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Fifth Annual Arnold Grants and High-Impact Experience Fund Awards Announced by Lebanon Valley College
05.20.15 |
From studying opera in Verona, Italy or working to revitalize the Lakota American Indian language in Fort Yates, North Dakota, to instructing transnational students in Cholula, Mexico, or teaching music in Asunción, Paraguay, Lebanon Valley College faculty and students will pursue several innovative academic projects this summer and the coming academic year. These high-impact experiences are due in large part to the continued generosity of Ed Arnold H’87, trustee emeritus, and Jeanne Donlevy Arnold H’08, member of the College’s Board of Trustees. In addition, other College friends who were inspired by the tremendous ongoing success of the Arnold Grant Program contributed to the College’s High-Impact Experience Fund, enhancing the Arnold Grants and further supporting these student and faculty endeavors.

Support from the Arnolds and other supporting donors will provide varied opportunities for 11 faculty and 63 students to conduct summer research, experience U.S.-based and international internships and scholarly activities, and/or participate in projects leading to publication of their work throughout the coming year. This year’s Arnold Grant and High-Impact Fund recipients represent virtually almost every one of LVC’s 36 majors, several minors, and some self-designed programs.

The Arnolds established The Edward H. Arnold and Jeanne Donlevy Arnold Program for Experiential Education in 2011. Through the program, the Arnolds award up to $50,000 per year to support student-faculty research across the curriculum, independent student summer research or scholarly projects, and independent student domestic or international internships. Additional monies to support these transformative projects were provided by alumni and friends through gifts to the College’s High-Impact Experience Fund.

Since its inception, the Arnold Grant program has grown exponentially. In its first four years, U.S.-based Arnold Grants were awarded for student internships and student-faculty research projects in Massachusetts, New York City, Puerto Rico, Pittsburgh, Tennessee, and Washington, D.C., among others. International research and student internships occurred in England, Hungary, Mexico, the Netherlands, Paraguay, and Spain.

Arnold Grants are awarded through a competitive, systematic process overseen by Dr. Michael Green, vice president of academic affairs and dean of the faculty, and the Arnold Grant Selection Committee, featuring faculty representatives from the three major academic divisions. “We want to provide high-impact experiences for all of our students,” Green said. “Student-faculty research across the curriculum is a hallmark of Lebanon Valley College. We are thrilled to have so much interest in the Arnold Grant Program, which places academics front and center.”

2015–2016 Arnold Grants and High-Impact Experience Fund Awards for Student-Faculty Research

“The Sesquicentennial Project”
Dr. Rebecca McCoy, associate professor of history
Brittany Baird ’15, English (creative writing concentration) and historical communications
Marie Gorman ’17, international studies, Spanish, and studio art
Cody Kelly ’16, music education (trumpet) and music (sacred music/trumpet performance)
Brianna Leiter ’17, history
Rebecca Sauser ’16, history and religion
Jeannette Tropp ’17, digital communications


This summer 2015 project will continue and finalize research conducted in History 460 during the spring 2015 semester. Students in that course began designing a campus-wide exhibit that will be displayed in 2016 as part of Lebanon Valley College’s 150th anniversary celebration. Students worked on individual history projects ranging from “Women Faculty at LVC” to the “Early History of Football at LVC.”

During the spring semester, 11 students designed the exhibit; conducted research in order to identify documents, photos, and artifacts for display; and wrote text for the exhibit. This work will serve as a resource for an anniversary phone application (app) being developed by Dr. Jeff Ritchie, chair and associate professor of digital communications, and his students.

The summer 2015 Arnold Grant will enable six students to work with Dr. McCoy to complete research and prepare for the exhibit, accompanying website, and phone app. Other student work could include arranging and preparing the objects, photos, and documents for reproduction, because originals cannot be publicly displayed. Finally, students may also review the numerous oral histories conducted by Dr. Art Ford, professor emeritus of English, for additional material to add to their respective research areas.


“General Music Classroom Teaching in La Madre de Ciudades (“The Mother of Cities”)
Dr. Rebecca Crow Lister, associate professor of music
Laura Ramage ’16, music and elementary education
Kyra Lancaster ’18, music education


In the 21st century, most teachers would agree that it is crucial that the classroom extend outward from campus into the community and world at large. It is this idea that inspired this project, “General Music Classroom Teaching in La Madre de Ciudades.”

