Learning Through Research

2017 Nominations Vetting Committee Elections

 

Biographical Information

 
Biographical sketches for the nominees are provided below. Once you have reviewed these bios, please visit the ballot page and login using your CUR Username and password.  Should you need a reminder of this information, please visit the forgot password page.
 

Maria Iacullo-Bird (Arts and Humanities)

Claire McLeod (Geosciences)

Kelly Massey (Health Sciences)

Debra Hydorn (Mathematics and Computer Sciences)

Chris Fuse (Physics and Astronomy)

Karen Gunther (Psychology)

Carol Strong (Social Sciences)

Linda Blockus (Undergraduate Research Program Directors)

 

Maria Iacullo-Bird (Arts and Humanities)

Maria Iacullo-Bird, Ph.D. is Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Research, Grants and Special Projects, and Director of the Dyson College Center for Undergraduate Research Experiences at Pace University. Since 2013 Dr. Iacullo-Bird has been a CUR Arts and Humanities Councilor and Advocacy Committee member, and currently is Chair of the Arts and Humanities Division (2016-2019).  She co-led the CUR initiative to obtain National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) support for undergraduate education and research which resulted in the new federal funding opportunity “Humanities Connections.” Over the last several years she has served as an arts and humanities plenary presenter and advocacy panelist at CUR Dialogues. She also was a facilitator at CUR’s 2016 Creative Inquiry in the Arts and Humanities Institute, and at CUR’s 2017 Transforming Undergraduate Research Culture and Curricula (TURCC) Institute.

Dr. Iacullo-Bird successfully has authored more than six million dollars in educational, performing arts, capital funding, service learning and research grants which include funded projects to benefit low-income, first-generation college students. She received her A.B. from Barnard College, her Ph.D. from the Columbia University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and is a 2017 graduate of the Higher Education Resource Services (HERS) Leadership Institute at Wellesley College.  A cultural and public historian, her research and teaching have been supported by grants from the NEH, the New Jersey Historical Commission, Project Pericles and Thinkfinity. She has developed innovative history courses that incorporate service learning and undergraduate research, and has written about these projects in the CUR publication, How to Get Started in Arts and Humanities Research with Undergraduates.

Claire McLeod (Geosciences)

I am an Assistant Professor at Miami University, OH, and have served as a CUR Geoscience Division Councilor since June 2016. Prior to this I completed my undergraduate education at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, my graduate degree at Durham University, England, and a 3.5-year post-doctoral position at the University of Houston, TX. Within CUR I currently serve on the Nominations Standing Committee (as of June 2017) and manage the Divisions social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram).  I have represented CUR and my Division at Geoscience national meetings at our exhibition booth at GSA (Geological Society of America) and AGU (America Geophysical Union), with AGU being the largest Geoscience meeting in the calendar year with >24,000 attendees in 2016. At my home institution I sit on my departments Graduate Admissions Committee and the University’s Graduate Student Achievement Fund Committee which involves the reviewing and discussion of graduate student applications, and graduate student internal funding requests respectively. I have been involved in the hiring process of four new departmental staff in the past 2 years, and have served on the hiring committee for one of these positions. Throughout this process I reviewed 40+ portfolios of applicants. In addition, I served as a grant reviewer for NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) and for the Petrology and Geochemistry Program (Directorate for Geosciences). I have also recently served as a panel member and grant reviewer for the NASA Cosmochemistry and Geochemistry sub-panels for the Earth Science Student Fellowship, the Solar Systems Working Program, and as a non-panelist for the NASA EPSCoR Program (Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research). I look forward to the opportunity to continuing and furthering my involvement in CUR.

Kelly Massey (Health Sciences)

I am currently an Assistant Professor and the Clinical Coordinator of Exercise Science at Georgia College, in charge of the exercise science internship program and also very active in undergraduate research. My research interests include cardiac rehabilitation, metabolism/energy balance studies, and nutrition interventions as ergogenic aids. I have served for the past five years on the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Strategic Health Initiative – Women, Sports, & Physical Activity committee where we promote health and fitness programs as well as other specialty programs for women. I also serve as the editor of the Health Sciences community online repository of education materials for MERLOT. In 2017, I was awarded the Excellence in Scholarship of Teaching & Creative Endeavors award.

