University UpdatesWinter/Spring 2020

Spring 2020: Shaheen College of Arts & Sciences


A faculty-alumni collaboration played a major role in the relocation of a 19th-century cemetery near the Indianapolis International Airport. A joint effort led by Ryan Peterson ’96 (anthropology, biology) and Dr. Christopher Schmidt, professor of anthropology, the project entailed exhuming and relocating the remains of about 500 people to Concordia Cemetery in Indianapolis. See for the story.

Dr. Christopher Moore, associate professor and chair of anthropology, co-authored a paper, “The Case for Radiocarbon Dating and Bayesian Analysis in Historical Archaeology,” which was published in the journal Historical Archaeology.

Art & Design

Sarah Pfohl, assistant professor of digital photography, was shortlisted for the 2019 Palm Photo Prize. The 104-image shortlist was selected from 3,860 submissions. Her work was also featured in a photography exhibition hosted by theprintspace gallery in London, England.

The Greyhound community celebrated student work from the Social Practice Art master’s program with a retrospective event in August at the Efroymson Gallery at Tube Factory Artspace. The second cohort has initiated socially engaged projects around Indianapolis while examining such issues as pollinators and sustainability, aging in place, and human trafficking.

A solo retrospective exhibition by Kermit Berg ’73 was featured at the Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center Gallery September–October. Berg is a world-renowned artist whose work has been displayed at galleries in Berlin, Munich, New York, Washington, D.C., Chicago, and other cities around the world. See more on page 10.

Artist Titus Kaphar presented a lecture, “Making Space for Black History: Amending the Landscape of American Art,” at the Ruth Lilly Performance Center in November as part of the Sutphin Lecture Series.

Kaphar is a 2018 MacArthur Fellow and a 2018 Art for Justice Fund grantee, among other accolades.

In November, AJ Nafziger ’08 (studio art) ’13 (MA studio art) returned to exhibit a collection of work, “The Horizon Unfolds,” at the Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center Gallery. The exhibition featured drawings in pencil and liquid graphite.

Rhonda Wolverton, assistant professor of art & design, spoke at the “Voices of Healing from Our Immigrant Neighbors” event in November at the Indiana Interchurch Center in Indianapolis. She also exhibited “Building Barrios Not Barriers,” an installation that is part of her work to subvert known language and American symbols of immigration to create dialogue and share real immigration experiences.

A new public art installation created by Art & Design faculty Nathan Foley, assistant professor, and Jim Viewegh, chair, is on display in downtown Indianapolis. “River Fish” features 12 kinetic sculptures representing four fish species native to the White River. See page 8 for details.


Savannah Phipps ’21 (biology) presented research in August at the 2019 Annual Meeting for the Ecological Society of America in Louisville, Ky. She collaborated with Dr. Daniel Scholes, assistant professor of biology, on research that was supported by Phipps’ participation in the Shaheen College of Arts & Sciences Research Fellows Program. The presentation was supported by a Student Career Readiness and Leadership Development grant made possible by Yvonne Shaheen. See page 12 for more about the Shaheen Grants program.

Dr. Greg Weber, assistant professor of biology, was co-organizer of the 2019 Xenopus Resources and Emerging Technologies meeting at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass. The biennial event brought together nearly 100 participants from Japan, Europe, and the U.S. Weber also presented research in a talk titled, “Forced association: examining junctional intermediate filament dynamics.”

Jessica Merkling ’12 (biology), an urban biologist for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, visited campus to talk with students about career opportunities.

Katie Beverley ’16 (biology) presented her University of Wisconsin doctoral research, titled “Kir7.1 Channel Mutation in the Inner Pore Results in Channel Construction” to faculty and undergraduate students.

Dr. Krista Latham, associate professor of forensic anthropology and biology, attended the annual scientific meeting of the FLAG Forensic Anthropologists with 11 human biology students. Latham, who also serves as director of UIndy’s Human Identification Center, was mentioned in a Wired article, “The Strange Life and Mysterious Death of a Virtuoso Coder,” for her role in the case.

Latham and five students were invited to discuss the graduate and undergraduate human biology programs at the West Lafayette Public Library for “The Crime Scene!,” an event open to young adults interested in law enforcement or forensic science careers.