Laura Ramage ’16 and Kyra Lancaster ’18 will do more than “practice” teaching—they will be real teachers—when they accompany Dr. Rebecca Lister, associate professor of music, on this summer program in Paraguay. In Asunción, one of the oldest cities in the heart of South America, they will work with students entirely unlike any with whom they have worked before.

The project will provide Ramage and Lancaster, both music education majors, with real life teaching experiences on the elementary level. They will teach general music classes and lead workshops in the Colegio Internacional de Asunción. Additionally, Dr. Lister and these students will work and study with students at the Conservatorio Nacional de Musica in order to gain better understanding of music and general Paraguayan culture. Dr. Lister will supervise and assist these students and use her contacts in Paraguay to facilitate further learning opportunities. Together, they hope to build on the foundation for exchange between Paraguayan and American students in the field of music, as well as other disciplines. 


“Role of Adenosine Signaling in Dopamine 2 Receptor and Dopamine Transporter Depletion in Iron Deficiency”
Dr. Erica Unger, assistant professor of biology
Morgan Webb ’17, biology


Dr. Unger and her student-researcher, Morgan Webb ’17, will use PC12 cells to investigate the impact of iron depletion on adenosine A2a receptor protein levels and examine the effect of pharmacological stimulation of adenosine A2a receptors on the dopamine 2 receptor and the dopamine transporter in iron deficiency. This new project builds on Dr. Unger’s previous research at Lebanon Valley College and the Pennsylvania State University, which focused on iron deficiency and altered brain function. It will be a 10-week summer research project.

In addition to providing an exceptional biology student with experiences necessary to becoming a successful scientist, this grant will potentially lead to Webb presenting her research at the Disappearing Boundaries Summer Research Conference at LVC in July 2015 and at Inquiry 2016. Dr. Unger will also encourage Webb to present her data at the University of Maryland Baltimore County Research Symposium in October. Dr. Unger’s previous research students—Tim Monko ’15 and Emily Spurlin ’15—placed first and second, respectively, in this competition in 2014.

Dr. Unger and Webb will devote significant time to reviewing the primary literature and to data presentation in poster and manuscript formats, in addition to performing laboratory research and data analysis. This intensive summer research experience will lead to Webb becoming more independent in the laboratory.


“Environmental Change on Submersed Aquatic Vegetation Communities”
Dr. Rebecca Urban, associate professor of biology
Haley Wagner ’18, biology


During summer 2015, Dr. Urban will work with Haley Wagner ’18 to establish a set of long-term monitoring sites in Raquette Lake in the Adirondack Mountains of New York. The sites will address three initial questions: (1) How does depth influence distribution of predominate growth forms within plant communities? (2) Are plant communities dominated by particular growth forms more stable than others? (3) How do site characteristics influence rate of community change?

Dr. Urban and Wagner will conduct fieldwork, create herbarium samples, and begin a greenhouse experiment at LVC. At Raquette Lake, Dr. Urban will train Wagner in vegetation sampling methodology, plant and sediment collection, and measuring light availability using quantum sensors. She will teach her student how to press plant specimens on herbarium paper, and to identify, label, and mount the specimens when they return to Lebanon Valley College from the lake.

After returning, Dr. Urban will teach Wagner how to establish an independent research experiment on submersed aquatic plants. This will lead to Wagner presenting the results of her independent research project at a regional conference.


“Color + Culture”
Professor Michael Pittari, chair and professor of art & art history
Diana Hoffman ’16, art history
Rebecca Worhach ’16, studio art & art history


This Arnold Grant, Professor Pittari’s second, will support a six-week summer project in which two students—Diana Hoffman ’16 and Rebecca Worhach ’15—will work alongside Pittari on editing, designing, and publishing a journal of essays written by Lebanon Valley College students in Color + Culture (ART 351) from 2004 through 2015. The publication, Color + Culture, will contain 12 to 15 essays and full-color images. The 100-page journal will be visually appealing through the ample use of color and well-designed layouts. This grant will enable the printing of 250 copies through the online publishing house, Blurb.

