collection that were created by Hispanic artists since the medieval period. The mission of the project is “to represent a group of themes consistent with the Hispanic experience: identity, character, community, religion, sorrow, humility, work and reinvention” Dale says. The exhibit, which features artists from Ecuador, Chile, Cuba, Spain, Mexico and Argentina, will be on display through Dec. 23.

Writing-Intensive English major selected to attend prestigious writing workshop

We have great students in our college. For example, Megan Knowles, writing-intensive English major, was one of 12 undergraduate students selected to attend the Naylor Workshop for Undergraduate Research in Writing Studies in September at York College of Pennsylvania. The workshop is an opportunity for students to grow as skilled researchers. Megan’s research focuses on student engagement in college, with a particular focus on whether undergraduates view higher education as an obligation or opportunity. Faculty mentors include Drs. Jenn Fishman and Beth Godbee of the Department of English. Megan notes that “The Naylor Workshop helped me obtain a more solid grasp on the research I have completed. I received valuable advice from accomplished mentors on analyzing data and organizing information. I look forward to continuing the project and presenting my research at the Wisconsin Council of Teachers of English Convention.” 

Community-based research helps Marquette’s neighbors

Angelique Harris, an associate professor of social and cultural sciences, conducted a research study to help women in the Lindsay Heights neighborhood of Milwaukee learn how to lose weight. About 80 percent of the women in the neighborhood are overweight or obese, and Harris used a teaching technique to help them come to their own conclusions about how to lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle. The neighborhood has no grocery stores and many residents said they were afraid to exercise outside due to safety concerns. Harris is working together with a number of students to conduct more studies and projects to help the residents of this vital neighborhood just north of our campus.  This project is an excellent example of how our faculty are increasingly involved in community engagement efforts, while at the same time providing transformative learning experiences for our undergraduate students. 

New specializations in big data, cybersecurity

Responding to critical workforce shortages in areas of security and intensive data analysis the department of math, statistics and computer science has launched new specializations within their Master’s degree in Computing. Thomas Kaczmarek, director of the Master of Science in Computing program, worked closely with local IT leaders in health care, manufacturing and other industries, to develop the curriculum and to define the two new specializations– Information Assurance and Cyber Defense and Big Data and Data Analytics. Information Assurance and Cyber Defense builds on recent additions to the departmental curriculum that focus on security concerns within databases, networks, and systems. The Big Data and Data Analytics specialization has strong focus on business applications, and provides computing professionals the knowledge to define the processes and systems that will enhance the performance of their organizations through exploration and exploitation of data. These specializations in the MS in Computing program were launched this fall and are also available through a Five-Year Accelerated Degree Program. The five-year option will enable students to complete their undergraduate BS and Master’s degrees in a five year time frame and seeks to provide students additional technical prowess and broader knowledge of computing as they begin their professional careers. 

Series of events contemplates immigration issues

Dean Richard Holz, Grant Silva, an assistant professor of philosophy, and Noelle Brigden, an assistant professor of political science, are holding a seminar series entitled “The Justice of Borders? At the Nexus of Politics, Philosophy and Practice.” This series addresses current issues related to immigration. Events include a film of La Jarra De Oro, a public lecture with Prof. Joseph Carens, University of Toronto, and other events that highlight this important issue.

Marquette celebrates pope’s visit to the United States

Pope Francis’ visit to the United States allowed the college to highlight its papal expertise, with History Professor Steven Avella, Theology Professors Ulrich Lehner and Jame Schaefer, and theology graduate student Aaron Tyler McCoy quoted extensively in media interviews. McCoy traveled to Philadelphia to document for other students the experience of seeing Pope Francis during his visit to the United States in September. At one point, he was able to get within 15 feet of Francis while acting as the eyes and ears of the university. Aaron Tyler stayed as a guest at St. Joseph University, walking about 12 miles in one day, and was involved in six media interviews.

Spectrometer expands research areas in Physics Department

Physics chairman Brian Bennett led the way in obtaining a Varian Model E-115 electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectrometer that his department will use it in part as a test bed for new EPR technologies. EPR is a technique for studying materials with unpaired electrons and is useful for studying metal complexes or organic radicals and complements Marquette’s Bruker research instrument. The new machine’s capabilities allows the department to expand the range of research in areas such as protein structure and dynamics, spin physics, materials sciences, and environmental sciences.


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