LATEST NEWS AND HIGHLIGHTS IN RESEARCH, INNOVATION, AND CREATIVITY

We interview students and staff about their research work. These are the full articles on all interviewed.
If you’re involved in research and would like to be highlighted here, feel free to contact us.

Spring 2020

Faculty Highlight: Professor’s Research Looks at American Democracy

Jeremy Young

Jeremy Young grew up in Flagstaff, Arizona and was an award winning high school concert pianist. While attending St. Mary’s College of Maryland as a double major (history and music), his love of music eventually gave way to his attraction to history and historical research. He attended graduate school at Indiana University and joined the faculty at Dixie State University in the fall of 2016. Dr. Young also directs DSU’s Institute of Politics https://politics.dixie.edu/.

This past July, his book, The Age of Charisma: Leaders, Followers, and Emotions in American Society, 1870-1940, published originally by Cambridge University Press in 2017 was released in paperback https://www.amazon.com/Age-Charisma-Followers-Emotions-1870-1940/dp/1107114624. Research for the book included months of data mining through newspaper databases and archival collections. The resulting book shed light on the role that early charismatic movements played in American democracy. In addition to the book, Dr. Young’s recent essay entitled, “Why Democrats are Thinking About Electability All Wrong” was published as on op-ed in the Washington Post https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2019/05/14/why-democrats-are-thinking-about-electability-all-wrong/. For more information, contact Jeremy Young at Jeremy.Young@dixie.edu.

Faculty Highlight: Bringing to Light the History of Childbirth, Midwifery and Public Health in the U.S. Borderlands

Heather Sinclair

Heather Sinclair, Assistant Professor of History, is one of Dixie State University’s newest faculty members and she comes to DSU with an interesting background. After receiving her B.A. in History from Duke University, Heather worked as a midwife in El Paso, Texas and later received her Ph.D. in History from the University of Texas at El Paso. Her continued interest in reproductive healthcare in the U.S. borderlands with Mexico became the focus of her research and she brings to DSU a strong background in the U.S. borderlands history of childbirth, midwifery and public health.

This November, Dr. Sinclair presented a paper on the subject at the National Women’s Studies Association Conference in San Francisco and her forthcoming book, Birth City, examines battles in the twentieth-century border city of El Paso, Texas over reproduction, motherhood, midwifery, the medicalization of childbirth, infant mortality, and vital statistics viewed through the lens of race and settler colonialism.

Professor Sinclair also has a forthcoming paper entitled, “Barred from Birth: Mexican Women and the Restriction of Maternity Care in El Paso, Texas,” currently under review with the Journal of Women’s History. For more information, contact Heather Sinclair at heather.sinclair@dixie.edu.

Faculty Highlight: A Discerning Eye for Movies

Tim Bywater

English Professor Tim Bywater has a critical eye for film and has been teaching film studies and film criticism for more than 30 years. This year, Dr. Bywater with University of Utah co-author Tom Sobchack published his fourth book. The Discerning Eye: Perspectives for Watching, Reflecting on, and Writing about Movies http://bit.ly/2Mi1xAP published by Kendall Hunt examines various perspectives for watching and critically reflecting on films. “Story driven fiction satisfies an undying human urge,” Professor Bywater points out in the book. “For ages, written literature was the primary source of these stories but film is becoming more and more the supplier of the public’s need for pleasures derived from stories,” he says.

The book is a result of almost 11 years of work and research. Professor Bywater’s motivation for writing the book was his love for his students and his desire to provide them with a useful resource. “Part of being an English teacher,” he says, “is to write and to communicate ideas. My desire to do that is why I created this book.” For more information contact Professor Bywater at bywater@dixie.edu.

Faculty Highlight: Professor Shares her Passion for Geology through her Publications

Janice Hayden

Dixie State University Geology Instructor Janice Hayden decided in the 8th grade that she wanted to major in geology and become a professional geologist. Her experience growing up on a ranch, looking for survey markers and property lines on maps and her early fascination with earthquakes and volcanoes led her to that decision. As a result, she has had an amazing career as a Petroleum Exploration Geologist, a Field Geologist for the Utah Geological Survey and for the last six years, as a full-

time instructor of Geology at DSU. Her interest in geology is contagious. “Because we live on Earth, everything in life is based on geology,” she points out. “It boils down to how we can minimize the risk of living with geologic hazards and how we as a society choose to utilize geologic resources in providing goods and services. The impact of those societal choices has significant ramifications on the Earth system, including climate change. So what we do with the Earth has huge effects on our lives.”

Professor Hayden has spent her career communicating the importance of geology to others both as a teacher and as a researcher. She has an expanding list of publications that are useful to students, professional geologists and tourists. Her book, Zion National Parks Shuttle Stops – Landscapes Guide and Glossary published in 2017 is used by visitors to Zion National Park. Her most recent publication, as second author, is Introduction to Geology for Non-Majors, 4th edition, published in 2018 by Kendal Hunt. Her next publication, Inverted Topography in St. George, Washington County, Utah will be published this year in the Utah Geological Association’s Geosights of Utah.

Current research includes a flooding hazard study for the City of Springdale of the Virgin River corridor through Rosenberg Associates Engineering, a mineral study to meet BLM requirements for a proposed new reservoir site for Washington County Water Conservancy District, and involvement with the International Continental Drilling Program sighting a location on Sand Mountain to drill a scientific core through the Lower Jurassic and Triassic rock section working with geologists from the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University, funded in conjunction with the National Science Foundation. For more information, contact Janice Hayden at hayden@dixie.edu.

