Arnold Grant Student-Faculty 2017 Awards

The Edward H. Arnold and Jeanne Donlevy Arnold Program for Experiential Education was established in 2011 to award up to $50,000 per year to support student-faculty research, independent student summer research, and independent student internships. Here is a synopsis of how the grantees benefited from the Arnold’s generosity this past year. 


"Effects of retinoic acid on cell cycle regulation in neuroblastoma cells expressing different levels of casein kinase II"

Dr. Kristen Boeshore, director of health professions and associate professor of biology

Abigail Samuelsen '19

Dr. Boeshore’s work is a collaboration with Dr. Sinesa Dovat of the Four Diamonds Pediatric Cancer Research Center at the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. Dr. Boeshore has completed previous research that suggests that retinoic acid could serve to decrease the reproduction rate of highly aggressive neuroblastoma cancer cells. This research points to more effective treatments for pediatric patients with this type of tumor. 



"Entanglement and Applications via Symmetry"

Dr. David Lyons, professor of mathematical sciences

Ezekiel Wertz '18

Alexander Heilman '20

Dr. Lyons and physics students Alexander Heilman and Ezekiel Wertz studied quantum information science, which combines mathematics with physics and computer science. This project is a continuation of the LVC Mathematical Physics Research Group, which has been backed by the National Science Foundation and Arnold grants. The students’ research is concerned with quantum entanglement, or, the phenomenon of separate physical systems experiencing joint physical properties. Their summer 2017 work, along with Wertz’s Arnold-funded research from 2016, has been published in respected journals. Heilman and Wertz will present their research at a regional conference this spring.



"What Heroin Sounds Like"

Mathew Samuel, professor of digital communications

Adam DelMarcelle, adjunct faculty

Kelly Bruce '19

Aleix Shriner '19

Daniel Bennett '20

Mathew Samuel, assistant professor of digital communications, and Adam DelMarcelle, adjunct instructor in art, are collaborating with students to bring a voice to the opioid/heroin epidemic that is affecting many communities.. The project will consist of a “day of making,” in which families who have a love one struggling with addiction or who have lost loved ones to the epidemic will create art that represents those lost and struggling with opioid/heroin use. There will then be a showcase of this art that will serve as a background for the creators to speak on the topic.



"Puncture-Resistant Composite Material for Improved Surgical Gloves" 

Elizabeth Sterner, assistant professor of chemistry

Garrett Santis '20

Dr. Sterner and Garrett Santis are researching development of a new type of surgical glove that is resistant to puncture. Surgical gloves are one of the best defenses against infection in the healthcare field, but traditional surgical gloves are prone to puncture. This poses risks for patient and practitioner. Dr. Sterner and Santis expect that a new poly(isoprene) will allow for the flexibility of traditional surgical gloves, while reducing risk of puncture.  



"Consequences of early iron deficiency and lead co-exposure on dopamine signaling"

Erica Unger, assistant professor of biology

Caitlin Ritchey '19

Dr. Unger and Caitlin Ritchey are studying the correlation between co-exposure to iron deficiency and environmental lead and reduction of dopamine signaling. A reduction in dopamine signaling can lead to neurodevelopmental disabilities in children. This co-exposure occurs disproportionately in disadvantaged populations and leads to the potential for millions of children worldwide to be at risk during vulnerable periods of brain development. Dr. Unger and Ritchey hope to show that co-exposure to iron deficiency and lead will cause greater reductions in proteins crucial to dopamine signaling than exposure to either iron deficiency or lead exposure alone. 



"An investigation on the parameters that influence the success of an invasive plant"

Rebecca Urban, associate professor of biology

Patrick McMullen '20

Dr. Urban and Patrick McMullen are investigating the spread of garlic mustard in comparison to common chickweed. They will conduct field and greenhouse research to investigate the competitive nature between garlic mustard and common chickweed, which are both invasive species in the area. The research will also establish a record of invasive plants within the College’s natural areas. 

Arnold Grant Student-Faculty Awards

2016 Awards

“Relationship Among Balance, Lower Limb Asymmetry, and Movement Velocity on Y-Balance Test Performance”

Dr. Marcia Epler, associate professor physical therapy

Erin Ulrich, clinical assistant professor of athletic training and clinical education coordinator

Dr. Joseph Murphy, director of athletic training and assistant professor

Megan Streisel, assistant athletic trainer

Jessica Boyd ’15, D’17

Daniel Johnson ’15, D’17

Patrick Jones ’15, D’17

Katelynne Luckenbaugh ’15, D’17

Christian Grove ’15, D’17

Adrienne Eshleman ’15, D’17

As part of this research grant, physical therapy doctoral students assisted faculty and staff with the balance, asymmetry, and movement evaluation of 40 student-athletes. This followed a pilot study completed earlier that year involving a smaller sample group. Once data was collected, it was grouped and analyzed with the results being compared to current literature findings. The students helped in the development of the research design, participated in the literature review, and played a primary role in data collection. 



