Pitt-Greensburg announces Green Scholars
Six students at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg will enhance their educational experience through the research they will do as Green Scholars for the 2012-2013 academic year.
The Green Scholar program is designed to provide opportunities for Pitt-Greensburg’s best students to acquire research experience by partnering with faculty on scholarly projects. Faculty members submit proposals nominating students for Green Scholarships.
Selection to the program reflects not only the student’s academic accomplishments, but the confidence shown in the student by the faculty member making the nomination. The Green Scholar program is made possible through funding from the Jack Buncher Foundation and the R.K. Mellon Foundation.
Ryan Jakubek from Everson
Ryan S. Jakubek, a senior Chemistry major from Everson, will assist Mark Stauffer, PhD, associate professor of Chemistry, in his research project on Chemical Analysis of Archeological Sites. Jakubek is a graduate of Southmoreland High School.
Stauffer’s proposed research consists of two parts: 1) incorporation of molecules that can bind iron and other metal ions into plastic membranes that can be used as sensors coupled to an instrument such as a visible spectrophotometer, or by themselves as semi-quantitative testing “strips”, and 2) further development of portable analytical laboratories that can be taken into the field for on-site determinations of analytes of interest.
“Of particular interest at present are polymer-based membranes that incorporate specific organic ligands that are selective for iron in its divalent form,” notes Stauffer. “Additionally, there is strong interest by our group in development of portable laboratories for on-site determination of arsenic and phosphorus using the spectrophotometric molybdenum blue method.”
Stauffer was interested in working with Ryan because of his interest in both analytical chemistry and archaeology. “Having had Ryan as one of my analytical chemistry and instrumental analysis students, and now as an undergraduate researcher, I see that he and I have some common analytical interests. His current capstone research on arsenic determinations in soils from a suspected 19th-century burial site at a local cemetery fits nicely with our goal of developing a portable lab for determination of arsenic and phosphorus, and Ryan is also interested in development of the polymer membranes for selective detection of iron and possibilities for developing membranes for arsenic determination as well.”
Thomas K. Crowley from Greensburg
Thomas K. Crowley, a senior political science major from Greensburg, will assist Paul Adams, PhD, assistant professor of Political Science, on his research projects on European Politics. Crowley will work with Adams on the following projects: research for several unfinished chapters of Adams’ manuscript, “The End of Austro-Corporatism? The Austrian Social Partnership from Empire to Europeanization,” foundational research for several unfinished chapters in the accepted book proposal for “Neither Inside nor Out: The Politics of European Integration and EU Relations for Non-Member States in Europe,” editing and revision of the article “The Quadruple Crisis of Europe: Europe and its Changing Role in the International Political Economy,” research to prepare conference proposals and papers to be presented during the 2012-2013 academic year, and assist in redesigning a course on International Terrorism.
“Tom will draw on his four years of experience in the military where he developed his expertise in intelligence, analysis, and applying research methodologies to complex and unique military issues,” noted Adams. “In particular, he was involved in applied Middle East Research in Kuwait and was a subject-matter expert on Iran who collaborated weekly with national and theater-level analysts to increase understanding and improve products delivered to senior Intelligence Community leadership. His training, as well as his attention to detail and accuracy, will be a strong asset to my projects.”
Megan Hughes from Lancaster, PA
Megan Hughes, a senior double major in English literature and English Writing with a minor in theatre from Lancaster, PA, will assist Elisa Beshero-Bondar, PhD, associate professor of English, with her research project on Mary Russell Mitford. Daughter of James and Julia Hughes, Hughes is a graduate of Hempfield High School (Lancaster, PA).
Beshero-Bondar is in the early stages of research for a project that will focus on the London drama scene of the 1820s and 1830s. Hughes will partner with Beshero-Bondar in her investigation of the success of Mary Russell Mitford in writing and producing a series of international plays during a time that experienced much censorship. The two researchers will be working towards producing a scholarly edition of a cluster of these plays, perhaps in print or as a web site, in order to make Mitford’s work more widely available. Hughes and Beshero-Bondar will each read Mitford’s plays with the purpose of marking and identifying unfamiliar references that demand explanation or annotation. Hughes will then be investigating references to specific events in 19th-century British Library Newspapers and Pamphlets databases and using the ECCO database to read earlier plays and texts identified as important precursors.
