People & Places: November 2018

Identifying Brook TroutFormer Allegheny students Mark Kirk ’11, Kirsten Ressell ’14, and Anna Rosswog ’17, and Scott Wissinger, professor of environmental science and biology, recently published the paper “Evaluating Trade‐Offs Between Invasion and Isolation for Native Brook Trout in Pennsylvania Streams” in Transactions of the American Fisheries Society. The paper combines data from multiple senior projects to evaluate strategies for conserving threatened populations of brook trout, and was funded by grants through the Western PA Conservancy, Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission, and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. Kirk is continuing his work on introduced and native trout interactions for his Ph.D. at the University of Wyoming, and Ressell is pursuing her M.S. degree in fisheries at the University of Alaska. Pictured above is Rosswog identifying brook trout for her senior project.

Ian Carbone, assistant professor of environmental science & sustainability, and Kelly Boulton, sustainability coordinator, presented at the 2018 AASHE conference: Global Goals: Rising to the Challenge. They co-presented “Nailing Net Zero, From Design to Certification” with the U.S. Department of Energy and the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC). The presentation focused on Allegheny’s recently constructed renewable energy greenhouse in the Carr Hall Garden, which aims to operate as a net zero energy facility while extending the growing season into the winter. The structure features a rooftop of luminescent solar concentrator (LSC) panels that generate electricity while also allowing light to pass through to the plants growing below. The structure is heated by a switchgrass pellet stove which utilizes a locally grown biomass source. The project, one component of Allegheny’s institutional sustainability commitments and climate neutrality goal, highlights the many ways students researched, designed and implemented the project through various methods of curricular integration — from a junior seminar to summer work to a senior comp.

Casey Bradshaw-Wilson, assistant professor of environmental science & sustainability, presented her research at the Upper Midwest Invasive Species conference in Rochester, Minnesota. This presentation was titled “Range Expansion and Diet of Round Gobies in Streams of Northwestern Pennsylvania” and covered her most recent work on documenting movement of this invasive fish throughout the French Creek watershed as well as impacts to native fauna.

Assistant Professor of English John MacNeill Miller published an essay at Avidly about the parrots, raccoons, and other animal co-stars that appear on the reality TV show “Bachelor in Paradise.” He also participated in a special roundtable session on ecological literary criticism at the annual meeting of the North American Victorian Studies Association in St. Petersburg, Florida. His position paper, “Scenic Overlook,” argued for the importance of paying renewed attention to the scenery and landscapes featured in narrative fiction — passages that often seem boring or skippable, but that can hold the key to revealing a literary work’s environmental values.


Tales from the Rat LabProfessor Rod Clark of the Department of Psychology and Program in Neurosciences, along with Cameron Neiblum ’20 and Alexandra Parisi ’20, recently published “Tales from the Rat Lab: Introductory Experiments in the Experimental Analysis of Behavior,” a laboratory manual for behavior analysis.

Along with collaborators, Matt Venesky, assistant professor of biology, published some research that explored how temperature interacts with disease to cause amphibian population declines. The collaborative research (titled “Thermal mismatches explain how climate change and infectious disease drove widespread amphibian extinctions”) will be published in an upcoming issue of the peer-reviewed journal Global Change Biology.

Form & MateriePeter Ensberg, professor emeritus of German, has published a monograph titled Form & Materie. Schillers verfehlte Moderne (Form & Matter. Schiller’s Failed Modernism). Friedrich Schiller is being hailed as a preeminent thinker of the 18th century and (together with Goethe) as the protagonist of German Classicism. The book discusses the philosophical foundations of that classicism and questions their modern applicability. The relationship between form (mind/spirit) and matter (the senses) lies at the heart of Schiller’s methodology used in his theoretical works (1790–1800) and serves as the foundation not only for his aesthetics, but also and primarily for an ontological approach to what it means to be human. The book illustrates Schiller’s position by relating it to the tradition (Aristotle, Descartes), modern thinking (Kant, Heidegger) and postmodern/deconstructionist positions (Foucault, de Man, Spivak, Simondon). Ensberg’s study shows that Schiller’s notion of humanity is not a modern one, but governed by norms whose classical-exemplary status needs to be questioned and eventually revoked. Form & Materie has been printed by Königshausen & Neumann in Würzburg (Germany), a leading publishing house of scholarly works on literary theory and philosophy.

Richard Bowden, professor of environmental science & sustainability, and his colleagues coauthored the paper “The Detrital Input and Removal Treatment (DIRT) network: Insights into soil carbon stabilization” in the journal Science of the Total Environment. The paper describes long-term experiments at national and international forested sites showing that increasing productivity in existing mature forests has limited ability to increase soil carbon storage, and is therefore of limited value offsetting climate change-causing carbon dioxide emissions.

Aimee Knupsky, associate professor of psychology and director of undergraduate research, scholarship, and creative activities, is receiving the Dominic Costanzo Alumni Recognition Award at her alma mater, Muskingum University. This award, which recognizes alumni who are “Giving Away Psychology in Service to Others,” is named in honor of Knupsky’s statistics professor at Muskingum.

Christopher Bakken in AthensIn October, Professor of English Christopher Bakken participated in a symposium titled “Why Read? The Role of Writers and Books in the 21st Century” in Athens, Greece. The symposium was sponsored by the Hellenic Authors’ Society in cooperation with the Institute of Comparative Literature & Society of Columbia University on the occasion of UNESCO’s designation of Athens as World Book Capital. Bakken’s talk, “Taking Stock and Talking Back,” addressed the specific kinds of reading and thinking required of us by literature; it will be published next year along with other selected symposium presentations.

Associate Professor of English and Director of Writing Alexis Hart participated in the Ideas Exchange at the International Writing Centers Association (IWCA) conference in Atlanta October 10–13. Professor Hart shared the idea of offering grammar tutoring in a session titled, “Why, Yes, We DO Have Grammar Tutors!” Professor Hart also led a Maker Session titled “How Do Student Veterans Transition from Military to Campus Culture, and Why Does it Matter?” at the Thomas R. Watson Conference on Rhetoric and Composition held at The University of Louisville October 25–27.