2015-2016

Students attend Commonwealth Grad Education Day with Dean Jie Chen

A select group of graduate students, Natalie Perez (Occupational Therapy), Sevinj Iskandarova (Adult Education/Human Resource Development), and Kevin Libuit (Biology) will present their research interests and share their graduate school journey with undergraduate students from across the state at the Virginia Council of Graduate School’s Commonwealth Education Day, to be held at Virginia Commonwealth University on October 30. These graduate students will travel with four JMU undergraduate students to participate in a day-long interactive and informative program for undergraduate students to learn about different types of institutions and graduate degrees, to meet current graduate students and faculty from a variety of the degrees and institutions represented, and to acquire the basic information about graduate education to spark their thinking about pursuing a graduate degree.

Read more: www.jmu.edu/news/grad/2015/10/30-news-VA-Graduate-Education-Day


Sevinj Iskandarova presented her work at multiple conferences over the 2015-2016 school year, including the 10th Annual Diversity Conference at JMU and the Higher Education Conference at Virginia Tech. For her presentation entitled “Beyond the Walls of JMU: The Many Faces of the Adult Learner: At School, at Work, and in the Community,” she was awarded a travel grant from The Graduate School. Sevinj was also nominated for the Diversity Enhancement Award Program at JMU and received the Outstanding Thesis Award in Education, Social Sciences, and Humanities from The Graduate School. Her thesis was entitled “The Effects of Cross-Cultural Differences on Team Performance within an Educational Setting.”


At The Graduate School’s Showcase of Scholarship and Creative Activities, Danielle Blot’s poster entitled “How Women Navigate a Career in STEM and Respond to the Challenges Created by the Lack of Gender Diversity in the Industry” was awarded one of three top poster honors. 


At The Graduate School’s Showcase of Scholarship and Creative Activities, Kate Nesmith’s poster entitled “Teaching for Artistic Behavior: A Collective Case Study” was awarded one of three top poster honors. 


Kevin Libuit and lab partner

Kevin Libuit ('16M, Biology), pictured above right, participated as bioinformatics specialist on a research team in a residency at the Universitat Rovira i Virgili in Spain this past summer where he worked on a project sequencing the DNA of several species within a bacterial genus. In addition to his participation on the research team, Libuit gave two university talks while in Spain, a presentation about his research projects here at JMU and a presentation on DNA sequencing.

Read more about Libuit's research here: www.jmu.edu/news/2016/03/21-herrick-antibiotic-resistance.shtml


Suzanne Allison along with faculty mentor Dr. Idelle Cooper gave a poster presentation at the Ecological Society of American national meeting (August, 2015 in Baltimore, MD), and an oral presentation at the Association of Southeastern Biologists meeting (March, 2016 in Concord, NC).


Dot Boisen along with faculty mentor Dr. Christine May gave two poster presentations at 1) the Virginia Academy of Sciences meeting (May, 2015 hosted by JMU) and 2) the Ecological Society of America (August, 2015 at the national meeting in Balitmore); co-authored a poster with two undergraduates at the 99th Annual Joint Math Meeting that won outstanding poster award (January, 2016 in Seattle, WA)and one oral presentation at the Virginia Chapter of the American Fisheries Society (March, 2016 in Danville, VA).


Phoebe Cook along with faculty mentor Dr. Idelle Cooper gave an oral presentation at the Association of Southeastern Biologists annual meeting (March, 2016 in Concord, NC) and received research funding from the National Science Foundation.


Lane Gibbons along with faculty adviser Dr. Conley McMullen gave an oral presentation at the Virginia Academy of Sciences meeting (May, 2015 hosted by JMU) that received Honorable Mention.


Pat Harmon along with faculty mentor Dr. Christine May received a grant from the Shenandoah National Park Trust to support research in Park streams in 2016.


Curtis Kapsak along with faculty mentor Dr. James Herrick gave an oral presentation at 2015 American Society for Microbiology VA Branch Annual Meeting (November, 2015 in Richmond, VA), and three poster presentations at 1) Oxford Nanopore Technologies MinION Community Meeting (December, 2015 at the New York Genome Center), 2) International Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (September 2015, San Diego, CA), and 3) Rapid Next-Generation Sequencing and Bioinformatic Pipelines for Enhanced Molecular Epidemiologic Investigation of Pathogens (September, 2015, Washington DC).