Student Highlight: Junior Computer Science Major Models Spread of Dengue Fever

Ammon Taylor

Farmington, Utah native Ammon Taylor transferred to DSU as a sophomore from Weber State University. One day in his math class, professor Vinodh Chellamuthu announced that he was seeking a volunteer to take over a research project dealing with Dengue fever. The project included some scholarship money and Ammon was interested. The computer science major and math minor spent over 200 hours during the summer constructing a computer model showing the relationship between spread of the Dengue virus and temperature. The purpose of the model was to develop a temperature-dependent mathematical model that can predict the spread of the Dengue virus between mosquitoes and humans. The model could be used by mosquito abatement centers to determine optimal strategies to mitigate disease outbreaks.

Ammon first presented the results of his research this past October at conference in Bryce Canyon. Following that, he was invited to present his research in January, 2020 at the American Mathematical Society conference in Denver, Colorado. Ammon feels that doing research has been rewarding, “It feels like I’m actually doing something more than just passing tests. And I’m helping solve real problems,” he said.

Ammon plans to graduate next year, look for a job and possibly later attend graduate school. “Having some research on my resume will help either way,” he commented. For more info contact ammon.taylor@dmail.dixie.edu or vinodh.chellamuthu@dixie.edu.

Student Highlight: Math Major Noelle West has Multiple Opportunities to Present Her Research

Noelle West

Noelle West liked math in high school and saw her high school calculus teacher, Mrs. Genco, as a role model. Her teacher was influential in her decision to enroll in college as a math major. While a college sophomore in Michigan, Noelle read a paper by DSU mathematics professor Chellamuthu. “I thought that he was researching important problems and I was really inspired,” Noelle said, “so I decided to transfer to DSU.”

After arriving at Dixie State, Noelle met professor Chellamuthu and told him about the paper she had read. He invited her to enroll in his independent research class. As part of the class, Noelle conducted research related to the spread of the West Nile virus. Her poster, entitled, “A Mathematic Model of West Nile Virus: The Effect of Interaction Between Humans, Mosquitoes, and Birds,” won an Outstanding Student Poster Award at the January 2019 Joint Mathematics Meeting held in Baltimore, Maryland. In August 2019, Noelle again presented her research at MAA MathFest in Cincinnati, Ohio.

This past semester, Noelle revisited the model adding the effects of passive immunity and vertical transmission to the computer model and in January 2020 she was invited to present her improved model at the Joint Mathematics Conference in Denver, Colorado where she again won an outstanding poster award.

In addition to doing research, Noelle is active in leadership positions at DSU where she is currently Secretary/Treasurer and Past-President of the DSU chapter of The Association of Women in Mathematics. Noelle will graduate this June and plans to attend graduate school. “I’d like to eventually teach at a university,” she said. For more information, contact noelle.west@dmail.dixie.edu or vinodh.chellamuthu@dixie.edu


Fall 2019

Student Highlight:  DSU Stanford Interns Challenge Cancer through their Research

Thanks to a collaborative effort between Stanford University and DSU, Makae Rose, Jordan Dockstader and Ryan Gibb spent this past summer at Stanford’s Cancer Research Center conducting research on the biology of cancer.  Each summer DSU sends some of its top students to Stanford University work with Stanford faculty on cutting edge research projects.  “These summer internships provide an amazing opportunity for our students,” says Doug Sainsbury, Biological Sciences Advisor.  “Past recipients have gone on to top graduate and medical schools because their research experience at Stanford.”

Ryan Gibb

English Major

Ryan Gibb is a Pre-Med student pursuing an English degree. Prior to applying for the Stanford Internship, Ryan already had some research experience. During his junior year, he was part of the Best-In-Class Internship at IHC where he worked with Dr. Scott Allem MD, an anesthesiologist to research the effects of binaural beats on patients with pre-operative anxiety. At Stanford, Ryan was part of a research team examining the bacteria found in the gut microbiome of patients with colorectal cancer to help determine if patients would respond well to certain cancer immunotherapies. Upon returning from Stanford, Ryan plans to finish his English degree and apply to medical school.

Makae Rose

Biological Sciences Major

Makae Rose is a senior majoring in Biological Sciences. Before applying for the Stanford Research Internship, Makae had already worked on more than one research project with Professors Martina Gaspari and Jerry Harris, where she gained valuable experience in genetic research. At Stanford, Makae worked in Dr. James Ford’s oncology lab studying the effects of a drug called Iniparib on breast cancer.
Following graduation, Makae hopes to attend Stanford and seek a graduate degree in genetic engineering.

Jordan Dockstader

Bioinformatics & Math Major

Jordan Dockstader, first heard about the Stanford Research Internship during his sophomore year and was immediately interested. At Stanford, Jordan tested a new clustering algorithm using data from Stanford’s Human Genome Diversity Project to examine Short Tandem Repeats (STRs) from people from indigenous populations from around the world. A bioinformatics and math double major from St. George, he looks forward to Graduation in 2020 and plans to pursue a graduate degree in bioinformatics or physics.


Student Highlight: Solving the Mystery of the Canyon Tree Frog

Liz Bento

When biology major Liz Bento enrolled in Professor Curt Walker’s Independent Study 4000 level field research course, she became interested in the mystery of the canyon tree frog. Dr. Walker had discovered that the local population of these particular frogs seemed to be immune from a fungus that causes deformities in other populations of these frogs but not in the species located in Zion National Park. Together with Professor Walker and peer students, Liz examined pH levels in the Zion National Park Virgin River area to see what effect pH might have on the fungus, possibly making the local fungus less toxic to the canyon tree frog.

