Graduate School Student Success
Alexander Bozzo, Ph.D. student in Philosophy, recently presented a research paper at the American Philosophical Association's conference in St. Louis, MO. His paper, entitled Berkeley's Semantic Argument, focuses on George Berkeley, an 18th century Irish bishop, who defended the philosophical positions of idealism and immaterialism. In short, these are minority positions in philosophy that claim that everything we perceive (tables, mountains, books, etc.) cannot exist when not perceived by someone. That is to say, the "physical world" is really nothing more than ideas (indeed, ideas in God's mind). In his paper, Alexander shows that a widely misunderstood passage in Berkeley's Principles of Human Knowledge is valid, despite its falling short of soundness. This is a significant contribution because it provides a charitable read of an important thinker, and helps elucidate a number of other central disputes within Berkeley scholarship. Alexander is currently writing a dissertation on David Hume; in particular, the role of clear and distinction perception in Hume's theory of causation. He hopes to teach philosophy at the college level upon finishing his degree at Marquette.
This March, 2nd year Clinical Psychology Ph.D. student Anthony Correro will present his research at the Association for Psychological Science conference in Amsterdam. His poster presentation, entitled A Study of Weak Associates: Does Arousal Attenuate False Recognition? studies the effects of emotional arousal on memory. Participants learned lists of words, then watched an anxiety-provoking film clip or a neutral film clip. Broadly, arousal led to better memory for words that were studied and led to a reduced tendency to claim that misleading words were studied. Further, arousal after learning reduced the retrieval of weak false information. This study is significant because it provides evidence for the depth to which emotional arousal modulates memory. In his career at Marquette, Anthony has also received several other academic awards and honors, including a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, International Convention of Psychological Science Travel Grant, and Psi Chi Unrestricted Travel Grant.
This fall, second year English M.A. student Wendy Fall presented her research at the Midwestern American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies Conference in Kansas City, MO. Wendy's paper, entitled The Patriotic Plagiarist: Matthew Lewis and The Case of the Borrowed Tales, presents strong evidence that although Matthew Lewis borrowed German and French stories for his novel The Monk, he twisted them to suit his strictly nationalistic purposes by infusing them with anti-Catholic and Francophobic rhetoric. Critics’ responses were inflammatory because they reacted that way to any foreign material at the time of the French revolution, and by reacting so explosively, they may have inadvertently added to the book’s readership. The Monk made Lewis a star because it capitalized on the hysterical paranoia in England against the Catholics and the French. Chapbooks, plays, and novels imitating The Monk were central to the development of the Gothic literary movement, which was the founding cornerstone of today’s market for horror, dark fantasy, and terror. My research will, therefore, provides useful insight into the bases of cultural trends marking the rise and decline of the popularity of the Gothic aesthetic. Upon graduating from Marquette, Wendy will pursue her Ph.D. in English in hopes of a career in academia.
Matthew Costello, Ph.D. student in Marquette's History department, has been the recipient of two prestigious fellowships in the past year for research for his dissertation. The first was from the Virginia Historical Society (VHS) in Richmond, VA; the second was from the United States Capitol Historical Society in Washington D.C. Matthew also won the award for best presentation at the NIU Graduate Student History Conference this past November for his presentation entitled, Cultivators of Legend: Black Guides and White Tourism at Mount Vernon. This presentation features some of the research that he conducted with the aid of the VHS Fellowship.
Mia Michael, History master's student, had the honor of presenting her research at two conferences this fall. The first was the History of the Future conference in St. Louis. Here, Michael presented a paper entitled Flight to Freedom: Soviet Jewish Émigrés' Visions of their American Future and Impressions of American Culture, which relied primarily on the oral histories of twenty-five Soviet Jewish émigrés who settled in New York City during the 1970s and in Boulder, Colorado during the 1990s after fleeing the religious, economic, and social repression of their Soviet government. Her purpose was to explain émigrés’ prospects about their futures in America and also examine their encounters with American culture. Later, at the History Graduate Student Association Graduate Conference at Loyola University, Chicago, Michael presented a paper entitled Journey to America: A Comparison of Child and Adult Immigrant Perceptions and Experiences. This research examined the perceptions and experiences of European adult and child immigrants who were processed at Ellis Island in New York City during the first half of the twentieth century.
Peter Borg, History Ph.D. student, attended the Urban History Associations Conference this fall in Philadelphia. Peter had the honor of organizing a "Race and Religion" panel as well as presenting his own research from his dissertation, entitled Christianity at a Crossroads: Milwaukee's White Urban Churches in the Age of Suburbanization.
This fall, Cory Haala, Master's student in Marquette's History department, presented his research at the Northern Great Plains History Conference. The conference took place in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Upon graduation from Marquette, Cory hopes to pursue his Ph.D. in 20th-century Midwestern political history.
