From Demosthenes’ Philippics to Crystallization of Polymers: Faculty and Students Present Their Work

Sept. 4, 2012 – Faculty and students at Allegheny College have recently authored works or participated in professional activities in a broad range of subject matter.

Junior Elliott Hasenkopf presented a poster with Visiting Assistant Professor of Chemistry Ryan Van Horn titled “Crystallization of poly(ethylene oxide)-b-poly(caprolactone) diblock copolymer films at varying temperatures” at the 244th American Chemical Society National Meeting in Philadelphia in August. Hasenkopf completed his research work as a summer intern in Van Horn’s lab. The research is focused on understanding the sequential crystallization of polymers to tailor their properties for biological applications.

Assistant Professor of Religious Studies Vika Gardner presented the paper “Constructions of Gender and Sexuality in the Bahāristān of Jāmī: Deducing ‘Proper’ Men and Women” at the International Society for Iranian Studies biennial conference in Istanbul on August 3, as part of a panel on ‘Abd al-Rahman Jāmī (d. 1492, in Herat, Afghanistan). The Bahāristān, a work Jāmī wrote for his 13-year-old son, has been little studied. Gardner studies representations in the work to develop intersections between Sufism (Islamic mysticism), sexual expression and childhood studies in the premodern Islamic world.

Visiting Assistant Professor of Art Valerie Gilman will be presenting her current work in a solo show at the Holstein Gallery of the Erie Art Museum. The show runs January 18 – May 4, 2013. The opening will be during the March 1 Erie Gallery Night. Professor Gilman demonstrated the creation of a portrait bust on September 1 at the Meadville Council on the Arts. On September 2 she taught a two-hour workshop on how to make a lifelike face out of clay.

Associate Professor of Classical Studies Judson Herrman presented a paper to a plenary session of the Association of Ancient Historians at Duke University on May 5. In his talk — titled “Demosthenes’ Philippics: a fourth-century book?” — he argued that the famous Athenian orator published collections of his political speeches for an audience of readers.

Assistant Professor of Environmental Science Mark Neff received a grant from NSF’s Science of Science and Innovation Policy program for a project examining how university publication requirements and academic journal editorial preferences constrain the ability of ecological scientists to meet local knowledge needs. The grant will enable him and undergraduate students to travel to and conduct research in Peru, Brazil, Mexico and Canada, in addition to the U.S. The project is titled “RUI: A Comparative Study of Structural Influences on User-engaged Ecology Research.”

Chaplain Jane Ellen Nickell presented a paper in August at the annual meeting of the Association for the Sociology of Religion, an international organization that met in conjunction with the American Sociological Association’s annual meeting in Denver. Her paper, “Clinging to the Rock: Social Change and Methodist Leadership,” was based on her dissertation research.

Professor of Philosophy Eric Palmer has received approval from the National Endowment for the Humanities to develop an NEH Summer Institute for 2013, working with co-director Fred Gifford (Professor of Philosophy, Michigan State University). “Development Ethics: Questions, Challenges and Responsibilities” concerns a young sub-field of ethics and social and political philosophy that has grown to maturity over the past thirty years, as philosophers came to observe evident weaknesses in global aid and development efforts of the mid and late 20th century. Palmer and Gifford will gather 12 visiting speakers and 25 U.S. faculty to reside at Michigan State University for the period of July 22-August 16, 2013. More information can be found at

Visiting Assistant Professor of Psychology Lauren Paulson presented an educational session titled “Forming Sidewalks: Connecting Rural Mental Health Workers through Peer Supervision” at the annual International Interdisciplinary Conference on Clinical Supervision at Adelphi University in Long Island, New York, on June 12. On July 21 she presented an educational session titled “Collaborative Solutions: Peer Supervision and Technology to Support Rural Mental Health Workers” at the annual American Mental Health Counselors Association conference in Orlando, Florida.

The Office of Career Services’ new Four Year Plan and Professional Documents Guide — their resume and cover letter guide — have been selected for inclusion in the web resource library of the National Career Development Association, which works on career development at all levels (pre-high school through seasoned professionals). The guides were developed by Director of Career Services Michaeline Shuman and former Assistant Director of Career Services Alycia McCullough.

Professor of Biology and Environmental Science Scott Wissinger received a grant from the Unassessed Waters Program funded by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, US Forest Service, and PA Fish Commission to study fish communities in the French Creek and adjacent watersheds. The funding is focused on collaborative research with students on the distribution and abundance of fishes in northwestern Pennsylvania.