Yulhea Kim along with faculty mentor Dr. Corey Cleland gave a poster presentation at the Society for Neuroscience annual meeting (October, 2015 in Chicago, IL).


Kevin Libuit with faculty mentor Dr. James Herrick gave an oral presentation as an invited speaker at an international meeting Universitat Rovira I Virgili (June 2015 in Tarragona, Spain), gave a poster presentation and served as panel member at the Commonwealth Graduate Education Day (October, 2015 hosted by VCU in Richmond), gave two oral presentations at 1) the American Society of Microbiology, VA meeting (November, 2015 in Richmond, VA) that was recognized as Outstanding Presenter, and 2) the MinION Community Meeting (December 2015 at the New York Genome Center), and has an accepted poster presentation at the American Society of Microbiology National Meeting (June, 2016 in Boston, MA).  Kevin also was recognized by Madison Scholar for participating as a bioinformatics specialist on a research team in a summer 2015 residency at the Universitat Rovira i Virgili in Spain, where he worked on a project sequencing the DNA of several species within a bacterial genus.  He also recently interviewed for a video project aimed to support private giving for JMU scholarships. Kevin has also been asked by the Center for Genome and Metagenome Studies (CGEMS) to present his work to distinguished guests visiting our department; notable guests include JMU President Jonathan R. Alger, VA Representative Bob Goodlatte, and NC Representative Virginia Fox. 


Kelly Livernoche along with faculty mentor Dr. Heather Griscom gave a poster presentation at the Association of Southeastern Biologists meeting (March, 2016 in Concord, NC).


Elizabeth Rogers along with faculty mentor Dr. Kyle Seifert gave a poster presentation at the Graduate Research Symposium (hosted by William and Mary, March 2016) and received an grant from Sigma Xi Grants-in-Aid of Research (GIAR) program.


Thom Teears along with faculty mentor Dr. Christine May gave a poster presentation at the Ecological Society of America (August, 2015 at the national meeting in Balitmore); and one oral presentation at the Virginia Chapter of the American Fisheries Society (March, 2016 in Danville, VA).


Katelyn Walters along with faculty mentor Dr. Heather Griscom gave a poster presentation at the Geospatial Symposium (September, 2015 in Harrisonburg), and an oral presentation at the Association of Southeastern Biologists annual meeting (March, 2016 in Concord, NC).


The JMU Hack Team received a grand prize at the annual “Caring for the Caregiver” Hackfest event in Richmond, VA. Dr. Morgan Benton (ISAT) coached the team. The team included two Occupational Therapy students, Christie Briskey and Kiley Petencin, as well as three undergraduate students: Collier Apgar, Jessica Hilleary, and Michaela Schnier.


Kristen Smith, a Graduate Psychology doctoral student in Assessment and Measurement, was appointed to serve as Division D Senior Representative for the Graduate Student Council (GSC) of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) in 2015-2016.


On March 3rd, senior CSD honors student Harley Wheeler presented his thesis work (poster) at the 2016 American Auditory Society Annual Meeting in Scottsdale, AZ. His work, “Build-up Effect of Auditory Stream Segregation Using Amplitude-Modulated Narrowband Noise,” was supported, in part, by a Research Grant from CHBS and funding from the CSD department. This work was conducted under the supervision of Dr. Yingjiu Nie.


Michael Morikawa, an AuD student (graduate student in CSD), presented his dissertation work from April 13-16, at the AudiologyNOW! (American Academy of Audiology) 2016 Conference in Phoenix, AZ. This project was supported by the Ruth Symposium Student Research Grant and faculty funding from CSD. Michael also received the Graduate Travel Grant to support his attendance at this conference. Michael’s work, entitled “Effects of age and musical experience on melodic contour ID and sentence recognition by children,” was conducted under the mentorship of Dr. Yingjiu Nie.


Four Nursing students were elected to the new VNSA (Virginia Nursing Student Association) Board. Congratulations to Katie Retan, Emma Richer, Lauren Drake, and Monica Whitby!