“I am familiar with Megan’s strengths in detailed analysis of texts and in raising incisive questions and efficiently and thoroughly surveying an issue,” explained Beshero-Bondar. “I look forward to setting her to work on raising questions about editions I am preparing, and about the systems I hope to experiment with for digital edition work. I am confident in Megan’s thinking process and her intellectual curiosity when she is invested in a project.”
Brett DeMarco from Mercer, PA
Brett DeMarco, a senior Chemistry major from Mercer, PA, will assist Matthew Luderer, PhD, associate professor of Chemistry, with his research project on Environmentally Friendly Organic Methods. DeMarco, a graduate of Mercer High School, is the son of Joe DeMarco and Donna DeMarco.
Luderer and DeMarco will be building on work started by Victoria Causer ’10 when she was a student at Pitt-Greensburg. Causer discovered that certain primary alcohols can couple to form symmetric esters when using N-bromosuccinimide as a solvent. This is significant because current methods for preparing such esters involve using not only hazardous solvents but carcinogenic reagents as well. If proven successful, this new method will be an environmentally friendly approach to prepare these esters. Also collaborating on the project will be Justin Fair, PhD, assistant professor of Chemistry from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
“I am very excited to have Brett taking over and hopefully finishing this project. I hold him in the highest regards as a student, and I am very confident that his research abilities will come to fruition in our research laboratory as well.” noted Luderer.
Karlee Sypherd from New Eagle, PA
Karlee Sypherd, a senior criminal justice major from New Eagle, PA, will assist Elizabeth Marciniak, PhD, associate professor of Criminal Justice and chair of the Behavioral Sciences Division, with her research on sentencing reform. Sypherd is a graduate of Ringgold High School.
The project will involve researching modern sentencing reforms in the United States. The research will trace the history of sentencing, and examine reforms on the state and federal levels. Relevant court cases will also be considered.
“Karlee is an outstanding student in our strong Criminal Justice program,” explained Marciniak. “She was my first choice to be a Green Scholar because she has demonstrated many qualities I look for in a research assistant. She is very bright and disciplined, and she has shown evidence of critical thinking in the classes she has had with me. She has a good background to help with research, having taking two Corrections classes with me and having completed her Research Methods class.”
Donna Dineley from Pittsburgh
Donna Dineley, a junior political science major with a minor in philosophy, from Pittsburgh, will assist Beverly Ann Gaddy, PhD, associate professor of political science with a research project on nonviolent resistance movements and revolutions. The project, an extension of Gaddy’s book-in-progress—“Love is a Revolution” (an analysis of Martin Luther King’s political theology), will consist of the creation of an online database of nonviolent resistance movements and revolutions, both contemporary and historical.
“While we are especially interested in religious-based movements, such as those that share King’s political-theology of enemy-love as a motive for non-resistance, the database will not be limited to religiously-motivated movements but will aim to be all-inclusive,” explained Gaddy.
Gaddy also notes that Dineley, the daughter of Dennis and Nancy Dineley and a graduate of Slippery Rock High School, brings a great deal of experience and knowledge to the project.
“As a recently-retired Marine with 20 years of active duty service and a veteran of the Iraq War, Donna’s military career focused on systems management, ranging from aviation and electronics maintenance, to manufacturing, and program management,” said Gaddy. “Dineley possesses outstanding organizational skills honed by multiple positions, is a deeply analytical and critical thinker, and is highly knowledgeable of both traditional and alternative media, such as Twitter and Facebook. Dineley was selected for this project not only because of the skills and experience she offers, however, but also because she shares with Gaddy a genuine interest in the subject matter, in part sparked by her interest in the Arab Spring and the Occupy movements. Dineley is a serious scholar who plans to pursue either a graduate degree or law school after following graduation from Pitt-Greensburg.”
Founded in 1963, the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg is a publicly assisted, four-year, liberal arts college in southwestern Pennsylvania. A regional campus of the University of Pittsburgh, which is celebrating its 225th anniversary, Pitt-Greensburg offers 24 baccalaureate degree programs, including new majors in Education and Spanish, as well as 19 minors. More than 13 percent of Pitt-Greensburg’s full-time faculty—the highest percentage of any University of Pittsburgh campus—have received the prestigious University-wide Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award.