PEG & FSRA Recipients - Coastal Carolina University
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Faculty Recipients

PROFESSIONAL ENHANCEMENT GRANTS & FACULTY SUMMER RESEARCH AWARDS

Professional Enhancement Grants (PEGs) are awarded and administered through the Office of the Provost to encourage projects that show potential for significant research, scholarly, creative, or instructional contributions. 

Faculty Summer Research Awards (FSRAs) provide $5,250 in summer salary for faculty members to pursue scholarly research or creative works in the summer.  The award is intended as seed funding to support the collection of preliminary results or the development of project infrastructure that will aid in the pursuit of a planned external grant proposal in the coming year.

Learn more about PEG and FSRA Awards


2022-23 Awards

Professional Enhancement Grants

Elizabeth Baltes, Associate Professor of Visual Arts 

Inclusive Teaching in Art History: Gender & Sexuality in the Ancient World

Victoria DePalma, Assitant Professor of Sustainability & Coastal Resilience

Climate Change and Personal, Social, and Perceived Normas: a U.S. Survey

Robert Earnest, Professor of Theatre 

The Theatre of Denmark and the Faroe Islands: The Relation of Theatre to Society in the Danish Territories

Kristen Fleckenstein, Assitant Professor of English

Processing differences in bilingual discourse markers between Spanish heritage speakers and late Spanish-English Bilinguals 

Arianna Fognari, Assistant Professor of Languages & Intercultural Studies

Digital Humanities for the Italian Curriculum 

Chiara Gamberi, Assistant Professor of Biology

Enhancing proposal writing and scholarship 

Roi Gurka, Professor of Physics and Engineering Science & George Hitt, Associate Professor of Physics and Engineering Science 

A saltation-radiation interaction and its role in Martian dust dynamics

Till Hanebuth, Associate Professor of Marine Science 

Ultra-high resolution reconstruction of historic environmental and anthropogenic changes on the Southern Iberian Peninsula

Tiffany Hollis, Assistant Professor of Foundations, Curriculum and Instruction

Roots and Wings: Cultivating Resilience, Emotional Regulation, and Wellbeing among Preservice Educators and Teacher Candidates in Teacher Education Programs

Emma Howes, Associate Professor of English & Amanda Masterpaul, Lecturer of Women and Gender Studies

Intercultural Resilience: Storycircles as Critical Pedagogy

James Ndone, Assistant Professor of Communications, Media, & Culture

Cross-cultural research: A comparative study between Kenyan and American college students on mitigating emotional exhaustion during COVID-19 crisis: The role of crisis communication, advisor support, and coping

Brandon Palmer, Professor of History 

General John R. Hodge and the American Military Occupation of Korea, 1945-1948

Feryal Qudourah, Assistant Professor of Music

Arabic Art Song: Feryal Qudourah, soprano

Timothy Rotarius, Assistant Professor of Kinesiology

The effects of high-intensity, intermittent exercise (HIIE) on the amplitude of the VO2 slow component and muscle excitation

Jennifer Schlosser, Assistant Professor of Sociology 

The Incarcerated VOICE Initiative: Visualizing Opportunites in Correctional Education

Ina Seethaler, Associate Professor of Women and Gender Studies

Women and Whaling in the Faroe Islands: An Oral History Project on the Impact of Gender on Whaling Practices

Doug Van Hoewyk, Professor of Biology

Development of lectures and activities in Cell Biology (Biol340) intended to increase student learning and performance

Clayton Whitesides, Associate Professor of Anthropology and Geography

A quarter century of musk thistle (Carduus mutans) monitoring and control on the Wasatch Plateau of central Utah

Jesse Willis, Associate Professor of Music 

Trinidad National Panaorama and The Steel Band Engine Room

 

