From the College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Campus Notes

Linguist Honored for Diversity Efforts

Karin deJonge-Kannan, a senior lecturer in the Languages, won one of five USU Diversity Awards in 2012. She has co-authored several national grants that have brought international students and scholars to study and teach at Utah State. The funding is designed to enhance relations between different cultures. Most recently, she and Maria Luisa Spicer-Escalante, an associate professor of Spanish and linguistics, were awarded a grant from the Institute of International Education’s Council for Exchange of Scholars. The funding will allow the university to host the 2013 summer cohort of visiting Fulbright Scholars from Iraq. Read her column on the importance of hosting international scholars on page 34.

Students Benefit from Faculty Mentorship

Joyce Kinkead, professor of English, became the first humanist named a Council on Undergraduate Research Fellow last summer, an honor that carries a $5,000 prize for student researchers at a fellow’s institution. Kinkead, the college’s 2013 Researcher of the Year, devised a call for proposals for student research projects in the English department. Five students were awarded funding. They partnered with faculty mentors and used the funds to visit historic sites, research in archives, present at conferences, and as leverage to gain additional research funding. For example, Joshua McDermott traveled to Palmyra, New York, and Kirtland, Ohio, to write a braided essay about his spiritual journey retracing the path of Joseph Smith. “CUR has been one of the best, and most useful, experiences I’ve had as an undergraduate,” McDermott wrote of the experience. “It felt wonderful to have resources to undertake research I was interested in, and to explore a topic, through self-discipline, that I cared about.”

Sociology Student Selected for Prestigious Summer Research Program

Holly Milar was one of eight students selected from a nationwide pool of undergraduates for the prestigious National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates at the University of Texas at Austin. The 2013 program is titled Race, Ethnicity, and the Demography of Crime. Over the course of eight weeks, students are paired with graduate mentors and pursue original research. Milar will focus on whether deviant behaviors are categorized as criminal based on the demographics of the population most likely to participate in them. Students receive a $4,000 stipend for participation in the program to allow them to focus on their studies. Their papers will be presented at the fall meeting of the American Society of Criminology.

Fulbrights Awarded to Professor and Student

Poet Michael Sowder, an associate professor in the English department, was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to return to India to continue work on a forthcoming book. A seed grant from the college enabled him to travel to India two years ago to write his most recent collection House Under the Moon, published last year by Truman State University Press. Sowder’s forthcoming book Fire in the Heart will be a spiritual memoir. Senior Anna Guadarrama, a double major in Spanish and International Studies, received a Fulbright U.S. Student award to teach in Mexico this summer. She has presented research at competitive undergraduate conferences, including research on Capitol Hill in Salt Lake City. Guadarrama completed an Honors Thesis on Che Guevara with Professor J.P. Spicer-Escalante. Guadarrama was the college’s 2013 valedictorian.

Aggie Journalists Break University Record for Awards

Utah State University journalists continue to dominate the region’s Mark of Excellence Awards competition sponsored by the Society of Professional Journalists. In April, Aggie journalists collectively earned 20 awards across 12 categories. They broke the previous school record and won more awards than any other university in Region 9, which includes universities in Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, and Wyoming. Sophomore Mackinzie Hamilton’s story “Hillsboro native builds ‘Vision of Life’ for homeless kids in Ethiopian capital,” won first place for feature writing and was selected as a national Mark of Excellence Award feature story winner. The award will be presented at the Society of Professional Journalists convention in August. Hamilton’s story was published by The Oregonian and Mormon Times.

Portuguese Professor Awarded NEH Grant

Marcos Brasiliero, assistant professor of Portuguese, will head to Sao Paulo, Brazil, this summer for the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Summer Seminar “Brazilian Literature: Twentieth Century Urban Fiction.” He is one of 16 university faculty members nationwide selected to receive an NEH grant to study Brazilian literature at the 4-week seminar. Participants will study five major works of fiction that reflect the country’s dynamic and increasingly urban culture. Portuguese is considered a critical language in the United States and the NEH program aims to train more scholars in the field. Professor Brasiliero, a scholar of Brazilian literature and a native of the country, brings expertise in both language and culture to the group.