Dylan Snyder, a 4th year Ph.D. student in Biomedical Engineering, presented a research poster at the Society for Neuroscience conference in Washington D.C. this November. Dylan's research, entitled The Role of the Cortex in the Control of Arm Stability, is focused on the human brain and how it uses sensory information to control the body. More specifically, how the brain uses sensory information to control, arm stability. Previous research has focused on how the brain produces arm movement but how the brain controls arm stability is less understood. Past research in his lab has shown that applying vibration to the forearm flexor tendons can improve arm stability post-stroke. Even though the application of tendon vibration is known to improve the function of a stroke victim’s paretic arm, the mechanism behind the improvement is unclear. During his time here at Marquette, Dylan has built a passive robotic device that will allow him to investigate how the brain controls arm stability and explore the mechanisms behind improved arm stability with applied tendon vibrations. Once the mechanisms of arm stability and tendon vibration are better understood, it may be possible to transfer this knowledge into the clinical setting to improve current neurorehabilitation techniques and to develop therapeutic devices.
After completing his degree from Marquette University, Dylan plans to enter into industry and design neurological devices meant to restore or enhance function.
This November, Katharine Miller, a first year master's student in Communication, presented a research paper at the National Communication Association conference in Chicago. Katharine's research, entitled Identity Rhetoric in the YMCA's Annual Campaign, explores how the YMCA, the nation's largest nonprofit, communicates who they are and what they do through various rhetorical efforts aimed at promoting the organization's Annual Campaign. As a nonprofit organization, the YMCA relies on the financial support of donors and members in order to exist. The YMCA's largest and longest-running fundraising effort, the Annual Campaign, is dedicated to providing much-needed financial support for families throughout the community who are unable to afford programs or the full cost of membership. This campaign aligns perfectly with the organization's mission to build a strong community through promoting an active, healthy lifestyle. In order to promote the campaign's success, the YMCA produces rhetoric that works to establish legitimacy and reinforce the organization's identity. Identity building and reinforcement is of practical consequence for any organization as it serves as the "building block" for objectives, projects, activities, and so on, thus it becomes a fitting perspective for understanding the YMCA's Annual Campaign rhetoric. Katharine hopes her research will contribute to the conversation regarding nonprofit organizations as a whole, with a focus on how crucial it is for these organizations to communicate who they are to both internal and external stakeholders.
Samantha Miller, a 4th year Ph.D. student in Religious Studies, had the honor of presenting her research at the Pappas Patristics Institute Conference in Boston this October. Samantha's paper, entitled Fear Not: John Chrysostom’s Demonological Discourse as Motivation for Virtue, discusses how John Chrysostom, a fourth-century bishop and theologian, used speech about demons as a way to encourage his congregation to be more virtuous. This research looks specifically at his emphasis on a person’s proairesis, which is something like their free will, and the relationship between his emphasis on proairesis when speaking about demons. Through this it becomes apparent that demons, which are very real, are useful for Chrysostom’s goal of getting his audience to be virtuous. This is significant to theological studies because it offers a way to see Chrysostom’s moralizing tendencies as significant in themselves and worthy of study rather than dismissing the man wholesale because he preaches about morality and not “systematic theology." Upon completing her degree, Samantha hopes to find a tenure-track position teach and researching historical theology.
This October, International Affairs Master's student Yasir Kuoti presented a paper at the Wisconsin Political Science Association and Wisconsin Sociological Association Conference. His paper, entitled How Do Autocratic States Survive Economic Sanctions? The Case for Religious and Tribal nationalism in Iraq, examines how the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein countered the effects of the most comprehensive multilateral sanctions ever imposed by United Nations Security Council. It argues that early in the 1990s Saddam’s regime reluctantly institutionalized Islam and tribalism into the Iraqi secular state after recognizing the potential threats of these two powerful sources of domestic (in)stability. It concludes that such institutionalization is key to understanding Iraq’s survival strategy. This is significant not only to the academic scholarship but also to policy makers who must, if all possible, fully understand the true underpinning of autocratic states before such punitive measures are imposed. Yasir also published an article in Militant Leadership Monitor this year, entitled A Post-Mortem Analysis of Muhsen al-Fadhli—Former Head of Syrian AQ Affiliate Khorasan.
Jiangbiao He, a current Ph.D. student in the Electrical and Computer Engineering program, recently presented a paper at the IEEE Energy Conversion Congress and Exposition (ECCE) in Pittsburgh, PA. His paper, entitled Diagnosis of Stator Winding Short-Circuit Faults in an Interior Permanent Magnet Synchronous Machine, focuses on the reliability improvement and condition monitoring of electric motor drive systems, which have been widely used in energy conversion units of electric/hybrid vehicles, renewable energies, and so on. This paper presentation introduced a novel diagnostic method for detecting stator winding short-circuit faults in permanent magnet machines. The invented method has low cost, fast fault diagnosis speed, and high resolution. After completing his Ph.D. degree at Marquette University in spring of 2015, Jiangbiao would like to work in industry in the area of power and automation technologies. Jiangbiao He also obtained the Outstanding Research Assistant Honor Award from Marquette College of Engineering in April 2014.
