Past Features

April 6, 2009 (Vol. 9, No. 6)

Quorum: News on Faculty Research

This is the fourth and final installment of the "Quorum Series," featuring information on recent faculty research, publications, and presentations.

Margot Mifflin
Penny Prince
Sarah Shuwairi
Marilyn Sokol
Christina Sormani
Thomas Spear
Robyn Spencer
Patricia Thompson
Jim Tsiamtsiouris
Mardi Valgemae
Bryan Warde
Esther Isabelle Wilder
Amanda Wunder
Eleanor Wurtzel

Margot Mifflin

Margot Mifflin
Margot Mifflin
Margot Mifflin (Assistant Professor, English Department) published The Blue Tattoo: The Life of Olive Oatman (University of Nebraska, April 2009). She also wrote an op-ed on President Barack Obama, titled "The Occidental Tourist," in The New York Times (January 18, 2009).

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Penny Prince

Penny Prince
Penny Prince
Penny Prince (Music Department, Lecturer) won her tenth consecutive ASCAP merit award for original music composition. Her music includes works for the theatre and for educational formats. Professor Prince's 2008 musical Cinderella, written collaboratively with ten cast members, had three successful performances at Lehman in June 2008 and an encore performance at the Riverdale YMHA in September. The production was also broadcast on Bronxnet.

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Sarah Shuwairi

Sarah Shuwairi
Sarah Shuwairi
Sarah Shuwairi (Assistant Professor, Psychology) opened a new research lab at Lehman , called the "Baby Lab," where she conducts research on perceptual development in early infancy. Her most recent research article, "Preference for impossible figures in four-month-old infants," is currently in press at the Journal of Experimental Child Psychology.

Professor Shuwairi presented her paper (with co-author Scott Johnson of U.C.L.A.) "Learning to perceive the impossible: Comparing infants' & adults' oculomotor activity while viewing possible and impossible cubes," at the biannual meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development in Denver (April 2009).

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Marilyn Sokol

Marilyn Sokol
Marilyn Sokol
Marilyn Sokol (Distinguished Lecturer, Journalism, Communication, and Theatre) received the Award for Lifetime Achievement from New York Artists Unlimited. She costarred in the film Lucky Days, which won Best Feature at the Coney Island Film Festival. She also had a guest-starring role on the ABC soap opera "All My Children." In addition, she cohosted Backstage Magazine’s "Bistro Awards Presentations."

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Christina Sormani

Christina Sormani
Christina Sormani
Christina Sormani (Professor, Mathematics and Computer Science), Marcie Wolfe (Executive Director, Institute for Literacy Studies), Serigne Ngingue (Associate Professor, Middle and High School Education), New York City Mathematics Project Director Suzanne Libfeld, and Anne Campos (Associate Director, Institute for Literacy Studies) have collaborated on a new program at Lehman called the Mathematics Teacher Transformation Institute, funded by the National Science Foundation.

Through the program, Bronx public high school and junior high school mathematics teachers work with Lehman faculty members to build their leadership skills by enhancing their knowledge of mathematics, mathematical research, education research, pedagogy, and the assessment of their students' preparation for technical careers. These teachers learn from one another, from faculty, and from mathematical professionals, through a rich variety of courses and conferences directly relevant to the current New York State curriculum. They return to their schools to share their knowledge and expertise with their peers, such as developing new courses and teaching strategies that better prepare students aiming for diverse mathematical careers, setting new standards so their students can achieve success in careers that demand mathematical expertise, and engaging students in extracurricular activities and courses that allow them to compete with their peers at top schools across the country.

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Thomas Spear

Thomas Spear
Thomas Spear
Thomas C. Spear (Professor, Languages & Literatures) presented the following papers: "Identités virtuelles" at the "Autofiction" Conference in Cerisy, France (July 21-31, 2008); "La rage retenue de Marie-Célie Agnant" at the Conference of the American Council on Québec Studies, Quebec City (November 13-16, 2008); Respondant to the panel, "Qu’est-ce que la littérature-monde?" Conference of the Modern Language Association, San Francisco (December 27-30, 2008); and "(R)Évolutions," at the "Littérature-monde: New Wave or New Hype?" International Conference, Florida State University in Tallahassee (February 12-14, 2009).

He received a 2008-2009 PSC-CUNY Research Award for the project entitled "Multimedia documentation for the web site, Île en île." Filming projects for this grant began in January 2009 in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Filming is continuing during spring 2009.

In addition, Professor Spear celebrated the tenth anniversary of the Île en île website with interviews by Stève Puig (online); Maguy Métellus for her program "D’une île à l’autre" on CPAM Radio Union in Montreal (broadcast live, October 12, 2008); and the audio podcast "A Conversation from Cameroon About Nobel Prize Winner Jean Marie Le Clezio," for Lehman on iTunesU’s "Multicultural Voices" (November 27, 2008).

