Faculty Activities

Washington College professors are practicing artists, scientists, economists, historians, and writers who enjoy sharing their scholarly interests on campus, at national conferences, and on the international stage.

Faculty Research

  • Professor George Spilich recruits students to work in his eye gaze lab, where they track eye movements to help them better understand perceptual and cognitive processes.
  • Biology professor Martin Connaughton is interested in fish bio-acoustics and behavior, focusing on the anatomy and physiology of the sonic muscles, characterization of the sounds produced by these muscles, and the behaviors in which sound production play a role.
  • By radio-tagging, tracking, and mapping different turtle populations, Aaron Krochmal and his students have made some interesting discoveries about these humble, ecologically critical animals.
  • In Mindy Reynolds’ toxicology lab, students study the effects of heavy metals such as cadmium and nickel on human lung cells.

Faculty Achievements

  • May 2017

    Colin Campbell is the lead author of Correlations in the degeneracy of structurally controllable topologies for networks, which was published in the journal Scientific Reports in April. The study – which was coauthored by Steven Aucott ’16 and was heavily influenced by his SCE project – considers the complex task of controlling the behavior of a massive system of interacting components, with applications to topics as diverse as the national power grid and the development of treatments for cancer. The report is available here: https://www.nature.com/articles/srep46251  


    Tom Cousineau has been appointed to  the Fulbright Specialist Roster for a tenure of three years, making him eligible to be matched with projects designed by host institutions in over 150 countries globally.  He is currently in Bucharest leading a month-long seminar entitled “The Séance of Reading” as a Resident Fellow at the University of Bucharest’s Institute for Research in the Humanities.  This seminar explores the uncanny ways in which selected masterpieces of modernist writing  stage the covert, secularized return of the Christian concept of “the fortunate fall” in the form, not of a protagonist whose suffering leads to his redemption, but of a literary work  in which the human failing that a writer inflicts on his protagonist is converted into the aesthetic technique  that redounds to the writer’s enduring glory.


    Two Washington College faculty members have been awarded Maryland State Arts Council Grants for 2017.  Heather Harvey was awarded a $3,000 Individual Artist award in Visual Arts: Sculpture/Installation and James Hall was awarded won a $3,000 Individual Artist award in Poetry.


    Jon McCollum has been named editor of a new series on historical ethnomusicology with Roman & Littlefield publishers. As one of leading experts on historical ethnomusicology, McCollum will be charged with signing and publishing a corpus of related books on ethnomusicology with the press. McCollum’s recently published book, Theory and Method in Historical Ethnomusicology, which has recently moved to paperback, will ground the series.

    McCollum was invited to guest perform at the University of Maryland’s Clarice Smith Center for the Performing Arts. In addition to performing on both shakuhachi and koto, he acted as master of ceremonies for the performance of the professional ensemble, the Washington Toho Koto Ensemble.


    Kate Moncrief presented a paper, “Remembering Ophelia:  Theatrical Properties and the Performance of Memory in Shakespeare’s Hamlet” at the Shakespeare Association of America Conference, Atlanta, April 6-9, 2017.  During the summer of 2017, she will serve at Literary Seminar Director at the Tony Award-winning Utah Shakespeare Festival in Cedar City, Utah. 


    Ruth Shoge was the keynote speaker at the conference “Empowering You” presented by Sisters Empowering You and Corporate Gold at the City of Knowledge Convention Center, Panama. She spoke about her research on “Reconstructing the lives of West Indian Women during the building of the Panama Canal, 1904-1915.


    Michele Volansky dramaturged the world premiere of Doug Williams’s play Shitheads (at Azuka Theatre in February and March), which earned great reviews from the Philadelphia and D.C. press:  http://www.azukatheatre.org/sh-press.  Over spring break, Volansky served as the dramaturg for developmental workshops of two plays:  Kara Lee Corthron’s play Welcome to Fear City (in conjunction with the Contemporary American Theatre Festival) and Mickey Fisher’s play Replica (in conjunction with the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis); Corthron’s play will be produced this summer while Fisher’s will be done in the 2017-2018 season.  Finally, in her capacity as Associate Artist of PlayPenn, she oversaw the 2-year development of J.T. Rogers’s play Oslo, which opened at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre on Broadway on 4/13/17.  The response to the play was overwhelmingly positive (http://www.lct.org/shows/oslo-broadway/press/) and it was announced that the play would also be presented at the National Theatre of Great Britain before a transfer to the West End in the fall.  A film version is currently also being planned.