Pittari designed and began teaching Color + Culture in 2004 in order to explore the world of color as it extends outward from the field of visual art. With the study of art history as a starting point, the class has grown to encompass literature, music, sociocultural issues (such as gender, race, and sexuality), and visual culture at large (advertising, film, and television). Paralleling this expansion of content, Pittari’s approach to teaching the class has evolved from a traditional pedagogy to a more dynamic approach incorporating interactive presentations, discussion groups, and focused writing projects. This new pedagogy has resulted in a proliferation of highly original scholarship on topics that span a broad spectrum of disciplines.

This summer, Pittari will oversee Hoffman and Worhach as they each read approximately 30 top-level papers written by students from across the curriculum for Color + Culture since 2004. From this, 12 to 15 finalists will be selected for the eventual publication. The students will collaborate with Pittari on editing, designing, publishing, and distributing Color + Culture. Pittari envisions the journal becoming and annual or bi-annual release that further highlights this signature high-impact program at LVC.


“Workshop for Young Readers and Writers in Cholula, Mexico”

Dr. Kathleen Tacelosky, chair of languages, professor of Spanish
Sarah Kensinger ’16, early childhood education
Alexander Vazquez ’18, English


The results of on-going longitudinal research with Mexican transnational students has shown that students have trouble maintaining the reading and writing skills they gained while attending school in the United States. The research also shows that community-based projects are appropriate ways to help them meet their linguistic goals (Tacelosky, 2013).

As a result of this research, this grant will enable two LVC students—Sarah Kensinger ’16 and Alexander Vazquez ’18—to work with each other and Dr. Tacelosky to plan and carry out a readers’ and writers’ workshop to support linguistic development of transnational students. The LVC students will test the reading and writing skills before and after the three-week workshop in July and August 2015.

After returning from Mexico, the students will analyze the data and results, with the hopes of producing a paper during the fall semester. The student-faculty collaboration will result in the submission of a proposal to present their findings at a regional conference in fall 2015 or spring 2016.


“Children’s Physical Therapy Book: Translation into Spanish, French, and German for an International Educational Resource on Health, Wellness, and Injury Recovery” (Phase II)
Dr. Michael Fink, assistant professor of physical therapy
Dr. Gabriela McEvoy, assistant professor of Spanish
Dr. Ivette Guzman-Zavala, associate professor of Spanish
Dr. Joerg Meindl, assistant professor of German
Ms. Morgane Bourglan Agarwal, adjunct instructor of French
Forty-three LVC students


This collaborative Arnold Grant is an extension of a 2012 Arnold Grant that funded interdisciplinary work involving 14 students in the Art & Art History, Digital Communications, Education, and Physical Therapy departments that resulted in the publication of the first-ever children’s story book on physical therapy, “Sammy’s Physical Therapy Adventure,” and companion coloring & activity book of the same name.

The current Phase II project will incorporate an additional four faculty members and 43 students from the Spanish, German, and French programs to translate this children’s book into the three foreign languages. The ultimate goal is to translate and publish a book that can educate the non-English speaking population in the United States, and provide an international resource to help individuals learn about physical therapy in countries where these languages are common.

Among other outcomes, Dr. Fink will work with the faculty partners to ensure that this project furthers their students’ education in their respective languages. The current LVC students will build on the previous work of authoring, editing, illustrating, and designing the printed and bound children’s book by translating and editing the translated versions to convey the appropriate meanings. This work will be distributed throughout the local community in pediatric physical therapy offices, hospitals, schools, and libraries, with international publication and availability anticipated. Locally, the participating LVC departments could use this product to raise funds for departmental programs, all of which will further the College’s commitment to local and international communities.


2015–2016 Arnold Grants for Independent Student Summer Research or Scholarly Projects and/or Independent Student Domestic or International Internships

“World Trade Center Harrisburg”—Summer Domestic Internship
Corby Myers ’17, business administration and international affairs (minor)

Corby Myers ’17, who previously studied marketing through LVC’s Maastricht, Netherlands, program, will continue in the tradition of previous LVC students who have interned with the World Trade Center Harrisburg when she works in marketing, communications, and event planning there this summer. Her role will involve the global resources that are provided by the organization to the local and regional business community.

The primary objective of Myers’ internship will be to market, communicate, and plan events for surrounding businesses. These events provide resources that will solve and resolve key issues and concerns that Pennsylvania companies experience in the global market.


