Noteworthy

Faculty, Staff & Student Accomplishments

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Andrea E. Martin
College of Arts and Sciences

Chemistry Associate Professor Awarded $13,000 Grant for Oil Spill Research

Associate Professor of Chemistry Andrea Martin was awarded a $13,000 grant from the Oiled Wildlife Care Network to continue her research with undergraduate students. Dr. Martin and her students, in partnership with Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research, have been testing detergents to determine which is most effective for cleaning oil from the feathers of birds.

Read more about the research: https://www.widener.edu/news/news-archive/birds-eye-view-summer-research-students-test-detergents-save-wildlife-affected-oil-spills

Share link: https://www.widener.edu/news/noteworthy/chemistry-associate-professor-awarded-13000-grant-oil-spill-research

Amy R. Franzini
College of Arts and Sciences

Communication Studies Professor Publishes Article in The Journal of Children and Media

Amy Franzini, associate professor of communication studies and digital media informatics, recently had an article, entitled "U.S. coviewing during COVID" published in a special issue of The Journal of Children and Media. The special issue was entitled "Children, Media, and the Clarity of Crises in 2020."

The article focused on how the COVID-19 lockdown in 2020 provided a unique opportunity for Franzini to interweave her personal family life, as a parent, and professional life, as a researcher of teachable moments in children's media.

Share link: https://www.widener.edu/news/noteworthy/communication-studies-professor-publishes-article-journal-children-and-media

Catherine Safran Profile Image
College of Arts & Sciences/School of Nursing

Biology Faculty and Nursing Students Co-Author Article in Imprint Magazine

Catherine Kim-Safran, assistant professor of biology, and undergraduate nursing students Makayla Chatman and Alexandria Reid co-authored an article that ran in the January 2021 issue of Imprint, the official membership magazine of the National Student Nurses’ Association. Reflecting on their experiences leading and serving as peer-learning assistants for anatomy and physiology labs that transferred fully online during the COVID-19 pandemic, the authors reported on the impact of peer mentoring on student success and best online teaching practices.

Share link: https://www.widener.edu/node/18961/

Paul Baker
College of Arts and Sciences

Physics Professors’ Research Finds Possible ‘First Hints’ of Low-Frequency Gravitational Waves

Dr. Paul Baker, an assistant professor of physics, co-authored an article in The Astrophysical Journal Letters based on data gathered and analyzed over 13 years by the North American Nanohertz Observatory for Gravitational Waves (NANOGrav). The published findings, “The NANOGrav 12.5-year Data Set: Search For An Isotropic Stochastic Gravitational-Wave Background,” shows an intriguing low-frequency signal that may be attributable to gravitational waves from merging supermassive black holes in other galaxies.

NANOGrav researchers studying the signals from distant pulsars – small, dense stars that rapidly rotate, emitting beamed radio waves, much like a lighthouse – have used radio telescopes to collect data that may indicate the effects of gravitational waves.

Gravitational waves are ripples in space-time caused by the movements of incredibly massive objects, such as black holes orbiting each other or neutron stars colliding. Astronomers cannot observe these waves with a telescope like they do stars and galaxies. Instead, they measure the effects passing gravitational waves have, namely tiny changes to the precise position of objects - including the position of the Earth.

But gravitational waves can interrupt this observed regularity, as the ripples cause space-time to undergo tiny amounts of stretching and shrinking. Those ripples result in extremely small deviations in the expected times for pulsar signals arriving on Earth. Such deviations indicate that the position of the Earth has shifted slightly.

By studying the timing of the regular signals from many pulsars scattered over the sky at the same time, known as a “pulsar timing array,” NANOGrav works to detect minute changes in the Earth’s position due to gravitational waves stretching and shrinking space-time. 

These newest findings set up direct detection of gravitational waves as the possible next major step for NANOGrav and other members of the International Pulsar Timing Array (IPTA), a collaboration of researchers using the world’s largest radio telescope. Baker has been a member of NANOGrav since 2016.