“Measuring Cultural Characteristics of the Alert-Based User Experience”

Dr. Joel Kline, professor of digital communications

Damian Grosso ’16

Through this research grant, Dr. Kline and Grosso studied Alert-Based User Experience (ABUX), which is a lifestyle that features reactionary behaviors prompted by alerts on digital communication devices. Examples include notifications from a smartphone taking priority over interactions that are face-to-face. The hypothesis was that these ABUX behaviors vary by culture. Dr. Ursula Weisenfeld, dean of master programs M&E at the University of Luneburg in Leuphana University, assisted with this study, enabling Dr. Kline and Grosso to visit Germany in June 2016 to conduct research on German students. This research was compared to a study of American students.



“Energizing the Organ Culture of Brazil”

Dr. Shelly Moorman-Stahlman, professor of music and College organist

Cody Kelly ’16

Kevin Gane ’17

Kara Hess ’17

Christian Johnson ’18

Jerin George ’19

Scott Hummel ’19

This grant enabled the College’s Organ Guild to travel to Sao Paulo and Rio de Janiero, Brazil for a residence at two universities. Dr. Moorman-Stahlman and the students raised awareness of the pipe organ and taught Brazilian students how to hold a pipe organ encounter. 



“Symmetry, Entanglement, and Applications”

Dr. David Lyons, professor of mathematical sciences

Ezekiel Wertz ’17, physics

Justin Cammarota ’19, physics and mathematics

Dr. Lyons and students collaborated to achieve advances in the theory and applications of quantum information science through an analysis of key type of symmetry in systems of many quantum bits. This research was built on previous work supported by the National Science Foundation. Students spent the summer conducting computational experiments and analyzing data and theoretical arguments. When the research was complete, it was be submitted to leading research journals and presented at professional conferences. 



“The Relationship Between Genetics and Personality Factors in Peer Pressure Susceptibility”

Dr. Michelle Niculescu, director of neuroscience and associate professor of psychology

Peyton Carper ’16

Ashlee Albright ’16

Vincent Tranchitella ’16

Corrina Parsons ’17

Elizabeth Aguilar ’17

This grant built on previous research related to an effective model of peer pressure and related personality characteristics. Dr. Niculescu and the students used this effective model to further explain the genetic correlates to the personality characteristics that affect peer pressure susceptibility. They focused specifically on novelty seeking (dopamine), harm avoidance (serotonin), and reward dependence (norepinephrine). Results of this research were presented at professional conferences and later submitted for publishing to a journal related to neuroscience, behavior, and genetics.

2015 Awards

“The Sesquicentennial Project”

Dr. Rebecca McCoy, associate professor of history

Brittany Baird ’15, English (creative writing concentration) and historical communications

Marie Gorman ’17, international studies, Spanish, and studio art

Cody Kelly ’16, music education (trumpet) and music (sacred music/trumpet performance)

Brianna Leiter ’17, history

Rebecca Sauser ’16, history and religion

Jeannette Tropp ’17, digital communications

This summer 2015 project continued and finalized research conducted in History 460 during the spring 2015 semester. Students in that course began designing a campus-wide exhibit that was displayed in 2016 as part of Lebanon Valley College’s 150th anniversary celebration. Students worked on individual history projects ranging from “Women Faculty at LVC” to the “Early History of Football at LVC.”

The summer 2015 Arnold Grant enabled six students to work with Dr. McCoy to complete research and prepared for the exhibit, accompanying website, and phone app. Other student work included arranging and preparing the objects, photos, and documents for reproduction, because originals cannot be publicly displayed. Finally, students also reviewed the numerous oral histories conducted by Dr. Art Ford, professor emeritus of English, for additional material to add to their respective research areas. 



“General Music Classroom Teaching in La Madre de Ciudades (“The Mother of Cities”)

Dr. Rebecca Crow Lister, associate professor of music

Laura Ramage ’16, music and elementary education

Kyra Lancaster ’18, music education 

Ramage and Lancaster did more than “practice” teaching—they were real teachers—when they accompanied Dr. Lister on this summer program in Paraguay. In Asunción, one of the oldest cities in the heart of South America, they worked with students entirely unlike any with whom they have worked before. 

The project provided Ramage and Lancaster, both music education majors, with real life teaching experiences on the elementary level. They taught general music classes and lead workshops in the Colegio Internacional de Asunción. Additionally, Dr. Lister and these students worked and studied with students at the Conservatorio Nacional de Musica in order to gain better understanding of music and general Paraguayan culture. Dr. Lister supervised and assisted these students and used her contacts in Paraguay to facilitate further learning opportunities. Together, they built on the foundation for exchange between Paraguayan and American students in the field of music, as well as other disciplines. 