Psychology students have posted an impressive record of past and upcoming conference presentations. Below is a list of those presenters, their presentation titles and the conferences at which they have presented or will present:

  • Grant Pointon, Anna Gangsaas, Nancy Mack, Marcos Contreras, & Ben Krause “Sleep Deprivation and Voluntary Alcohol Consumption: the Neuroplasticity of Chronic Behaviors,” Society for Neuroscience conference in Chicago, IL on October 17-21, 2015. 
  • Jeremiah Brown, Taylor Livesay, & Michael Phelan “Delay Discounting in the Pigeon,” Southeastern Association for Behavior Analysis in Roanoke, VA on October 22-24, 2015.
  • Daroon Jalil “Effect of Foreign Accent on Lexical Retrieval, Veridical and False Memory,” Psychonomic Society conference in Chicago, IL on Nov 19-22, 2015.
  • Hannah Pellegrino “Recognition Memory across Teaching Methods: A Lab Study,” Team Based Learning annual meeting in Albuquerque, NM on March 3-5, 2016.
  • Michael Noel, Cassidy Gonzalez, Michelle Goodwin, Emily Mazzola, Kacie Bornheimer, Jason Cotton, Tierney Patton, & Nancy Windsor “Altruism, Service Learning, Purpose in Life, and Positive Global Change,” Southeastern Conference on the Teaching of Psychology (SETOP) in Atlanta, GA from March 4-5, 2016.
  • Nicole Fox, Gabrielle Reimann, Melissa Manley, & Megan Mischinski “Monument-al Assessment of Peer Advising!” National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) in Hyattsville, MD from March 16-18, 2016.
  • Elisabeth Burleson, Emily Ingersoll, & Mikala Morrow “A Unique Peer Advising Practicum at Work,” National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) in Hyattsville, MD from March 16-18, 2016.
  • Allison Piotrowski, Kathryn Tousley, Olivia Kimmel, & Jacqueline Given “’Tech Wizards’ Capitol-ize on Social Media for Peer Advising,” National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) in Hyattsville, MD from March 16-18, 2016.
  • Olivia Jewell “Age at First Sex as a Predictor of Adolescent Anxiety, Depressive Symptoms, and Self-Esteem:  Relationship Context as a Moderator,” Society for Research on Adolescence biennial meeting in Baltimore, MD on March 31-April 2, 2016.
  • Lauren Barlotta “Number of Facebook Friends and Coping Online as Predictors of Rejection Sensitivity,” Society for Research on Adolescence biennial meeting in Baltimore, MD on March 31-April 2, 2016.
  • Michael Noel, Jordayn Price, Olivia Saillen, Cassidy Gonzalez, Michelle Goodwin, Paulius Satkus, Emily Mazzola, Kacie Bornheimer, & Jason Cotton “Altruism, Service Learning, Purpose in Life, and Positive Global Change,” Teaching of Psychology (TOP) in Tarrytown, NY from April 1-2, 2016.
  • Amanda Feldman “Context Effects in Phantom Recollection in Older and Younger Adults,” Cognitive Aging conference in Atlanta, GA on April 14-17, 2016.
  • Anthony Chhoun, Danielle Guirgis, Caroline Lanzara, Brianne Rodgers, & Lily Takahashi “Facial Processing of Chimps and Humans Related to Own-Species Bias,” Virginia Psychological Association (VPA) Newport News, VA on April 21, 2016.
  • Allison Brandmark & Amariah Vega “Recognition Memory Across Pedagogies,” Virginia Psychological Association (VPA) Newport News, VA on April 21, 2016.
  • John Sefcik “What Form of Passion is Found in Gritty Individuals?” Virginia Psychological Association (VPA) Newport News, VA on April 21, 2016.
  • Rachel Youssef “Passion for Academics, Competition, and Choice in the Prisoner’s Dilemma,” Virginia Psychological Association (VPA) Newport News, VA on April 21, 2016. 
  • Katie Salatino “Passion and Nutrition Labels,” Virginia Psychological Association (VPA) Newport News, VA on April 21, 2016. 
  • Nikole Gregg & Lachelle De Groat  “An Examination of the Psychometric Properties of the Alliant Intercultural Competency Scale,” Association for Psychological Science in Chicago, IL on May 26-29, 2016.
  • Kenna Dickard, Rachel Bily, & Akyla Joseph “CMSS Male Rape Myths,” Association for Psychological Science in Chicago, IL on May 26-29, 2016.
  • Audra Turner, Erin Sullivan, & Elizabeth Smith “Sociocultural Assessment Data,” Association for Psychological Science in Chicago, IL on May 26-29, 2016.

