Westmont Magazine Professors Pursue Scholarly Work During the Pandemic
Anna Aboud (mathematics) received the prestigious Structured Quartet Research Ensembles (SQuaREs) research grant from the American Institute of Mathematics. She’ll collaborate with four mathematicians for three years on Fractional Laplacians on Fractal Domains.
Blake Victor Kent (sociology) co-authored an article about stress, spirituality and health in the journal Religions. The center producing this work—Blake serves as affiliated researcher and co-investigator—received a $3 million grant from the Templeton Foundation for Investigating the Impact of Multiple Dimensions of Religion and Spirituality on Risk of Cardiovascular Disease across Diverse Racial/Ethnic Communities.
He has authored or co-authored four publications. “Religion and Spirituality among American Indian, South Asian, Black, Hispanic/Latina, and White Women in the Study on Stress, Spirituality, and Health” appears in the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion. The second, “Plasma Protein Expression Profiles, Cardiovascular Disease, and Religious Struggles among South Asians in the MASALA Study,” was published in Scientific Reports. “Depression, Religiosity, and Telomere Length in the Study on Stress, Spirituality, and Health” appears in the International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction. The fourth, “What Have We Learned about Religion, Spirituality, and Health in the MASALA Study of U.S. South Asians?” was published in the Public Health, Religion, and Spirituality Bulletin.
Holly Beers (religious studies) published “Filling Up What Is Lacking in Christ’s Afflictions: Isaiah’s Servant and Servants in Second Temple Judaism and Colossians 1:24” in “Who Created Christianity? Fresh Approaches to the Relationship between Paul and Jesus” (Hendrickson, 2020).
Kristi Lazar Cantrell (chemistry) and her collaborators published “Catalytic Cross Talk between Key Peptide Fragments that Couple Alzheimer’s Disease with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis” in Journal of the American Chemical Society. Written in collaboration with research groups at UCSB, the article includes the work of Westmont students Grace Schonfeld and Ellen Trapp.
Deborah Dunn (communication studies, co-director, Westmont Center for Dialogue and Deliberation), Rachel Winslow (director, Westmont's Center for Social Entrepreneurship; co-director, Westmont Center for Dialogue and Deliberation), and Kayla Petersen (program coordinator, Westmont Initiative for Public Dialogue and Deliberation) presented “Learning to Listen and Striving for Space: Deliberating the Housing Crisis” to the Dialogue Society Conference in London. The Journal of the Dialogue Society published Dunn and Winslow’s paper “Learning to Listen Agonistically: Dialogue Encounters on the Eastside.” The two hosted a virtual summit, “Restoring Community and Strengthening Resilience” on Santa Barbara’s Eastside with Westmont students facilitating discussions about the impact of homelessness on the community.
After giving numerous relational and mental health webinars in the early months of quarantine, Andrea Gurney (psychology) designed a four-week online course, Marriage Bootcamp, and has offered
it several times with participants from Alaska, Seattle, Chicago, Boston and the Westmont community.
Michelle C. Hughes (education) contributed two teaching stories, “Phantom Joy” and “A String of Ah-Ha Moments,” to Generating Tact and Flow for Effective Teaching and Learning published with Routledge (Steeg Thornhill & Badley, 2021, p. 63, 112).
Yi-Fan Lu (biology) and his colleagues published a preprint article, “Precision genetic cellular models identify therapies protective against endoplasmic reticulum stress,” in bioRxiv. The authors discovered a number of new compounds with potential therapeutic effects against several congenital genetic disorders.
Carmen McCain (English) gave an invited presentation, “God has exposed you: censorship, citizenship and cosmopolitanism unity in Muslim and Christian responses to repression in Northern Nigeria,” at the online workshop Remapping the Study of Islam and Muslim Cultures in Nigeria held at the University of Florida in January.
Rebecca McNamara (English) and colleague Sara Torres drew from their experiences of teaching on sexual assault in medieval literature for their article “Female Consent and Affective Resistance in Romance: Medieval Pedagogy and #MeToo,” published in a special issue on #MeToo of New Chaucer Studies: Pedagogy and Profession in March.
Carolyn Mitten (education) and her colleagues published an article, “Online Resources for Mathematics: Exploring the Relationship between Teacher Use and Student Performance,” in Investigations in Mathematical Learning in April. She also shared the results of a recent study in her presentation “Comparing Preservice Teachers’ Perceptions of Math and Literacy Methods” at the annual meeting of the Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators in February.
Edd Noell (economics and business) serves on an advisory board for the Christian Scholar’s Review as Westmont’s representative. Noell and Stephen Smith from Hope College published the lead article in a recent issue, “Economics, Theology, and a Case for Economic Growth: An Assessment of Recent Critiques.”
Don Patterson (computer science) and colleagues published “Analyzing the Sustainability of 28 ‘Blockchain for Good’ Projects via Affordances and Constraints” in the journal Information Technology for Development. They studied initiatives that strive to use blockchain technology to promote environmental sustainability and evaluated the potential of such ambitious projects.
Caryn Reeder (religious studies) contributed a chapter, “Insiders and Outsiders: Community Violence in Deuteronomy,” to Cambridge Companion to the Hebrew Bible and Ethics (ed. Carly Crouch; Cambridge University Press, 2021).
Sandra Richter (Gundry professor of biblical studies) has created a new video course, “Stewards of Eden,” at SeminaryNow.com. Each session draws out a biblical mandate about humanity’s responsibility to care for the land, domestic and wild creatures and people on the margins.
Sarah Skripsky (English), who has long directed the Writers’ Corner, has become the Writing Across the Curriculum coordinator, an initiative growing out of an assessment of the college’s Institutional Learning Outcome (ILO) on writing. Skripsky will work individually with departments on strategies to help students better write for multiple audiences, sponsor workshops, harmonize standards for writing-intensive courses and improve the placement of incoming students in composition.
Amanda Sparkman (biology) published “Current and time-lagged effects of climate on innate immunity in two sympatric snake species” in the journal Ecology and Evolution with former major honors student Lucia Combrink ’19 as first author. She also published “Embryonic heart rate correlates with maternal temperature and developmental stage in viviparous snakes” in Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A: Molecular & Integrative Physiology with research technician Kelly Evans ’19 as first author. She co-authored a study, “Microevolutionary change in mimicry? Potential erosion of rattling behavior among nonvenomous snakes on islands lacking rattlesnakes,” in the journal Ethology, Ecology and Evolution with collaborators from UNC Chapel Hill.
Paul Willis (English) published a short essay about bighorn sheep in the Sierra, “An Art of Conducting Oneself,” on the website of Wilderness Watch.
Sameer Yadav (religious studies) published an article in the T&T Clark Companion to Analytic Theology, “Willie Jennings on the Supersessionist Pathology of Race: A Differential Diagnosis.” He wrote a popular article on abolitionist vs. slaveholder biblical interpretation for the online publication Pax: “The Bible says it, I believe it, that settles it? Myth of the Plain Sense.” He was featured on the Crux Sola blog as a Theologian to Read and Follow, and he appeared in two podcasts: one as an interviewee for Talking Politics and Religion Without Killing Each Other and on Yale Center for Faith and Culture’s For the Life of the World to discuss the life and thought of Howard Thurman.