Liz was able to present the results of her research at the West Coast Biological Sciences Undergraduate Research Conference at the University of San Diego in April, 2019. “Once I printed my poster and presented at WCBSUR,” Liz said, “I felt not only such a feeling of accomplishment, but also such a deep feeling of gratitude for those who have helped me through this research.” After graduating this fall, Liz plans to apply to graduate school and pursue a career in genetics research. For more information contact Curt Walker at walker@dixie.edu.


Student Highlight: Pursuing his Interest in the Sports World through Math

Craig Peterson

From his knowledge of the sports world, applied mathematics major Craig Peterson knew that there was a lot to learn from sports statistics and a lot of interest in how statistics are used to recruit and predict the performance of draft picks. With the help and encouragement of math professor Dr. Vinodh Chellamuthu, Craig developed an improved method of forecasting a National Hockey League team’s performance and the performance of NHL individual players.

Craig was able to present the result of his research at several national and regional conferences including the International Hockey Conference in Alberta, Canada, the Joint Mathematics Meeting of the American Mathematics Society in Baltimore, Maryland, the Utah Conference on Undergraduate Research at Ogden, Utah and the Spring Meeting of the Intermountain Section of the Mathematics Association of America in Cedar City, Utah. “I’d like to reach out to other Dixie State students who might not be interested in a degree in mathematics and tell them that they can bring their own questions and problem,” Craig said. “It’s really exciting to transfer classroom knowledge to research and to life.” After graduation, Craig hopes to attend Northwestern University and major in Sports Management Analytics. For more information, contact Vinodh Chellamuthu at Vinodh.Chellamuthu@dixie.edu.


Exercise Physiology Student Pursues Research on America’s National Pastime

Kyle Lindsay

Baseball may not still be America’s most popular national pastime but for exercise physiology student Kyle Lindsley, it’s a rich area for research. For example, how the overhand pitching motion used in baseball transfers motion to the ball and the factors affecting ball velocity is an interesting question from an exercise physiology standpoint. Kyle was exited to do research on this topic and discovered that vectors separating shoulder alignment, hip alignment, and pitching direction all influence ball velocity. As a result of his research, he was able to suggest ways pitchers might train in light of this. “My professional colleagues all do research and I knew I needed to do it too. It’s part of my profession. Fortunately, I had great support from my professors and fellow team members,” Kyle observed. “If you’re scared of doing research, just try it,” Kyle suggests. “Don’t be afraid to get started early.” Kyle is currently studying for his Doctor of Physical Therapy at Northern Arizona University and plans to become a physical therapist or teach at a university. For more information contact exercise science professor Travis Ficklin at Travis.Ficklin@dixie.edu.


Student Highlight: Advancing the Field of Abstract Algebra

Cailin Foster

When Mathematics Education major Cailin Foster found that she liked abstract algebra, she was excited by the possibility of contributing to the field. With the help of DSU math professor Jesse Hicks, Cailin conducted research that resulted in a database of representations of Lie (pronounced “lee”) algebras, a type of algebra used in modern quantum computing, nonlinear network problems, robotics, radar design spectroscopy and many other areas. Cailin presented the database she created at the Mathematical Association of America Intermountain Section Spring Meeting in April 2019.

The database allows researchers to more easily access representation of Lie algebras and use them in their work. “One of the most rewarding things about doing original research,” Cailin says, “is being the expert on that particular subject.” Cailin feels that she benefited greatly from doing research. “I know now that I am capable of coming up with solutions to problems that don’t currently have an answer.” After graduation, Cailin plans to move to Colorado and teach math and establish a STEM program there. For more information contact professor Jesse Hicks at Jesse.Hicks@dixie.edu.


Faculty Highlight: Improving Freshmen Retention by Connecting Students to Mentors

Dr. Shandon Gubler

Business professor Shandon Gubler has a passion for integrating “Active Learning. Active Life.” into the classroom. One of the ways he does this is by linking individual students with real-world practitioners and monitoring what happens. For the past eight years, Dr. Gubler has collected data on 8,318 interactions between students and employers. “Research studies verify that relevant job-related experiences increase student retention, timely degree completion, and help students identify their interests; which leads to placement into purposeful work,” Gubler says. Through his research, Gubler hopes to show that providing such interactions has positive effects both on student retention in college and also on hiring and turnover costs of new employees.

Gubler started teaching at DSU eight years ago. From the beginning, he wanted to find a way to connect students with potential employers. Aware that many students start college but do not finish their degree, Gubler felt strongly that such connections would motivate them to stay in school, obtain their degree and go on to a successful job. Students in his strategic management courses became his research subjects. The course pairs students with a mentor and students teach the mentor what they are learning in the course, with the mentors reciprocally teaching the students how textbook theory is applied in the real world. Gubler’s model is being applied in the Trailblazer course and in a BUS 1050 course this fall to see if it can have the same positive effect on freshman in a variety of majors. For more information, contact gubler@dixie.edu.


Program Highlight: Announcing DSU’s new Undergraduate Research Journal

Olga Pilkington

The DSU Symposium for Research, Innovation and Creativity, held last April, highlighted the large number of DSU students engaged in research and innovation. Starting next year, DSU students will have an opportunity to highlight their research and innovative practices in a scholarly journal published collaboratively by the English Department and the Undergraduate Research Office. The journal, to be titled Curiosity: Journal of Research and Innovation will be produced and edited by students and overseen by English Professor Olga Pilkington. The first issue will come out in May 2020 in digital form. “This is a great opportunity for students who presented at the Dixie Research Symposium to get a publication under their belt,” says Pilkington. “Having a journal like this enhances the status of the university and furthers the culture of research, promotes opportunities for active learning, and shows the community what is coming out of the university. This is a small step to establish the university as a place of serious research,” she adds. Submission guidelines have already gone out and are posted on the Undergraduate Research Offices website: https://academics.dixie.edu/trailblazer-journal-of-research-and-innovation/.

