Sixteen faculty in John Carroll University’s College of Arts & Sciences have received fellowships to support their research in summer 2013. Awarded on a competitive basis, the fellowships fund full-time research projects, with the expectation of submission to a high-quality academic journal or equivalent standard of intellectual contribution.

Art History and Humanities

Leslie Curtis, Ph.D.
This project is focused on the theme of the Mystic Knight in the work of French Symbolist artist Odilon Redon (1840- 1916). It investigates how the symbolism and meaning of key works on this theme can be better understood by a careful consideration of the artist’s tendency to combine experiences from his travels in the Pyrenees and his service in the Franco-Prussian war with related sources in local medieval legends such as the “Song of Roland,” the story of Oedipus and the Sphinx and its depiction by other artists, and the operas of Richard Wagner, especially that of Parsifal.


Rebecca Drenovsky, Ph.D.
Understanding the factors that limit plant growth and reproduction are critical to the success of rangeland restoration programs. This project seeks to understand the resources that limit plant establishment, growth, and recruitment in a suite of perennial grasses commonly used in restoration in the Intermountain West.

Erin Johnson, Ph.D.
The project involves looking for compounds that hold the potential to enhance the immune system’s response to viral infections.

Ralph Saporito, Ph.D.
The proposed project is designed to further understand how animals defend themselves against natural predators. In particular, the study will examine how differences in the distribution of poison glands in frogs lead to differences in protection from predation.


Chrystal Bruce, Ph.D.
This study, involving computational modeling of the interactions between DNA and small molecules, will allow for better design of anticancer and antibiotic pharmaceuticals.

Education and Allied Studies

Paula Britton, Ph.D.
This study explores the consequences of early life experiences and parental support of sexual orientation/gender on adult LGBTQ mental health with an emphasis on implications for counselor intervention. Additionally, it explores specific coping strategies influencing healthy development potentially related to parenting style.

Nathan Gehlert, Ph.D.
This study seeks to extend the field of psychology’s understanding of how to define and assess competency in relationships through the creation of an assessment of relational competencies.

David Shutkin, Ph.D.
The fellowship will facilitate the writing of an essay based on qualitative research of a school district’s technology reform initiative. Using sociological theory, the essay will seek to explicate how the goals of the reform initiative are undermined by the very technologies that are featured as the means to the success of the reform.


Phil Metres, Ph.D.
Taking its title from the name of the zones in Northern Ireland where Protestant and Catholic communities face one another, “Interfaces,” the fellowship will be used to compose a series of poems that would offer a complex but detailed rendering of life across zones of global conflict. But more than merely depicting conflict, the poems will help develop a cosmopolitan poetry that offers a vision of peace-building among and between entrenched enemies.


Dan Kilbride, Ph.D.
The fellowship will be used to research and write an essay about how American abolitionists used contemporary information about Africa in their campaigns against slavery and racism.

Mathematics and Computer Science

Paige Rinker, Ph.D.
The fellowship will facilitate the completion of the development and implementation of an analysis tool designed to identify cluster patterns in a novel form of rank data. This type of analysis has natural applications in market research.


Sharon Kaye, Ph.D.
This project is to write an Introduction to Philosophy (designed for undergraduate students) for the Teach Yourself series of the British publisher Hodder and Stoughton (published by McGraw-Hill in the United States).


Denise Ben-Porath, Ph.D.
The goal of the study is to determine the differential treatment effect of a brief mindfulness intervention vs. a brief distraction intervention in women diagnosed with an eating disorder before and after an exposure meal. Additionally, for purposes of comparison and control, a nonclinical sample also will participate in the same two treatment interventions, mindfulness and distraction, while eating the same meal.

Angela Jones, Ph.D.
The goal of the proposed work is to gain a better understanding of the production effect, which refers to enhanced memory for items read aloud compared to silently. Very little work has been done in the field to understand how/why the effect occurs.

Sociology and Criminology

Penny Harris, Ph.D.
Resilience, as a psychosocial concept, can assist people in coping more effectively when faced with adverse situations, and the original work in this area focused on children and adolescents. This study proposes extending the resilience research by focusing on older adults who are experiencing chronic disease, such as dementia or HIV/AIDS, and identifying factors that can foster resilience in this population.

Theology and Religious Studies

Joan Nuth, Ph.D.
The fellowship will facilitate the writing of a chapter of a book manuscript intended to be “A Theological Primer for Spiritual Directors.” This chapter completes the material about creation in the first chapter, focusing on the nature and destiny of the human being, and complementing the “Principle and Foundation,” the starting point of the “Spiritual Exercises.”

Posted on December 21, 2012