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Celebrate U 2018: A Showcase of Extraordinary Faculty Achievements

The J. Willard Marriott Library and the Office of the Vice President for Research hosted the third annual “Celebrate U” event to acknowledge faculty members for extraordinary work produced in 2017. Those honored on April 4 were selected from these three categories: book authored, creative work, and research.

Below is a sampling of this year’s honorees.

Book Authors

Shima Baradaran Baughman,

College of Law

Published The Bail Book: A Comprehensive Look at Bail in America’s Justice System Cambridge University Press

Mass incarceration is one of the greatest social problems facing the United States today. America incarcerates a greater percentage of its population than any other country and is one of only two countries that requires arrested individuals to pay bail to be released from jail while awaiting trial. After arrest, the bail decision is the single most important cause of mass incarceration, yet this decision is often neglected since it is made in less than two minutes. Shima Baradaran Baughman draws on constitutional rights and new empirical research to show how we can reform bail in America. Tracing the history of bail, she demonstrates how it has become an oppressive tool of the courts that disadvantages minority and poor defendants and shows how we can reform bail to alleviate mass incarceration. By implementing these reforms, she argues, we can restore constitutional rights and release more defendants, while lowering crime rates.

Marouf A. Hasian, Jr.,

College of Humanities

Published A Kafkaesque Reading of the Blackwater Trials (book) Fairleigh Dickinson University Press

This book provides academics and lay persons with Kafkaesque readings of our memories of the 2007 Nisour Square shootings in Iraq. The author uses critical analyses of the rise of Blackwater, support for private security firms and private contracting, prosecutorial and defense preparations and the 2014 jury trial to argue that most observers have drastically underestimated the groundswell of support that existed for Erik Prince and many other defenders of military or security outsourcing. This book puts on display the cultural, legal, and political difficulties that confronted those who wanted to try former Blackwater security guards in the name of belated social justice.

Eric Hinderaker

College of Humanities

Published Boston’s Massacre Harvard University Press

On the night of March 5, 1770, British soldiers fired into a crowd gathered in front of Boston’s Custom House, killing five people. The event that came to be known as the Boston Massacre is one of the most familiar incidents in American history, yet one of the least understood. This book explores the contexts for the shootings, examines the night’s events in detail, traces the competing narratives that molded public perceptions at the time, and considers the long campaign to transform the event into a touchstone of American identity.

Sylvia Torti

Honors College

Published Cages Schaffner Press, Inc.

Set in and around a research laboratory in which two scientists are experimenting on birds to discover the origins of memory and birdsong, CAGES is a complex interweaving of biological, philosophical and mystical themes. It is also a story of love, loss and memory as the two scientists vie for the heart of a young research assistant, yet like the birds whose songs they have muted, are unable to express their true feelings for her; and she in turn refuses to be “caged.”

Elena Garcia-Martin

College of Humanities

Published Rural Revisions of Golden Age Drama Bucknell University Press

This work focuses on rural community versions of Spanish Early Modern Theatre and deals with cultural heritage and the contemporary impact of Golden Age theatre on local rural communities. To this end, I examine the burgeoning of annual rural Golden Age theatre festivals that generate site-centered, non-professional productions of the plays, and revisit the conflict between tradition and innovation, between popular and high culture between authority of literary heritage and the people’s right to the canon.

Creative Works

Edward Bateman

College of Fine Arts

“Science Rends the Veil”

“Science Rends the Veil” explores the role of the photograph as reliable historical witness. It speaks to our belief in a technological means of objectively recording reality. Photography and Spiritualism, a practice of communication with discarnate spirits, would intertwine in 1861, when William Mumler produced the first spirit photograph. My work imagines others who sought technologies that would extend human senses and capacities. We may doubt the truthfulness of their claims, but one thing is certain: the camera does indeed let us see the dead again, not as ghostly manifestations, but as meaningful documents of those who once lived.

Learn more about Bateman’s work HERE

Wendy Wischer

College of Fine Arts

“Resonating Nexus”

Resonating Nexus is a community-based artwork made of willow sculptures. The sculptural forms represent the ripple effect in water and serve as restorative art that over time will grow and create new habitat. Natural seating in the form of boulders have also been installed around the pond to provide a place for reflection for citizens of the area.

More information and photos of Resonating Nexus can be found here and here

From left to right: Maureen O'Hara Ure, Katharine Coles, Crane Giamo, Emily Tipps. Below: Marnie Powers-Torrey

Maureen O’Hara Ure, Katharine Coles, Crane Giamo,  Marnie Powers-Torrey, Emily Tipps

College of Fine Arts (Ure), College of Humanities (Coles), Book Arts Program at Marriott Library (Giamo, Powers-Torrey, Tipps)

Published “Stranger & Stranger” Red Butte Press

Stranger & Stranger evolved over the ten years through artistic dialog between poet Katharine Coles and painter Maureen O’Hara Ure. The Red Butte Press team extracted imagery for the bestiary from Maureen’s paintings and translated it for letterpress printing. The type is digitally set in open-source Alegria Sans and Alegria Roman, and, along with the imagery, is printed from photopolymer plates on a Vandercook proof press. As the book’s content development was a joint endeavor, so was its production. Book Arts Program faculty, staff, and students were involved in the project.