  • April 2017

    Bridget Bunten and Ryan Kelty are the co-editors of Risk-Taking in Higher Education: The Importance of Negotiating Intellectual Challenge in the College Classroom, which was released by Rowman and Littlefield Publishers at the end of March. They are also the co-authors of three of the volume’s chapters: “Introduction: The Importance and Challenge of Risk-Taking in Higher Education,” (ch. 3) “Falling Through the Looking Glass: Personalizing Privilege to Foster Understanding of the Social Nature of Stratification,” and “Conclusion: The Risk-Taking Imperative.”  We are pleased that Aaron Krochmal and his colleague Timothy C. Roth, II co-authored chapter 7 “From Comfort to Confidence: Modeling Science as a Process of Risk-Taking in the Classroom.” We are also grateful to Emily Chamlee-Wright for writing the Foreward on Feb. 24.

    James Hall’s new book of lyric personal essays, I Liked You Better Before I Knew You So Well, has just been published by Cleveland State University.  The book won the press’s Essay Collection Award, selected by Chris Kraus.


    Ryan Kelty’s article with Todd Woodruff (West Point) titled “Gender Moderation of Deployment Effects on Pro-Organizational Behaviors of U.S. Soldiers” published in the journal Armed Forces & Society (special issue on women in the military) is now out.  It can be accessed online at http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/0095327X16687068.  In addition, Dr. Kelty organized a mini-conference on military sociology at the Eastern Sociological Society annual meeting in Philadelphia last month. The mini-conference included 30 papers across eight sessions.  Dr. Kelty presented two papers at the ESS meeting: Predictors of Attitudes Toward Transgender Individuals’ Military Service: Military and Civilian Comparisons; and Social Support as Moderator of Effect of Stress on Mental Health Among Deployed Military and Civilian Personnel.


    Professor Kate Moncrief has published a review of “Drama and Pedagogy in Medieval and Early Modern England,” in Renaissance Quarterly 70.2 (2017). Additionally, her book, Shakespeare Expressed: Page, Stage and Classroom in Early Modern Drama, originally published in 2013 (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press), has been re-issued in paperback.


    Tia Murphy published “The influences of parent and peer attachment on bullying” in The Journal of Child and Family Studies.  She also presented her work, “Attachment and jealousy in a preschool-aged sample” at the Eastern Psychological Association Annual Meeting in Boston. Two former students were co-authors on this presentation.  Tia was also the co-author on her two students’ presentations that reported the findings from their senior capstone experiences.


    The Library and Academic Technology department, along with four other college libraries, has been awarded an Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) research grant of $25,000. Dean Ruth Shoge and Research/Information Literacy Librarian, Marianne Sade, along with directors and librarians from Goucher College, McDaniel College, Ursinus College, Washington College and Washington & Jefferson College, will collaborate with representative faculty, for the Fall of 2017, to develop a model that can be utilized by others. The ultimate goal is to directly affect and assess, the success of first-year, at-risk students by helping them develop essential college information literacy and research abilities. The group will assess these skills and also how it may affect students’ college persistence. The research and products created will be published broadly.


    Mindy Reynolds’ peer reviewed article, “Induction of cytotoxic and genotoxic damagefollowing exposure of V79 cells to cadmium chloride,” has been published in Mutation Research/Genetic Toxicology and Environmental Mutagenesis.  This work was conducted with Jimmy Comotto ’14, Jillian Gobrecht ’15, and Claire (Bonna) Donald ’13.  Mindy also recently presented this work at the Society of Toxicology Annual Meeting in Baltimore.  Mindy is the incoming Chair for the Society of Toxicology Education Committee, and she will be working with several institutions to increase the teaching of toxicological concepts and number of research opportunities for undergraduates at small colleges.


  • March 2017

    Erin Anderson presented the paper “Scouting for Leaders: Women, Girls, and Leadership Development” with Sociology student Rachel Martinez at the Eastern Sociology Society annual meeting in Philadelphia on Feb. 24.