In November, Sidney Thompson ’22 (human biology) and Latham were instructors for the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy, part of the Indiana State Police’s Recruit Academy Training Program.

Dr. Marc Milne, assistant professor of biology, presented his Indiana Dunes spider research and led an hour-long spider-searching hike to about 20 members of the public at the Indiana Dunes National Park. Milne also discussed his spider research as the featured guest on “Hoosier History Live” on WICR 88.7 FM.

In July, Milne and Gabby Madriz ’18 (human biology) ’19 (MAT) published “Revision of the spider genus Epiceraticelus (Araneae, Linyphiidae)” with a description of a new species in Zootaxa.

Milne and BaoThu Dinh ’18 (biology) published a scientific manuscript in Arthropod-Plant Interactions in November.

Celebrate Science 2019, an opportunity to engage with future scientists, was well attended at the Indiana State Fairgrounds by UIndy science faculty and students. A contingent of biology and chemistry majors representing the Community for the Advancement of Learning and Understanding Biology Club and Sigma Zeta Science Honors Society organized and contributed to the success of this year’s program.

A research manuscript by Dr. Daniel Scholes, assistant professor of biology, was accepted for publication in the International Journal of Plant Sciences.

The Scientech Foundation donated $10,000 to Mary Gobbett’s Junior Scientist Mindset Program. Gobbett is an assistant professor of biology.

Dr. Nelson Kraus, associate adjunct professor of biology, and Caroline LaPlant ’23 (nursing) co-authored “SUPER SIMPLE Anatomy & Physiology Workbook” published by Cognella Academic Publishing. Dr. Kraus presented a workshop titled “Reduce and Flip to Engage Your Students” at the Central Region Human Anatomy and Physiology Society at Columbus State University in October.


Rachel Hurrell ’20 (chemistry), a Ron & Laura Strain Honors College student and Shaheen Grant recipient, presented research at the 49th annual Turkey Run Analytical Conference in September. Dr. Levi Mielke, associate professor of chemistry, co-authored the paper entitled, “Method Development for the Simultaneous Quantification of Ampicillin and Cloxacillin in Ampiclox using RP-HPLC.”

Megan Hay ’20 (medical laboratory science), who is conducting a year-long internship at Franciscan Hospitals, received the prestigious Dr. Driver Scholarship from the Consortium of Indiana Medical Laboratory Educators.


Jeanne Criswell, associate professor, adviser to the Reflector, and director of the journalism program, received the Outstanding Reviewer Award from the Cultural and Critical Studies Division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication at the national conference in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, in August. Criswell also was re-elected as the division’s Professional Freedom and Responsibility Chair.

Congratulations to the Reflector staff on winning four national awards at the ACP/CMA National College Media Convention in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Stephanie Wideman, assistant professor of communication, authored a chapter in the forthcoming book Michelle Obama and the FLOTUS Effect, published in November by Lexington Books. The chapter is entitled, “Visuality and the Pathetic First Lady.” Wideman also serves as director of the UIndy Forensics Speech & Debate Team.

Criminal Justice

The Department of Criminal Justice, in collaboration with Macy’s, hosted the first annual Midwest Loss Prevention Conference in June. The two-day event featured discussions with industry leaders from Lowe’s, Whole Foods, DSW Inc., T-Mobile, and more.

Dr. Kevin Whiteacre, chair and associate professor of criminal justice, traveled to Belize in October to survey 165 prison officers inside the Belize Central Prison regarding job satisfaction, correctional orientation, and other aspects of the job to help prison administration improve conditions for staff and inmates. He’ll be presenting the research at the Third Belize National Research Conference in
March 2020.


Three poems by Liz Whiteacre, assistant professor of English, “The Butterfly Effect,” “The Law of Inertia,” and “The Stoic’s Universe,” were published in the 50th issue of Wordgathering, an online quarterly journal on disability poetry literature and art.

Etchings Press, a student-run publisher, released Etchings Literary & Fine Arts Magazine Issue 32.1 in December, featuring work submitted by students, alumni, faculty, and staff.

Barney Haney, assistant professor of English, published a short story, “The Passage” in the Madison Review (Fall, 2019); the story was the winner of Madison Review’s Chris O’Malley Fiction Prize.