Faculty Summer Research Awards

Michelle Barthet, Biology 

Identification of a Group IIA Intron Splicing Complex in the Chloroplast of Rice

The chloroplast of plant cells is the result of endosymbiosis between a free-living bacteria and an ancestral eukaryote. Through this endosymbiosis, the once free-living bacteria gained protection while the plant gained the ability to convert light into chemical energy, a process known as photosynthesis. Due to this evolutionary history, the chloroplast contains its own DNA and gene expression machinery. The process of removing introns, extra nucleotide sequences not needed to make functional RNA or protein products, from premature RNA molecules is a crucial step of gene expression. Without proper intron removal, an incorrect mature RNA template is formed and incorrect non-functional protein is made. Such lack of intron excision can have devasting consequences on the plant cell impacting plant growth, reproduction, and plant viability. In the nucleus of eukaryotic cells, introns are removed by the spliceosome, a large protein, and RNA complex. Intron removal in the chloroplast is less well understood. For the past several years, my research team has studied a potential splicing complex centered on the protein Maturase K (MatK) in the chloroplast of land plants. Premature chloroplast RNAs proposed to require MatK for intron removal includes RNAs that are essential to all chloroplast function. Therefore, this research is of great importance for understanding chloroplast gene expression and green plant viability and directly impacts the understanding of plant biology, molecular evolution, and agriculture.  

Victoria DePalma, HTC Honors College

The Human-Environment Interface: Building up a Sustainable Research Agenda with Undergraduate Research Opportunities

 The bulk of this research focuses on how humans relate to the environment (socially, personally, relationally, scientifically, religiously) and how to better communicate environmental ideas. The summer plans are as follows:

1. Analyzing two major surveys previously administered nationwide. One seeks to better understand how climate change beliefs impact interpersonal relationships with friends and romantic partners, and the other determines whether utilizing message frames of climate change can unify climate change opinions across traditional political party lines. Survey data will be cleaned, analyzed, interpreted, and written up with undergraduate student researchers under mentorship. Both projects will result in at least one peer-reviewed manuscript each, with students as co-authors. 

2. A project will be started in which a national survey will be conducted on climate norms and perceptions. A survey will be administered and analyzed for peer review.

3. Preliminary research will begin for a chapter to be written for the Handbook in Human Ecology, a Springer Journal on religiosity's effect on ethical understandings of environmental issues and topics. 

These opportunities will support continuing rigorous research experience for student researchers, and will provide a foundation for an external grant to be submitted next year.

Nicholas Harmon, Physics and Engineering

A Quantum Approach to Magnetic Field Sensing 

Sensing magnetic fields is ubiquitous in science, engineering, and medicine. Examples of applications where magnetic sensing is used include the measurement of geomagnetic fields, reading of data that is stored in magnets, identifying magnetic patterns on credit cards, navigation, magneto-cardiography, and the detection of magnetic nanoparticles in medical diagnostics. Several different sensing technologies exist; some are expensive (~1M for magneto-cardiography) while others may be cheap but may suffer from other disadvantages like low sensitivity, narrow field range of applicability, or high weight (undesirable for space missions). There is a proposal to investigate a new class of field sensors (called “quantum”) that are small, light-weight, inexpensive, relatively simple, and sensitive. The underlying principle behind the sensor comes from a property of electrons known as "spin" in which electrons act like mini magnets (not too unlike the ones on a fridge). Like any magnet, the electron spin responds to a magnetic field and it is this response that allows for the sensing of magnetic fields.  The proposed activity is to calculate electron flow (current) responses to magnetic fields. By considering the changes in current when a magnetic field is present, one determines the presence and size of the magnetic field. The theoretical and computational work will be performed at Coastal Carolina University. Results will be shared with scientists at Pennsylvania State University and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory who perform experiments on these types of sensors. The results will suggest which types of experiments may produce the highest sensitivity for the sensor to operate.