    A.T. Moffett received an Established Professional Award in Choreography through the Delaware Division of the Arts. With the fellowship, Ann will work with dancers and collaborators to create an interdisciplinary work that explores the stories of military veterans and their re-entry into society through dance. Washington College dance minor students will be invited to participate in the preliminary research on the topic, the creation of complementary educational materials, and the culminating performance.  The production will be performed in the Fall 2017 Dance Minor concert as well as at a professional venue in Delaware in November around Veterans Day.

    Dylan Poulsen received notification that two of his papers have been accepted for publication. One paper is “The Emergence of Chaos on Non-Uniformly Timed Systems,” which will appear in the Proceedings of the Conference on Information Systems and Signals. The other is “The Geometry of the Region of Uniform Exponential Stability for Linear Time Invariant Dynamic Equations on Time Scales,” which will appear in Dynamics of Continuous, Discrete, and Impulsive Systems, Series A.

    In addition, Dylan’s submission to the 20th IFAC World Congress entitled “Optimal Control on Stochastic Time Scales” has been accepted for publication and presentation at the conference.


  • February 2017

    Kevin Brien’s major paper, “Toward a Critical Appropriation of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics for the 21st Century,” was published in DIALOGUE AND UNIVERSALISM, No. 4/2016, a publication the Polish Academy of Sciences.  

    Colin Campbell is a co-author of Compensatory interactions to stabilize multiple steady states or mitigate the effects of multiple deregulations in biological networks, which was published in the journal Physical Review E. The article investigates methods for manipulating intra- and inter-cellular networks to prevent and/or mitigate the effects of disease. The article abstract is available here: http://journals.aps.org/pre/abstract/10.1103/PhysRevE.94.062316

    Tom Cousineau gave a guest lecture at the University of Bucharest entitled “The Master Manole Complex: F. Scott Fitzgerald and his Gatsby.”

    Elena Deanda published the article “Quixotic Sade: Echoes of Cervantes in 120 Days of Sodom.” in Studies of Eighteenth Century Culture 46 (2017): 21-33.


    In addition to her work on campus, Prof. Laura J. Eckelman spent part of the fall semester in Washington DC designing lighting for the world premiere of Girl in the Red Corner, a new play by Stephen Spotswood ’98. Red Corner was the first production of the second generation of The Welders, a DC-based playwriting collective of which Spotswood is a member. The show, which tells the story of a frustrated young woman who takes up Mixed Martial Arts, was very favorably reviewed by the DC press and received a Helen Hayes Recommendation.

    Ken Miller’s monograph Dangerous Guests: Enemy Captives and Revolutionary Communities during the War for Independence (Cornell University Press, 2014) received honorable mention for the 2016 Harry M. Ward American Revolution Round Table of Richmond Book Award. Contenders for the prize are selected from the two previous years. Top honors for 2016 went to Claudio Saunt’s West of the Revolution: An Uncommon History of 1776 (W. W. Norton, 2014).

    Andrew Oros was pleased to see his second single-authored book, Japan’s Security Renaissance: New Policies and Politics for the 21st Century, published by Columbia University Press in January.  He also presented a paper at a workshop on “New Directions in Japan’s Security Policies” at Osaka University in January, and served as the external reviewer for the politics program external program review at Marymount University in Virginia.

    Michele Volansky served as the adjudicator for the University of Pennsylvania’s Penn Plays Fellowship program in December; as part of this, she served as the playwriting mentor and dramaturg for Penn senior Olivia Matlin, whose play BIRDS OF A FEATHER, was read at Penn on Friday 2/3/17.  Volansky also provided three external reviews for Methuen Publishing.