Rebecca McKanna’s “Interpreting American Gothic” was published in Best American Mystery Stories 2019. McKanna is an assistant professor of English.

The Department of English hosted the Indiana College English Association Conference in October, which included student and faculty presentations.

Global Languages & Cross-Cultural Studies

Dr. Eduard Arriaga, assistant professor of Spanish, presented a talk in October at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Department of Literature related to his research on digital humanities and ethnic studies. Arriaga is project director for the “Data in Humanities. Humanities in Data” workshop series and faculty advisor to the Student Organization of Latinos.

Dr. Gerburg Garmann, professor of German and French language and literature, took students on a multilingual guided tour of the Red Line in Indianapolis. As part of their multilingual (English, French, German, and Spanish) scavenger hunt, students engaged in real-life situations, such as asking for information about the Red Line, counting, and naming restaurants and researching historic sites.

Garmann was selected as one of 20 professors in the United States to participate in a one-week Formation en Relations Internationales offered by the Chamber of Commerce of Paris. She completed the training course at the Paul Nitze School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C. in June 2019.

Garmann’s exhibit “Where Beauty Meets Resilience” was on display at the Athenaeum in Indianapolis during June 2019. The show featured 40 vibrant artworks that invite the viewer to contemplate what it means for women to overcome adversity. The Indianapolis Review featured Garmann’s artwork in the Fall 2019 issue.

Dr. Dan Briere, chair and associate professor of Spanish, delivered a presentation titled “The Unique Spanish Don Juan” at the 2019 Humanities Education and Research Association (HERA) Conference in Philadelphia, and will give a presentation at the 2020 HERA Conference in Chicago titled “The Demise of the Traditional Don Juan.”

International Relations

Dr. Jyotika Saksena, associate professor and graduate director of the International Relations Program, presented research on Congolese refugee women at the 13th Pan-European Conference on International Relations, held at Sofia University, Bulgaria, in September. She presented on the same topic at the University of Indianapolis in October, and presented findings from the research to the Indiana Minority Health Coalition, which provided funding for the project. Dr. Shannon McMorrow from Western Michigan University was a co-recipient of the original 2016 grant and co-presented.

Students from the Department of History and Political Science majoring in international relations and political science turned in an exceptionally strong performance and won several awards at the Model United Nations Conference hosted on campus in November. See for a list of participants.


The 25th annual summer piano camp welcomed 22 elementary students to campus in June. They were taught by founding director Dr. Rebecca Sorley, professor of music, along with Mary Branscum Wynn ’04 (music teaching), Matthew Bridgham ’13 (music performance), Marcus Click ’21 (music education), and Luke Sherar ’22 (music therapy).

Sorley was chosen as a 2019 National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation/ College Music Society GenNext Fellow and participated in a Nashville, Tennessee, program in July as part of the Summer NAMM conference to learn strategies for developing programs and experiences that advance career options for music majors in colleges and universities.

Sorley was also a masterclass clinician for the National Collegiate Honors Conference in New Orleans in November, where she accompanied Kourtney Christensen ’21 (music teaching) in performances.

A song by Dr. John Berners, professor of music, “The Sarcasm,” premiered along with a performance of “From the Diary of the Queen of Russia” from his Cabaret Songs at the Ann Arbor Song Fest in July 2019. In August, he was named a finalist in the 2019 Flute New Music Consortium Composition Competition.

Logan Purcell ’21 (music performance) won third prize at the BorGuitar International Festival and Competition in Borgo Val di Taro, Italy, in July. Nolan Winters ’22 (music performance, composition) placed fourth.

Tori Zimmerman ’17 (music) completed a music therapy internship with AccessAbilities in July and was awarded the university’s first Music Therapy Equivalency Certificate.

Katie Snider ’19 completed an internship at Tampa Bay Institute for Music Therapy in December, fulfilling the requirements to become the first Music Therapy Bachelor of Science graduate.

Assistant professor of music Dr. Jon Noworyta began his third season as the assistant conductor of the Summermusik Festival with the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra in July and August, working closely with the music director, musicians, and administration throughout the summer to prepare and execute festival performances.