Fang-ju Lin, Biology

Molecular Characterization of Genes Involved in Alzheimer's Disease- a Fruit Fly Drosophila Model 

Human Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most prevalent and lethal neurodegenerative disease. Memory loss and motor dysfunction are accompanied by pathological hallmarks like neurofibrillary tangles or amyloid plaques. Although ten percent of Americans age 65 or older suffer from this disease, there is no cure, and the triggers of disease onset are mostly unknown.  Thus, the fruit fly Drosophila has emerged as one of the ideal disease models, for it shares similarities to humans in their genetic makeup.  By transferring genes that are known to cause human Alzheimer's disease to fruit flies, scientists are able to link the function of genes and behaviors. These transgenic fruit flies displayed a shorter lifespan and weaken locomotor function, comparable to the clinical manifestation seen in humans.  The lab has recently identified four candidate genes that rescued disease phenotype in AD flies, i.e. longer lifespan and improved strength in movement.  The proposed summer research activity will further explore the function of candidate genes in Alzheimer’s pathogenesis.  In humans, protein aggregates such as neurofibrillary tangles and amyloid plaques are used as markers for postmortem diagnosis, and the number of protein aggregates positively correlates to the severity of the disease, as they eventually induce neuronal death. The plan is to characterize the amyloid-beta aggregates in the brains of transgenic flies, using techniques like immunohistochemistry and molecular tools. The investigation will establish the connection between gene expression and survival. Since fruit flies and humans share 60% similarity in their genomes, and our candidate genes are also highly homologous to the ones in humans, we hope our results shed light on the disease mechanism and provide the groundwork for pharmaceutical intervention for the disease.

Scott Parker, Biology, and Ryan Yoder, Psychology 

Consequences of Hypoxia during Embryonic Development on Exploratory Behavior of Adult Leopard Geckos: Behavioral Alteration and Associated Anatomical Changes to the Brain

Exploration is a fundamental process that enables learning about resources available within the local environment and is a ubiquitous behavioral trait among all vertebrates. Surprisingly, however, no previous studies have examined exploratory behavior in reptiles which diverged from a common ancestor with mammals about 250 mya. As part of a study initiated in 2019 on consequences of hypoxia during embryonic development on behavior patterns in adult Leopard Geckos, there was a discovery that geckos from eggs incubated under hypoxic (low oxygen) conditions exhibit altered exploratory behavior compared to geckos from control eggs incubated under normal atmospheric oxygen conditions. Results of these preliminary behavioral studies prompted us to initiate a broader research program to investigate how embryonic hypoxia affects neural development in the brain and how these defects influence the organization of exploratory behavior in Leopard Geckos. The purpose of this study is to quantify the effects of hypoxia in ovo on the exploratory behavior of juvenile Leopard Geckos in an open field environment under both light and dark conditions. The objective this summer is to collect behavioral and anatomical data to update and submit an NSF grant proposal early in 2023. Specifically, preliminary data will be collected from studies to: (1) measure exploration behavior in hypoxia-treated and control individuals to identify specific behavioral variables affected by hypoxia, and (2) analyze brain anatomy and specific brain regions damaged by hypoxia using tissue processing/histology, microscopy, optical density analysis, and stereology (cell counts). 

Amelia Rollings Bigler, Music

Small and Large Group Class Voice Methodologies in Applied Voice Curricula: A Collection of Studies  

University music and theatre programs primarily utilize one-to-one applied voice lessons to train pre-professional students in voice technique, style, musicality, and repertoire. Additionally, applied voice curricula often involve a weekly studio class; however, most of these classes primarily use a master class format (one student singing and the other students observing). While some programs offer group voice classes with 10-15 students of various majors, it appears that most of these classes include (a) beginning level students or freshman voice majors before they move on to one-to-one voice lessons, or (b) students not majoring in voice (e.g., voice class for instrumentals, avocational singers). Again, most of these classes appear to primarily use the master class format in addition to the group singing technical voice exercises. Furthermore, small group classes (3-4 students) almost never appear in voice programs. The summer research activity includes: (a) updating and completing a group voice teaching review of literature and textbook content analysis; (b) analysis of data and completion of manuscripts from a qualitative study on small and large group voice teaching and a quantitative study on postural and acoustical measures of musical theatre singers; (c) designing three subsequent studies in class voice including a longitudinal mixed methods study on the implementation of small and large group voice classes into my applied voice lessons curriculum here at CCU for a semester; and (d) if time, beginning work on designing a textbook proposal for musical theatre and contemporary commercial music group voice classes to submit to several interested publishers. The results of this work in group voice teaching have already been quite groundbreaking in our profession. Not only do these studies help support greater teaching efficacy, but they also streamline faculty teaching load and allow for increased student contact hours.