  • December 2016

    Aaron Krochmal recently published a paper entitled “Using Pharmacological Manipulation and High-precision Radio Telemetry to Study Spatial Cognition in Free-ranging Animals” in the Journal of Visualized Experiments.  Coauthored by Timothy C. Roth (Department of Psychology, Franklin and Marshall College) and Washington College students William Gerwig, ’14, Nathan Simmons, ’17, and Jeffery Sullivan, ’14, the paper describes a novel methodology that unites elements of pharmacology and neuroscience with classic field ecology to investigate cognitive aspects of animal navigation, the first method for such studies.  The full-text of the paper can be found here, and the associated video article can be found here

    John Leupold presented a paper entitled “Music Theory and Ear-Training for the Visually Impaired” at the College Music Society’s National Conference on October 27, 2016 in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

    Andrew Oros delivered a public lecture on “Trump’s Triumph: How, Why, and What Next” at Gadjah Mada University in Indonesia and talks on his forthcoming book, Japan’s Security Renaissance (Columbia University Press, February 2017), at Yale/National University of Singapore and the Rajaratnam School of International Studies/Nanyang Technological University.

    The Board of Directors of the Humane Society of Kent County recently elected Lansing Williams as Treasurer.  The HSKC is a “no kill” animal shelter, also responsible for the Kent County Animal Control.  Lansing and his wife, Sue Caswell, share their Chestertown home with four dogs, and six cats, all rescues, and are currently caring for eight foster kittens.

  • November 2016

    Tom Cousineau gave a talk entitled “Samuel Beckett and Emil Cioran: A Bilogical (sic) Reading of Fin de partie and L’Inconvénient d’être né” at the annual meeting of the Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association in Salt Lake City.
    Juan Lin’s peer-reviewed article, “The Feeling of Understanding: an exploration with neural models, E. Mizraji & J. Lin”, has been published in Cognitive Neurodynamics, an international journal. This research is the outcome of a WC traveling grant awarded to Juan last Spring.
    This past summer, Jon McCollum conducted faculty/student research with the Presidential Fellow and Cater Society member, Jordana Qi. The aim of this project was to collaboratively research and document diverse forms of Japanese Buddhist literary, musical, and visual expressions of creativity at various archival and museum locations, including: the Smithsonian Institution’s Freer Gallery, the Smithsonian Institution’s Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, the Alan Lomax Audio Archive, the Library of Congress Folklife Center, the National Archives and Records Administration, and other institutions that serve as holders of tangible and intangible culture. The results of this research was integrated into the course material and pedagogy of the new special topics course, Performing Japanese Buddhism, which is currently being offered by the Department of Music and cross-listed with the Department of Philosophy and Religion.
    McCollum also recently published a chapter on the integrations of music and food cultures of Armenia in the book, The Ethnomusicologists’ Cookbook, Volume II: Complete Meals from Around the World (Routledge 2015). A peer-reviewed text, this book covers over four dozen regions; the entries in these collection each include a regional food-related proverb, a recipe for a complete meal, a list of companion readings and listening pieces, and a short essay that highlights the significant links between music and food in the area.
    Finally, in October, McCollum was an invited guest lecturer for the graduate program in ethnomusicology at the University of Texas, Austin. There, he discussed the topic of new technologies in historical ethnomusicological research.
    Derek Thuecks have received a grant on behalf of the Physics Department for construction of an educational plasma physics lab station. The ALPhA Immersion Equipment Grant from the Jonathan F. Reichert Foundation is for the amount of $5920. These funds will supplement the capital funds already provided by the college this year. The primary use of this plasma physics station will occur in our Advanced Physics Laboratory course. This station alone provides at minimum five distinct experiments that the students may choose to conduct. Each experiment connects to different advanced physics concepts from upper-division courses, so these hands-on experiences will assist in solidifying ideas that are typically very abstract. The flexibility of this apparatus will also allow students to conduct experiments of their own design in this course or as an SCE project. The utility of this station extends beyond the Advanced Lab, as it can also be used as a demonstration of fundamental concepts in nearly every course in the department. Additionally, students intending to conduct research with Dr.  Thuecks (a plasma physicist) or Dr. Kehm (who uses an inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer, or ICPMS, in his research) can familiarize themselves with plasma behavior and standard research techniques through use of this lab station.
    Michele Volansky served as the Dramaturg for the world premiere of Andrea Stolowitz’s play Berlin Diary (Schluterstrasse 27), which opened at the English Theatre of Berlin on October 6th. She also served as an adjudicator for the Elliott Hayes Award in Dramaturgy (presented by the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas) as well as a book reviewer for two projects from Methuen Drama, an imprint of Bloomsbury Press.
    Lansing Williams has been named to a second three-year term on the Enactus United States Faculty Advisory Committee (FAC).  This committee of 25 Enactus advisors represent the diverse network of colleges and universities that make up the 443 Enactus teams in the United States.  The FAC serves as the primary liaison between Enactus United States and participating teams.  He has been working on a FAC Task Force to improve the transparence of judging at the Regional and National Competition levels.
  • October 2016