Learn more: http://nanograv.org/press/2021/01/11/12-Year-GW-Background.html

Share link: https://www.widener.edu/news/noteworthy/physics-professors-research-finds-possible-first-hints-low-frequency-gravitational-waves

Ilene D. Lieberman
College of Arts and Sciences

Arts & Sciences Professor Recognized for Leadership

Professor Ilene D. Lieberman received the Faculty Institutional Leadership Award at the 2020 Faculty Awards event. The honor recognizes her record of leading initiatives that further the university’s vision, mission and strategic objectives. Lieberman has played a vital role in the development and revitalization of many academic programs over 30 years of service to Widener. As director of the Honors Program in General Education, Lieberman has instituted multiple high-impact practices such as early adoption of high-impact practices in honors courses, establishment of an honors Living Learning Community, and development of a mentor program. Her work has improved Widener’s recruitment of academically talented students, and those students benefit from her mentorship. Lieberman was also a co-founder of the Women’s Studies Program (now known as Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies), which has brought fresh ideas to the university and helped attract high-caliber faculty to provide students with leadership and civic engagement opportunities. A commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion has been a recurring priority in her leadership.

Share link: https://www.widener.edu/node/17411/

Loyd D. Bastin
College of Arts and Sciences

Chemistry Faculty Member Named Distinguished University Professor

Loyd Bastin was named a  Distinguished University Professor at the 2020 Faculty Awards event. The designation recognizes faculty of distinction and demonstrates to the broader community that Widener is committed to recognizing excellence in teaching, scholarship and service throughout a faculty member’s career. Bastin’s passion for promoting sustainable practices has led to an active and productive research program in green chemistry, sustainability and education. His recent co-edited book “Integrating Green and Sustainable Chemistry Principles into Education” and numerous invited presentations reflect his reputation as an important scholar. Bastin’s contributions to university leadership include shepherding the chemistry department to environmentally sustainable lab practices, and raising sustainability awareness across campus. As a member of the Vision 2021 GO Team and as chair of the Academic Affairs Committee, Bastin has worked toward implementing rigorous academic practices, clarifying academic policies and developing new programs for student success. 

Share link: https://www.widener.edu/node/17386/

Richard Hopkins
College of Arts and Sciences

Professor Honored with Lindback Distinguished Teaching Award

Professor Richard S. Hopkins received the Lindback Distinguished Teaching Award at the 2020 Faculty Awards event. The honor is given to a faculty member who has demonstrated a history of teaching at the highest level. It is endowed by the Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Foundation, a Philadelphia-based foundation that provides grants to institutions of higher education for the promotion of excellence in teaching. Hopkins’ highly distinguished teaching spans a diverse array of history courses including Madness, Crime, and Punishment; Sex and Gender in European History; French Revolution and Napoleon; and more. Students give him superior evaluations for active-learning teaching methods that include mock trials, debates, and engagement with primary sources. He has co-led multiple interdisciplinary excursions in French Philadelphia and at European Union simulation competitions around the nation and in Europe. He has also co-directed grant-funded public history and education projects in Chester including a Community Archival Workshop and the Chester Made Humanities Summer Camp. His productive scholarship on modern French history, urbanism, and women’s and gender studies has resulted in two books and multiple articles. 

Share link: https://www.widener.edu/node/17396

Stephanie Schechner
College of Arts and Sciences

Professor of French Honored for Teaching Innovation

Professor of French Stephanie Schechner received the Fitz Dixon Innovation in Teaching Award at the 2020 Faculty Awards event. It is given to an individual or group who have designed, implemented and assessed an innovative or experimental teaching and learning project. Schechner knows employers value students who can work cross-culturally, and cultivates and leverages a network of government, nonprofit, corporate, and alumni contacts to enhance student learning and career readiness. Schechner’s efforts have led to a 100 percent employment rate for French majors over the past 20 years, as well as study abroad, internships, mentoring, and career readiness workshops for students. Over the years, French majors have gone on to careers in investment banking, nursing, public health, civil service, insurance, library and information science, high tech, and non-profit fundraising. Schechner’s network includes internal partners in the Schools of Engineering and Business Administration.  External partners have included the French American Chamber of Commerce of Philadelphia, the Quebec Trade Office, the University of Laval, the Upper Darby Welcome Center, the City of Philadelphia, and the French government.

