WMU News

Graduate students lauded for research and creative work

June 2, 1998

KALAMAZOO -- Thirty-two Western Michigan University graduate students were honored by their departments and the University this spring for making outstanding research and creative contributions in their disciplines.

The students were the recipients of Graduate Research and Creative Scholar Awards from their departments. Ten of the students were selected for the additional distinction of being named an All-University Graduate Research and Creative Scholar. Those 10 will have the designation permanently noted on their academic records and in commencement programs. All 32 students were honored at an April reception on campus.

The award program began 13 years ago to recognize significant contributions by graduate students to scholarly life at WMU. Each spring, departments may select one student at the master's, specialist and doctoral level who was enrolled during the previous year. The departmental nominees are then evaluated by a University-wide selection committee to determine which students also will be named for the all-University award.

KEY: State, city, student's name, address, graduate program and outstanding research and creative contributions. All were named Department Graduate Research and Creative Scholars. Those marked with a (*) also were named All-University Graduate Research and Creative Scholars.

States and countries other than Michigan are listed following Michigan listings.


BATTLE CREEK-- Sandra K. Wayne of 238 Laurel Drive was awarded a doctoral degree in special education at commencement ceremonies this past April. Her dissertation research was focused on examining the impact on students with learning disabilities when their high schools switched from a traditional schedule to block scheduling. She studied six high schools in south and central Michigan.

BELLEVILLE-- *John W. Coleman of 41485 Savage Road is pursuing a doctoral degree in mechanical and aeronautical engineering. Research he is conducting on condensation of refrigerants has resulted in several journal publications and conference presentations. His work has attracted nearly $50,000 in grant support and could lead to the development of energy efficient and environmentally friendly heat and mass exchange systems in the space-conditioning, automotive, chemical processing and power generation industries.


Kathleen M. Baker of 5359 E. P Ave. is pursuing a master's degree in geography. She manages her department's geographic information system laboratory, is a teaching assistant and is instrumental in the delivery of technology-intensive geography courses through WMU's distance learning programs. Her research involves the use of GIS and spatial analysis software to study the cultivation of a family of ornamental plants -- linking physical and human/cultural geography.

Bonnie Jo Campbell of 1707 Olmstead Road is pursuing a master of fine arts degree in creative writing. Her short fiction has been accepted for publication by a number of competitive literary magazines. Her story "Circus Matinee" will appear in June in Story, a national fiction magazine. She won second prize in the 1997 Playboy fiction contest and her work also has appeared in Kiosk Magazine, the Utne Reader and the Alaska Quarterly.

Teresa Carlo of 610 Village St., Apt. 4D, is pursuing a doctoral degree in sociology. Research she completed with another graduate student examined public attitudes about Michigan's sex offender registration law and was presented at an international conference in Toronto. She also has been involved in an evaluation of a children's visitation program in a women's correctional facility and is co-author of a book chapter on that topic.

Karen Casebeer of 3620 Old Colony Road was awarded a doctoral degree in counselor education and counseling psychology in December 1997. Her dissertation research focused on gauging body image perceptions in students who underwent cyclical weight changes and in those who did not. Her findings, which show the psychologically disruptive force of weight change, are being prepared for publication. Earlier research Casebeer conducted was published by the Journal of Counseling & Development.

*Corey Colyer of 5885 Larkwood Court, Apt. 2B, was awarded a master's degree at commencement ceremonies this past April. His research on how Attention Deficit Disorder evolved into a medical syndrome has been presented at both regional and national professional conferences. He also has been co-author of an article on outcomes of prison-based drug treatment therapy for the journal Federal Probation and he is currently preparing a project on social isolation of urban centers for a national professional conference.

April Crowley of 6065 San Gabriel, Apt. E, is pursuing a master's degree in biological sciences. Her neuroscience research examines an important factor for controlling the growth and survival of neurons in skeletal muscle. She has presented her work to the annual meeting of the Society of Neuroscience in New Orleans and at two local professional meetings. Her preliminary findings also have been published in abstract form.