Joana Genova, visiting assistant professor of music, spent four weeks teaching and performing at Taconic Music Summer Festival in Manchester, Vermont, with colleagues from across the United States and Europe, and with the Indianapolis Quartet, the University’s resident ensemble. The Quartet also appeared on Vermont Public Radio for interviews and a live performance.

The Indianapolis Quartet launched its fourth season of concerts at the University of Indianapolis in October with a program featuring guest artists Carrie Dennis, viola, and Nicholas Canellakis, cello. The event was part of the Faculty Artist Concert Series sponsored by Katz, Sapper & Miller.

Dr. Brett Leonard, assistant professor of music, was elected to the executive committee of the Central Indiana section of the Audio Engineering Society, taking over the role of secretary. He also presented a co-authored paper, “Subjective Assessment of the Versatility of Three-Dimensional Near-Field Microphone Arrays for Vertical and Three-Dimensional Imaging,” at the 147th Convention of the Audio Engineering Society in New York.

Over the summer, assistant professor or music, Dr. Gregory Martin was a featured performer at Grieg Society of Great Britain’s annual gala concert at St. Olav’s in London, as well as a recital series at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, and the Oxford University Faculty of Music. In October, he presented a paper on Grieg’s Op. 54 Lyric Pieces at the International Grieg Society Conference in Bergen, Norway.

Dr. Elisabeth Honn Hoegberg, associate professor and chair of music, read a paper, Untrammeled Imagination: The Women of Wa-Wan Press” at the 2nd International Conference on Women’s Work in Music in Bangor, Wales, in September.

Nemanja Ostojic, associate adjunct professor of guitar, was featured in Radio Television Serbia’s documentary on the 2019 Guitar Art Festival, which included a TV interview and live footage from the concert in commemoration of 20 years of the Guitar Art Festival. Department of Music faculty are preparing to host the prestigious Guitar Foundation of America International Convention and Competition at the University of Indianapolis in 2020. The six-day convention, June 22-27, 2020, will gather hundreds of classical guitar masters and enthusiasts from all over the world, including the most elite performers of the genre.

Philosophy & Religion

Dr. Greg Clapper, professor of religion and philosophy, was asked by the family of United Airlines Captain Al Haynes to be a part of his funeral service in October. Captain Haynes was in charge of Flight 232, which made a crash landing in Iowa in July 1989. Dr. Clapper was the Air Force chaplain on the scene of the crash.

Political Science

Karlee Taylor ’20 (political science) and Dr. Laura Merrifield Wilson, assistant professor of political science, submitted a proposal to the Indiana State Historical Marker Program. The pair’s request was accepted, and they were granted an Indiana Women’s Suffrage Centennial May Wright Sewall Fellowship from Indiana Humanities in support of their work. See more on page 18.

Wilson was named as a Class of 2020 participant in United Way’s Leadership United community leadership and board development program, which combines learning and practical experiences to help individuals develop leadership skills, increase their knowledge of the community, and acquire the skills needed to serve as board members and community leaders.

Ally Nickerson ’21 (political science and communication, honors concentration) appeared on Inside Indiana Business and WFYI to discuss a grant received from Indiana Campus Compact in support of the UIndy Votes! project, and the impact of civic engagement on community attachment among college students. Dr. Wilson organized the project and worked with Nickerson to apply for the grant.

Evan Smiley ’19 (political science major, international relations and pre-law minor) was named the 2019 University of Indianapolis Law Scholar. He will receive a minimum half-tuition scholarship throughout his studies at IU McKinney School of Law, and a guaranteed experiential learning opportunity of either an externship in the Indianapolis Bar or a research assistantship at IU McKinney.

Jessica Parra ’20 (political science and Spanish, minor in international relations and a concentration in multilingual translation) was named part of the Axis Leadership Program’s 2020 cohort. Axis is an eight-month leadership program designed for Latinx professionals between the ages of 21 and 28 to develop personally and professionally and to prepare them to engage with civic and community leadership activities.


A publication co-authored by Dr. Amanda Miller, associate professor and chair of sociology, “Stalled for Whom? Change in the Division of Particular Housework Tasks and Their Consequences for Middle- to Low-Income Couples,” was 36th on the annual list of most downloaded articles published by the American Sociological Association.