Share link: https://www.widener.edu/node/17416/

Bruce W. Grant
College of Arts and Sciences

Professor Receives Faculty Award for Civic Engagement

Professor Bruce W. Grant received the Faculty Award for Civic Engagement at the 2020 Faculty Awards event. The honor recognizes sustained outstanding contributions to Widener’s civic engagement mission through his teaching and research. Grant has developed service-learning projects working closely with community partners, including Stetser Elementary School, the Chester Upland School District, CitiTeam Ministries and the Ruth Bennett Community Farm. For the past three years, he, along with Widener faculty and student collaborators, have been developing place-based school garden curriculum at Stetser Elementary School to improve Stetser student academic performance in science, and promote positive motivational dispositions and social engagement in their school communities. Grant has taught academic service learning enhanced courses more than 20 times and has engaged hundreds of Widener students in course-based projects in science education in local Chester schools and community agencies that involve meaningful work for sustainable community development. 

Share link: https://www.widener.edu/node/17401/

Janine Utell
College of Arts and Sciences

Chair of English Janine Utell Accepted as Public Fellow at the Oklahoma Center for the Humanities

Professor Janine Utell, chair of English, has been accepted as a 2020-2021 Public Fellow at the Oklahoma Center for the Humanities. As part of the cohort, she will join a group of faculty, students, and other public scholars from the University of Tulsa for an in-depth exploration of Rage. The fellowship was originally designed to admit public fellows from the Tulsa area, but the shift to digital programming and meeting allowed Utell to join the cohort. She is in the first non-Tulsan to join the group since the Center began.

Share link: https://www.widener.edu/news/noteworthy/chair-english-janine-utell-accepted-public-fellow-oklahoma-center-humanities

College of Arts and Sciences

Adjunct Biology Professor Earns La Salle's Lindback Distinguished Teaching Award

Rhonda Hazell, DPM, an adjunct professor of biology at Widener and an assistant professor of biology at La Salle, is the 2020 recipient of La Salle University's Lindback Distinguished Teaching Award. Hazell is the 100th recipient of the award, which recognizes excellence in teaching, inspiration in and out of the classroom, and devotion to helping students realize their potential.

Share link: https://www.widener.edu/news/noteworthy/adjunct-biology-professor-earns-la-salles-lindback-distinguished-teaching-award

Jayne M. Thompson
College of Arts & Sciences

Jayne Thompson Selected as Periclean Faculty Leader

Project Pericles announced that Assistant Teaching Professor of English Jayne Thompson was selected for the second cohort of faculty members for the Mellon Periclean Faculty Leadership Program in the Humanities. As a Periclean Faculty Leader, she joins a community of scholars, including Associate Professors Marina Barnett and Bretton Alvaré and Assistant Professor Jordan Smith, dedicated to incorporating civic engagement into the curriculum while empowering students to use their academic knowledge to tackle real-world problems.

The $4,000 grant will help with the development of the Fall 2021 Community Literacy and Social Justice course focused on putting writing center theory and pedagogy to work in establishing sustainable writing centers across the community, the first at State Correctional Institution at Chester, and each with the signature feature of collaborative student leadership of writing workshops and the editing and publishing of writing emerging from those workshops.

Share link: https://www.widener.edu/news/noteworthy/jayne-thompson-selected-periclean-faculty-leader

Kate Goodrich Lecture at Harvard
College of Arts & Sciences

Associate Professor Katherine Goodrich Presents Lecture at Harvard University

Associate Professor of Biology Katherine Goodrich, who is also the Cynthia H. Sarnoski Science Faculty Fellow, presented a lecture at the Harvard University Herbaria Seminar Series on March 10. The invited lecture, "Flowers, flies, and fermentation: floral mimicry and pollination ecology of pawpaw," focused on Goodrich's research on the pollination of the pawpaw, a tree native to United States and Canada that smells of fermenting fruit to attract fruit-loving flies for pollination.

Share link: https://www.widener.edu/news/noteworthy/associate-professor-katherine-goodrich-presents-lecture-harvard-university

Catherine Safran Profile Image
College of Arts & Sciences

Assistant Teaching Professor Catherine Kirn-Safran Publishes Two Research Articles

Dr. Catherine Kirn-Safran, an assistant teaching professor of biology, has recently co-authored two peer-reviewed research articles. One article, titled "Perlecan/Hspg2 deficiency impairs bone's calcium signaling and associated transcriptome in response to mechanical loading," was published in the February 2020 issue of Bone. The other article, titled "Trabecular Bone Deficit and Enhanced Anabolic Response to Re-Ambulation after Disuse in Perlecan-Deficient Skeleton," was published in Biomolecules in January 2020.

