January 20, 2022

Faculty Activities

Assistant Professor of biology Dan Atwater co-authored and published several papers in 2021, including: “Extended consequences of selection by exotic invaders on natives” in New Phytologist; “A global invader’s niche dynamics with intercontinental introduction, novel habitats, and climate change” in Global Ecology & Conservation; “Climatic niche shifts in 815 introduced plant species impact their forecasted distributions” in Global Ecology & Biogeography; “Competition as a demolition derby: Why tolerating competitors is more important than suppressing them” in Oikos; and “Invasive plant rhizome production and competitiveness varies based on neighbor identity” in Journal of Plant Ecology.

Emerita Professor of French Annie Bandy had two book reviews published in the AATF French Review: one on Histoire du fils, a novel by Marie-Hélène Lafon that won the Renaudot Prize, and the other on Le flot de la poésie n’arrêtera pas de couler by past Nobel Prize winner, JMG Le Clézio, about eighth century A.D. Chinese poetry.

Annie Bandy photo

In October 2021, Professor of Music Marc Benamou performed as a guest artist with the Chicago-based Friends of the Gamelan (FROG), in a concert of traditional Javanese music at the Epiphany Center for the Arts in Chicago. Later that month he presented a paper titled “Sastra Kawengku ing Lagu (Words dominated by melody): Ignoring the Lyrics in Javanese Gamelan Music” at the annual conference of the Society for Ethnomusicology.

Emeritus Professor of Art Walt Bistline, Professor of Art Mark Van Buskirk and Professor of Art Nancy Taylor each had work accepted into the September 2021 Whitewater Valley Juried Exhibition at Indiana University East. Bistline, Buskirk and Taylor also had work accepted into the Richmond Art Museum Juried Exhibition, as did Emeritus Professor of Biology Brent Smith and Associate Professor of Art Judy Wojcik.

Geoff Boyce, academic director of the Border Studies Program, co-authored the policy report, “Smart Borders or a Humane World?” for the Immigrant Defense Project and the Transnational Institute.

After a year of serving in an interim capacity, Amy Bryant was named Earlham College’s library director in July 2021. Bryant began her career in Earlham Libraries in 2000, but her connection with the library is in her blood, as her grandfather was on the team that poured the concrete foundation for Lilly Library. Bryant has presented her scholarship at multiple library conferences and recently co-authored a chapter on the LIFT program that was included in the 2020 publication Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Action: Planning, Leadership, and Programming, edited by Christine Bombaro. Bryant is also a member of the Richmond Community Orchestra and serves as the president of its board.

For the last year, Gretchen Castle ’79, dean of the Earlham School of Religion, has represented Quakers at “Faith and Science: Towards COP26,” an initiative sponsored by the Holy See and the Italian and British embassies. Castle shared her perspectives on climate justice at the Vatican, speaking before Pope Francis and other faith leaders, before signing an appeal that was presented at COP26 in November 2021 in Edinburgh. 

Assistant Vice President of Development Gail Connerley was recently named chair of the Board of Directors for Cope Environmental Center. Founded by beloved Earlham professor Jim Cope and his wife Helen, the Center was recently named the 29th Living Building in the world by the International Future Living Institute. Other Earlham College faculty and staff serving on the Board of Directors include Director of Public Safety Chris Little and Director of Outdoor Education Kim Reid ’07.

In September, Assistant Professor of Spanish and Hispanic Studies Vialcary Crisóstomo Tejada published “La Colectiva Feminista en Construcción: Puerto Rico Antiracist & Feminist Movement” in Review of Education, Pedagogy, and Cultural Studies. Crisóstomo Tejada was also named secretary of Hispanophone Caribbean and Latin American Outreach for the Caribbean Philosophical Association, serving from 2021-2024. She provided guest lectures at the University of Pittsburgh in December, and at Charlas Literarias of Feria Internacional del Libro Zicosur and Earlham’s Center for Social Justice in October.

Visiting Assistant Professor of Chemistry Mahesh Dawadi recently presented a paper he co-authored at two conferences. In June 2021, Dawadi presented “Fabrication and characterization of highly efficient dye-sensitized cell with composited dyes” at the International Symposium on Molecular Spectroscopy at the University of Illinois. Dawadi presented again in July 2021 at the First International Conference on Solar Power Technology in Portugal.

In September 2021, Director of Special Collections and Archives Jenny Freed and Professor of History and Quaker Scholar in Residence Tom Hamm published Earlham College, a  photographic history of the College.

