Wayne State College

Faculty News - Winter 2020

Published Wednesday, February 12th, 2020

See what our faculty have accomplished within the last year! As published in the Winter 2020 edition of the alumni magazine.

A 2018 article co-authored by Dr. Randy Bertolas, professor of geography, and former WSC students Jayme Krejci ’18 and Alix Stanley ’18 has been republished by the International Social Science Review, included in the fourth edition of Laurie Kirszner and Stephen Mandell’s textbook “Practical Arguments” published by Bedford/St. Martin’s. This textbook uses works such as the one published by Bertolas, Krejci, and Stanley as examples of how to craft a strong argument, with questions following about how the authors supported their points. The original article was entitled “Policy Point—Counterpoint: Are Colleges and Universities Obligated to Provide Student-Athletes with Additional Compensation Beyond Tuition, Room, and Board?” Following their graduation in Spring 2018, Krejci enrolled in law school at Creighton University, and Stanley interned in the Capitol Hill office of U.S. Senator Ben Sasse.

Dr. Alan Bruflat, professor of modern languages, presented a paper, “The Role of Nostalgia in the Early Poetry of Luis García Montero,” at the European Studies Conference in October at the University of Nebraska-Omaha.

Dr. Donovan Conley, professor of exercise science, represented Wayne State College at the annual meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine in Orlando held May 28-June 1. At the meeting, WSC was recognized as a bronze level “Exercise is Medicine” campus. This distinguished national award provides recognition that WSC is a college campus leader in promoting the benefits of exercise and physical activity. Dr. Barbara Engebretsen, professor of exercise science, has been instrumental in spearheading this effort, and Paul McCawley, instructor of exercise science, along with Wayne State College graduate and undergraduate students, have provided valuable assistance and support in promoting this program on campus and the Wayne community.

Lee Elliott, professor of human resource management, and colleagues Krista Fritson and Robert Rycek at the University of Nebraska-Kearney published their research, “Using positive psychology in independent living settings to enhance well-being and functioning,” in the International Journal of Humanities and Social Science Review, Vol. 5, February 2019. The significance of this result is that by providing positive psychology coaching to elders in independent living facilities, they may be able to remain there longer and not progress to higher levels of care. As such, they will have greater privacy, dignity, and peace of mind. Moreover, the cost of elder care may be reduced substantially. 

Dr. Mary Elliott, associate professor of fashion merchandising, collaborated with Margie Trembley, couture milliner and owner of Margie Trembley Chapeaux in Omaha, to create a wearable art piece that focused on a goldwork embroidery design executed by Elliott after attending the Royal School of Needlework in Kentucky. The hat design was inspired by E. Corbould’s 1838 watercolor painting of Queen Victoria. The story of the collaboration has been published as the featured story for the October 2019 edition of HATalk, a millinery e-magazine based in the U.K. The piece, now titled “Racing Gold,” was on display Oct. 30-Nov. 30 at the Springfield Artworks Gallery in Springfield. 

In August, Dr. Barbara Engebretsen, professor of exercise science, completed the 2018-19 Fulbright Global Scholar Award in Ethiopia and Nepal, collaborating on the Hypertension Education And Resourcing Talented Students (HEARTS) Initiative. HEARTS is a program designed to educate, equip, and empower secondary students as partners in screening for hypertension and promote health literacy in the prevention of non-communicable diseases. So far, HEARTS Teams in two schools in Nepal (about 50 students) and three in Ethiopia (75 students) have received training and begun screening students and families and providing health promotion activities in their communities. 

While in Nepal, Engebretsen also led a continuing education workshop for the Nepal Physiotherapists Association on Exercise is Medicine and Cardiac Rehabilitation. Engebretsen also worked with associate professor of art Meghan O’Connor’s graphic design class in creating a design for a HEARTS logo and printed t-shirts for trained HEARTS teams in Nepal and Ethiopia. 