Students from all disciplines are invited to submit.  Faculty can also submit papers and it is hoped that each issue will contain at least one faculty paper, although these may be a research status article or a republication.  “Our goal is to establish a track record and then to be included in online indexing services such as ERIC and LexisNexis so that our research will be available to scholars worldwide,” commented Pilkington.  For more information, contact Olga Pilkington at opilkington@dixie.edu.


Faculty Highlight: On the Cutting Edge of Energy Harvesting

Dr. Russell Reid

Russell Reid is one of Dixie State University’s newest faculty members and he comes to DSU with a strong background and interest in research.  Professor Reid received his M.E. in Systems Engineering from the University of Virginia and his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Utah.  As a researcher, Dr. Reid has published numerous publications in peer-reviewed journals and has also presented papers at professional conferences around the U.S. and internationally.  In his previous position as Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of North Texas, Professor Reid received a grant from the National Science Foundation to explore the potential of liquid-based kinetic energy harvesting for biomedical applications.  Devices based on this concept would use human body motion as a means to produce low amounts of energy.  These devices could potentially send data about the patient back to a monitoring physician.

At DSU, Professor Reid will continue to work on his grant and will be able to involve DSU students in his research.  One of the reasons Dr. Reid chose to move to DSU is because of its strong emphasis on undergraduate teaching.  “Students here have opportunities that they don’t get in many other places,” he notes and adds, “I’m looking forward to working with the wonderful students here both as a teacher and as a researcher.”


Faculty Highlight: Investigating the Most Important Lizard in America

Geoff Smith

DSU biology professor Geoff Smith was a graduate student at Utah State University when he first started doing field work in St. George.  As a result of his visits here, he fell in love with the desert and with the side-blotched lizard.  “I told myself I would find a way to live down here, and here I am,” he says about his move to DSU.

For the past several years, Smith’s interest has been on the Side-Blotched Lizard, common around St. George.  “Because these particular lizards inhabit an area extending from central Washington State to southern Baja California they are one of the most important lizards in America,” he observes.   Although the same species, lizards living in the north have longer life spans than those living in the southern part of the US and Mexico. Professor Smith has been on a quest to find out why and he has been able to involve many of his students in his research, taking them on field activities, catching lizards, taking blood samples, and doing lab work.  To date, he has published several articles on the issue in scientific journals including his most recent 2019 article “Life-History Differences across Latitude in Common Side-Blotched Lizards” published in Ecology and Evolution.  “Part of science is understanding the scientific process and students can’t really know science without participating in the research process,” observes Smith.  Dr. Smith loves seeing his students get excited about a project.  That’s how I know they are really becoming scientists,” he says.


Faculty Highlight: Exploring the History of Mormon Feminism

Dr. Nancy Ross

Dr. Nancy Ross received her Ph.D. from Cambridge University and is currently Assistant Professor in the Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences Department where she teaches courses on interdisciplinary writing, feminism and whiteness.  Dr. Ross recently published a book, Where We Must Stand: Ten Years of Feminist Mormon Housewives https://www.amazon.com/Where-We-Must-Stand-Housewives/dp/1717433529.

For the past six years, Ross has studied the history and sociology of the Mormon feminist movement and has published several academic papers on the subject.  The book showcases the variety that exists in Mormon womenhood.  In the introduction to the book, Ross and co-editor Sara Hanks say that they hope that people from a variety of backgrounds will be drawn to the book and find useful things in it.  Research for the book was conducted over the course of two years during 2016 and 2017.

The book, which is a collection of and commentary on blog posts on the Feminist Mormon Housewives blog from August 2004 to August 2014, gives what is hopefully an accurate portrayal of the Mormon feminist community during those years.  Included are more than 130 blog posts, historical introductions, reflective essays from bloggers and readers and extensive notes.  For more information contact Nancy Ross at nross@dixie.edu.


Program Highlight: Annual Research Symposium Showcases Undergraduate Research on Campus

Dixie State University’s Third Regional Symposium for Research, Innovation and Creativity was even bigger and better than last year. Held on April 18, 2019 at the Atwood Innovation Plaza, DSU students from a wide variety of disciplines presented their research through panels, oral presentations, and poster displays. “This is original research that actually contributes to expanding current knowledge about a topic or problem,” said DSU’s director of undergraduate research Rico Del Sesto. “In many cases, these students are the experts on the problem they researched and much of their research has direct real-world application.” Jake Skinner’s research, for example, on a math model to analyze the effect of fire damage, shows how fire spreads based on various factors and which areas are more at risk for fire damage. The model is useful to government and insurance companies. Aron Terracciano’s research showed how the food, beverage and textile industries could remove, recover and recycle much of the dyes used in these industries by extracting them with new ionic liquid technologies to reduce the negative impact of discharging these into the environment. Other presentations dealt with a recent discovery of dinosaur tracks and fossils, the process involved in composing a tympani concerto, and drugs that can help treat Alzheimer’s disease. “The research crosses all sort of disciplines and shows the breadth and depth of research going on at DSU,” Del Sesto said. For information on next year’s symposium, contact Rico Del Sesto at delsesto@dixie.edu or go to research.dixie.edu.


