People & Places: December 2023 – April 2024

The Routledge Companion to Literature and Social Justice

Assistant Professor of Environmental Science and Sustainability Delia Byrnes contributed an essay titled “Ecocriticism: From the Wilderness Idea to Just Multispecies Futures” to the edited collection The Routledge Companion to Literature and Social Justice, which was published on November 20, 2023. 

Her essay traces the theoretical field of ecocriticism from its origins in European and Anglo-American investments in pristine wilderness and frontier landscapes through to contemporary expressions that embody anti-colonial, feminist, and multispecies approaches to literary ecology.


Assistant Professor of World Languages & Cultures and Latinx Studies Tommy Conners recently published a short piece in ReVista: Harvard Review of Latin America’s special issue “Queer in Latin America: LGBTQ+ Perspectives.” 

The issue, launched on November 30, 2023, includes studies of trans rights in the southern cone, queer migration from Central America to the U.S., cuir cultural production from the region, and more. Conners’ contribution is titled “Queer Lessons on Latinx Method.”


Professor of Theatre and Performance Studies Mark Cosdon spent his fall 2023 sabbatical teaching a course on contemporary U.S. theatre at the University of Palermo.

In October 2023, Cosdon presented an invited lecture at the University of Rome-Sapienza titled “The Hanlon Brothers: From Daredevil Acrobatics to Early Film Comedy.” 

In December 2023, Cosdon delivered an invited lecture at the University of Bergamo titled “Clowning and Popular Performance on the 19th Century U.S. Stage.” He also taught a graduate seminar with Ph.D. candidates at the university. 

At a day-long conference hosted at the University of Bergamo, Cosdon joined scholars from Italy, Great Britain, and the U.S. for “Survey and Digitization of Spectacle Sources: Identity Patterns and Socio-Cultural Exchanges in the Migration of Italian Artists to the United States (1850-1930).” Cosdon presented “United States Popular Entertainments across the Long Nineteenth Century.” 

In Cinasi, Sicily, Cosdon joined scholars from the University of Catania, the University of Palermo, and the University of Rome-Sapienza as one of four respondents to a new book by Pierlorenzo Randazzo titled La Scena Rivoluzionaria di Giuseppe Fava, a biography of the journalist and playwright assassinated by the mafia in 1984.


Athena Drollas and Shafia Bhatti sampling a red pine tree to determine tree growth.
Athena Drollas ’26 and Shafia Bhatti ’26 sampling a red pine tree to determine tree growth.

Department of Environmental Science and Sustainability Professors Richard D. Bowden and Terry Bensel, Guy Dunkle ’08, Bailey Kozalla ’22, and Foundation for Sustainable Forests (FSF) Executive Director Annie Maloney published the paper “Academic and non-profit environmental organization collaboration: A case study on forest conservation with Allegheny College and the Foundation for Sustainable Forests” in the World Sustainability Series, “Educating the Sustainability Leaders of the Future,” coedited by Professors of Environmental Science and Sustainability Eric Pallant and Kelly Pearce.

The paper described long-term collaborations that have provided educational opportunities for students and have assisted FSF in its forest conservation activities.

Heather Landis, Adrienne Hanas, and Jason Spindel examining damage to beech saplings caused by exotic nematodes
Heather Landis ’24, Adrienne Hanas ’25, and Jason Spindel ’25 examining damage to beech saplings caused by exotic nematodes

Bowden and a number of students presented research at the 19th Annual Research Science Consortium Symposium at the Tom Ridge Environmental Center in Erie, PA. “Beech Leaf Disease symptoms in American beech trees are more prevalent among small trees than large trees” was presented by:

  • Julia Desanto ’25
  • Rachel Ditzenberger ’25
  • Luna Hammer ’25
  • Adrienne Hanas ’25
  • Ian Henry ’24
  • Kylee Hollerich ’25
  • Natalie Kocherzat ’25
  • Heather Landis ’24
  • Deborah Nalesnik ’24
  • Elizabeth Readshaw ’24
  • Eli Rybka ’25
  • Ethan Scott ’25
  • Pete Siebler ’25
  • Grace Sorger ’24
  • Jason Spindel ’25
  • Willow Vowler ’25
  • Anna Westbrook ’25
  • Richard D. Bowden

“Declining Growth in a Red Pine Growth Plantation: Management Recommendations” was presented by:

  • Jackie M. Digiacomo ’26
  • Libby Babcock ’26
  • Rosaria R. Betton ’26
  • Shafia Bhatti ’26
  • Ryan W. Cox ’26
  • Sarah J. Csonka ’26
  • Eric N Dorr ’26
  • Athena R. Drollas ’26
  • William T. Johnson ’26
  • Alyssa A. Klim ’26
  • Madison G. Kyle ’25
  • Kathryn R. Leach ’26
  • Iris A. Styers ’26
  • Ryan S. Tewell ’26

“What controls soil organic matter in a Temperate Forest? Three decades in the DIRT” was presented by:

  • Nathalie Paz Saucedo ’25
  • Katherine Brozell ’23
  • Jackie Digiacomo ’26
  • Richard D. Bowden

Guo Wu

Associate Professor of History Guo Wu presented a paper titled “Student Union, Autonomous Student Federation, and ‘Student Spy’: Revisiting the Dynamics of Student Organizations in the 1989 Tiananmen Movement” on the panel “Student Movements and Youth Activism: A Global Perspective” at the 136th Annual Meeting of the American Historical Association (AHA) in San Francisco, January 4–7, 2024.

He was invited to work as a discussant by another panel titled “A Historical Reappraisal of Xi Jinping’s First Ten Years.”


Professor Emeritus of Biology Ron Mumme recently published a paper in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. The paper entitled, “Stabilizing selection on a plumage-based foraging adaptation: hooded warblers with average-sized white tail spots live longer”, describes recent findings from Mumme’s long-term study of hooded warblers at Hemlock Hill Field Station in Cambridge Springs, Pennsylvania. The new research was also highlighted in news pieces from Forbes and phys.org

Photo Credit: Christine Andrews.
Photo Credit: Christine Andrews

Since 2010, 21 different Allegheny students have participated in the hooded warbler field research at Hemlock Hill: 

  • Kasey Schaef ’11
  • Danny Jacobs ’12
  • Stephanie Fort ’13
  • Mike Vlah ’13
  • Jesse Kuehn ’14
  • Kathleen Macie ’14
  • Rebekah Petroff ’14
  • Kathleen DiPerna ’15
  • Abby Hileman ’16
  • Noah McNeill ’16
  • Kris Troy ’17
  • Catherine Gillespie ’17
  • Rachael Finigan ’17
  • Huno Micheal ’17
  • Amanda Fallon ’18
  • Lee Ann Streshenkoff ’18
  • Brianna Kunes ’19
  • Soren Bruno ’20
  • Ethan Glover-Bailey ’20
  • Will Harrod ’21
  • Claire Lignac ’21

Lisa Whitenack

Associate Professor of Biology & Geology Lisa Whitenack attended the annual Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology (SICB) meeting in January 2024. She presented a talk on the shark tooth research that she and Ryan Sesler ’23 undertook during his time at Allegheny.

Whitenack also was a co-author on two poster presentations: one about setting up a mentoring village for SICB faculty at Primarily Undergraduate Institutions (PUIs), and one on a new open-access comparative vertebrate anatomy textbook that she is cowriting and coediting with faculty from Cornell University and St. Mary’s College. 

Whitenack also organized and ran SICB’s inaugural Department Chairs Support Group meeting. Finally, she participated in the Minorities in Shark Sciences Summit that took place at SICB, including judging student presentations and a trip to the Seattle Aquarium.


Professor of Environmental Science and Sustainability Richard Bowden delivered an invited seminar at the University of Toronto. The presentation, “Too Much of a Good thing: Nitrogen Addition Decreases Organic Matter Decomposition and Increases Soil Carbon in a Temperate Deciduous Forest,” described a thirty-year investigation at the Bousson Environmental Research Reserve. The study shows acid rain inputs alter soil processes that control forest growth.

Bowden also coauthored the paper “The Pennsylvania Environmental Resource Consortium: A State-Wide Collaborative Network for Sustainable Outreach, Education, and Action,” published in the World Sustainability Series, “Educating the Sustainability Leaders of the Future,” co-edited by Professors of Environmental Science and Sustainability Eric Pallant and Kelly Pearce. The paper describes sustainability efforts by the consortium, of which Allegheny College is a founding member.


Director of Sustainability Kelly Boulton ’02 was recognized as one of the Commonwealth’s most influential difference-makers on the City & State Pennsylvania Impact list.


ferrence_sax_symposium_presentation16.jpg

Associate Professor English Matt Ferrence offered a lecture titled “Tell A Story With Your Solo: How to Use Literary Tools To Rethink Jazz Improvisation” at the 44th Annual U.S. Navy Band International Saxophone Symposium, held January 12-13, 2024 in Fairfax, VA. 