A large delegation of JMU faculty, administrators, and students from the Assessment and Measurement program (Graduate Psychology) traveled to Houston in December to attend and present at the Annual Meeting of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC). Dr. Keston Fulcher (Center for Assessment & Research Studies), Dr. John Hathcoat (Assistant Assessment Specialist), Kristen Smith (2nd year Ph.D. student), and Courtney Sanders (2ND year Ph.D. student) presented workshops at the meeting.


Dr. John Hathcoat (Graduate Psychology) and members of Student Affairs Assessment Support Services (SASS) (Heather Harris, Madison Holzman, and Derek Sauder) provided a webinar about implementation fidelity assessment through The Association for the Assessment of Learning in Higher Education (AALHE) in January. Approximately 500 people registered for the webinar.


Dr. Chris Clinard and Sarah McClements Hodgson (AuD student - CSD) presented their research “Neural correlates of the binaural masking level difference in humans” at the Scientific and Technology Meeting of the American Auditory Society in early March.


Chance McDermott, a doctoral student in Graduate Psychology’s Combined-Integrated Clinical and School Psychology program is respected by faculty for his strong gifts in teaching and presentation. He presented a section of the Building Cultural Competency Workshop (BCCW) entitled “Two Minds,” based on Gregg Henriques' justification hypothesis. In addition, Chance has been a co-presenter for three recent conference presentations including the Collaborating Across Borders (CAB V) conference in September.


The Graduate School awarded Elisabeth Pyburn the Outstanding Thesis Award in STEM, Health, and Behavioral Studies for her thesis entitled “Persons Can Speak Louder Than Variables: Person-Centered Analysis and the Prediction of Student Success.”


The December 2015 graduating cohort of the Physician Assistant Studies program earned a 100% first time pass rate on the Physician Assistant National Certifying Exam (PANCE), the national board exam for certification as a physician assistant. Twenty-three students sat for this exam. This is the second consecutive year this program has posted a 100% first time pass rate. Congratulations PA program!  


In April, Charlé McCauley was awarded the Community Engagement Award from The Graduate School for her sustained engagement with Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children. 


Natalie Doughty (center)

Natalie Doughty ('15, '17M, Piano Performance), pictured above center, was selected as one of 16 students to participate in the Dublin International Piano Festival and Summer Academy this summer. In addition to this high honor, Natalie participated in the Zodiac Music Festival in Valdeblore, France.


Jessica Spafford and Katie Sullivan (DMA) were winners at the Mid-Atlantic Regional National Association of Teachers of Singers auditions, and went on to be finalists in the auditions.  Katie Sullivan also won the JMU Concerto Aria Competition this year, and Jessica will be singing at the Landesbuehnen Sachsen Professional Opera House in Germany this summer in the role of The Queen of the Night in Mozart's Opera, The Magic Flute.


Clement Acevedo (DMA) obtained a one year piano position at Eastern Mennonite University, which is slated to turn into a tenure track position next year. 


Yu-Wen Chen (DMA) is currently a part time faculty member at Southern Virginia University and teaches in the preparatory program of Eastern Mennonite University. Chen is also a staff pianist at Mary Baldwin University in Staunton, VA. 


On April 14th, The Graduate School held the Showcase of Scholarship and Creative Activities. Sebastian Haboczki’s presentation entitled “The Incorporation of Hungarian Folk Song in Kodály’s Psalmus Hungaricus” was awarded the top presentation award.


At The Graduate School’s Showcase of Scholarship and Creative Activities, Melissa McCann’s poster entitled “Vibrato Rate in Female Opera Singers and Female Sertanejo Singers” was awarded one of three top poster honors.