Spring 2019

Student Highlight:  DSU Stanford Interns Challenge Cancer through their Research

Each summer DSU sends some of its top students to Stanford University to conduct research.  Austin Montgomery, Jace Buxton and Kennedy Roché were last years selected interns and spent the summer of 2018 in Palo Alto, California working with Stanford University faculty on cutting edge cancer research projects.  They will each present the results of their research at 12pm (noon) on Tuesday, March 5, 2019 in the Dunford Auditorium in the Browning Learning Center on DSU Campus.  The event is free and open to the public.

Austin Montgomery

Bioinformatics Major

Austin Montgomery is currently a senior at DSU.  When Austin graduates this May he will have the distinction of being the first graduate from DSU with a B.S. in Bioinformatics.  While at Stanford University, Austin worked in the Ji lab on a project to create ways to analyze the composition and effect of the microbiome on cancer and its treatments.  After graduation, Austin plans for work in research for two to three years before applying to MD/PhD programs.

Jace Buxton

Biology Major

Jace Buxton is a senior at DSU majoring in Biology with a Biomedical Science emphasis.  During his Stanford University Internship, Jace worked on a project analyzing the gut microbiome of patients with colorectal cancer and examined trends in bacterial composition of tumor tissue.  Since returning from his internship, Jace has been accepted to four top medical schools and is waiting to hear from others before making a decision.  He hopes to pursue a career in academic medicine, research and clinical care.

Kennedy Roché

Biology Major

Kennedy Roché is a recent DSU graduate with a BS in Biology with a Biological Science emphasis and a minor in Chemistry.  During her Stanford Summer Research internship Kennedy worked on a research project monitoring the effectiveness of a variety of gastric cancer treatment drugs.  Kennedy is preparing to apply to Ph.D. programs in the biomedical research field.

FACULTY HIGHLIGHT: CREATING A CULTURE OF RESEARCH, INNOVATION AND CREATIVITY TASK FORCE

Erin O'Brien

Biology Department Chair

Health Science Professor Steve Bui and Biology Department Chair Erin O’Brien are co-chairs of a new university-wide task force the purpose of which is to examine what future changes might need to be made at DSU to allow a greater focus on faculty and student research. “Even though DSU is primarily an undergraduate institution, research and scholarly activity is and should be an important part of the educational experience for our students, “said O’Brien.

02/19/19

Steve Bui

Assistant Professor
of Exercise Science

“This committee is looking at what it would take to increase and enhance those activities during the next five years,” she added. Three subcommittees have been tasked with examining the areas of Policy, Infrastructure, and Financing and will present recommendations at the end of this semester. The committee is reaching out to all interested parties via email; if faculty have suggestions for the committee to consider, they should contact Steve Bui at steve.bui@dixie.edu or Erin O’Brian at obrien@dixie.edu.


Student Highlight:  DSU Students Win Awards for their Research

From left to right:  Dr. Vinodh Chellamuthu, Abel Reed, Jake Skinner, Noelle West, Craig Peterson

Craig Peterson, Abel Reed, Jake Skinner and Noelle West presented posters summarizing their research at the Mathematical Association of American’s Joint Mathematics Meeting held in Baltimore, Maryland on January 18.  MMA is the largest mathematics conference in the world.  The four students presented their research in the undergraduate poster sessions of the conference along with students from most of the top tier universities around the country.  Three of the students received the “Outstanding Poster Award” in their category.

The titles of the papers are:  Forecasting Performance Through Analytics by Craig Peterson, Assessing the Role of Prescribed Painkillers and its Impact on the Opioid Epidemic by Abel Reed, Wildfire: A Mathematical Model Analyzing the Effects of Fire Damage by Jake Skinner and A Mathematical Model of West Nile Virus: The Effect of Interaction Between Humans, Mosquitoes, and Birds by Noelle West.  Craig Peterson has also submitted a write-up of his research to the Journal of Emerging Sports Studies.

Craig Peterson and Dr. Vinodh Chellamuthu with Poster

Students conducted their research as part of DSU Mathematics Professor Vinodh Kumar Chellamuthu’s independent research course (Math 499) in which student’s apply their mathematical modeling skills to real-world problem under the guidance of Professor Chellamuthu. “This course helps students see that math can be used to solve real problems, help people, and make the world better,” says Professor Chellamuthu.  “Students select their own problems to address and I encourage them to choose something they have a real passion for.  Those students who wish to go on to graduate school or stand out in a job interview have a real advantage if they can show they have been involved in research,” adds Chellamuthu.

02/16/19


Student Highlight:  Business Administration Student already has One Patent and Two More in the Works

Wyatt Anderson grew up on a ranch in Richfield, Utah and had a knack for inventing easier ways to get things done.  “It may have been my inherent laziness,” he quips, “but I was always trying to invent ways to make our work easier.”  One constant problem was frozen water in hoses and sprinklers.  Once he came to DSU, he heard about DSU’s Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center (TIE) whose mission is to assist students and community members develop ideas into patents and businesses. Working with Dr. Wayne Provost and the TIE Center, Wyatt now has registered his first patent for a Water Line Blower that clears water out of lines before the water has a chance to freeze.  Wyatt currently has two other inventions in various stages of the patent approval process and is approaching various tool-making companies about selling his patents to them. Wyatt received help from mentors that he met through the TIE Center’s Dixie Innovation, Guidance and Solutions (DIGS).  Once he graduates from DSU, Wyatt plans to return to Richfield and run the family business.  Students and community members who have ideas or want help with patents are encouraged to contact Dr. Wayne Provost at wayne.provost@dixie.edu.