In the lecture, he proposed thinking about the way harmonic development can be seen through a lens of literary character development, offering a different metaphor for understanding concepts of musical form and tension. Ferrence is currently working on an M.M. in Jazz Studies at Youngstown State University.


Lost Kingdom

Assistant Professor of Environmental Science & Sustainability and Religious Studies Adrienne Krone published a chapter in the new book Lost Kingdom: Animal Death in the Anthropocene

Her chapter, “Jews and Chickens in the Era of Hyperobjects,” traces the intertwined history of Jews, chickens, and industrialization in New Jersey. The chapters cover the nineteenth century, when Jewish families raised their own chickens for eggs and meat, the the mid-twentieth century, when Holocaust survivors were rebuilding their lives raising chickens, and today, when Jews are working to reintroduce heritage breed chickens.


Professor of Philosophy Eric Palmer completed his sabbatical work with presentations in January at two scholarly events in Hong Kong.

For “Dialogues on Capability Approach” at Hang Seng University, he provided a general introduction to the Human Development Approach. At Hong Kong Baptist University’s conference Human Rights and East Asian Philosophy: 75 Years After the Universal Declaration, he presented “Positive human rights,” a theory of human rights intended to support intercultural discussion.

In December, Professor Palmer also completed his 10-year term as co-editor of the Journal of Global Ethics.


Last January at the Southern Political Science Association Annual Meeting in New Orleans, Will Lowthert  ’24, Assistant Professor Rebecca Oliver, and Andrew Morelock (Marshall University Assistant Professor) presented their co-authored paper titled “Inclusive union practices towards labor market outsiders: A cross national comparison of public perception.” 

The photo captures Will presenting his section of the paper. The paper received very interesting questions and positive feedback.


mattiace_survey

Over ten days in February 2024, Professor of Political Science Shannan Mattiace and Guillermo Trejo (University of Notre Dame) oversaw a representative survey of 600 Indigenous rural Mexicans in Guerrero, Mexico. 

The survey was funded by a Harry Guggenheim Foundation grant with assistance from several Allegheny sources, including the Center for Political Participation and the Academic Support Committee. Mattiace is grateful to have received so much intellectual and financial support from so many to complete this major endeavor!


Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Fisheries Society

The Watershed Conservation Research Center (WCRC) hosted the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Fisheries Society technical meeting at Allegheny College in early February. 

Over 135 participants from local, regional, and statewide were welcomed on campus for professional presentations and workshops focusing on the biodiversity and human dimensions of fisheries conservation. 

WCRC staff and students delivered three presentations covering the topics of: stream-bank restorations, M. Barney ’21, Assistant Research Scientist, WCRC; sedimentation and brown trout populations, E. Brody ’24; and impacts of stream crossings on fish assemblages in western Pennsylvania, M. Kirk ’11, Research Scientist, WCRC. 

A number of Allegheny faculty were acknowledged as co-authors on the presentation, including Casey Bradshaw-Wilson, Mick Demi, Kelly Pearce, and Chris Shaffer.


Allegheny College recently received a Psi Chi Undergraduate Research Grant from the national office of Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology. 

The grant will support three students from the Psychology Department‘s JUSTICE lab. The students will serve as first author and project directors for their own research studies. All three of the students will complete their projects under the mentorship of Assistant Professor of Psychology Christopher Normile.

Hannah Hinterleiter ’24 will use the funds to support her project, “Perceptions of Juvenile School and Custodial Interrogations.”

Sarah Thorman ’24 will be using the funds to support her project entitled “How Pretrial Publicity of Sexual Assault Relates to Rape Myth Acceptance.”

Emily Eshleman ’24 will use the funds to support her project entitled “Verdicts and Victim Blame: The Impact of Victim Race and Sexuality.”


Steve Onyeiwu

Business and Economics Professor Steve Onyeiwu presented a research paper, “The Nexus of Inequality and Structural Transformation in Africa,” at the 50th Annual Conference of the Eastern Economic Association in Boston, February 29–March 4, 2024. 

The paper is a result of the summer faculty-student research collaboration between Professor Onyeiwu and Economics major Zack Wyse ’25

A key goal of the paper is to explore whether inequality affects the ability of African countries to achieve structural transformation. Structural transformation is important because it increases productivity and wages, reduces poverty and enables a country to produce and export high-tech goods.

