CLASS Notes, Summer 2022
Summer vacation has arrived for students and faculty. It's been an incredible but challenging year as we've continued to navigate change and uncertainty in these times. We've celebrated multiple commencement ceremonies across the state, and the College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences was proud to congratulate more than 350 graduates as proud Vandal alums. Our students have endured so much, and they have responded with endless grace and resilience. Our faculty and staff have been awe-inspiring, delivering a fantastic education under daunting circumstances. I hope you take some time to read the wonderful stories of our students and colleagues and all that they have accomplished the past year. I cannot thank you enough for supporting our college and the vital role that the liberal arts play in our university's life. It is genuinely humbling to serve as dean for such a dynamic and diverse college. I'm deeply grateful for your support.
Most respectfully yours,
Sean M. Quinlan
Around the College
- Two University of Idaho students will receive critical language scholarships to study foreign languages overseas through the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
Natalie Mesplay, a graduating senior and Honors Program student from Boise majoring in international studies and history, will study Korean at the Chonham National University in Gangju, South Korea. Natalie was also the recipient of ASUI’s Award for Excellence and served as a head delegate for the university’s Model United Nations program. She served as the president for the Kiva Club, as a Martin-McClure ambassador and as a legislative public policy intern.
Brock Keller, a junior from Pocatello majoring in international studies and environmental studies, will take part in a Hindi language program at the American Institute of Indian Studies in Jaipur, India. Keller has spent time overseas as a student and volunteer in Central America, South America, Europe and Africa. He speaks French and Spanish fluently and is competent in Czech.
- Archeology undergraduate student Sage Gardner was accepted into the Veterans Curation Program (VCP) in Augusta, Georgia. The nationally recognized program provides training for veterans in archaeological collections management. It was created to process at-risk archaeological collections belonging to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Gardner will catalog and photograph artifacts, clean, scan and re-house existing photographs and documents, and gain a bridging experience from the military into the public sector.
- Trevor Woodward, who graduated in Spring 2022 with a major in philosophy, won this year’s Lindley Award. The award, established in 1962, is the highest a student in College of Letters, Arts and Social Sciences can receive. It is presented each year to the top graduating senior in CLASS who is deemed the most outstanding in scholarship and character. Woodward will attend Rutgers University, one of the top five philosophy programs in the English-speaking world, to pursue a Ph.D. in philosophy. Woodward chose Rutgers over programs at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Notre Dame University, to which he was also admitted.
- Master’s Creative Writing students Cady Favazzo, Crystal Cox and Courtney Lucas presented their poems written in response to the Saar Reflection Night in March, part of the Alison Saar exhibit at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art WSU. The poems began during an interdisciplinary project involving graduate students in Professor Alexandra Teague and Professor Johanna Gosses’ classes. Teague, English professor and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies co-director, read her poetry and spoke on an Unmake the Patriarchy of Your Mind panel at the national Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference in Philadelphia in March.
- Journalism major Teren Kowatsch earned first place in review writing at the Idaho Press Club’s Best of 2021 awards in April in Boise. Zack Kellogg, who graduated with a degree in broadcasting and digital media, won first place for his sports news reporting about the Vandal women’s basketball team. Advertising minor Eimile Darney earned first place in newspaper page design.
Journalism major Royce McCandless placed second in serious feature writing for his story about domestic violence during the pandemic, and journalism major Anteia McCollum placed second in light feature writing about Moscow Contemporary art gallery Executive Director Roger Rowley.
Journalism major Cody Roberts placed second in sports news reporting. Public relations major Carter Kolpitcke placed second in news column writing, while journalism major Sierra Pesnell and Amanda Johnston placed second in TV or radio public affairs programming. Broadcasting and digital media major John Webb placed second in TV or audio general news reporting for his story about COVID-19’s impact on Wallace, Idaho. He also placed third in TV or radio public affairs programming. Angela Palermo, who graduated with a degree in journalism, placed third in photography.
Faculty and Staff News
- Associate Professor of Anthropology and Director of Indian Studies Philip Stevens won the 2022 Bobby Wright Award for Early Career Contributions to Research in Indigenous Education. This award recognizes outstanding research, scholarship and service and is presented to a scholar in the early stages of a research career who has developed a significant program of research and service to Indigenous communities on important issues in Indigenous education. The award is named for Professor Bobby Wright who served in a variety of leadership positions at the Rocky Boy Tribal School, the University of Montana’s Center for Native American Studies and the Pennsylvania State University Center for the Study of Higher Education.