Matt Seib, a PhD candidate in the Marquette University Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering, has been awarded the 2014 STAR (Science to Achieve Results) Fellowship from the US Environmental Protection Agency. The prestigious fellowship supports environmental engineering and science graduate students working in areas that serve national interest. The STAR Fellowship provides total benefit up to $42,000 per year for two years. Matt is conducting research regarding sustainable systems to treat municipal wastewater with a focus on energy and nutrient recovery. Using his results, wastewater treatment systems can be converted from net energy users to anaerobic membrane bioreactors that produce methane that can be burned as a renewable energy source. In conjunction with his M.S. studies at Michigan Tech, Matt also spent two years (2009-2011) in the Peace Corps as a water/sanitation engineer in Mali, West Africa, where he conducted research examining water quality at different sources and points-of-use in the village where he was living. Matt is now working at Marquette University within the research group of Dr. Daniel Zitomer in the Department of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering. For more information on Matt's research and the STAR Fellowship, see http://www.eng.mu.edu/Zitomer_Lab_Group/people.html and http://www.epa.gov/ncer/fellowships/.
Second year Clinical and Translational Rehabilitation Health Sciences Ph.D. student Chris Sundberg had the opportunity to present his research poster at the Integrative Physiology of Exercise conference in Miami, FL. His research focus on sex differences in muscle fatigability during short-duration, high-intensity cycle ergometry. Chris explains that human locomotion, athletic performance and the ability to carry out everyday activities are determined by the ability of our neuromuscular system to repetitively generate force or power. A fundamental consequence of repeated activation of the neuromuscular system, however, is the force- and power-generating capacity becomes impaired—i.e., the muscle fatigues. Studies that elucidate the causes of muscle fatigue in men and women performing different tasks is important to inform exercise prescriptions used to not only improve athletic performance but to restore or maintain physical function in both healthy and diseased populations. The results demonstrate that while men could generate markedly greater amounts of force and power, the time course of muscle fatigue and the neuromuscular activation patterns were similar, suggesting that the causes of fatigue were the same between men and women. After finishing his doctoral studies, Chris hopes to obtain a tenure track faculty position where he can continue to research and teach the marvels of human physiology.
Joe Packhem, a 2nd year Master's student in Marquette's Civil Engineering program, recently participated at the European Society for Engineering Education conference in Birmingham, England. Joe coordinated a day-long educational workshop for students, deans, professors, and researchers in engineering education, as well as presented a paper. His paper, entitled Insight to Global Engineering Challenges: Study and Analysis, is a collaboration between the Student Platform for Engineering Education Development (SPEED), and the International Federation of Engineering Education Societies (IFEES) to track global trends in engineering education. General information was gathered about the person taking the survey regarding what year they are in school, what department are they in, where are they located, what methods are being used for teaching at their university, what would they like to see more of in their education, do they have access to research opportunities and funds, and do they have availability for international exchange programs (also if so, where does the funding come from). This information was gathered to help policy makers at universities make decisions, and further uses are being developed in a following paper for the World Engineering Education Forum in Dubai this December. Joe currently works part-time for the Masonry Advisory Council in Illinois and plans to continue working there after graduation.
Stacy Stolzman, a Ph.D. student in Marquette's Clinical and Translational Rehabilitation Health Science program, was awarded a 2014-2015 American Fellowship from the American Association of University Women (AAUW). This prestigious award was granted to a total of just 244 scholars for the 2014-15 academic year. Stacy describes the award as an amazing honor that will allow her to focus on her research. Stacy is a pediatric physical therapist with over fifteen years of experience evaluating children and making exercise prescriptions to improve health status. Her current dissertation project investigates the role of body composition, physical fitness, and inflammation on pain in adolescents. Her goal is to obtain tenure at a research university teaching pediatric physical therapy.
Read the full press release.
Phil Mack, a 2nd year Ph.D. student in Philosophy, won the American Philosophical Association 2014 Prize in Latin American Thought. This is a blind-reviewed, national prize sponsored by the APA Committee on Hispanics in Philosophy. Phil's prize winning essay, entitled Should a Concept of Truth be attributed to Nahuatl Thought? Preserving 'the Colonial Difference' between Concepts of the West and Nahua Philosophy, will be presented at the APA Eastern, published in the Newsletter and earned a cash prize.
Mehrdad Niknam, a 3rd year Civil Engineering Ph.D. student, recently presented his research at the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) conference. His work, entitled A Social Networking Website for AEC Projects, presents a project social networking website that facilitates professional interactions among a project’s participants and provides a dynamic project knowledge base that would allow combining knowledge created during various phases of a project life cycle. Architecture, Engineering and Construction projects involve a number of individuals and organizations with different roles and responsibilities. In a new project, participants may initially not know each other; however, to be effective, those with a common interest must be able to easily find each other to share their knowledge about the project. Another requirement for effectively managing a project is the ability to easily add new knowledge to the project knowledge base. The current format for representing, accessing, and sharing project data cannot take advantage of the full potential of the Internet. In Niknam's proposal, the participants in a new project may join the project website using OpenID. The project website uses a Semantics-based approach to information modeling that allows project website members to add new knowledge to the project knowledge base and perform graph query on project data.
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