I have served as a CUR Councilor for the Health Sciences Division since 2016 and have been proud to serve as chair from 2016 – present. I have also served on the Student Program Task Force since 2016 where we have been actively working on a student resource center and NCUR student programs. I have also served as the Health Sciences representative to the CUR Executive Board and recently joined the Executive Board’s Governance Task Force to work on the governance change proposal for 2018. At the 2017 annual business meeting, Health Sciences was awarded the 2017 Division of the Year and the Student Program Task Force received the 2017 Committee of the Year honors. While I am relatively new to this organization, I am extremely excited to help further undergraduate research and other undergraduate student programs. I have mentored undergraduates in research for the past seven years and have had them present their findings at multiple regional conferences around the Southeast. I am currently working with a group of student researchers who are excited to potentially present at conferences next year. I would be honored to serve on the Nominations Vetting Committee and help create a smooth transition into the new governance model.  

Debra Hydorn (Mathematics and Computer Sciences)

Promoting and mentoring undergraduate research has been an important part of my professional activity at the University of Mary Washington.  I have been a member of CUR since 2003, and was elected to the Mathematics and Computer Science Division in 2016.  I became involved in undergraduate research as a way to promote interest in statistics among our mathematics majors, because UMW does not have a statistics major or minor.

I have worked to expand undergraduate research within my department and with faculty in other disciplines. I am proud to say that my efforts have had an impact.  During my second year as chair of my department, I was successful in getting my department added to our institution’s Summer Science Institute. We have had at least one member of our department participate in this summer program since 2003. I served as the Co-Director of this program from 2010 to 2013.  As chair of my department I also encouraged my colleagues to include undergraduate research as a component for new hires in our department.  Each of our seven most recent hires either had already participated in undergraduate research before joining us or expressed a strong interest in mentoring undergraduate research projects as part of their application materials.  We now have several faculty members each mentoring undergraduate research projects throughout the academic year.

Most recently, I have collaborated with a colleague in Computer Science to establish an undergraduate research program with researchers at a nearby U.S. Navy base.  Since 2014, five UMW faculty (from Mathematics, Computer Science and the College of Business) have helped to mentor 32 students in 19 different projects for this program.  Overall, I have mentored 35 students on 22 different undergraduate research projects.  Seven of these projects were for our Summer Science Institute, six were associated with the Navy program, and five were for a consulting course I offered after participating in the MAA PIC Math program.  Throughout all of these activities I have relied on resources and other materials provided by CUR to learn about best practices in undergraduate research and for expanding undergraduate research on my campus. I would like to serve on the Nominations Vetting Committee as a way to contribute to CUR’s mission and to broaden my knowledge of the scope and impacts of CUR’s programs.

Chris Fuse (Physics and Astronomy)

I earned my PhD from Texas Christian University, where I studied the formation of isolated galaxies. I am currently an associate professor at Rollins College, where I have served as the Director of the Student-Faculty Collaborative Research program for the last eight years. In guiding the College's research program, I have learned new methods and best-practices used by a variety of academic disciplines. My work with student research and in College service has provided me with extensive experience evaluating and assessing grants and proposals. I have been a member of CUR since 2015 and a Councilor since 2017.

Karen Gunther (Psychology)

I have been a councilor for CUR since 2010 – I am currently in my third term.  I have also served (and continue to serve) as secretary for the Psychology Division, and I have served on the CUR-wide Assessment Committee.  By now I have a good feel for what CUR does, and what future directions it may want to go in, and therefore feel that I will have a lot to contribute to the Nominations Vetting Committee.

I am currently an Associate Professor and Chair of the Psychology Department at Wabash College, a small liberal arts college (for men) in Indiana.  The college as a whole, and the Psychology major in particular, are very focused on undergraduate research.  In 2007 we re-vamped the Psychology major to scaffold research throughout the major, starting in intro, carrying through our two-semester stats and research methods series, 300-level literature review and research courses, and concluding with a year-long capstone research project with students working in faculty labs.  Integrating research into the curriculum is one of CUR’s strategic pillars, as well.  In addition, every other summer I have students work in my lab, and have taken two of them to a national conference (The Optical Society of America's Fall Vision Meeting).  Some of these students have been co-authors on peer-reviewed research articles.