02/15/19


Faculty Highlight:  Connecting Faculty with Global Research and Teaching Opportunities

Luis Arevalo came to Dixie State University five years ago and during his time here has worked tirelessly on the formation of the Global Engagement Partnerships.  The partnership now includes seven universities:  Meijo and Fukui universities in Japan, Daegu Hanny University in South Korea, Guilin University in China, University of Baja California in Mexico, Universidad Hispanoamericana in Costa Rica, and La Universidad Católica Los Ángeles in Chimbote, Peru.  All of these universities are interested in collaborative teaching, exchange and research projects with DSU faculty. Some travel funds are available.  DSU faculty who are interested in teaching abroad or considering collaborative research projects are encouraged to contact professor Arevalo at arevalo@dixie.edu.

02/07/19


Faculty Highlight:  Water Quality Research Partnership

Environmental Science professor Kelly Bringhurst is one of the first DSU faculty to take advantage of the university’s Global Engagement Partnership by collaborating on a research project with La Universidad Católica Los Ángeles (ULADECH) near Chimbote, Peru.  Last year, with funding paid from the program, Bringhurst conducted research on water quality in Chimbote which resulted in a proposal for a community water monitoring system for the rivers in the area .  The system will be implemented by ULADECH with technical assistance from DSU.  A related research project in Costa Rica resulted in publication of a paper entitled, “The Impact on Nutrient Cycles from Tropical Forest to Pasture Conversion in Costa Rica” published in Sustainable Water Resources Management.   For more information on Bringhurst’s research contact him at kbringhurst@dixie.edu.

02/07/19


Faculty Highlight:  Professor’s Research Course Results in Student Presentations at the Utah Dental Hygienist's Association

Brenda Armstrong’s research methodology course consistently results in a number of students being invited to present informative posters at the Utah Dental Hygienist’s Association research poster competition each February in Salt Lake City.  This year, eighteen DSU students will present their informative research posters along with students from other Utah Universities. The course and posters expose students to the scientific method, research designs and research process used in medical research. This active-learning experience is to better prepare oral health providers to make evidence based decisions. Last year, two DSU students won the state-wide competition.  For more information, contact Brenda Armstrong at barmstrong@dixie.edu.

02/06/19


Program Highlight:  Associate General Counsel, Intellectual Property and Patents

Robert Mitchell

In his role as Associate General Counsel for Intellectual Property and Patents, Robert Mitchell, JD, MBA advises faculty, staff and members of the DSU community who engage in the recognition of ideas and creation of inventions and intellectual property.  His office supports the innovation programs of Dr. Wayne Provost.

Their goal is to encourage an environment that fosters discovery, creation, entrepreneurship, and innovation and to help faculty, staff and students protect the intellectual property that they create, both for their benefit as well as the benefit of the university.  Mitchell wants to raise awareness among the DSU community that much of what they do in their ordinary activity may have value beyond the classroom and may have the potential to be monetized and protected through copyright, trademark, patent or other intellectual property agreements.

Substantively, this may include courseware, dramatic, musical, literary or other artistic works or inventions.

Mitchell points to the large amount of intellectual property generated at DSU. During the past two years, DSU has generated over 90 patent applications, assisted in starting a dozen companies, evaluated nearly 500 ideas, and mentored countless students, faculty members and members of the general public in pursuit, protection and development of intellectual property.  Several ideas have advanced on to the commercialization stage.

Mitchell’s office door is pretty much always open, and he welcomes discussion of innovative ideas with anyone who would like to come by.  Robert Mitchell can be contacted at Robert.Mitchell@dixie.edu.

02/04/19


Program Highlight: Undergraduate Research Office

Olga Pilkington

Olga Pilkington, professor of English, has been appointed Assistant Director of the Undergraduate Research Office effective January 1, 2019.  Pilkington’s vision for the URO is to reach out to even more students and encourage them to consider the value that independent research adds to their resume and career opportunities.  “Any student can be involved with a faculty member and do research,” she says, “but most students are not aware of the rewards and benefits.”

Pilkington also wants students to be more aware of research opportunities in the humanities and across disciplines.

Pilkington has published two books on the language of science and one of her specialties is helping amateur and professional researchers communicate their research effectively to diverse audiences, including audiences who are not familiar with the researcher’s field. This is another way that the URO can help faculty and students.  Pilkington hopes to raise awareness of the many resources and opportunities available to DSU students and faculty for independent and collaborative research.

For more information, please contact Olga Pilkington at opilkington@dixie.edu.

01/29/19


Student Highlight: Published in Respiratory Care on Perceived Health Risks of Recreational Marijuana

Holly Payne is a senior majoring in Respiratory Therapy.  With the growing number of states legalizing recreational use of marijuana, Payne wanted to find out if any difference in perceived health risks of recreational marijuana existed between students majoring in the Health Sciences and students from the general campus.  Working with Respiratory Therapy professor Debbie Forbush, Payne conducted a survey of nearly 300 students and found that there was no difference between the two groups in how they perceived the health risks of recreational marijuana.

Students in both groups were unaware of many facts related to marijuana use and its effects on cardiopulmonary health.  In December 2018, Payne presented her findings at the annual conference of the American Association for Respiratory Care in Las Vegas.  An abstract of her study was later published in AARC’s journal Respiratory Care.  Holly plans to work as a Registered Respiratory Therapist in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit once she graduates from DSU.  For more information about Holly Payne’s research contact Professor Debbie Forbush at forbush@dixie.edu.

01/22/19


Fall 2018

Student Highlight: Published at UVU on DNA Research

Born and raised on the island of American Samoa, Skelton received her Associates degree in Health Sciences from American Samoa Community College. She started school at DSU two and a half years ago, and she recently did research involving human mitochondrial DNA and cancer. She studied if the same DNA mutations that causes diseases in humans would have the same effect in mitochondrial DNA.

