People & Places: June 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.


On May 5, 2021, Professor of Political Science and International Studies Shannan Mattiace shared her co-authored work on “Indian Resistance to Criminal Violence in Mexico,” with master’s students at the Autonomous University of the State of Chiapas in Mexico and on May 20, 2021, with students at the Catholic University of Santiago, Chile, where she was a Fulbright Scholar in 2019. In addition, Mattiace presented her co-authored work (with Sandra Ley) at the Latin American Studies Association Meetings held virtually in Vancouver on May 27, 2021. The title of the paper and presentation is “Yucatán as an exception to the rise in Criminal Violence in Mexico.” Mattiace also was the Commencement speaker and received an honorary degree in humane letters at Central College in Pella, Iowa, her alma mater, on May 15, 2021.


Daline Saintelus ’21 was awarded a position in the Teaching Assistant Program in France operated through the French Embassy. She will be living and teaching English in Rennes, France, next year.


Professor of Global Health Studies Caryl Waggett co-directed a four-day professional development workshop, “Integrating Experiential Learning into Global Health Education,” during the month of February. This workshop was co-hosted by the Consortium for Universities of Global Health (CUGH), the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH), the American Association of Colleges & Universities (AAC&U), Child Family Health International (CFHI), and the Centro Inter-Americano para Salud Global (CISG). Twenty-four educators from universities around the globe participated in the third annual workshop.


Associate Professor of English and Director of Writing Alexis Hart’s collaborative international research project is highlighted on Elon University’s Center for Engaged Learning (CEL) blog. The blog post “features research by Team Recursivities, a moniker that nods toward the group’s interest in studying the non-linear complexities of students’ writing–occasions, opportunities, processes, and texts. … The CEL seminar’s theme⁠—with its focus on writing beyond the university⁠—motivated the team to study writing students do outside of their coursework. They crafted a research project that deliberately studies the writing beyond the university that students engage in while they are still students⁠—such as self-motivated writing, writing for internships, and writing for jobs⁠—and the ways this writing impacts the writing they engage in as students.”


Associate Professor of Biology Matt Venesky and Corey Laskey ’20 co-authored a paper that was accepted in the Journal of Experimental Zoology, Part A: Ecological and Integrative Physiology, a peer-reviewed journal that publishes original research at the interface between physiology, ecology, and evolution. In their research, Venesky and Laskey found that salamander immune activation toward an emerging fungal pathogen comes at a cost because pathogen-infected salamanders were unable to mount an effective immune response to a second, and different, type of antigen. The research was conducted as part of Laskey’s Senior Comprehensive Research Project, and the article is titled “Infection with Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis reduces salamander capacity to mount a cell-mediated immune response.”


The following students (advisor in parenthesis) presented their work at the 2021 Penn State Behrend-Sigma Xi Undergraduate Student Research and Creative Accomplishment Conference on April 24, 2021: Delaney Lacey ’21 (Tricia Humphreys), Julie Cepec ’21 (Yee Mon Thu), Aaron Chisholm ’21 and Mary Allen ’22 (Matt Carter), David Roach ’21 (Becky Dawson and Steven Farrelly-Jackson), Jane Grabowski ’24 (Beth Watkins), Kimberly Rybak ’21 (Beth Watkins), Sydney Emerson ’23 (Beth Watkins), and Kaleel Van Voorhees ’21 (Kathryn Bender and Ishita Sinha Roy). Cepec, Emerson, Lacey, and Roach won first prize in their sessions. Chisholm and Allen, Rybak, and Van Voorhees won second prize in their sessions. Lacey also presented at the National Council on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) conference in April.


MAA Notes: Mathematical Themes in a First-Year Seminar book cover
Professor of Mathematics Tamara Lakins’ invited chapter “A First-Year Seminar on Symmetry, from a Mathematical and Interdisciplinary Point of View” was published in MAA Notes: Mathematical Themes in a First-Year Seminar (Jennifer Schaefer, Jennifer Bowen, Mark Kozek, and Pamela Pierce, editors) by the Mathematical Association of America in May 2021. Lakins also served as an invited panelist for “The Future of Undergraduate Textbooks” at the American Mathematical Society Spring Western Sectional Meeting held virtually on May 2, 2021.


Mike Crowley, journalism in the public interest instructor and adviser to The Campus, was recently recognized in the 2021 Keystone Media Awards given by the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association. Crowley’s coverage of city government for The Meadville Tribune received a first-place honor for news beat reporting, and he also received first-place recognition in the business/consumer category for a story on women-owned businesses in the Meadville area.


David Roach ’21, supervised by Professor Becky Dawson (Biology and Global Health Studies) and Professor Steven Farrelly-Jackson (Global Health Studies and Philosophy), participated in the 29th Penn State Behrend-Sigma Xi Undergraduate Research and Creative Accomplishments Conference on Saturday, April 24. Roach presented an “Epidemiological Study of the Effectiveness of the Safe and Dignified Burial Practices for Ebola Virus Disease in Guinea during the 2013–2016 West African Outbreak of the Zaire Strain” that was conducted throughout the 2020-21 school year. This presentation was the culmination of his Senior Comprehensive Project. His presentation was awarded first place in the Public Health and Epidemiology Session.


Assistant Professor of English John MacNeill Miller appeared as a guest on episode 142 of Pennsylvania Legacies, a podcast hosted by the Pennsylvania Environmental Council. The episode, “Human Nature,” includes a wide-ranging discussion of what the environmental humanities are and why they matter. It can be found here.