Carol Strong (Social Sciences)

I am an Associate Professor in Political Science at the University of Arkansas at Monticello (UAM), where I have worked since January 2008. I have been a member of the Council for Undergraduate Research (CUR) and a Councilor for the Social Sciences Division (SSD) since 2012. I am currently serving as the SSD Chair (prior to that, I was the SSD Secretary, 2012-17) and am a member of the CUR Advocacy Committee. While in CUR, I led a panel session at the 2017 CUR Dialogues in Washington D.C. (at which time I met with U.S. Congressional Senators and Representatives from Arkansas); was part of a CUR-sponsored three-person panel (discussing the process of interviewing for/landing a faculty position at a primarily undergraduate institution [PUI]) at the 2016 National Postdoctoral Association conference; and have annually participated and/or organized Roundtable Discussions (promoting  undergraduate research and CUR) at Southern Political Science Association (SPSA) conferences since 2013. In addition, I mentored three students who presented at the 2016 World Congress in Doha, Qatar (while there I also participated in a five-person panel discussion); mentored students who presented at various NCUR events; evaluated submissions for Posters on the Hill and was a member of the Internationalization Taskforce for a year. At UAM, I am currently serving my second year as Assembly Chair; am a member of the UAM Graduate Council; served on multiple search committees for new faculty; and served on program review committees for the political science department, as well as the university at large. Two of my top students were granted Student Undergraduate Research Fund (SURF) Grants from the Arkansas Department of Higher Education (ADHE); for which I have served as a SURF grant application evaluator every year since 2011. I have further mentored 96 students who have presented papers including original research at 31 state, national and/or international conferences (including Berlin, Germany, San Juan, Puerto Rico and Doha, Qatar). On campus, I am faculty sponsor for Pi Sigma Alpha, the national political science honor society and co-faculty sponsor of Alpha Chi, the national interdisciplinary honor society. For my teaching, I was awarded the 2017 Alpha Chi Teacher of the Year award by Alpha Chi; named 2013 Educator of the Year by the Monticello Economic Development Commission/Monticello-Drew County Chamber of Commerce; and awarded the 2013 Hornaday Outstanding Faculty Award at UAM (which is nominated by students and selected on academic achievement). For my research, I have received successive UAM faculty research grants and have published one book, co-authored an article and am working on a second book.  Concurrently, I am President of the Arkansas Political Science Association (ArkPSA), where I have been a member and/or part of the executive board since 2013 and during which time I organized and ran the 2016 ArkPSA conference at UAM. I am also a member of SPSA and the SPSA Women’s Caucus.

Linda Blockus (Undergraduate Research Program Directors)

My first CUR conference was at Hope College in 1992.  I was elected as a Councilor to the At-Large Division in 2002 and was among the founding councilors for URPD (2005).  I served as URPD nominations chair for (2005-2009) and then Division Chair/member of the Executive Board (2009-2011).  In addition to serving as a councilor (2002-present), other contributions include launching the REU Student Symposium, co-authoring COEUR, serving as CURQ guest editor (2012), co-editing the book Undergraduate Research Offices and Programs, and currently co-chairing the Student Programs Task Force.  I have witnessed and engaged in the evolving nature of CUR as an organization and this historical knowledge provides understanding needed to move CUR forward as a respected higher education organization.

My doctoral training is in higher education.  In my campus role as the Undergraduate Research Director, I work with an amazing array of units at Missouri’s flagship and land-grant institution including governmental affairs, student success initiatives and Honors College, minority programs, sponsored programs, residential life, libraries, and, of course, departments and colleges.  Our students work with faculty in medical and veterinary schools, agriculture, health professions, journalism, education, architecture, and liberal arts & sciences.  This experience helps me to appreciate the potential that non-undergraduate institutions and organizations can have in the practice of undergraduate research, including intramural federal research (ie, NIH, USDA); research centers, hospitals, and museums; field and marine stations; and industry.   With my experience leading our campus NIGMS-funded IMSD undergraduate minority program and our REU programs, I know that there are untapped opportunities for CUR to collaborate with PIs of these and other initiatives (ie, NASA).   On my own campus, I have expanded our reach with a successful Visual Art & Design Showcase and plan to launch a pilot initiative with the state Extension program.  The broad spectrum of my experiences will be useful for the Nominations Vetting Committee as CUR continues to expand and recognize the practice of ‘undergraduate research’ in all of it is many forms.

I am seeking a position now on the NVC because I am intrigued with the idea of bringing new collaborative partners to the governing table.  While we need to retain our mission of serving faculty, students, and institutions; I believe we can best continue to be the voice of undergraduate research through purposeful and more formal interaction with other higher education organizations and societies as well as non-college/university settings where our students and faculty engage in undergraduate research, scholarship, and creative activities.