Professor Spear was invited to present Une journée haïtienne at the Éditions Présence Africaine stand at the Salon du Livre de Paris’ (Paris Book Fair) (March 13-18, 2008) and at the Fondation Mémoire spring cultural event in Baldwin, N.Y. (April 20, 2008). He was the keynote speaker at the Haitian Book Fair at Howard University, Washington D.C. (May 25, 2008). He also was invited to Montreal’s Festival International de la Littérature for a public interview of Mme Christiane Yandé Diop, director of Éditions Présence Africaine at the Grande Bibliothèque of Quebec (September 27, 2008). In addition, he was invited to the Premier Congrès International des Écrivains de la Caraïbe [First International Convention of Caribbean Writers], Guadeloupe (November 25-28, 2008). Professor Spear was also invited to present the Mauritian author Ananda Devi in a public interview at the French Institute/Alliance Française in New York on March 18.

Professor Spear was a guest on Pierre-Edouard Deldique’s radio show "Signes particuliers" for Radio France Internationale (broadcast March 18, 2008). He also was interviewed in New York by Nicolas Willems for Radio RTBF (Belgium) on the U.S. Presidential elections (broadcast September 25, 2008).

Finally, he was invited to read an excerpt from a work in progress, titled "Europa," at "The Art of Words," Kirkland House, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass. (May 3, 2008).

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Robyn Spencer

Robyn Spencer
Robyn Spencer
Robyn Spencer (Assistant Professor, History) published "The Personal is Political: The Black Panther Party's Internal Revolution" in the Arts and Humanities Colloquium Series (December 2, 2008).

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Patricia Thompson

Patricia Thompson
Patricia Thompson
Professor Patricia Thompson (Counseling, Leadership, Literacy, and Special Education) took part in the conference "Does Leadership in Russia Matter?" organized by the Columbia-Russia Eurasia Forum and sponsored by The Harriman Institute at Columbia University and the Davis Center at Harvard University (February 2008).

Her book, My Discovery of Bashkortostan (2007), translated by Maya Fattahudinova with an introduction by Nicolai Morev, took first place in Bashkortostan’s journalistic competition "International Concord – Way to Prosperity of Bashkortostan" (April 2008).

She was invited by the Faculty of Foreign Languages and Area Studies to lecture at Lomonosov Moscow State University on her theory of Hestian feminism and gave two lectures in English (April 2008). Professor Thompson contributed the article "The Long-Standing Question of Women in Science and Mathematics" to the spring issue of Lehman’s Women’s Studies Review (forthcoming), which she is editing.

She was invited by the Embassy of the Russian Federation to the United States and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, together with the Government Commission for Russian Compatriots Abroad, to participate in a special conference in Moscow on "Descendants of Famous Russians," where she spoke on "My Rendezvous with History" (July 2008). She was later honored to be the 272nd person to receive "The Order of Lomonosov," established in the eighteenth century to honor the scholar, scientist, and educator for whom Lomonosov Moscow State University is named. Professor Thompson was an invited speaker at the "Festival of Russian Heritage" and "The Children’s Festival; of Russian Culture" sponsored by the Russian-American Cultural Heritage Center and held at Fort Tryon Park in New York City (May 2008).

She received another invitation from the Russian Foreign Ministry and appeared on the podium with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (October 2008). The next day she spoke at a session on "Protecting Russian Intellectual Property." She was interviewed on RT (Russia Today TV) by Al Gurnow, "the Larry King of Russia," and stories appeared in magazines and newspapers, most notably in Novosti, where she supported the candidacy of Barack Obama for the presidency.

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Jim Tsiamtsiouris

Jim Tsiamtsiouris
Jim Tsiamtsiouris
Jim Tsiamtsiouris (Assistant Professor, Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences) presented the following papers: "Treatment Outcomes of a three-week Intensive Stuttering Modification Program" at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (Chicago, 2008); "Successful Treatment of Advanced Stuttering" at the Department of Communication Disorders, Eastern Washington University, (Cheney, Wash., 2008); "Intensive Therapy Programs for the Adolescent and Adult Client Who Stutters" at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s Special Interest Division 4 Leadership/Clinical Conference (Phoenix, 2008); and "Sentence Processing in Adults Who Stutter" at the Department of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, New York University (New York, 2008).

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Mardi Valgemae

Mardi Valgemae
Mardi Valgemae
Mardi Valgemae (Professor, English) published the article "Teater ja kultus" in Vikerkaar, pp. 49-65 (September 2008), and "Jaan Undusk näitekirjanikuna" in Keel ja Kirjandus, pp. 841-846 (November 2008).