The paper found that inequality is a constraint to structural transformation only at high levels of inequality.  

The Conversation also published Professor Onyeiwu’s article on inflation in Nigeria, in the context of global inflation. Read it here.


Difei Chen '25

A paper by Difei Chen ’25, “Free Will: How Does Decision Making Work?” was accepted for presentation in the Southern Appalachian Undergraduate Philosophy Conference. 

Chen’s travel to the conference took place in Asheville, NC this February and was supported with funding from URSCA (Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities) as well as Philosophy’s James F. Sheridan, Jr. Memorial Fund. 

The paper was also accepted to be published in April 2024 in Dialogue, the official undergraduate and graduate student journal of Phi Sigma Tau Philosophy Honor Society. 

Chen wrote this paper for an Independent Study he completed on free will with Professor Irem Kurtsal.


Visiting Assistant Professor of Music Michael Dolan presented “An Unexpected Perk: Lessons in Score Study for Ensemble Musicians Post-COVID” at the 2024 College Orchestra Directors Association National Conference, held in Nashville, TN in February, as well as at the 2024 College Music Society Northwest Chapter Conference, held in Vancouver, British Columbia. 

The talk was based on an assignment Dolan developed for the student members of the Allegheny Civic Symphony Orchestra, encouraging them to further explore the music they perform in a structured project.

Dolan also wrote the preface for a new publication of the orchestral score to the Callirohoe Suite by French composer Cecil Chaminade. The score is published by Musikproduktion Jürgen Höflich in Munich, Germany.


The Department of Psychology would like to acknowledge and congratulate the following students (and mentors) for the recent oral or poster presentations at the 51st Annual Western Pennsylvania Undergraduate Psychology Conference (WPUPC) at Mercyhurst University on Saturday, April 13, 2024.

  • Leah Ungashick ’24 (Prof. Lauren Paulson)
  • Julia Williams ’25 (Prof. Megan Bertholomey)
  • Jade Beebe ’26 (Prof. Monali Chowdhury)
  • Hannah Hinterleiter ’24 (Prof. Chris Normile)
  • Emily Eshleman ’24 (Prof. Chris Normile)

WPUPC is dedicated to providing students with opportunities to present research in a supportive, academic environment. This conference allows students to grow as individuals, students, and psychologists while regional institutions maintain strong academic relations.


Professor of Physics Doros Petasis was invited by World Scientific Publishing, one of the leading academic and professional publishers in the world, to author a book on the growth and characterization of magnetic crystals. The book, with the tentative title, Paramagnetic Crystals: Growth and Analysis Techniques, will be aimed at advanced undergraduates and graduate students as well as researchers in physics, chemistry and materials science. 

The focus of the book will be on the synthesis and growth of single crystals from solution and their characterization using physical techniques such as X-ray diffraction, EPR spectroscopy, and magnetic susceptibility. 

As with Petasis’ earlier book, EPR Spectroscopy, published in 2022, parts of this proposed book will be based on knowledge gained from the last twenty five years of conducting research with Allegheny students.


An article by Associate Professor of Psychology Lauren R. Paulson and Caitlyn Davis ’23, “Amplifying Community Partner Voices in Rural Community Service-Learning Partnerships,” was recently published in the Spring 2024 issue of the Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement (JHEOE) within volume 28, number 1. All articles are available for download here

The mission of JHEOE is to serve as the premier peer-reviewed, interdisciplinary journal to advance theory and practice related to all forms of outreach and engagement between higher education institutions and communities.


Director of Foundation and Corporate Relations Amber Pouliot ’07 will attend the CASE CFR Conference in Chicago on May 14-16, 2024. As an emerging leader in the sector, she has been asked to host and facilitate the Outside Urban Areas/Economic Centers Affinity Group discussion during one of the breakout sessions.

CASE is the premier organization for higher education, focusing on alumni relations, communications, development, marketing, and advancement services.


Wei En Chan
Wei En Chan

Wei En Chan is on faculty at Allegheny College teaching classical vocal performance, arts entrepreneurship, and music theatre performance. 

He will be in New York City as he premieres a new oratorio by Lukáš Janata as the featured soloist on May 18 and 19.

In June, catch him on tour as a soloist with BachFest Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on June 4 and 5 and then around Leipzig, Germany, from June 11 to 14.