Historical newspapers represent an invaluable resource for scholars, historians, genealogists, and the public, connecting us with the voice and record of our ancestors from past decades and centuries and bringing them to life again. Libraries have in turn made the digitization of newspapers a priority – however, these digitization efforts have not been matched by improvements in the systems used to manage and disseminate newspaper content. This project’s vision is to extend support for handling digitized newspapers in the open source framework (Samvera) by enabling more granular levels of categorization, better discoverability, and more relevant refinement of results.

More information on this project can be found here

Shelley Minteer

College of Science

Next Generation Materials for Electrosynthesis

The Minteer Research Group has recently been focused on developing next generation materials for improving the selectivity, activity, and energy efficiency of electrosynthesis applications, including nitrogen reduction to ammonia, carbon dioxide reduction to hydrocarbons, and cross-coupling reactions in synthetic organic chemistry.

More information on the Minteer Research Group can be found here

Brandon Patterson

Eccles Health Sciences Library

Transforming Health Sciences Education with Virtual Reality

As campus demand and interest in Virtual Reality (VR) education expand, library personnel interviewed VR champions and potential users of a future library space dedicated to VR play and development. Funds for VR equipment were secured through the Technology Improvement Award from the National Network of Libraries of Medicine MidContinental Region (NNLM MCR). The new VR Studio was added to the library educational technology studio space. The VR Studio was promoted through open houses, educational programs, hands-on workshops, events, and on-demand learning modules.

More information on technology in the Eccles Health Sciences Library can be found here

Dr. William A. Smith

College of Cultural and Social Transformation

Racial Battle Fatigue Sage Publications

Racial Battle Fatigue (RBF) is the cumulative psychosocial/physiological impact of racial micro- and macro-level aggressions on racially marginalized targets. More specifically, Racial Battle Fatigue is caused by the toxic and persistent racialized micro-level aggressions which produces the subsequent negative health sequelae on marginalized and oppressed people. RBF is experienced at racially oppressed individual and group levels. The symptoms are oftentimes communicable, as experiences of pain and stress are shared among family, friends, and the larger racial group. Thus, Racial Battle Fatigue has the potential to be spread across generations through collective group memories, storytelling, racial socialization, and coping processes.

Jessi Van Der Volgen

Eccles Health Sciences Library

National Network of Libraries of Medicine

The Eccles Health Sciences Library was awarded a 5-year cooperative agreement to lead the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, MidContinental Region and NNLM Training Office (NTO). Both are National Library of Medicine (NLM) programs designed to advance the progress of medicine and improve the public health. The (NTO) coordinates and develops training for health professionals, librarians, educators, researchers and the public across the United States to use NLM products in informing healthcare decisions and improving healthcare. The NTO was awarded additional funds to pioneer a course in biomedical and health research data management.

More information on the National Network of Libraries of Medicine can be found here

Donna Harp Ziegenfuss

Marriott Library

Emerald Publishing Awards for Excellence (2017) for article “Opening up collaboration and partnership possibilities: Re-valuing library resources, skill sets, and expertise.”

A paper submitted to the Digital Library Perspectives journal, Opening Up Collaboration and Partnership Possibilities: Re-valuing Library Resources, Skill Sets, and Expertise received a 2017 Emerald Publishing Highly Commended Award. This paper resulted from an innovative NSF faculty development grant collaboration project where Cynthia Furse (PI) an engineer, and Donna Harp Ziegenfuss (Co-PI) a librarian, developed and taught a MOOC to help faculty design flipped classrooms. The collaborative relationships and processes between these two unlikely partners became just as important as the grant and curriculum development work. This project resulted in scholarly papers, posters, and new partnerships.

Dr. Rena N. D’Souza

School of Dentistry

Novel Paradigms for the Treatment of Cleft Palate published in the Development Journal: For advances in developmental biology and stem cells

Nonsyndromic clefts of the palate and/or lip are common birth defects arising in about 1/700 live births worldwide. They are caused by multiple genetic and environmental factors, can only be corrected surgically and require complex post-operative care that imposes significant burdens on individuals and society. Our understanding of the molecular networks that control palatogenesis has advanced through studies on mouse genetic models of cleft palate. In particular, the transcription factor Pax9 regulates palatogenesis through the Bmp, Fgf and Shh pathways in mice7. But there is still much to learn about Pax’s relationship with other signaling pathways in this process. Here we show alterations of Wnt expression and decreased Wnt activity in Pax9-/- palatal shelves are a likely result of Pax’s ability to directly bind and repress the promoters of Dkk1 and Dkk2, proteins that antagonize Wnt signaling. We exploited this relationship by delivering small-molecule Dkk inhibitors into the tail-veins of pregnant Pax9+/- females from E10.5 to E14.5. Such therapies restored Wnt signaling, promoted cell proliferation, bone formation and fusion of palatal shelves in Pax9-/- embryos. These data uncover a connection between the roles of Pax9 and Wnt genes in palatogenesis and offer a new approach for treating human cleft palates.


Bruce Gale

College of Engineering

Published Optofluidic Device for Genetic Screening

We have developed a microfluidic device for rapid screening of genetic material, often in less than 5 minutes, that can be used with a variety of samples for mutation detection in embryos, small animals, or even for identification of specific people. The system includes a microfluidic DNA collection and extraction component connected with a rapid polymerase chain reaction (PCR or DNA analysis) chip.

More photos:


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