People and Places: May 2018

Professor of Environmental Science and Biology Scott Wissinger received a supplemental grant of $11,181 for his current National Science Foundation (NSF) research grant, Consequences of Climate-Induced Range Shifts on Multiple Ecosystem Functions, which is supporting his study of the role of inland waters in the global carbon budget. The supplemental grant will enable a fifth Allegheny student to conduct research with Wissinger at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory in central Colorado. His original grant provided funding for three students, and he received another supplemental grant for one student last summer. A total of 100 percent of the project’s cost of $11,181 will be covered with federal funds through this NSF grant (Grant No. 1557015).

Understanding Epidemiology
Becky Dawson ’00
, assistant professor of global health studies and biology, has recently published the second edition of her textbook Understanding Epidemiology: Concepts, Skills, and Application. The book is specifically written for undergraduate students who want to learn the foundations of epidemiology and research in the public health sciences. This edition includes new chapters focused on public health prevention and disease outbreak investigations, as well as material on emerging issues in public health, including Zika virus and Ebola virus disease. McClaren Rodriguez ’20 contributed to the development of the book by editing the text, testing the exercises, developing answer keys, and providing valuable feedback.

Jared Balik ’16, Susan Washko ’16, and Scott Wissinger, professor of environmental science and biology, recently published the paper “High interspecific variation in nutrient excretion within a guild of closely related caddisfly species” in the journal Ecosphere. The paper is based on Balik’s senior thesis at Allegheny as a Beckman Scholar and follow-up research as a graduate student at North Carolina State University.

Mark Cosdon, professor of theatre and performance studiesappeared on a recent episode of the Australian television show “Who Do You Think You Are?” Cosdon’s segment was recorded in August in London, where he met with Noni Hazlehurst, an immensely popular Australian stage and screen performer who was featured in the episode. “Who Do You Think You Are?” is a documentary genealogy series that profiles celebrities and traces their family trees with affiliates around the globe. “For over two decades I have been researching the Hanlon Brothers and the history of popular entertainments,” Cosdon said. “This work culminated in my book The Hanlon Brothers: From Daredevil Acrobatics to Spectacle Pantomime, 1833–1931, about a famed family of aerial and slapstick comedy performers. While I regularly field inquiries from other historians whose work intersects with mine or from those conducting research into their family’s roots, being approached by Warner Brothers to participate in ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ was certainly a most unusual and satisfying experience. Noni Hazlehurst is a beloved Australian performer. Her great-grandfather Patrick Carmody was employed by the Hanlon Brothers for nearly 10 years. We shot the first segment alongside the Thames and then traveled to the Theatre Royal Haymarket in the West End to shoot a second segment.”

The episode is available here. Cosdon’s segment begins at 29:20 and continues through approximately 36:20. (Video shared with permission of Warner Brothers, Australia.)

Associate Professor of Biology Lisa Whitenack was awarded the Volunteer of the Year award from the Crawford County K-12 Career Education Alliance for her work with local youth and educators. She spearheads the annual “4th Graders as Scientists” event, which brings every public school 4th grader in Crawford Central School District to Allegheny for a day of hands-on science and learning what a scientist does and looks like. She also is on the implementation team for Educators in the Workplace, an annual event that brings local educators (including Allegheny faculty and staff) to a local manufacturing shop for a tour and conversation about strengthening the ties between educators, manufacturers, and the local community.

Assistant Professor of English Aline Lo and students Hannah HartLauren Fugate, and Olivia Blakeslee were one of three teams selected to take part in the Great Lakes Colleges Association (GLCA)-Library of Congress Faculty-Student Research Program for the project, “Beyond Exile: Refugee Narratives in Contemporary American Literature.” This grant will fund 10 days of guided research at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., in July. The team will work with various materials in order to learn more about refugee settlement in the U.S. after major wars.

At the 2018 Annual Pennsylvania Environmental Resource Consortium, held at Pennsylvania State University, State College, Sonya Korzeniwsky ’18 and Assistant Professor of Environmental Science Ian Carbone were honored as 2018 Campus Sustainability Champions. Korzeniwsky was recognized for her work enhancing food availability in the Meadville community, leadership in Edible Allegheny, and numerous efforts to promote food and agricultural awareness on campus. Carbone received the award for his novel greenhouse that uses groundbreaking solar panel technology, and for bringing hands-on courses on renewable energy technology to Allegheny.

Several students recently presented work at the 2018 Annual Pennsylvania Environmental Resource Consortium, held at Pennsylvania State University, State College. Jennifer Tompkins ’18, Caithlin Lord ’20, and Kylie Wirebach ’20 exhibited a poster entitled “Comparative Analysis of Solar Arrays in Northwest Pennsylvania”; Kristen Locy ’18 presented “How can Allegheny College buy Carbon Neutrality”; Sonya Korzeniwsky ’18 presented “Assessing a Mobile Food Market in Meadville, Pennsylvania”; and Danielle Higbee ’20 presented “Reduce, Reuse, Menstrual Cycle: Menstrual Hygiene Product Usage and Knowledge of their Environmental Impact at Allegheny College”.

