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“Ways of Knowing Faculty Scholarship” Panel

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Posted on Tuesday, October 13, 2015

“You may know Westminster’s faculty primarily as excellent teachers, but all of our faculty members are also active scholars, each a respected expert in his or her various field of study,” said Dr. Michael E. Aleprete Jr., first year program coordinator and associate professor of political science.

On October 28, Westminster College will highlight the scholarship of faculty at the “Ways of Knowing Faculty Scholarship” panel discussion series in the Witherspoon Rooms in McKelvey Campus Center, open to the campus community.

“This is an opportunity for students to inquire about their scholarly activities and learn about the importance of knowledge creation to the academic enterprise,” continued Aleprete. “It is my sincere wish that students end the day excited about joining us on the adventure of knowledge creation.”

The series will open at 8:10 a.m. with “The Bible as Text and Guide” given by Dr. Darwin Huey, professor of education, and Dr. Kang Yup Na, professor of religion. In their panel, Huey will discuss his research entitled “Barnabus Concepts” which, according to Huey, seeks biblical guidance for pedagogical practice which tenets are generalizable to personal and professional lives of students. In the panel discussion, he’ll highlight effective communication and interpersonal relationships. Na’s research involves the crossroads of philosophical hermeneutics and biblical texts, specifically the New Testament. Jamie Chapman, instructor in sociology, will lead the panel.

At 9:20 a.m., Dr. Peter Smith, professor in chemistry, and Dr. Karen Resendes, associate professor of biology, will discuss their research in the “Methods in the Natural Sciences” panel. Smith will discuss his research about the 17 elements comprising the rare earths, which are used in many high-tech products, including earbud speakers, fluorescent light bulbs, and hybrid car batteries. Resendes will focus on the transport of molecules in and out of the nucleus. According to Resendes, “proper regulation and control of access to the DNA is not only critical to the function and survival of the single cell, but also to the organism as a whole.” Chairing this panel is Bradley Weaver, lecturer of broadcast communications.

The “Brains and Behavior” panel will present at 10:30 a.m., featuring Dr. James Rhoads, Jr., professor of political science, and Dr. Deanne Buffalari, assistant professor of psychology. Rhoads will discuss his study, “The Operantcy of Popular Culture: Subjectivity and Breaking Bad.” In Buffalari’s study, “Neuroscience: What Can Rats Teach us about Our Brains and Behavior?”, she discusses how rats are used in a variety of ways to visualize how brains function and how that relates to behavior, including subjects such as Parkinson’s disease, ADHD, drug abuse and addiction, stress and depression, social interaction, diet and obesity, and many others.

At 12:50 p.m., Dr. Angela Lahr, assistant professor of history, and Dr. David Swerdlow, professor of English, will sit on the “Writing Women” panel. Lahr will discuss Ida B. Well’s anti-lynching campaign, matched with her activism contributed to a conceptualization of courage at the end of the nineteenth century.  Swerdlow will read an excerpt form his new novel manuscript, “Rosa’s Plot,” which is a cross cultural love story between a 62-year old women and a 55-year old man. Jamie Kohler, assistant professor/collection management/cataloging librarian, will lead the panel.

Two panel discussions will take place at 2 p.m., one being “The Politics and Sociology of Place,” by Paul D.C. Bones, instructor of sociology and criminal justice, and Aleprete, associate professor of political science. Bones will discuss his study, “Divergent Pathways and Diverse Lives: The Effect of Physical Disability on Criminal Victimization,” and Aleprete will discuss his study, “The Strategic Development of Transportation Networks along International Borders.” The panel will be moderated by Dr. Kristin Park, professor of sociology.

Concurrently, Dr. David Offner, associate professor of mathematics, and Dr. Daniel Perttu, associate professor of music, will discuss their research during the “Patterns in Math and Music” panel in Witherspoon Maple Room, McKelvey Campus Center. Offner will discuss his findings in his study, “Cops and Robber: An Introduction to Mathematical Game Theory,” and Perttu will discuss his study, “Mountain Twilight:  A Tone Poem Inspired by the Landscape of the Isle of Skye.” Leading the discussion is Dr. Joel Postema, associate professor of Spanish.

The final discussion will take place at 3:10 p.m. by Dr. Erin Wilson, associate professor of chemistry, and Dr. Katherine Robertson, associate professor of biology. In their collaborative discussion, “Molecules and Memory,” Wilson will focus on her study, “Investigating Protein Structure in Complex and Crowded Environments: Differences between the Test Tube and Native Biological Environments.” Robertson will discuss her research entitled, “Molecular Regulations of Long-term, Olfactory Memory Formation in Social Insects: Pogonomyrmex and Camponotus Ants.” Dr. Shannon Smithey, associate professor of political science, will lead the discussion.

For more information about the upcoming faculty scholarship panels, contact Darlene McCoy at