Share link: https://www.widener.edu/news/noteworthy/assistant-teaching-professor-catherine-kirn-safran-publishes-two-research-articles

 

Jordan B. Smith
College of Arts & Sciences

Dr. Jordan Smith Awarded National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship

Dr. Jordan Smith, assistant professor of history, has been awarded a prestigious $20,000 National Endowment for the Humanities Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the Library Company of Philadelphia. The nationally competitive, semester-long fellowship will support him as he writes the final chapter of his book “The Invention of Rum” based on his research into the invention and production of rum in the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century British Atlantic world.

Share link: https://www.widener.edu/news/noteworthy/dr-jordan-smith-awarded-national-endowment-humanities-fellowship

Wolfgram Memorial Library in fall
Wolfgram Memorial Library

Faculty Receive Grant for Human Sexuality Archives Project

Widener awarded Professor of English Janine Utell and Librarian Molly Wolf a Faculty Development Grant for a Human Sexuality Archives project entitled “Early 20th-Century Sexuality and Culture: A Guide to the Archive.” A continuation of a Summer Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity (SURCA) project led by an undergraduate student research assistant, the goal is to create a digital resource to be housed on the library website page for the Human Sexuality Archives and available to researchers interested in early 20th-century cultures and texts of sexuality and sexology. As there is a wealth of material in this area available in the Human Sexuality Archives the aim is to make this material discoverable and usable to other researchers through an annotated guide focusing on early 20th-century memoirs, marriage and hygiene manuals, and other sexological texts.

Share link: https://www.widener.edu/node/12831

Widener students participate in New Voices poetry reading
College of Arts & Sciences

Widener Students' Poetry Published through New Voices Program

Several students in adjunct English and writing professor Tamara Oakman’s ENGL 102 and 116 course had poems accepted in Moonstone Arts Center’s New Voices program for emerging poets under the age of 25. The program creates a platform for young poets by welcoming them into a larger Philadelphia poetry collaborative and giving them the opportunity to share their work with a wide audience. The published students include Alyssa Barlow, Richard Bearden III, Taylor Berkheimer, Emily Caruso, Emily DeLuca, Noah Gabay, Lazaros Gouvas, Kentz Gustave, Sara Khalil, Mitchell Mackesy, Aimee Schwartz and Jaime Zima. Caruso and Schwartz read their poetry at a related event on Nov. 17.

Share Link: https://www.widener.edu/node/11661/

Annalisa Castaldo
College of Arts & Sciences

Annalisa Castaldo's pitch wins at Blackfriars Conference Staging Session

Annalisa Castaldo, an associate professor of English, participated in the Blackfriars Conference Staging Sessions at the American Shakespeare Center, where her pitch to have the company perform Thomas Kyd's "The Spanish Tragedy" was selected for future production.

Share Link: https://www.widener.edu/node/11621/

Janine Utell
College of Arts & Sciences

Janine Utell writes book "Literary Couples and 20th-Century Life Writing"

Janine Utell, professor and chair of English, recently wrote a book "Literary Couples and 20th-Century Life Writing," which was published by Bloomsbury. Exposing how modernist and late-modernist writers tell the stories of their intimate relationships though life writing, the book engages with the process by which these authors become subjects to a significant other, a change that subsequently becomes narrative within their works. Looking specifically at partners in a couple, Utell focuses on such literary pairings as Virginia and Leonard Woolf, Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, Sylvia Townsend Warner and Valentine Ackland, Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy, and Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes.

Share Link: https://www.widener.edu/node/11626/

Widener students present at FUSE Conference
College of Arts & Sciences

Widener Hosted Student Editors at Eighth Annual FUSE Conference

Students and advisors from around the country came to Widener University for the eighth annual Forum for Undergraduate Student Editors Conference (FUSE) held Nov. 7-9. Highlights included a moving keynote performance and story slam workshop by Nimisha Ladva, an open mic hosted by senior English major Miranda Miller, and a journal showcase featuring Widener Ink, the university's in-house literary journal, and The Blue Route, the university's international online journal of undergraduate writing. Widener students were featured presenters for two sessions. Megan Corkery (English and creative writing), Kira Smith (creative writing and psychology), Mason Sontag (English and creative writing), and Ty Swinehart (English) led a collaborative workshop, and Widener Ink co-editors Sarah De Kok (English and creative writing) and Miller presented on their collaborations and work.

Share Link: https://www.widener.edu/node/11666/