- Florian Justwan, associate professor of political science, was the coauthor of an article in Contemporary Security Policy. In “Defense Treaties Increase Domestic Support for Military Action and Casualty Tolerance: Evidence From Survey Experiments in the United States,” Justwan and colleague Jefferey Berejikian discuss factors shaping public attitudes about the use of force. The paper shows that U.S. citizens think of military conflict in fundamentally different terms if a given international crisis that involves a formal alliance partner or a non-alliance partner. Relevant for the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, a non-alliance partner, the study was featured by several online magazines in response to the Ukraine crisis. Justwan was interviewed about the Ukranian conflict by the Boise news channel KTVB.
- Associate Professor Ryanne Pilgeram of the Department of Culture, Society and Justice is a faculty recipient of Career Services’ 2021-2022 Career Impact Award, which recognizes faculty and staff who have gone above and beyond in encouraging and supporting the career exploration, readiness and success of U of I students. The award is offered annually to one faculty member and one staff member whose work helps advance Career Services’ mission to provide U of I students and alumni with services and resources that empower them to make critical life decisions and pursue career success. The award comes with a plaque and $2,000 check.
- General Studies Advisor Sophie Becker, is the staff recipient of the Career Services 2021-2022 Career Impact Award. The award recognizes staff who have gone above and beyond in encouraging and supporting the career exploration, readiness and success of U of I students. The award is offered annually to one staff member and includes a plaque and a $2,000 check.
- Professor Jennifer Ladino of the Department of English published two articles in Western American Literature including "Pre-Apocalypse Now: Gold Fame Citrus as Weird Western Cli-Fi,” in an issue devoted to California climate change fiction; and a review, “Ryanne Pilgeram, Pushed Out: Contested Development and Rural Gentrification in the U.S. West,” in the magazine’s Spring 2022 issue. Pilgeram is an associate professor in the Department of Culture, Society and Justice whose book, based on the economic transformation of Dover, Idaho, explores what happens to rural communities when their traditional economic base collapses and is replaced by an influx of new money. Also, Ladino teamed up with Leda Kobziar (Natural Resources and Society), Jack Kredell (Environmental Science), and Teresa Cavazos Cohn (Natural Resources and Society) for an article, “How Nostalgia Drives and Derails Living With Wildland Fire in the American West,” in a special issue of Fire. The article identifies four prevalent nostalgic figures that recur in popular representations of wildfire: the Giant Sequoia, the Heroic Firefighter engaged in “the good fight,” the Lone Frontiersman and the Noble Savage. Authors assess how each of these figures help or hinder fire management.
- Professor Kelly Quinnett, Department of Theatre Arts, performs in the film “9 Lives,” which is a finalist in the New Jersey International Film Festival. It was produced and written by alumnus Gabrielle Miller. The festival, June 3-12 at Rutgers University, will showcase the best in independent film and features screenings and appearances by film directors, screenwriters, cast and crew.
- Professor Russ Meeuf of JAMM published “White Terror: The Horror Film From Obama to Trump.” The book uses top-grossing U.S. horror films between 2008 and 2016 to examine themes of white, patriarchal fear and fragility lurking beneath the surface of white respectability. Meeuf reveals how racial resentments represented specifically in horror films produced during the Obama era gave rise to the Trump presidency and the Make America Great Again movement.
- Professor Adam Sowards, Department of History, published his fifth book this month, “Making America’s Public Lands: The Contested History of Conservation on Federal Lands.” The volume explores the origins, development and controversies surrounding the nation’s public lands system that encompasses 640 million acres concentrated in the U.S. West. The book builds on Sowards’ scholarship and teaching at U of I over the past two decades.
- Professors Rachel Halverson (Modern Languages and Cultures), Marta Boris Tarré (Modern Languages and Cultures), Robin Johnson (JAMM) and Alexandra Teague (English) were awarded $3,000 in support of their Visiting Writers’ Project, which will take place in October 2022.
- Associate Professor Erin James, English, published “Narrative in the Anthropocene,” which asks what narrative can teach us about our current geological epoch defined by humanity’s indelible footprint, and what our current geological epoch can teach us about narrative. In her book, James argues that a richer understanding of the forms and functions of narrative in the Anthropocene provides us with invaluable insight into how stories shape our world. At the same time, she contends that the Anthropocene alters the very nature of narrative as a cognitive and rhetorical tool for purposeful worldbuilding.
- Assistant Professor Bal Krishna Sharma, English, published “Developing Teacher Awareness and Action Plans for Teaching English as an International Language” in Language Awareness with Mikayla Sievers. The article provides insights into understanding the emergence of transformative pedagogical awareness, philosophies and praxis in addressing the diversity of English by pre-service teachers in teacher education programs.
- The 2022 Borah Symposium is scheduled for Sept. 26-28 and will focus on the international protection of Human Rights. The symposium, which is free and open to the public, begins Sept. 26 with a panel discussion on Advocating for Human Rights in a Digital World. A full schedule for the symposium will be released in early fall.
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