In April, Dr. Mark Ardrey-Graves received the Outstanding Dissertation in Visual and Performing Arts from The Graduate School for his work entitled ““More Divine than Human”: Early Tudor Plainchant and Polyphony of the Lenten Compline Office in the Use of Salisbury, 1485 – 1558.” 


Liz Pyburn wins Best Paper award at NERA conference

Liz Pyburn’s ('15M Psychological Sciences, '19D) award winning project presented at last year’s Northwestern Educational Research Association was recently recognized at the 2015 annual conference in Trumbull, CT. Competitively selected as the “Best Paper by a Graduate Student,” Pyburn’s work was supervised and co-authored by Dr. Jeanne Horst.

Details about the award winning project can be found: www.jmu.edu/stories/grad/2015/00-1-pyburn.shtml


students in James Madison University’s M.A. in political science and Semester in Florence programs visit EXPO 2015 in Milan, Italy

In May and September 2015, over 100 JMU undergraduate and graduate students, along with faculty and staff, attended the The Universal Exposition, or simply EXPO 2015 held in Milan, Italy (the modern version of the World’s Fair). Students shared academic and cultural experiences centered on issues of sustainable development and global food production.

See more at http://www.jmu.edu/stories/grad/2015/00-1-eupsmilan.shtml


Matt Williams CISR Journal

Matthew Williams ('13 Political Science, '13M Public Administration) currently works as a research associate at the Center for International Stabilization and Recovery (CISR). His work with the CISR focuses on advocacy for survivors of war and conflict through projects with congressional members, CISR’s Department of Defense partners as well as a wide range of nonprofit partners.

Learn more about Williams' accomplishments at www.jmu.edu/stories/grad/2015/00-00-matthew-williams.shtml


Aaron Noland’s “Servant Teaching: An Exploration of Teacher Servant Leadership on Student Outcomes” was published in the Journal of Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, Volume 15, Number 6.


Paul Mabrey, III is receiving two publication credentials for his articles entitled “The CEDA-Miller Center War Powers Debates: A Case for Intercollegiate Debate’s Civic Roles” and “Synchronous ‘Elevator Pitch’: Teaching Digital Communication Literacy with Peer Consultation and Self-Assessment.” The latter was a collaboration with Christie Liu, Jackie Rufo, and Ellie Miller.


Alyse Lehrke recently returned from Greece where she presented her work entitled “Leading Work-Life Innovation: The impact of leader-follower interaction on follower perceptions of work-life practices in a virtual work context” at the First Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Leadership Symposium.


In February, Andrew “Andy” Miller presented at the Jaipuria Institute of Management International Conference on The Role of Social Media for Organizational Sustainability with his work entitled “Social Media, Empathy, Narcissism in Leading Sustainable Organizations.”


Samuel “Sam” Nickels will give a presentation entitled “Does the media create stigma? A study from El Salvador” at the Mental Health of America Annual Conference in June. Sam will also be published in the International Journal of Mental Health Systems with his work “A qualitative exploration of a family  self-help mental health program in El Salvador.”


In April, Samiullah “Sami” Nuristani presented his work entitled “Leadership Development: Exploring Current State of Research” at the Tobias Leadership Conference in Indianapolis.


Lisa Akers was named Fellow of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (FAND), a prestigious accomplishment which signifies having tenure in the dietetics profession, living the Academy's values, and commitment to continuing professional development, leadership, writing, speaking, policy and advocacy or research.


At The Graduate School Awards Reception, Dr. Laura Hunt-Trull received the Outstanding Dissertation in Social Sciences, Business, Health and Behavioral Studies for her dissertation on “A Mixed Methods Study of Head Start Family Service Worker Qualifications and Family Service Utilization: Implications for Policy and Leadership.”


Kristen Smith

Kristen Smith ('12, '14M, Assessment & Measurement Ph.D. candidate) recently completed a noteworthy internship with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Collaborating with her professional mentor Dr. Alexei Mateev, Smith conducted a qualitative assessment of the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) Impact Reports of several institutions. Her involvement in the project continues and she is set to present the research at the upcoming Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U) conference.


Check out Smith’s achievements at www.jmu.edu/stories/academic-affairs/2015/10-19-tgs.shtml


Graduate Student Accomplishments 2014-2015 (archive)


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