 

Skelton states that since her family has lost many loved ones to cancer, she was very interested in studying this science.

In her last semester at DSU, Skelton’s research paper was published in Utah Valley University’s journal, Intersections. She graduated May 2018 with a Bachelors of Biology in Integrated Studies, with an emphasis on Biology and Chemistry.

12/07/18


STUDENT HIGHLIGHT: INTEGRATED STUDIES STUDENT RESEARCHES CHILDHOOD LANGUAGE DELAYS

After graduating from a high school in Toquerville, Utah at the age of 14, Alexis Ruesch started attending DSU in 2014. She is currently a senior at DSU, majoring in Integrated Studies with a emphasis in Communication and Sociology.

As part of her major, Ruesch final thesis project was split into two semesters. For the first semester she completed a thematic literature review focused on childhood language delays.

The review looks at the different types of language delays, the long-term problems associated with language delays, potential risk factors that may cause these delays, and potential treatment and prevention methods that could help children with these delays.

This semester, Ruesch researched the correlation between caregiver distraction and children’s cognitive, emotional, and language development.

Her hypothesis in doing this research is that the increase of social media and smartphones in our society may be correlated with decreased parent/child interaction.

Ruesch’s goal in doing this semester’s research is to try to determine what effects that lack of interaction, and how it relates to the children’s development.

Ruesch’s research on childhood language delays will be featured in the Utah Valleys University’s journal, Intersections. She is excited to graduate in the Spring of 2019, and is planning to enter the workforce after graduation.

11/19/18


Faculty Highlight: The Study of Belep

Dr. Chelsea McCracken received her Ph.D from Rice University and is currently an assistant professor in the Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences department.

Dr. McCracken wrote, A Grammar of Belep, which will soon be published by De Gruyter’s Mouton Grammar Library series, is a description of the grammatical structure of Belep, a previously undocumented Austronesian language variety spoken by about 1600 people in New Caledonia.

The book contributes to the typological literature by arguing that Belep has several distinct characteristics: its sound system is simpler than that of its closest neighbors;

its system of syllable stress challenges traditional notions of how stress is defined;
its word boundaries call into question the accepted definition of “word”; and it lacks grammatically subordinate clauses.

Belep’s most typologically interesting feature is its unusual system of grammatical relationships, where indicators of a noun phrase’s role in a clause occur on the word that precedes the noun phrase. Research for the book was conducted over the course of nine months of fieldwork from 2009 to 2011.

11/08/18


Faculty Highlight: Connecting the Past to the Present

Dr. Bryant Smith received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Utah and Brigham Young University, and a Doctor of Arts from the University of Northern Colorado.

He studied conducting with five members of the American Bandmasters Association, previously led the jazz and concert bands at Columbia Basin College in Pasco, Washington, and was the band director at Spanish Fork High School in Spanish Fork, Utah.

Dr. Smith is currently an Assistant Professor and the Director of Bands at DSU.

Recently, Dr. Smith has been conducting research on 19th Century American and Mormon band history, and preparing materials to turn his dissertation on the subject into a book.

He found original music that was played at the time, including for the Salt Lake City Mormon temple capstone ceremony in 1892.

By using computer software, he has transcribed it for modern day instruments to play.

In the past, Dr. Smith has not included students in his research, but he would be happy to take students on field trips to different museums to conduct new research and find original music.

For more information, contact Dr. Smith at Bryant.Smith@dixie.edu.

10/31/18


Student Highlight: Researching Shakespeare's Word Choice

Braxton Thornley, originally from Taylorsville, Utah, is currently in his final semester of the English Secondary Education program. As a research project last year, Thornley conducted a socio-linguistic analysis of Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Much Ado About Nothing to determine what factors dictated his pronoun choices.

He noticed that Shakespeare would use “you” and “thou” interchangeably even though one was the informal pronoun. To understand why Shakespeare did this, Thornley proceeded to count the amount of times each pronoun is used in both plays.

His conclusion was that Shakespeare actually used a certain pronoun to signal some sort of shift onstage (such as a hidden stage direction) or to allow one character to intentionally insult another.

Thornley states that conducting this research gave him valuable experience in producing original research as well as providing a resource for scholars studying theater and drama.

Thornley plans on teaching high school English once he graduates from DSU, with the wish of moving towards a position as a school administrator.

He also hopes to receive a masters and Ph.D in education, and to “promote system-wide changes through new programs and curricula.”

10/10/18


FACULTY HIGHLIGHT: FICTIONALIZING THE READER IN TEXTBOOKS

Olga Pilkington

Dr. Olga Pilkington, a professor in the English department, has an article coming out in the journal, Text and Talk.

This journal focuses on the fictionalizing of readers in popular science books. This is done by the author including speech and describing thoughts that belong to the reader, and by doing so, they “create fictional characters in their essentially non-fiction texts”.

As Dr. Pilkington states, “no one can know for sure what an actual reader will say in response to a question or what an actual reader might think.

Including the reader’s speech and thoughts indicates that the authors are entering the realm of fiction.”

Dr. Pilkington will be arguing that this technique is one mechanism that can be used to make science more relatable to the general public.

10/08/18

Program Highlight: Office of Sponsored Programs

Sylvia Bradshaw, M.A., was the previous Director of the Office of Sponsored Program (OSP). The OSP functions as the central institutional office charged with the coordination and submission of proposals and awards from sponsors external to DSU.

OSP provides services to the DSU community for finding external funding for DSU related projects; assisting with the preparation and submission of DSU proposal to external sponsors, providing institutional oversight and compliance monitoring, to assure that proposals comply with DSU, State of Utah and sponsor’s regulations;

and when awards result, provides administrative support in the establishment of DSU accounts, as well as oversight and compliance monitoring of the work conducted.