In October, Engebretsen attended the 2019 International Fulbright Association Conference and presented “Tigers, HEARTS, and Summits: Connecting minds for Global Health in Nepal” on a three-person panel, which included fellow Fulbright Scholars Dr. Brook Milligan (New Mexico State University) and Chandni Jaishwal (Emory University). Some of their presentation included research by Dr. Dibesh Karmacharya ‘95.

Dr. Paul Karr, professor of chemistry, received the Nebraska EPSCoR grant for undergraduate research experience in small colleges and universities. EPSCoR is a National Science Foundation grant established to stimulate competitive research. Karr and WSC undergraduate student Maddie Duffy worked on an EPSCoR-supported research project investigating potential solar collecting/energy transfer molecular structures over the summer and successfully co-authored the peer-reviewed research paper, “Triplet BODIPY and AzaBODIPY Derived Donor-acceptor Dyads: Competitive Electron Transfer versus Intersystem Crossing upon Photoexcitation” published in ChemPhotoChem [DOI: 10.1002/cptc.201900189.] [EPSCoR Grant OIA-1557417].

Other peer-reviewed research papers involving the search for solar collecting molecules, chemosensors, and anticancer via photodynamic therapy (PDT) molecules co-authored by professor Karr in 2019 include: “Directly Linked Zinc Phthalocyanine–Perylenediimide Dyads and a Triad for Ultrafast Charge Separation” [Chemistry–A European Journal 25 (43), 10123-10132]; “Sequential, Ultrafast Energy Transfer and Electron Transfer in a Fused Zinc Phthalocyanine-free-base Porphyrin-C60 Supramolecular Triad” [ChemPhysChem 20 (1), 163-172]; and “Knock-on synthesis of tritopic calix [4] pyrrole host for enhanced anion interactions” [Dalton Transactions, The Royal Society of Chemistry DOI: 10.1039/ C9DT02365H]. 

Karr’s research that was presented at the 2019 Dallas meeting of the Electrochemical Society included “Ultrafast Photoinduced Charge Separation in Wide-Band Capturing, Bis-Styryl BodipyFullerene Donor-Acceptor Assemblies.” 

Dr. Karl Kolbeck, associate professor of music, was invited to perform the following pieces at the following events: “Performance of Four Miniatures for Clarinet and Bass Clarinet” by Howard Buss, in collaboration with Dr. Barry McGinnis of Newberry College, at the International Clarinet Association’s ClarinetFest 2019 in Knoxville, Tenn., held July 24-28; and “Performance of Concerto in F-Major for Bass Clarinet and Piano” composed by Dr. Matthew Haakenson, in collaboration with Dr. Angela Miller-Niles, at two events – the First Annual Great Plains New Music Festival at the University of South Dakota on Sept. 7 and the 2019 National Conference for the National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors at the University of Northern Iowa held Oct. 11-13. 

In September, Kolbeck accepted a position as associate audio reviews editor with the International Clarinet Association. Kolbeck also recorded an album with the Sioux City Rockestra, which was officially released on all digital platforms in October. The album is entitled “Listen to the Music” and features collaborations between musicians from Siouxland and Los Angeles. 

Dr. Brian Kufner, associate professor of human resource management, published “Introducing students to corporate culture: Finding the right ‘fit,’” in the February 2019 edition of Business Education Forum, 73(3), 35-37. The magazine is a publication of the National Business Education  Association.

Dr. Michael Marek, professor of communication arts, published two scholarly book chapters in 2019, including “Creating a technology-rich English language learning environment” in the Second Handbook of English Language Teaching, published by Springer, and “Incorporating LINE smartphone app affordances: Cross-cultural collaboration, willingness to communicate, and language learning” in Computer-Assisted Language Learning: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools, and Applications, published by IGI Global. 

In November, Marek and Dr. Mike White, professor of mass communication and film advisor, hosted a session on industry-standard pre-production planning at the National Student Electronic Media Conference hosted by College Broadcasters, Inc., in St. Louis.

In Spring 2019, Josh Piersanti and Meghan O’Connor, associate professors of art, and freshmen graphic design students restored historical photographs of the City of Wayne for the Wayne Historical Society. 