*Eric W. Dawkins of 3114 Nazareth Road is pursuing a master's degree in industrial and manufacturing engineering. In the past two years, he has been the lead author of three journal publications and co-author of six additional publications on various aspects of plastics injection molding. His work has resulted in nearly $200,000 in grant support from private industry and from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Kristin DeKam of 223 Elm St., #8, is pursuing a master's degree in philosophy. Her paper on the writings of two philosophers and their views on human understanding and justification for belief will be presented at the 20th World Congress on Philosophy. That major professional conference will take place in Boston in August.

*Jennifer Discenna of 1940 Howard St., Apt. 458, is pursuing a doctoral degree in science studies. Her research on novice, intermediate and expert levels of physics knowledge has been presented at national conferences in the disciplines of physics, educational research and science teaching. She has been involved in a national science curriculum development project as a research assistant and also has published a number of science education articles and a book on "Recipes for Science."

Lisa DuRose of 3200 Chestnut Hill Drive, #101, is pursuing a doctoral degree in English. Her piece on poet Wallace Stevens was selected as the lead essay for the spring issue of a prestigious national literary journal. A second essay on vaudeville in turn-of-the-century fiction was presented at a national conference this spring and will be published later this year.

Alice Hoekstra of 5795 Sandalwood, Apt. 2A, is pursuing a master's degree in special education. Her research has focused on determining how special education and general education teachers can best develop collaborative teaching methods, which are considered the most successful way to support inclusion of students with special needs. Her research has been presented at two national professional conferences.

Konstantinos Kokkinos of 1100 Mount Royal Drive, #38, is pursuing a doctoral degree in computer science. His research was presented last year at the 28th Graph Theory and Combinatorics Conference in Florida and in an article published in the journal Congressus Numerantium.

Peter H. Middleton of 1940 Howard St., #502, received a master of fine arts degree in art at commencement ceremonies this past April. During his graduate studies, his work was part of exhibitions in Norway, Florida and at locations around Michigan. Middleton, who taught drawing and painting at WMU, also was active on a number of University committees, including one charged with organizing campus exhibitions.

*William W. Montgomery of 459 Sunrise Circle received a doctoral degree in geology at commencement ceremonies this past April. His research on bluff recession processes along the Lake Michigan shoreline is part of a $175,000 project funded by the U.S. Army. A research proposal he submitted to the Geological Society of America was listed as one of the top 10 such proposals in the nation. In the past two years, he has presented four papers at the most prestigious geological conferences in the United States.

Stacie Moore of 4120 W. Michigan, Apt. #11, was awarded a master's degree in health, physical education and recreation at commencement ceremonies this past April. Her research focused on the impact of step height, cadence and choreography on four biomechanical factors in step aerobics to explain knee pain caused by frequent aerobic classes. Her research will be submitted to the American College of Sports Medicine for possible presentation at a 1999 national conference.

Julie K. Stahlhut of 1125 Picadilly Road is pursuing a doctoral degree in biological sciences. She was nominated for her cutting-edge research in entomology and evolutionary biology that involves the use of molecular biology tools such as protein and DNA markers. Stahlhut has won two WMU Graduate Student Research Grants for her work and has presented her work to the Michigan Botanical Club.

JoAnne Thomas of 100 Western Ave, Apt. A3, is pursuing a doctoral degree in history. Her most recent research has focused on gender in Civil War song lyrics and the way those songs were part of the national dialogue about the war. Her work has been presented at the American Culture Association annual conference and at the Michigan Academy annual conference. She has published two papers and has two more scheduled for publication.

Melanie Wahlberg of 447 Fairfax Ave. is pursuing a doctoral degree in mathematics and statistics. Her paper, "Lecturing to the 'Bored'," was published last summer in the American Mathematical Monthly and was recently listed as required reading for a teaching improvement program sponsored by the Mathematical Association of America and the Exxon Education Foundation. She also has presented her work at state and national professional conferences.

*D. Dale Werkema Jr. of 133 Pierce Ave. graduated with a master's degree in geology at commencement ceremonies this past April. Werkema's geophysical research has led to the development of a new tool for subsurface analysis on which he has a patent pending. He is the co-author of a paper for a conference presentation and of two articles for professional journals. He also is the recipient of a number of University and professional society grants for graduate student research.