Ms. Bradshaw has been the director for approximately four years, and has a Masters in Research Administration from John Hopkins University. Bradshaw is assisted in her duties by Bobbie Ursin and Lilian White.

10/03/18

Faculty Highlight: Finance Professor Contacted by Wall Street

Abu Khan

After graduating from one of the best high schools, Barisal Cadet College, in Bangladesh, Abu Khan pursued his bachelors degree from the University of Windsor and his masters degree in economics and finance from Ryerson University in Canada.

He then recieved his Ph.D in financial economics from the University of New Orleans. Khan chose to work at DSU for the real life application that the university encourages as well as DSU’s support for professional development. He is going into his fourth year of teaching at DSU.

Khan has published several papers in his field of interest, the most recent involving whether or not ethics improve the stock markets resilience.

The Chief Investment Officer at  JP Morgan Asset Management in Wall Street recently reached out to Khan to discuss his article about the US bank merger.

They examined the different methods used in mergers after the GLBA passed, along with the results of the paper that stated how eliminating the constraints on the ability of bank expansion will help US banks improve their operating performances. Khan hopes to further his research in future papers.

10/02/18


Faculty Highlight: Connecting Math to Disease

Originally from Tamil Nadu, India, Chellamuthu received his undergraduate degree from Anna University in India, his masters in Applied Mathematics from Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana and his Ph.D from the University of Louisiana.

Chellamuthu’s area of expertise involves developing mathematical models to better understand and predict the spread of diseases. Before coming to DSU, he taught a wide variety of entry level mathematics courses at the University of Louisiana.

Chellamuthu states, “My purpose is to interact with students and excite them about mathematics, and teach them life skills through mathematics. That’s the joy I get, always.” He says DSU is the perfect place to do that, with its small class size increasing student interaction.

Professor Chellamuthu is currently working with several students and has involved many undergraduates in his research.

In the past, he has helped students create models to predict the spread of diseases such as ebola and malaria, as well as a model to predict a basketball team winnings.

“Math is everything,” Chellamuthu says, “and part of my job is to make students excited about mathematics”.

For more information, contact Dr. Chellamutha at vinodh.chellamutha@dixie.edu.

09/28/18


Faculty Highlight: Professor Starts Research Group to Give Students Real Life Experience

Travis Ficklin

Travis Ficklin has earned a masters degree in sports medicine at the University of North Carolina Greensboro and a PhD in Human Performance (biomechanics) at Indiana University with a minor in computer science. He chose to come to DSU because of family, his love of the southwest desert and the increasing need of programs supporting exercise science.

Ficklin’s past research has looked into the mechanics of sprinting, high jumping, weightlifting, football, tennis, shot put and volleyball, baseball and softball. He is currently working on research into kinematic predictors of game success with the hopes that coaches and players will train more efficiently.

Professor Ficklin states that including undergraduate students in his research has been one of the most rewarding things he has done since coming to DSU. He has formed a research group called BASS (Biomechanics and Sport Science), which has presented twice at the annual Undergraduate Research Day.

One of his students has also presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Biomechanics, one of the first undergraduates to do so.

Ficklin has high hopes of the BASS expanding greatly in the coming years.

The new Human Performance Center (HPC) will contain student recreation facilities, new schools of physical and occupational therapy as well as the headquarters of the Health and Human Performance department.

This new center will house new state-of-the-art equipment that will provide more clinically-oriented studies. Along with the HPC, the university will offer advanced degrees that will involve the new labs such as Applied Kinesiology and Athletic Training.

Ficklin states, “It’s a tremendous addition to the university and the program, and I could not feel more fortunate to be here at DSU at this time in our history. There really hasn’t been a better time to be a Trailblazer, but with the new HPC, we’ll be saying that again and again.”

For more information, contact Ficklin at Travis.Ficklin@dixie.edu.

09/27/18

BASS team
The BASS team at Research Day 2018

Student Highlight: Concurrent Enrollment Student Researches Dinosaur Identification Techniques

Conner Bennett is currently a junior at Desert Hills High School, as well as taking DSU concurrent enrollment classes and after volunteering at the St. George Dinosaur Discovery Site for four years, Bennett had the opportunity to participate in a dig at Glenn Canyon National Recreation Area near Lake Powell.

Bennett applied to the Undergraduate Research Office grant, given out each year, and received funding for travel and food. He has worked at identifying dinosaur tracks in one of the largest tracksite found in the area, the “Andres Alcove Tracksite”.

He will be involved with the photogrammetry and ichnological techniques used to classify each dinosaur species and their characteristics.

He would like to give a special thank you to his mentor, Andrew R.C. Milner, curator at the Discovery Site, for the opportunities given to him.

Bennett is planning to further his research in different mapping technologies.

You can learn more about dinosaur sites and related information at the Utah Geology Survey site at https://geology.utah.gov/popular/general-geology/dinosaurs-fossils/.

 

09/25/18


Program Highlight: “Lurking in the Shadows”

Dixie State University’s 2018 Halloween art show will be installed at The St. George Art Museum early next week and remain on display throughout October. A formal opening reception for the show will be held from 5:30-7:00 PM on Thursday, October 18. Awards will be given at that time. At 7:00 PM, as part of the museum’s Art Conversation series, Dr. Jeff Yule will give a 45-minute presentation (“Spooky, Fun, Comic, and Macabre: Halloween Art’s Historical Roots and Contemporary Practice”) that will survey Halloween art. For more information, please contact Dr. Yule at jeff.yule@dixie.edu.

10/01/18