    Christopher Beasley had the following journal articles published: Beasley, C. R., Steltenpohl, C., & Stecker, E. (2016). Crowdsourcing mutual-help research funding. The Community Psychologist;  Jason, L. A., Stevens, E., Ram, D., Miller, S. A., Beasley, C. R., & Gleason, K. (2016). Theories in the field of community psychology. Global Journal of Community Practice and Jason, L. A., Stevens, E., Ram, D., Miller, S. A., Beasley, C. R., & Gleason, K. (2016). Our reflections on the reactions to ‘Theories in the Field of Community Psychology’. Global Journal of Community Practice;
    In addition, Christopher contributed to the following book chapters in S. Callahan & L. A. Jason (Eds.). Substance Abuse and Aftercare. Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science Publishers: Callahan, S., Petersen, A., Jason, L. A., Beasley, C. R., & Cavers, M. (in press). Criminal history disclosure self-efficacy scale development; Callahan, S., Cavers, M., Gelfman, N., Beasley, C. R., Calabra, K. Jason, L. A.  (in press). Oxford House recovery homes: Community characteristics as predictors of sustainability and Ponziano, F., 1Stecker, E., Beasley, C. R., Jason, L. A. & Ferrari, J. (in press). Relationships between childhood sexual abuse and substance use among women. 
    Lastly, Christopher’s symposium presentations in August 2016 at the American Psychological Association, Denver, CO include: Situational analysis: A next generation tool for complex multi-level theory generation. In D. Glenwick (Chair), Community-based research methodologies–qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods.; Third-order change as a systems theory for community psychology. In D. Glenwick & S. McMahon (Co-Chairs), The role of theory in community-based interventions. and Discussant. In L. A. Jason (Chair), Psychological insights into community organizing and self-help groups for health and well-being. 
    Kevin Brien presented a major paper titled “Toward a Critical Appropriation of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics for the 21st Century” at a congress of the International Society for Universal Dialogue held in July 2016 at the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw, Poland. 
    Colin Campbell has been appointed to a two-year term as a member of the editorial board of Scientific Reports, in the Biological Physics subject category. For more information about the journal, see: http://www.nature.com/srep/about
    Emily Chamlee-Wright has had two papers accepted for publication. Her article “Cultivating the Liberally Educated Mind Through Signature Programs,” co-authored with Joshua Hall and Laura Grube, has been accepted for publication by the Journal of Economic Education.  Her paper, “Local Recovery: How Robust Community Rebound Necessarily Comes from the Bottom Up,” co-authored with Virgil Storr and Stefananie-Haeffele-Bach, will appear in The Future of Disaster Management in the U.S.: Rethinking Legislation, Policy, and Finance, edited by Amy L. LePore. Routledge.
    Elena Deanda published “From Hell to Hell: Bodily Regimes and Archival Research in Mexico, Spain, the Vatican, and France” in Dieciocho 39.2 (2016): 296-300.  http://faculty.virginia.edu/dieciocho/39.2/
    James Hall’s lyric personal essay, “Be Destroyed,” first published in Alaska Quarterly Review, was named a Notable Essay of 2015 in the most recent volume of Best American Essays, edited by Jonathan Franzen.  He gave an invited reading, master class, and Q&A at Bennington College at the end of September.
    Tia Murphy is the co-author on a paper, “The role of attachment on adult attitudes toward interacting with children,” published in the Psi Chi Journal of Psychological Research. The manuscript reports the findings from Daina Raiffe’s ’14 Senior Capstone Experience.
    Janet Sorrentino presented a paper entitled “The Muslim Rahmanid State as Frontier for William of Gellone and Bernard of Septimania at the International Medieval Congress, Leeds, UK July 2016. While in England, she joined with History and Anthropology thesis student Isabelle Ryan to investigate late Roman to early Anglo-Saxon transitional structures at Portchester and Leicester.


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