Professor of Biology Ron Mumme recently published a paper entitled “The trade-off between molt and parental care in Hooded Warblers: Simultaneous rectrix molt and uniparental desertion of late-season young.” The article was published online April 18 by the American Ornithological Society (AOS) and will appear in the July 2018 issue of The Auk: Ornithological Advances. The AOS Publications Office issued a press release about the study that has been picked up by several different online science news outlets, including Phys.Org, EurekAlert!, and ScienceDaily.

Will Harrod ’21 and Professor of Biology Ron Mumme recently published a species account of the Slate-throated Redstart in the online database Neotropical Birds Online. Neotropical Birds Online is hosted and edited by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and is designed to be a comprehensive and authoritative online resource for ornithologists and conservationists working in the Neotropics. The Slate-throated Redstart is a Neotropical warbler that is widely distributed in montane habitats from northern Mexico to Bolivia.

Michael Mehler, associate professor of communication arts/theatre, presented at two recent national conferences. In March, he participated in a panel sponsored by the Broadway Green Alliance entitled “Closing Green” at the United States Institute for Theatre Technology in Ft. Lauderdale. The session focused on ways to minimize waste in theatrical production; Mehler focused on structural changes to production season planning and implementation. In April, he co-presented a session on Sustainable Materials and Practices at the Earth Matters on Stage Conference in Anchorage, with a focus on effective uses of sustainable sheet goods and organic paints.

Two students in the Department of Geology have been selected for competitive geoscience summer internships. Nathan Pastorek ’20 was chosen to participate in the Department of Energy Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internship at the National Renewable Energy Lab in Golden, Colorado. Pastorek will be working on a feasibility project for geothermal energy sources in the U.S. Chris Micucci ’18 was awarded the American Geosciences Institute Summer Policy Internship in Washington, D.C. The Geoscience Policy intern represents the shared interests of the geoscience community in Washington, D.C., and actively works with Congress and federal agencies to foster better communication and public policy for the geosciences in areas including water, energy and mineral resources, natural hazards, environmental protection, and federal funding for geoscience research and education.

Twenty-one Allegheny students participated in the 27th Annual Sigma Xi Undergraduate Research and Creative Accomplishment Conference held at Penn State Behrend on April 14, 2018. They are (with their faculty advisors listed in parentheses): Jessica Yohe (Bradley Hersh), Emily Watto (Bradley Hersh), Samuel Thomas (Christy Donmoyer), Callie Garlick (Ronald Mumme and Bradley Hersh), Carissa Lange (Matthew Venesky & Beth Choate), Michelle Woods (Matthew Venesky & Scott Wissinger), Briana Freeman, (Rich Bowden, Casey Bradshaw-Wilson), Danielle Higbee (Rich Bowden), Leah Kelly (Tricia Humphreys), Alexis Sotelo and Jessica Parkinson (Rodney Clark), Kathryn Weiss (Lee Coates), Joanna Berry (Scott Wissinger), Lisa Yoder (Ivelitza Garcia), Megan Arnold (Ivelitza Garcia), Susan Campbell (Ivelitza Garcia and Scott Wissinger), Chris Micucci (Matt Carter), Nathan Pastorek, Cayton Hornberger, and David Shipe (Matt Carter), and Leah Franzluebbers (Andrew Bloeser and Scott Wissinger).

Lange, Thomas, Freeman, Weiss, Sotelo, Parkinson, Yoder, Micucci, and Franzluebbers were given awards for best presentations in their sessions. A total of 179 students from 15 colleges in western and central Pennsylvania participated in the conference.

Leah FranzluebbersLeah Franzluebbers ’18 recently received the Gertzog Prize for the Best Senior Project on American Politics from the Allegheny College Political Science Department. Franzluebbers also received the award for Best Research Poster in the Social Science/Humanities division at the Sigma Xi Undergraduate Research Conference in Erie, Pennsylvania, where she presented work from her senior project. Additionally, Franzluebbers presented work from her senior project at the Midwest Political Science Association conference in Chicago, Illinois. Franzluebbers’ research examines how to persuade political conservatives who are inclined to oppose action on climate change to adopt pro-environmental positions. Her research suggests that messages that contain moral themes that resonate with conservatives — namely, appeals to in-group loyalty — can generate pro-environmental attitudes among conservative citizens. By extension, her work suggests a possible communication strategy that could help establish common ground on an intensely partisan political issue.

Liam Dugan ’19 (physics) was awarded an undergraduate travel award and a student stipend to present his research at the American Society for Mass Spectrometry conference in San Diego in June. The title of Dugan’s presentation is “Mechanospray Ionization of Biomolecules and Synthetic Polymers” and is based on research he carried out last summer and during the winter break in the lab of Professor Mark Bier ’80 of the Department of Chemistry, Carnegie Mellon University. Dugan will continue this work in the coming summer in the lab of Prof. Bier and also next year as part of his senior project in the lab of Doros Petasis, Allegheny professor of physics.