“Role of Adenosine Signaling in Dopamine 2 Receptor and Dopamine Transporter Depletion in Iron Deficiency”

Dr. Erica Unger, assistant professor of biology

Morgan Webb ’17, biology

Dr. Unger and Webb used PC12 cells to investigate the impact of iron depletion on adenosine A2a receptor protein levels and examine the effect of pharmacological stimulation of adenosine A2a receptors on the dopamine 2 receptor and the dopamine transporter in iron deficiency. This new project built on Dr. Unger’s previous research at Lebanon Valley College and the Pennsylvania State University, which focused on iron deficiency and altered brain function. It was a 10-week summer research project.

Dr. Unger and Webb devoted significant time to reviewing the primary literature and to data presentation in poster and manuscript formats, in addition to performing laboratory research and data analysis. This intensive summer research experience lead to Webb becoming more independent in the laboratory. 



“Environmental Change on Submersed Aquatic Vegetation Communities”

Dr. Rebecca Urban, associate professor of biology

Haley Wagner ’18, biology

During summer 2015, Dr. Urban worked with Wagner to establish a set of long-term monitoring sites in Raquette Lake in the Adirondack Mountains of New York. The sites addressed three initial questions: (1) How does depth influence distribution of predominate growth forms within plant communities? (2) Are plant communities dominated by particular growth forms more stable than others? (3) How do site characteristics influence rate of community change?

Dr. Urban and Wagner conducted fieldwork, created herbarium samples, and began a greenhouse experiment at LVC. At Raquette Lake, Dr. Urban trained Wagner in vegetation sampling methodology, plant and sediment collection, and measuring light availability using quantum sensors. She also taught her student how to press plant specimens on herbarium paper, and to identify, label, and mount the specimens when they returned to Lebanon Valley College from the lake.  

After returning, Dr. Urban taught Wagner how to establish an independent research experiment on submersed aquatic plants. This lead to Wagner presenting the results of her independent research project at a regional conference. 



“Color + Culture”

Professor Michael Pittari, chair and professor of art & art history

Diana Hoffman ’16, art history

Rebecca Worhach ’16, studio art & art history

This Arnold Grant, Professor Pittari’s second, supported a six-week summer project in which two students—Hoffman and Worhach—worked alongside Pittari on editing, designing, and publishing a journal of essays written by Lebanon Valley College students in Color + Culture (ART 351) from 2004 through 2015. The publication, Color + Culture, contained 12 to 15 essays and full-color images. The 100-page journal was visually appealing through the ample use of color and well-designed layouts. This grant enabled the printing of 250 copies through the online publishing house, Blurb.

That summer, Pittari oversaw Hoffman and Worhach as they each read approximately 30 top-level papers written by students from across the curriculum for Color + Culture since 2004. From this, 12 to 15 finalists were selected for the eventual publication. The students collaborated with Pittari on editing, designing, publishing, and distributing Color + Culture.



“Workshop for Young Readers and Writers in Cholula, Mexico”

Dr. Kathleen Tacelosky, chair of languages, professor of Spanish

Sarah Kensinger ’16, early childhood education

Alexander Vazquez ’18, English

Scott Reagan ’17, German and international studies

The results of on-going longitudinal research with Mexican transnational students has shown that students have trouble maintaining the reading and writing skills they gained while attending school in the United States. The research also showed that community-based projects are appropriate ways to help them meet their linguistic goals (Tacelosky, 2013). 

As a result of this research, this grant enabled three LVC students to work with each other and Dr. Tacelosky to plan and carry out a readers’ and writers’ workshop to support linguistic development of transnational students. The LVC students tested the reading and writing skills before and after the three-week workshop in July and August 2015.  

After returning from Mexico, the students analyzed the data and results. The student-faculty collaboration resulted in the submission of a proposal that presented their findings at a regional conference.



“Children’s Physical Therapy Book: Translation into Spanish, French, and German for an International Educational Resource on Health, Wellness, and Injury Recovery” (Phase II)

Dr. Michael Fink, assistant professor of physical therapy

Dr. Gabriela McEvoy, assistant professor of Spanish

Dr. Ivette Guzman-Zavala, associate professor of Spanish

Dr. Joerg Meindl, assistant professor of German

Ms. Morgane Bourglan Agarwal, adjunct instructor of French

Forty-three LVC students

This collaborative Arnold Grant is an extension of a 2012 Arnold Grant that funded interdisciplinary work involving 14 students in the Art & Art History, Digital Communications, Education, and Physical Therapy departments that resulted in the publication of the first-ever children’s story book on physical therapy, “Sammy’s Physical Therapy Adventure,” and companion coloring & activity book of the same name. 

The current Phase II project incorporated an additional four faculty members and 43 students from the Spanish, German, and French programs that translated this children’s book into the three foreign languages. The ultimate goal was to translate and publish a book that can educate the non-English speaking population in the United States, and provide an international resource to help individuals learn about physical therapy in countries where these languages are common.