From Mineral Resources in Alaska to Women’s Studies in Cuba: Students and Faculty Present Their Work

April 13, 2012 – Students and faculty at Allegheny College have recently authored works or participated in professional activities across a range of disciplines.

Erin Birsic ’12, Brooke Kindler ’13, and Lucas Carrion ’13 traveled over spring break to National Taiwan University in Taipei with Professor of Geology Ron Cole. They conducted geochemical analyses and radiometric dating as part of a research project on collisional magmatism and mineral resources in southern Alaska. The research is funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation with laboratory support from the National Science Council of Taiwan.

Margaret Blevins ’12 and Christine Wachnowsky ’12 had abstracts accepted and presented papers in German at the Undergraduate Conference in German Studies at Layfayette College in Easton, Pa., on March 24. Margaret presented “Glück und Geld: die Ehe als sozial akzeptierte und ermutigte Prostitution in Arthur Schnitzlers Reigen,” and Christine presented “Die Bevormundung der Frau: die Darstellung der Ehe an der Jahrhundertwende in Schnitzlers Reigen.”

Jacob Brezinsky ’13, Caitlyn Neidig ’12, Ryan Scruggs ’12, Mengjue (Vivien) Zhou ’13, and Assistant Professor of Physics Adele Poynor presented their research on the interactions of water with extended hydrophobic surfaces at the American Physical Society national meeting held in Boston in March.

Wenonah Echelard ’12 and Erin Wahl ’12 participated in the 8th Undergraduate Research Symposium on Latin America and the Caribbean, held at the University of Pittsburgh on March 16. Wenonah presented “Género y violencia en la construcción del sicario: el caso de Colombia (1990-2000).” Erin presented “La ausencia del padre y la representación de sus consecuencias en Sin tetas no hay paraíso y Paco, la punta del iceberg.” Both papers were originally written for Associate Professor of Modern Languages Wilfredo Hernandez’s Spanish 580 senior seminar on the Culture of Illegal Drugs in Latin America.

Colleen Friel ’13 has won a travel grant from the Association of Plant Biologists to attend the annual conference of the association, Plant Biology 2012, which will be held in Austin, Texas, in August. Colleen will present a poster titled “Auxin Effects on Root Exudation and Root Colonization by Biocontrol Bacteria,” which will report on her work with Associate Professor of Biology Catharina Coenen. Colleen was one of only six undergraduate students to be selected for this award from an international pool of applicants.

Nivetha Ramasubramanian ’13 presented the talk “Separability of elements in free groups” at the Pi Mu Epsilon Undergraduate Mathematics Conference at Youngstown State University on February 25. Her talk was based on research conducted last summer with John Conant ’12 under the direction of Assistant Professor of Mathematics Matt Clay.

Allegheny College was well represented at the 65th Pennsylvania Intercollegiate Band, which took place at California University of Pennsylvania during the weekend of March 9-11. James Baker ’13, Trevor Barr ’13, Wenonah Echelard ’12, Nicki Eckstrom ’12, Dan Honeycutt ’14, Scott Kirk ’14, Marla Sacks ’13, Melanie Smith ’14, Brandon Staley ’13, and Emily Taylor ’13 rehearsed under the baton of Frank Wickes, retired director of bands at Louisiana State University, for two and a half days, culminating in a performance on March 11. Twenty-three Pennsylvania colleges and universities participated in the event, which is the oldest of its kind in the nation. All the students placed well within their sections, with Emily, Scott, Brandon, and Trevor winning principal chairs. The students were accompanied by Professor of Music and Director of Bands Lowell Hepler and Instructor of Music Julie Hepler.

Professors of Environmental Science Richard Bowden and Terry Bensel, Stacia-Fe Gillen ’14, Lauren Deem ’13, Kelsey Ream ’13, Alessandra Trunzo ’11, and Taylor Weiss ’11 co-presented “The Penn’s Woods Project: Informing tomorrow’s forest landowners in today’s Pennsylvania High Schools” at the Annual Meeting of the Pennsylvania Association of Environmental Education and also at the Undergraduate Research Conference at the Capitol in Harrisburg. The Penn’s Woods Project provides forest science teaching modules and resources for high school students and teachers across Pennsylvania.

Kathryn Conn ’11 and Associate Professor of Psychology Patricia Rutledge recently presented a poster, “Did she really want it? The effects of gender and drinking on rape myth acceptance,” at the annual meeting of the Eastern Psychological Association in Pittsburgh.

Assistant Professor of English Matthew Ferrence’s literary essay “Getting There” was published in the “Winter Quiescence 2012” issue of Sport Literate, just out this March. He also presented “Too Far North, Too Much Redneck” at the 35th Annual Appalachian Studies Association conference, March 23-25.

Associate Professor of Computer Science Gregory M. Kapfhammer recently published the paper “Empirically Evaluating Regression Testing Techniques: Challenges, Solutions, and a Potential Way Forward” in the Proceedings of the 1st International Workshop on Regression Testing. After identifying the challenges associated with evaluating regression testing methods, this paper advocates a specific way forward that involves a mutually beneficial increased sharing of the inputs, outputs, and procedures used in experiments. More information about both this paper and Kapfhammer’s past and ongoing research projects is available at

Assistant Professor of English Aisha Damali Lockridge has been accepted to participate in the Council of Independent Colleges’ Slave Narrative Seminar at Yale University this summer.

Associate Professor of Political Science Shannan Mattiace and Professor of Economics Tomas Nonnenmacher presented their work at Brown University’s Center of Latin American Studies in a lecture titled “Labor on Henequen Haciendas in Revolutionary Yucatan: Institutional Change and Market Response” on March 1. Mattiace gave a lecture, “The U.S.-Mexican Border: Illicit Flows and Military Force,” at the Jefferson Educational Society in Erie on February 17.

Associate Professor of Geology Rachel O’Brien was invited to moderate a panel on “Water in the Developing World: Harsh Realities and Inspiring Innovations” at the 6th Annual Energy and Environment Conference at Babson College. More than 500 attendees were present at the one-day conference.

Associate Professor of Spanish Barbara Riess attended the XIX Annual International Women’s Studies Conference at the Casa de las Américas in Havana, Cuba on February 22-24. She chaired an intergenerational panel, “The History of Women’s Studies in Cuba/Women’s Studies in Cuba Today,” and collected research for her manuscript Bodies of Work: Fifty Years of Feminist Fiction from Cuba.

Michaeline Shuman, director of career services and pre-law advisor, and Meghan Godorov, assistant director for career development at Mount Holyoke College, presented a program at the 94th annual NASPA conference (Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education) in Phoenix in March. “Winning Strategies for Career Centers Serving Student Athletes” was one of 400 programs selected for the conference, which was attended by more than 4,000 professionals.