People & Places: April 2021
People & Places is published monthly during the academic year. It reports on the professional activities of members of the College community and highlights student achievement.
Allegheny College received $100,000 from the Charles E. Kaufman Foundation of The Pittsburgh Foundation for an Integrated Research-Education Grant to support Associate Professor of Chemistry Mark Ams’ research project, “Toward Creating Alien Life: A Genetic Self-Replicating System using Chalcogen Bonds.” The goal of the proposed research is to construct an alternative blueprint for life, one that is fundamentally different from DNA and represents a distinct departure from terrestrial biology. Read more about the project here.
As part of a special issue in Southeastern Naturalist, Assistant Professor of Environmental Science and Sustainability Kelly Pearce co-authored four papers on her work with the eastern spotted skunk in Maryland and West Virginia. Not much is known about this elusive mammal in the Appalachians, and these papers cover the historical distribution, habitat and den-site selection, and predation pressures faced by the eastern spotted skunk, all important for the future conservation of this important Carnivora species.
Professor of Environmental Science and Sustainability Eric Pallant and Assistant Professor Kelly Pearce were invited to speak with engineering graduate students at Effat University, located in Jeddah Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Their virtual presentation, titled “Wind Turbines and the Environment,” covered the impact that wind turbines have on wildlife, particularly birds of prey, such as eagles and raptors, which can be killed by direct strikes with the blades, as well as bats, which have specialized lung systems that cannot withstand the drastic air pressure changes caused by the turbine blades. Mitigation approaches, such as curtailing turbines during migration seasons, and at low wind speeds were discussed. (View a larger version of the presentation slide here.)
Assistant Professor of Geology Katie Tamulonis and Assistant Pennsylvania State Geologist and Visiting Instructor of Geology Kristin Carter ’91 published an article titled “Evidence of Hydrothermal Alteration in Devonian Shales from the EGSP-2 Core of the Rome Trough, Appalachian Basin, USA” in the journal Environmental Geosciences. Portions of this research were virtually presented to the Geological Society of America, the Pittsburgh Association of Petroleum Geologists, and Slippery Rock University.
Associate Professor of History Guo Wu was invited by Singapore’s ThinkChina.sg to comment on the recent violence against Asians in America, and his response was translated and appeared on the website under the title “Anti-Asian hate crimes: Chinese Americans’ weak and disparate voice in US society.”
Assistant Professor of Psychology Sarah Stanger and students in her Healthy Families Lab presented research posters in early April at the Society for Research on Child Development biennial (virtual) conference. In the first picture, Maddy McClinchie ’21 and Professor Stanger present the poster, “Associations between parent and child coping with COVID-19 and child psychopathology.” In the second picture, Sasha Eager ’22, Ella Swan ’23, and Grace Connelly ’23 present the poster, “‘We are being intentionally kind to each other:’ Parent reflections on COVID-19.” Both of these posters showcase research done during the past year on how families are coping with the COVID pandemic.
Assistant Professor of English John MacNeill Miller was named a Fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) for the fall of 2021. He will use the fellowship semester to complete his book project On Background: Scenery, Ecology, and the Social Novel, which focuses on the entangled intellectual histories of ecology, economics, and the English novel. A more detailed description of the book project can be found on the ACLS website profiling this year’s fellows.
Three Humanities students were accepted to the 29th Penn State Behrend-Sigma Xi Undergraduate Research and Creative Accomplishments Conference on April 24. Sydney Emerson ’23 presented “The Dreamers, the Doers and Me: Jim Henson’s Innovative Optimism” and was awarded first place in the panel. Jane Grabowski ’24 presented “How Robin Frohardt Examines the Strangeness of Everyday Life,” and Kimberlyn Rybak ’21 presented “Handspring Puppet Company: How ‘Autistic’ Audiences and Authentic Movement are Shaping the Puppet Theater Industry,” which was awarded second place in the panel. The students conducted their research in THTR 290: Puppetry in Performance, offered during Module I of Spring 2021.
Logan Chisholm ’21 and Mary Allen ’22, supervised by Professor Matt Carter (Geology and Energy and Society), participated in the 29th Penn State Behrend-Sigma Xi Undergraduate Research and Creative Accomplishments Conference on Saturday, April 24. They presented an “Economic and Environmental Analysis of High Pressure Sodium to Light-Emitting Diode Streetlight Conversion in Meadville, PA” that was conducted in the spring of 2020 in collaboration with the City of Meadville. This project was part of a capstone course, ENERG 485: Applied Energy Analysis, for the Energy and Society minor. Their presentation was awarded second place in the Environmental Science Session. The City of Meadville will take on Allegheny College student interns this upcoming fall semester to help map out and plan a streetlight conversion to LEDs.
Andrea Jonsson ’21, a Biology major and a Global Health Studies minor, presented a poster abstract titled “Glucocorticoid Mediated Transcriptional Activity in Human Corneal Epithelial Cells Lacking the Glucocorticoid Receptor” at the Endocrine Society’s national conference ENDO2021, which took place virtually from March 20 to 23, 2021. This abstract was co-authored by Lydia Ennis ’21, a Biology major and a Chinese minor, Professor Mahita Kadmiel from the Biology Department, and the group’s collaborator from the National Institutes of Health. Jonsson and co-authors’ research presented at this conference investigates the molecular pathways modulated by stress hormones in cells derived from the human cornea. Photographed is Jonsson with her poster on the ENDO2021 Virtual Poster Booth.
Ethan Woodfill ’22, editor-in-chief of The Campus, Allegheny’s student-run newspaper, was recently recognized with an honorable mention award in the annual Student Media Keystone Awards contest sponsored by the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association Foundation, the state’s leading training and development resource for the press. Woodfill’s winning submission consisted of three columns written during spring semester 2020: “Australian fires are just the beginning,” “Safety improvements needed for N. Main St.,” and “A day in the life of a college student in the age of coronavirus.” Woodfill is currently completing his first year as The Campus‘ editor-in-chief and has been elected by staff members to serve as one of two co-editors-in-chief next year.