Gene Hambrick ’73, senior executive director of the Center for Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Creativity and executive in residence, was a keynote speaker at the Sept. 11, 2021 University of Dayton Flyers Promise Scholars event.

Emerita Professor of German Language and Literature Margaret Hampton was the main speaker at a workshop for German educators at the John Jay Center for Learning in Portland, Indiana. The workshop, which focused on “Diversity and Inclusion in the German Curriculum and Classroom,” was part of the annual Immersion Weekend of the Indiana Chapter of the American Association of Teachers of German (AATG). Margaret’s presentation and workshop titled “Diversity in German-speaking Countries” gave particular attention to the lives and contributions of People of Color living in Austria, an area that has been the focus of her most recent research. 

Professor of English Scott Hess published an essay entitled “Cedar Hill: Frederick Douglass’s Literary Landscape and the Racial Construction of Nature” in the Journal of American Literature. He also gave a public lecture at Indiana University Northwest on the topic of “How We Imagine Climate Change and Why It Matters,” as part of the Indiana Humanities “Unearthed” Environmental Speaker Bureau.

In May 2021, Whitewater Monthly Meeting of Friends recorded Director of International Admissions Susan Hillmann de Castañeda’s ’93 gifts of ministry. The Minute of Recording was in appreciation of Hillmann de Castañeda’s dedication to the congregation and her global engagement through her work with international students at Earlham. The recording was acknowledged and celebrated by the New Association of Friends at their annual gathering in September 2021. 

Professor of Politics and Environmental Sustainability Thor Hogan published two op-eds in The Washington Post in 2021: “The Government Screwed up the American Rail System, Now it Can Make Amends,” and “Biden’s Environmental Team Looks Good, But There is a Troubling Sign on Climate.” Hogan also gave an invited talk at the Visioning a Better America Conference, which was sponsored by Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi. The talk was entitled “Energy, Climate, and the Future of American Security.”

Over the past six months, Emeritus Professor of Biology John Iverson has co-authored six papers in Journal of Heredity, Frontiers of Biogeography, Ecological Research, Chelonian Conservation and Biology, and Herpetological Review and a 472-page monograph reviewing all of the turtles of the world (in Chelonian Research Monographs).

In November 2021, Sociology/Anthropology Research Professor Deborah Jackson presented a paper titled “Poop, manure, biosolids: the semiotics of green energy production in the rural Midwest,” as part of the session “Multivalent Shit: New Directions in the Anthropology of Excrement, Defecation, and Manure,” at the annual meeting of the American Anthropology Association in Baltimore, Maryland.

Becky Jestice ’97, director of the global management program and associate professor of global management, presented two sessions at the Wayne County Chamber of Commerce Business Summit: “Building & Maintaining Resilient Teams” and “Creating a Culture for Employee Resilience.”

During his sabbatical at Johns Hopkins University, Associate Professor of Physics Michael Lerner co-authored the published papers, “Protein synthesis inhibitor omacetaxine is effective against hepatocellular carcinoma,” and “An expanded universe of cancer targets.”

In November 2021, Priscilla Maghrabi, advising services coordinator, completed and earned a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt through the Council for Six Sigma Certification and Aveta Business Institute by demonstrating proficiency in using the DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control) model for complex and system-wide problem-solving.

Research Professor of Politics Greg Mahler is editing a forthcoming book titled The Effect of Donald Trump on Foreign Perceptions of the US. The book includes chapters on 18 different nations, mostly written by scholars from these nations.

The Effect of Donald Trump on Foreign Perceptions of Life

Professor of Computer Science Charlie Peck and Assistant Professor of Biology Emmett Smith have been awarded a grant from the Indiana Academy of Sciences to test a new type of genomic sequencing. The grant will allow them to purchase a MinION nanopore sequencing device and sequence DNA collected from soils at two Icelandic Glaciers. They hope to obtain data at the genus and species level that will improve taxonomic identification of soil-dwelling creatures, including microbes, fungi, nematodes and perhaps even viruses.

Seth Powless, associate professor of global management, was elected vice president of communications for the Midwest Decision Sciences Institute in April 2021. In November, Powless also presented with global business students Denise Bergdolt ’22 and Juana Serna ’22 at the 2021 Decision Sciences Institute Annual Conference. Powless was an invited workshop presenter for “Learn by doing: an applied approach to effective and inclusive team building in OM and MIS pedagogy,” and Powless, Bergdolt and Serna presented their summer pandemic logistics research paper titled, “The impact of panic buying on inventory logistics.”

