Recent CoLA Achievements | CoLA | SIU

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Recent CoLA Achievements

May 23, 2018


The College of Liberal Arts, besides being the largest on campus, is also one of the busiest. Nearly every week, departments within the college host lectures and workshops, theater productions and community activities, art exhibitions or music performances, demonstrations or community activities. In addition, faculty and students are constantly publishing creative work, presenting academic papers, and researching in the field, in the library and online.

Here are just a few highlights of recent accomplishments.


  • Trent Ford, Department of Geography and Environmental Resources, is the 2018 University-Level Early Career Faculty Excellence Award
  • Rachel Whaley, Sociology, received the 2018 Graduate Faculty Mentor Award of Excellence.
  • Jeffrey Punske, Linguistics, received two honors.
    • He and co-author Bridget Samuels of the University of Southern California, will present their paper “Where does Universal Grammar fit in the Universe: Human cognition and the Strong Minimalist Thesis” at the SETI & METI Symposium which is part of the International Space Development Conference in Los Angeles on May 25.
    • He was also awarded Kutztown University Visiting Faculty Summer Fellowship for this summer. He will be working with Amy Lynch-Biniek, associate professor, English, Kutztown University, on developing ways to incorporate linguistics into college composition classrooms.
  • Jonathan Remo, Geography and Environmental Resources, co-authored a paper in the April 4 issue of Nature magazine.  The paper focused on flooding on the lower Mississippi River and found that flood risk along the river increased by 20 percent over the last five centuries.
  • Anne Fletcher, Department of Theater, has received multiple honors.
    • She received the Yale Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library's Donald C. Gallop Fellowship.  This fellowship will support her project, “Beyond the Horizon of Scene Design: Eugene O'Neill's Influence on American Scene Design,” with the opportunity to conduct her research at the Beinecke Library for one month.
    • She was awarded the Eugene O'Neill Foundation's Travis Bogard Artist-in-Residence Program at Taos House in Danville, Cal. Fletcher will attend a two-week residency in May to conduct research for an invited book chapter on Provincetown Theatre designers and a manuscript proposal for a full-length study on O’Neill’s influence on American scenography.
    • She was awarded the Everett Helms Research Fellowship to investigate the Orson Welles Collection at the University of Indiana’s Lilly Library for an invited chapter on his production of “Julius Caesar.” Fletcher has also had two books published this academic year – “Contextualizing New Plays” and “Modern American Drama: Playwriting in the 1930s.”
  • Jacob Juntunen, Theater, recently received two honors.
    • He received a scholarship from the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center to attend the Center's 2018 National Puppetry Conference. The Launchpad of American Theater, the O’Neill Center is the country’s preeminent organization dedicated to the development of new works and new voices for the stage.
    • He also received a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Fellowship to attend the NEH Institute: Digital Humanities in Theatre and Performance Studies. The two-week institute is at the University of Georgia in Athens, Ga., this summer.
  • Michael Barta, School of Music, has been named Concertmaster of Sinfonia da Camera, a chamber orchestra led by Ian Hobson, based at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts in Urbana, Ill.
  • Meghann Pytka,Women Gender and Sexuality Studies, has received a Faculty Fellowship from the Moshe Mirilashvili Center for Research on the Holocaust in the Soviet Union through Yad Veshem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Israel. She will be in Israel this summer.
  • Tammy Kochel, Criminology and Criminal Justice, with members of the St. Louis County Police Department, met with Capitol Hill staff in Washington, D.C., on April 11 to discuss their Bureau of Justice Assistance Community Based Crime Reduction (CBCR) Project and the community it will help.
  • The Journal of Research in Music Education has published an article by James Reifinger, School of Music. "The Relationship of Pitch Sight-Singing Skills With Tonal Discrimination, Language Reading Skills, and Academic Ability in Children" appears in the April 2018 edition.  
  • Junghwa Lee, School of Music, received two honors.
    • She has been selected to present a showcase performance of “Global Warning” for solo piano, composed by Frank Stemper, professor emeritus in composition, at the National Conference of The College Music Society in Vancouver, British Columbia, Oct. 11-13.
    • She was also invited to present her research on "Teacher's Temperament and Student Success" at the Korean Association of Piano Pedagogy Conference in Seoul, Korea in May 2018. Lee also is invited to present a lecture recital presenting "Albeniz's Iberia Book III" at the Piano Literature Research Society in Seoul, Korea in June.
  • Thomas Fagerholm, Theater, in March presented an invited workshop at the South Eastern Theater Conference (SETC) in Mobile, Ala. “Scenic and Costume Shop Organization: Owning Your Space” looked at organizational techniques that can help any theater shop redevelop workspace with the intent to maximize efficiency and product output.
  • Benjamin Bricker, Political Science, was awarded a summer research fellowship by the German Academic Exchange Service, or DAAD. The fellowship will fund a summer residency at the University of Mannheim, where he will conduct research on the German court system.
  • Paul Echols, Criminology & Criminal Justice, received a 2018 Defender of the Innocent Award from the Illinois Innocence Project on April 28 in Springfield. Echols, a retired lieutenant with the Carbondale Police Department, will be honored for work helping to secure a posthumous exoneration for Grover Thompson, who was wrongly convicted for a crime committed by Timothy Krajcir. Echols is the founder of the Nine Angels Scholarshipin honor of Krajcir’s nine victims.
  • Robert Hahn, Philosophy, delivered a two-part keynote address, April 7 and 9, at the annual meeting of the Classics Association of Great Britain at the University of Leicester. Also, his fourth research book in the ancient philosophy series by the State of New York University Press, “The Metaphysics of the Pythagorean Theorem: Thales, Pythagoras, Engineering, Diagrams, and the Construction of the Cosmos out of Right Triangles” was recently published.
  • Mont Allen, Classics and Art History, earned two honors.
    • He was awarded a summer research fellowship by the Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst. The fellowship funds three months of research at a German academic institution of Allen’s choice, and he will spend the summer at the German Archaeological Institute in Berlin, conducting research for his book on ancient Roman sarcophagi.
    • He was also interviewed for a Jan. 26 front page article by Wall Street Journal for a story titled “Going Out in Style: Custom Caskets Bring Joy to Life’s Saddest Ritual.”
  • “Designer 2018,” an animation by Mark Pease, School of Art and Design, is part of the Cube Art Project, a 3-dimensional mega screen on the UBT Union Bank building in Lincoln, Neb.  Sponsored by the City of Lincoln, Neb., Lincoln Partners for Public Art and ColorKey Media LLC., the project will run through the year.
  • Natasha Zaretsky, History, is author of a new book “Radiation Nation: Three Mile Island and the Political Transformation of the 1970s.”The book, which uses the 1979 nuclear accident to examine the country’s politics during that decade, is being published this month by Columbia University Press. Zaretsky was also recently named co-editor of the journal, “The Sixties: A Journal of History, Politics and Culture.”

