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Eric Tommer is part of the Department of Art and Design's Interaction
Design (IxD) Graduate Program that blends art, engineering,
entrepreneurship and industrial design, helping students use advanced
technology as creative tools as they move from concept to prototype.
learn more about the wide range of research University of Delaware
graduate students are doing in UD’s 51 doctoral programs and 131
master’s degree programs, you could go from lab to lab asking questions
or try to catch up with these researchers over coffee.
A much more efficient approach is to attend the annual Graduate
Students’ Forum, which puts a good deal of that work out on public
display under one roof, with the investigators themselves on hand to
answer your questions.
About 200 people attended this year’s forum, the ninth annual event,
which this year was titled “Better Together: Mobilizing a Community of
Scholars.” Ninety-three students presented details of their research.
Diane Codding, a doctoral student in education, didn’t present
her research, which focuses on two things: after-school computer science
programs that are culturally responsive; and racial literacy,
especially how white teachers are learning to talk about race in their
Instead, she chaired the forum, working it into an already jammed
semester that included teaching a course, working as a research
assistant and presenting at several conferences. That’s how valuable she
believes the forum is.
“Even knowing it would be an overwhelming semester full of work, it’s
something I thought would be really important,” she said. “Too often
we’re kind of siloed in our own departments. It was really nice to see
the turnout and to hear the research and see the rooms filled with
people to hear about this research. People asked amazing questions
throughout the day, too, and showed how they are working across
disciplines to address issues like inequity and global warming.”
There were many projects to explore, with oral presentations grouped
around 16 themes, including (to name a few): climate change, bone and
joint health, niche uses for polymers, international politics, history,
technology, the arts, smart cities, addressing inequities, emergency
services, cancer treatment and public health. The event also provided an
opportunity for participants to network and connect with other students
conducting interdisciplinary, and sometimes complementary, work to
Move this whole section up, swapping places with the section above it.
The Chinese Traditional Ensemble performed as graduate students ate lunch in the banquet hall.
Over lunch, they heard from keynote speaker David Redlawsk, James
R. Soles Professor and Chair of the Department of Political Science and
International Relations at UD, who talked about his study of how voters
respond when politicians trespass on moral foundations, including care,
fairness, loyalty, authority and sanctity. Results were published in March in the journal Political Psychology.
Redlawsk and collaborator Annemarie Walter, a research fellow at the
University of Nottingham (England), studied whether moral foundations or
partisanship would have greater sway with American voters. Overall,
they found that partisan loyalty ultimately had greater influence than
morality on voters’ responses.
Artistic vigor added colorful accents to the day, with an exhibit of
“Art in Science” images drawn from student research using
microscopy and a brief-but-exquisite lunchtime performance by the
Chinese Traditional Ensemble, which includes Fangyu Cai, Fangjun Yan,
Nanqing Zhou, Yifan Lu, Xuyue Geng, Zheyuan Yu and Yu Yao.
“This is something we want to do more of — featuring students’
art work and musical performance,” Codding said. “Not everyone is doing
independent research. A lot are mastering skills in different areas.”
A few snippets from the presentations:
Doctoral student Jacob Capin’s (physical therapy) study of the
incidence of osteoarthritis after surgery for anterior cruciate knee
ligament injury. His research suggests that putting appropriate loads on
the knee joint produces better outcomes for patients than protecting it
from such force. “Probably too much load bearing is bad, and too little
is bad — but very few people overload the joint after surgery. Loading
ultimately is a good thing,” promoting healthier cartilage.
Doctoral student Sean Lovitt’s (English) study of the influence
of anarchism on the Black Arts Movement in the 1960s. “I complicate the
political commitments of the Black Arts Movement by mapping their
network composed of poets, playwrights, rifle clubs, rogue Black Muslim
sects, activist organizers, and bank robbers with no single authority to
unify their ideology.”
Doctoral student Andrea Kelley’s (sociology) study of families
with a transitioning transgender parent, especially examining young
adults’ experiences with their parents and the effect of their empathy.
Doctoral student Israt Jahan’s (geography) study of rapid
urbanization in Bangladesh and how land use change has created urban
heat islands, threatening humans and the environment in three major
cities — Dhaka, Chittagong and Sylhet.
Master’s student Elias Gross’ (music) study of conductor Leopold
Stokowski’s inaugural season of the New York City Center Symphony in
1943. Stokowski was determined to compose an orchestra free of “racial
or any other kind of prejudice” and provide the “best music for the most
people at the least cost.” Gross studied how that opened doors for
some, but not all.
The event, which closed with a reception open to all graduate students, was sponsored by the Graduate Student Government (GSG) and the Office of Graduate and Professional Education.
Article by Beth Miller; photos by David Barczak