*Douglas W. Woods of 721 Keenway Circle, Apt. B, is pursuing a doctoral degree in clinical psychology. He has conducted research on behavior therapy and behavior analysis in a number of research projects, often serving as principal investigator responsible for collecting data, supervising research staff and writing results. He is the co-author of 15 conference presentations and 10 publications and has three manuscripts currently under review.


*Karl G. Hokenmaier of 1707 Winters Drive is pursuing a doctoral degree in political science. Hokenmaier's research focuses on Social Security and its relationship to education opportunities in an advanced industrial society. His research was accepted for presentation in a poster session at the meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association and, as a result, he was asked to submit a summary of his work for the American Journal of Political Science. He has had two additional papers accepted for presentation later this year -- one at the prestigious American Political Science Association meeting.

Susan M. Snycerski of 4015 Hayes St. is pursuing a master's degree in psychology. She is involved in two research projects concerning drug effects on learned behaviors. She has had one paper accepted for publication in the Journal of Organizational Behavior Management. A second paper for which she is the lead author is now under review for publication in another journal. Her work also has been presented at two professional conferences.


WASHINGTON-- Michael Mamo of 1660 L St. N.W. is pursuing a doctoral degree in economics. An employee at the Economic Policy Institute in Washington, Mamo has focused on analyzing significant developments in the U.S. labor market that have given rise to growing inequalities in wages exhibited along age, experience, gender and racial lines.


WAUKEGAN-- Dawn Liebek of 1050 Lake Hurst Road, Apt. 112, is pursuing a specialist certificate in psychology. Her research on the benefits of two different types of instruction for pre-school and primary school students with autism will be presented at the annual conference of the National Association of School Psychologists in Orlando. She was the primary contributor to the design, implementation and evaluation of the project with collaborators from the Kalamazoo Regional Education Service Agency and WMU.


FISHERS-- Asavari Wagle of 12007 Sunrise Circle was awarded a master's degree in chemistry during December 1997 commencement ceremonies. Wagle's research on insulin regulation and on substances that mimic insulin has been published and presented at two national conferences. His presentation was judged best student presentation at the annual Kalamazoo Community Medical and Health Sciences Research Conference.


ST. HENRY-- Paula Lange of 272 Balcony Ave. is pursuing a master's degree in history. A public history specialist, Lange played a key role in researching and assembling a traveling exhibition detailing the maritime history of Holland, Mich. As a research assistant for the Great Lakes Center for Maritime Studies, she visited local archives, collected materials and helped write the narrative for the $20,000 traveling exhibit. A review of the exhibit is slated for an upcoming issue of the Journal of American History.


KENT-- Kara P. Wegener of 6229 S. 238th St., Apt. L204, was awarded a master's degree in political science in August 1997. Her research has focused on the role of education in the new European Union, and she presented a paper on that topic last year at the Conference of the European Community Studies Association in Seattle. Wegener was one of a limited number of students invited to attend a European security conference last summer in France.


VIDIN, BULGARIA-- *Simeon Simeonov of I.C. Stamboliski: A, G, 49, came to WMU as a Fulbright Fellow and earned a master's degree in December 1997. He now is pursuing a doctoral degree in physics. A researcher who specializes in condensed matter theory, Simeonov's work has been the subject of three journal publications. He presented his work at a prestigious international conference in San Diego last summer and has submitted a proposal for an invited presentation at another international conference scheduled for this summer in Nantes, France.

BEIJING, CHINA-- *Zheng Huang of Building # 1, Che Dao Gou Dongli, is pursuing a master's degree in construction engineering, materials engineering and industrial design. Huang, whose work is in the field of elastic polymers, is a research assistant for a project funded by the National Science Foundation. He is the lead author of one journal article and the co-author of three other articles submitted for publication. He also has been invited to give presentations at an upcoming national conference.

CARACAS, VENEZUELA-- Morella A. Ramirez-Ilarraza of Ruta 7, Res. Las Rosas, Apto 3-2, Colinas De Sta Monica, was awarded a master's degree in finance and commercial law at commencement ceremonies this past April. Studying three regions of the world, she examined the factors that determine real monetary exchange rates. Her research is being submitted for publication in a professional journal.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland; cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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