Faculty in the Department of Communication Studies recently published several books:

  • Suzanne Daughton, “Modern Rhetorical Criticism” (with Rodrick Hart and Rebecca Lavally).
  • Nilanjana Bardhan, “Telling the Story of Ebola: Cosmopolitan Communication as a Framework for Public Relations in Local-Global Contexts," in Global Dialectics in Intercultural Communication.
  • Craig Engstrom, "Cycling in the City: An Actor-Network-Theory Perspective on Urban Practices," in Communication, Culture, and “Making Meaning in the City: Ethnographic Engagements in Urban Environments.”
  • Randy Auxier published two recent books: “Metaphysical Graffiti: Deep Cuts in the Philosophy of Rock” and “The Quantum Explanation: Whitehead's Radical Empiricism.”
  • The Communications Studies program held its spring alumni program in March.


  • Kelly Carter, Timothy Miller and Lindsey Perry shared the 2018 Rickert-Ziebold Trust Award.
  • Bailey Shaw, a recent Ph.D. graduate in Englishe, was awarded the university’s Richard and Donna Falvo Outstanding Dissertation Award for 2017.
  • Kirk Schlueter, a recent Master of Fine Arts graduate in English, was awarded the outstanding thesis award for 2017 for his poetry collection, “Rust, Sugar, Bone.”
  • Triston S. Dillard, Political Science, earned a 2-and-one-half year scholarship through the U.S. Air Force ROTC “In-College” Scholarship program. The scholarship provides $9,000 per semester toward tuition and fees.
  • Michael Smith, Political Science, and Darrin Reinhardt, History, worked as interns with the House Democrat staff this semester at the Illinois State Capitol through the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute’s 2018 Eugene Callahan internship.
  • Joshua McCray, History and Political Science, served on the Illinois State Senate’s policy and budget staff during the spring 2018 legislative session as a 2018 Alexander Lane Intern.
  • Oneida Vargas, Political Science, worked with the Illinois Senate Democrats Communications staff on policy issues as the 2018 Latino Heritage Intern at the Illinois State Capitol.
  • Sarah Farwick and Gabby Robles, Political Science, received the inaugural Barb Brown Springfield Internship.