Visiting Assistant Professor and Chair of Jewish Studies Elliot Ratzman serves on the Dayton Film Festival screening committee, is the Academic Advisor for the Philadelphia Jewish Film and Media Festival, and interviewed several directors for the November 2021 festival. Ratzman delivered a paper at the Association for Jewish Studies conference, “Teaching Angels in America in a time of Plague,” and chaired a panel on Jewish Thought and Race. Ratzman also delivered a lecture for Earlham’s Center for Social Justice in fall 2021 titled “The Ethics of Punching Nazis.”

Karim Sagna, professor of French and Francophone studies, published his paper “Le griot mandingue et son identité” in the Proceedings of the International Colloquium du Sens à l’identité, Inter-Textual, Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, Numéro spécial, Décembre 2020. Sagna also presented his paper, “The Mandinka Griot and His Jiyatiyo” at the 13th biennial International Society for the Oral Literatures of Africa (ISOLA) in Kenya in July 2021.

Sayward Salazar, professional partner for social services, was promoted from program director of Fresh Start Recovery: Winchester House to senior director of operations: behavioral health with Volunteers of America Ohio and Indiana.

Writing Center Director Erika Schnepp’s recent publications include “it’s Christmas in anne boleyn’s throat” in Ninth Letter Winter 2021; “Baptized in Rock Lake we emerged black-brined, but more holy,” “Another Moon Poem (the moon doesn’t want you to love her),” and “I want to be Elderwood When I go” in Spoon River Review 45.2; and “matryoshka” in Cumberland River Review 9.2. Schnepp was also named a Gasher First Book Scholarship Finalist for yolk if you’re hungry, an Autumn House Press Rising Writer Prize Semifinalist for spoon for a sparrow, a wolf, a girl, Best New Poet Nominee for “matryoshka,” Pushcart Prize 2021 Nominee for “Deer Lord/Dear Lord,” and Best of the Net Nominee 2021 for “past and future voltas.”

Yasumasa Shigenaga, assistant professor of Japanese language and linguistics, has been awarded the Collegiate Teacher of the Year Award from the Association of Indiana Teachers of Japanese (AITJ) at the Indiana Foreign Language Teachers Association conference in November 2021, where he also presented a talk entitled, “Does the maze task improve Japanese learners’ phonological decoding?” In September 2021, Shigenaga also passed the Japanese Translation Federation Business and Technical Translation Examination (first level, Japanese to English).

Emeritus Professor of Biology Brent Smith’s hardwood portrait, “Pileated Pair,” won a Merit Award at the Richmond Art Museum Juried Exhibition and was made as a gift to his friends and colleagues, Bob Rosenberg and Lyn Koehnline, upon their retirement from Earlham last year.

Brent Smith’s hardwood portrait

Assistant Director of Advancement Services Melissa Tan was recognized at the Independent College Advancement Associates conference in July 2021 with the Newcomer Award, which recognizes a new advancement professional who has made a significant contribution within their specific functional area. Tan was nominated by her colleagues for her skill in creating processes, particularly as the team moved to remote work during the pandemic.

Grasping for the American Dream cover

In July 2021, Nora Taplin-Kaguru, assistant professor of sociology, published her first book, Grasping for the American Dream: Racial Segregation, Social Mobility, and Homeownership, with Routledge. At the American Sociological Association Annual Meeting in August 2021, she presented “Who are Bike Paths for?: New Urbanism, Community and Politics of Urban Space in the Midwest” with an Earlham student co-author, Daniel Oluwasetemi Oni ’22.

Cover of Kathy Taylor’s new book, Trees and Other Witnesses

Kathy Taylor, emerita professor of Spanish, has written Trees and Other Witnesses, a book published by Austin Macauley Publishers. It is a collection of short stories, many of them written while she was at Earlham and inspired by her experiences with off-campus programs and work with immigrants. She also continues her project with the Caribbean creole language Papiamentu, working now with the University of Curaçao and a new platform. The course will be available free of charge for use by native speakers and teachers of the language as well as versions for speakers of Dutch, English or Spanish who want to learn it.

Professor of Art Nancy Taylor‘s embroidered image of the Covid virus is traveling to five museums throughout the country this year as part of the Handweaver’s Guild of America’s Small Expressions 2021 exhibit. One of her handwoven scarves, accompanied by an article she wrote, was chosen as the cover art for the September/ October 2021 issue of Handwoven Magazine.

Handwoven cover
Handwoven cover
Nancy Taylor’s Covid Virus Embroidery

In 2021, Penny Yan, director of the Academic Enrichment Center, co-authored “Metacognition and English Reading-Related Outcomes for d/Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students: A Narrative Review,” which was published in Human Research in Rehabilitation.

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