Dr. Jason Price, associate professor of Earth science, presented an oral paper in September at the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting in Phoenix entitled, “Using Plug-Flow Column Reactor Data to Constrain Calcic Mineral Weathering Rates from Watershed Mass-Balance Methods: Lithogenic Phosphorus Fluxes from Apatite Dissolution into Lacustrine Ecosystems of the Loch Vale Watershed, Colorado, USA.” This presentation reflects ongoing interdisciplinary environmental research in high-elevation Colorado currently involving WSC undergraduate students Emerson Andelt (Earth science), Mackenzie Eskey (life sciences), and Miguel Barajas (mathematics). 

Dr. Gerard Ras, professor of business, presented at the Norfolk Area Human Resource Association in June. The presentation was titled “Creating Value: HR as Strategic Partner in the Capital Budgeting Process.” The presentation emphasized important roles for HR professionals in the process of selecting capital projects for companies. It included the analysis of a real-world scenario to examine roles HR can play in the capital budgeting process. 

Ras also presented at the Columbus Area Human Resource Association in October at the request of Wayne State alum Jon Rauner ‘08. The presentation was titled “HR as Strategic Partner in Creating Financial Value.” The presentation connected the HR function with the value creation process through organizational strategy and competency modeling. A scenario was examined by participants. As a practical example, Ras presented a solution that was implemented by a multinational corporation as a result of his research. 

Dr. Leigh Scruggs, assistant professor of education, presented “Teach and Travel Around the World” at the Educators Rising Expo held at Wayne State College for high school students on the path to becoming teachers. The session focused on opportunities for pre-service and in-service educators interested in teaching outside of the U.S. These programs allow participants to share their knowledge with students and colleagues in foreign countries while also earning money to travel the world. The presentation highlighted the presenter’s personal experience serving in the
U.S. Peace Corps and working abroad through British Universities North America Club and the Council on International Educational Exchange.

Scruggs also presented “Off the Beaten Path: My Journey in Eastern Europe – 2019” sponsored by the President’s Council on Diversity and Multicultural and International Programs at Wayne State College. The presentation provided an overview of the capital cities of 11 Eastern European countries, including travel itineraries and photos to spark interest in learning about other cultures and locations not typically visited by U.S. travelers.

Scruggs and Drs. Stephanie Applewhite, education instructor, and Johanna Barnes, associate professor of education, co-presented at the 33rd annual Women in Educational Leadership Conference in Lincoln. Their presentation, “Voices of Female First-Generation College Graduates Transitioning from Teaching K-12 to Higher Education Faculty,” examined common themes among their personal experiences in deciding to make the leap, finding the right fit, and factors to consider throughout the process as they moved out of K-12 classrooms to become faculty at Wayne State College.

Dr. Yasuko Taoka, dean of the School of Arts and Humanities, has been selected as the new editor for Teaching Classical Languages. Teaching Classical Languages (TCL) is the peer-reviewed, online journal dedicated to exploring how we teach (and how we learn) Greek and Latin. TCL is sponsored by the Classical Association of the Middle West and South. 

In April, Dr. Sara Walsh, associate professor of education, traveled to Toronto, Ontario, to present at the American Educational Research Association, the largest national interdisciplinary research association devoted to the scientific study of education and learning. Her presentation, “Co-Teaching Versus Traditional Clinical Practice Models: The Perceived Role of the Cooperating Teacher,” described the results of her research, which identified differences in the perception of the roles of the cooperating teacher depending upon the model used. Consequently, this perception influences the teaching and learning processes for both the teacher candidate as well as the PK-12 learners in the classroom. 

In October, Dr. Mike White, professor of mass communication and film advisor, premiered his first full-length feature film, “Ever Fallen,” at the Majestic Theatre in Wayne. The film stars Shelby Hagerdon, Nathan Taubert, and Ryan Shearer, and was written, directed, and produced by White. It is a punk rock take on the classic “Romeo and Juliet.” The film has been chosen as the feature selection of the Sioux City International, Muscatine Independent, and Sandy Dennis film festivals. The film is expected to be available on a major streaming service after it completes its festival tour in 2021.