Christina Selby, Communication, Media, and Culture

Eat Better to Live Better:  A Community Health Needs Assessment Project

According to the SC Department of Health and Environmental CONTROL (SCDHEC), two in three SC adults are obese and one in three SC children are obese (2019). The main contributors to obesity are poor nutrition and lack of physical activity. Policy changes, environmental changes, and direct educational programs are necessary to address nutrition, physical activity, and obesity in our state and even locally. Research will include conducting a community health needs assessment of at-risk Conway residents during summer 2022. Qualitative methodologies will be employed to gather data about the nutritional health of the study participants and their family members, and established contacts within the community will assist with participant recruitment. This research will inform the creation of nutrition education sessions to be offered for local children and parents who attend events sponsored by Palmetto Works. This formative research will guide the development of nutrition education seminars, which will be created by students in upper-level health communication courses and graduate-level communication courses. This research will also inform the creation of a survey assessing the effectiveness of the nutrition educational sessions during AY 2022-2023.

Zhixiong Shen, Marine Science 

Response of Coastal Marsh and Barrier Islands to Enhanced Tropical Cyclone Activity 

The coastal landscape is strongly controlled by wave action and significant efforts have been done to investigate coastal changes to wave-climate variability at the event scale. Tropical cyclones (TC) produce extreme wave conditions and can reshape coasts catastrophically. Global warming is expected to enhance TC activity, but the impact of such changes on the coastal landscape is unclear. Paleotempestite studies (sedimentary records of past TC events) have demonstrated centennial TC variability, but the connection between the long-term TC variability and coastal changes is not well understood. Barrier islands and coastal marshes are the most common morphologic components along the US Atlantic and Gulf coasts. Here the support will be used to collect data from St Vincent Island (SVI), Florida to develop an NSF proposal to investigate: (1) the late Holocene evolution of the barrier island and its back-barrier marsh system; (2) the washover deposits, paleotempestites, in the back-barrier region; (3) the corresponding sea-level change as recorded by the Holocene marsh sediments with the state-of-the-art stratigraphic and sediment dating methods. The aim of the investigation is to establish correlations between the development of the barrier island/marsh system to sea-level change and TC activity at a centennial timescale. A set of samples was collected in SVI in March 2022, with a plan to return in summer 2022 to survey washover deposits. In addition, preliminary sample and data analysis will be done to develop the NSF proposal to be submitted by the end of the summer. Barrier islands and coastal marshes provide pivotal ecological and economic services but are facing increasingly heavy anthropogenic and climatic pressure. This research is expected to provide knowledge about the response of these coastal systems to TC variability at a centennial timescale for developing a long-term management strategy.

Kaitlin Sidorsky, Political Science

Judging Victims: Federalism and Judicial Decision Makimg in Domestic Violence Cases 

What is the role of judicial actors in protecting women who are victims of domestic violence? How are judges implementing the domestic violence laws passed by the legislature of their state as well as federal law? And what are judges doing when there is no law in the state that allows for the removal of firearms from DV offenders? This research will investigate these questions and will include the judicial decision-making process when setting conditions for bail, as well as issuing orders of protection. Where possible, the research may also extend to understanding sentencing decisions. Surveys and interviews of state-level judges who handle domestic violence cases will be conducted to understand the gaps between the intent of the laws passed in legislative chambers and the decisions of the judges implementing these laws in the courtroom. This research will also help scholars understand state judges’ knowledge of federal firearm laws and their willingness to follow them. The database will include judges from every state as well as their demographic information where possible. The summer will be used to complete the data collection of the judge's contact information and test the pilot of the survey.