Miller co-authored “Scaffolding Space to Speak: Student Storytelling as Long-term Strategy for Developing Faculty Cultural Competence,” which was published in the Journal of Faculty Development. Her article “His Career, Her Job, Their Future: Cohabitors’ Orientations Toward Paid Work” was published in Volume 40, Issue 11 of Journal of Family Issues.

Miller was cited in a November New York Times article, “The Allure of the White Dress,” and in lifestyle expert Marni Jameson’s new book, Downsizing the Blended Home.

Dr. Colleen Wynn, assistant professor of sociology, co-authored research published in the journal Demography. “Muslim–Non-Muslim Locational Attainment in Philadelphia: A New Fault Line in Residential Inequality?” examines Muslim–non-Muslim disparities in locational attainment. Her research was also featured on the American Sociological Association blog “Work in Progress.”

Dr. Jim Pennell, professor of sociology, presented “Changing Hearts and Minds: Songs and Social Movements,” at Rutgers University in October and at the annual meeting of the Association for Humanist Sociology, which was held in El Paso, Texas, and Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico, in November.

Megan Blaising ’16 (MA, applied sociology), adjunct professor of sociology, published “Blunts, Bullets and Belligerence” with BoardHouse Publishing. Blaising has served in various low-performing schools, providing detailed accounts of challenges students face. In this memoir, Blaising examines the lingering effect of discrimination and the way it has impacted schools, students, and current societal constructs.

The Community Research Center, co-directed by Dr. Wynn and Dr. Pennell, is assisting South Indy Quality of Life Plan (SoIndy) with cataloging properties along the Shelby Street Corridor and evaluating community perceptions of SoIndy’s work.

Brandon Mouser, instructor of sociology, presented “Borderlands and the Self” at the annual Association for Humanist Sociology meeting in November.

An article by Dr. Elizabeth Ziff, assistant professor of sociology, “‘Honey, I Want to Be a Surrogate’: How Military Spouses Negotiate and Navigate Surrogacy with their Service-Member Husbands,” was accepted for publication by the Journal of Family Issues.

Ziff also co-authored “I’m Not Your ‘Typical’ Military Wife: The Construction of Gender and Agency Through Stereotypes,” which was accepted for publication by Armed Forces and Society.


Two productions from the Underground Series played to sold-out audiences in November. These performances were part of senior capstone projects:

Danny and the Deep Blue Sea by John Patrick Shanley, directed by Destiny Heugel ’20 (theatre)

The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler, directed by Zoe Cunningham ’20 (theatre education)

Assistant professor of theatre James Leagre advised both student directors.

Liesel Schmitz ’19 (theatre design/production) graduated a semester early and is working at two local theatres. She is a stage manager at the Phoenix Theatre in downtown Indianapolis and a stage manager and props designer at the Storefront Theatre in Broad Ripple.

Schmitz joins a host of Greyhound alumni with full-time jobs at the Phoenix Theatre, including general manager Delia (Neylon) Robertson ’06 (theatre), artistic manager Chelsea Anderson ’10 (theatre), resident stage manager Chelsey (Wood) Stauffer ’11 (theatre), and costume and properties manager Danielle Buckel ’11 (theatre) ’15 (MBA).


Deb Sachs, assistant professor of education, Dr. Kim Baker, assistant professor of biology, and Dr. Katherine Stickney, associate professor of chemistry, co-authored a book chapter, “A clinical residency model for preparing effective STEM teachers,” in the book, Best Practices in Chemistry Teacher Education. It was published by American Chemical Society Books: Washington, D.C. 2019.

Sachs, Baker, and Stickney traveled to St. Louis in November to participate in the 2019 Midwest Noyce Regional Meeting. The trio discussed their work during two presentations: “The Two-Way Flow of Knowledge: the Scholar & Cooperating Mentor Teacher Connection” and “University-Provided Mentoring: Ensuring Professional Growth and Teacher Retention in Beginning STEM Teachers.”

Dr. Lisa Borrero, associate professor of gerontology, and Dr. Amanda Miller, chair of sociology, published “Supporting Underprepared Students in the Online Classroom” in Faculty Focus.

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