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Bryan Warde

Bryan Warde
Bryan Warde
Bryan Warde (Assistant Professor, Social Work) published the following articles: "The Road to Tenure: Narratives of African American Male Tenured Professors" in the Journal of African American Studies (2008); "Comparison of role perceptions of immigrant foster parents of African descent from English-speaking Caribbean countries and African American foster parents" in the Journal of Immigrant and Refugee Studies, vol. 5, no, 4, 59-74 (2008); and a book review of "Collaborating with Community-Based Organizations through Consultation and Technical Assistance" in Families in Society, vol. 88, no. 1 (2008).

He presented the following papers: "Male Social Workers in Child Welfare: A Qualitative Analysis, Seventh Annual Mississippi Child Welfare Institute Conference" at Jackson State University, Jackson, Miss. (February 2009); "Where are the Men? The Need to Attract More Men from Diverse Backgrounds to the Social Work Profession" at the Lehman College 25th Anniversary Conference on Urban Social Work (November 2008); "Narratives of African American Men in Social Work Education" at the Council on Social Work Education Annual Program Meeting in Philadelphia (November 2008); "The Family Floor Plan: A Tool for Child Welfare Professionals" at the Annual Conference of the National Black Child Development Institute in Atlanta (October 2008); "Where are the Men? The Need to Attract More Men from Diverse Backgrounds to the Social Work Profession" and "Turning Presentations into Papers" at the Annual Conference of the New York State Social Work Education Association, Saratoga Springs, N.Y. (October 2008); and "The Transition from Immigration to Social Worker: The Narratives of Women of African Descent from English-speaking Caribbean Countries" at the Annual Conference of the Social Welfare Action Alliance, Houston (April 2008).

He was awarded a grant from the PSC-CUNY 38 Research Award Program for his research titled "The Motherland: A phenomenological investigation of the life experiences of West Indians who immigrated to England between 1956 and 1966."

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Esther Isabelle Wilder

Esther Isabelle Wilder
Esther Isabelle Wilder
Esther Isabelle Wilder (Associate Professor, Sociology) published "Responding to the Quantitative Literacy Gap among Students in Sociology Courses" in Teaching Sociology (forthcoming).

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Amanda Wunder

Amanda Wunder (Assistant Professor, History) published (with Laura R. Bass) "The Veiled Ladies of the Early Modern Spanish World: Scandal and Seduction in Seville, Madrid, and Lima" in Hispanic Review (Winter 2009).

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Eleanor Wurtzel

Eleanor Wurtzel
Eleanor Wurtzel
Eleanor Wurtzel (Professor, Biological Sciences) coauthored and published the following articles: "Natural genetic variation in Lycopene Epsilon Cyclase tapped for maize biofortification," Science, 319: 330-333 (2008); "The maize phytoene synthase gene family: overlapping roles for carotenogenesis in endosperm, photomorphogenesis, and thermal stress-tolerance," Plant Physiology, 147: 1334-1346 (2008); "PSY3, a new member of the phytoene synthase gene family conserved in the Poaceae and a key regulator of abiotic-stress-induced root carotenogenesis," Plant Physiology, 146 (3): 1333-1345 (2008).

Professor Wurtzel will present "Maize: a model cereal crop for developing strategies to solve global vitamin A deficiency," at TERPNET 2008, Ninth International meeting, Tokyo (May 25-29, 2009).

She presented the paper "Maize: a model cereal crop for developing strategies to solve global vitamin A deficiency" at the Donald Danforth Plant Sciences Center, St. Louis (November 5, 2008), at the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, The Hebrew University, Jerusalem (July 20, 2008), and at the Unidad de Bioquímica y Biología Molecular de Plantas, Centro de Investigación Científica de Yucatán (CICY), Mérida, Yucatán (July 2, 2008). She also copresented the following papers: "Maize: a model cereal crop for developing strategies to solve global vitamin A deficiency" during the "MAC Symposium: Foods of the Gods," at the Plant Biology 2008 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Plant Biologists in Mérida, Yucatán (June 27- July 1, 2008) and "The revised carotenoid biosynthetic pathway in plants" at the Maize Genetics Conference in Washington D.C. (Feb. 27- Mar. 2, 2008). In addition, she copresented the poster "Natural genetic diversity as a tool towards metabolic engineering strategies to improve or modulate endosperm carotenogenesis" at the Maize Genetics Conference in Washington, D.C. (Feb 27- Mar. 2, 2008).

In other news, Professor Wurtzel joined the editorial board of Plant Physiology, one of the top journals in Plant Biology. She was made a member of the Gordon Research Conference Selection and Scheduling Committee, which advises on all new and ongoing Gordon Research Conferences worldwide (www.grc.org/selsched.aspx). She served on the Plant Biochemistry grant review panel for the U.S.D.A. in June 2008.

Professor Wurtzel’s work was featured in "Corn Gets an A," in Findings Magazine (September 2008). For this article and others, visit maize.lehman.cuny.edu/webwurtzel/wurtzelhomepage/news.htm.

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