 


 2021-22 PEG Awards 

Daniel Abel, Professor of Marine Science 

Heart Function in Great White and Other Sharks 

Michelle Barthet, Assitant Professor of Biology

Identification of a novel intron splicing complex in the chlorplast of rice

Andrew Busch, Assitant Professor of Honors and Interdisciplinary Studies

High Tech Texas, Public Institutions, Regional Economic Development, and the Myth of the Free Market.

Charles Clary, Associate Professor of Visual Arts

Memento Morididdle: A Contemporary Take on the Art of Memento Mori

Derek Crane, Assistant Professor of Biology

Use of Oxyteracyline in Fisheries Science: We are still learining after nearly 60 years

Russell Fielding, Assistant Professor of Honors and Interdisciplinary Studies

Breadfruit Culitvation in Hawaii 

Timothy Fischer, Assistant Professor of Music 

Recording Full Length Album "The Low Country Sessions"

Justin Guilkey, Assistant Professor of Kinesiology

Hemodynamic Responses during Aerobic Blood Flow Restriction Exercise at Different Percentages of Limb Occlusion Pressure

Christopher Gunn, Associate Professor of History 

The War Within: Violence & Military Rule in Argentina and Turkey. 1971-1983

Julianna Harding, Associate Professor of Marine Science

Fish Growth Rates as a Tool to Evaluate Warming Water Effects in Southeastern Estuaries 

Hsing-Wen Hu, Professor of Graduate & Speciality Studies

Using High-Quality Supportive Workshops to Help Newly Graduated Teacher Candidate Integrate TPACK into Mathematics Classrooms

Richard Kilroy, Associate Professor of Politics 

Forging New Security Institutions in Mexico

Catharina Middleton, Assistant Professor of Foundations, Curriculum and Instruction & Heather Hagan, Associate Professor of Foundations, Curriculum and Instruction

Learning to Teach Indigenous South Carolina History Through Inquiry and Primary Sources

Rhonda Miller, Assistant Professor of Foundations, Curriculum and Instruction

Content Acquisition Podcast Library

Meghan O'Connor, Assistant Professor of Visual Arts

Casting Fingers, Casting Blame?

Shari Orisich, Associate Professor of History

Daughters of the Revolution Speak: Girls and Girlhood in Cuba, 1952-1970

Tripthi Pillai, Associate Professor of English & Becky Child, Professor of English

Storytelling and Critical Applied Narrative (SCAN) Certificate Development Project

Michael Promisel, Assistant Professor of Politics

From Dissertation to Book Proposal: Prudence and Political Leadership 

Sara Rich, Assitant Professor of Honors and Interdisciplinary Studies

SciArt Field School

Jessica Lee Richardson, Assistant Professor of English

Seeding Climate Narratives: Novel Research and Beyond

Paul Richardson, Professor of Chemistry

Perceived Stress Levels and its Impact on Bacteriophage Presence in the Human Population at Coastal Carolina University

Eric Daniel Schultz, Assistant Professor of Music

Debut Album Recording and Release: Eric Shultz, Clarinet

Catherine Scott, Associate Professor of Foundations, Curriculum and Instruction

Beyond the Montessori Classroom: Examining How Teachers Use Online Instruction in Montessori Mathematics

Brianna Thomas, Assistant Professor of Physics & Engineering Science 

The effects of color on students' interpretation and retention of multiple representations in introductory mechanics (pilot study)

Nicole Uphold, Associate Professor of Foundations, Curriculum and Instruction

Special Education Teachers' Views of Community-Based Instruction

Misti Williams, Lecturer of Communication, Media, & Culture

Public Relations Society of America Membership and Certificate in Digital Communcation