“Noisy Little Critter Studios”—Summer Domestic Internship
Cory Paternoster ’16, music recording technology

Cory Paternoster ’16 will have the opportunity to work closely in the studio with Mike Bardzik, owner and chief engineer of Noisy Little Critter Studios, on professional recording sessions using equipment common to LVC students as well as new equipment. He will also work with Bardzik on finishing the final pieces of this fully functioning studio, which is a unique internship experience that will help Paternoster learn about studio design and acoustic treatment of sound rooms.

The studio, though only two years old, has recorded an impressive list of albums and EPs in their converted historic barn in Downingtown, Pa. It is widely considered one of the most successful independent studios in Pennsylvania. Paternoster will help set up and run recording sessions, as well as do physical work in the mainly acoustic treating rooms to gain a complete, hands-on perspective of how a professional studio is established.


“Opera Viva”—Summer Scholarly Project
Timothy Lupia ’16, economics and music (voice and sacred music)
Dylan Tobias ’16, music (voice, theory, composition, and sacred music concentrations)


A pair of star music voice majors will have a truly unique global experience this summer after being accepted to study at the prestigious international institute “Opera Viva” in Verona, Italy. There, during separate sessions, Timothy Lupia ’16 and Dylan Tobias ’16 will study Italian opera, the Italian language, how to prepare concert repertoire in a master class, and work on the Alexander Technique.

Dr. Madelyn Gearheart, a world-renowned opera singer, is the primary operator of “Opera Viva.” Classes are taught by an esteemed group of international educators and performers, including professional opera singers and faculty from the Eastman School of Music, University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, the Manhattan School of Music, and The Juilliard School. Lupia and Tobias will also be able to attend opera productions at L’Arena di Verona, a 1st century Roman amphitheater, which is internationally recognized for the large-scale opera performances given there. It is one of the only remaining natural amphitheaters in the world.

Performance is a major component of “Opera Viva.” The program will enable Lupia and Tobias to highlight their voices through private pedagogy lessons and opera coaching, leading to their performance in three public recitals featuring solo concert repertoire, opera arias, and opera scenes. Lupia will give a senior performance recital that implements the repertoire and vocal skills learned at “Opera Viva” during the 2015–2016 academic year. Tobias, an aspiring performer who eventually wants to teach the art of singing, plans to attend graduate school in 2016 to further these goals. At “Opera Viva,” he will focus on Italian opera literature, technique, and performance.


“Lakota Summer Institute”—Summer Scholarly Project
Quinn Orris ’17, English, psychology, and philosophy

Significant parts of Quinn Orris’ ’17 studies at Lebanon Valley College have consisted of investigating the idea of American Indian identity and combatting the effects of generational loss (i.e. the diminishing knowledge of American Indian history and ethnic connections to familial antecedents). This grant will enable Orris to participate in the Lakota Summer Institute (LSI) in Fort Yates, N.D., for the second consecutive summer. In 2014, he participated in the LSI and fostered a second language acquisition experience that contributed to his interests and goals as a scholar.

At the 2014 LSI, Orris was introduced to the concept of language revitalization, which is represented by the effort to reconnect with the original language of American Indian Sioux Tribes and to rebuild the living, Lakota-speaking population. At LSI, he learned that there are currently no people under the age of 30 who can speak Lakota fluently. Orris intends to use his summer 2015 LSI training to intervene in this problem.

Orris has high-level goals that include Lakota language acquisition and cultural preservation. He will record his summer experiences, including the pronunciation and sentence formation of the Lakota language so that he can continue to improve his language skills. Orris will also record the various traditional, cultural immersion experiences offered at the Institute, so that he can become more culturally fluent and help pass these skills on to future generations.


“CWS-Lancaster’s Immigration Legal Services Program”—Summer Domestic Internship

Giovanna Ortiz ’16, political science, global studies, Spanish, law and society (minor)

With the help of local co-sponsoring churches and volunteers, the CWS immigration and refugee office in Lancaster welcomes around 400 individuals each year to central Pennsylvania and aims to help the new arrivals adjust and become successful members of their local neighborhoods.

Giovanna Ortiz ’16 will spend her summer working full-time in an unpaid position to conduct research on case law, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services policies, and court procedures. She will also prepare briefs and country condition reports on immigration cases, creating client files, and assisting clients in Spanish and English. The cultural component of the work environment, along with the exposure to immigration law, will provide Ortiz with an invaluable experience and help her pursue legal studies in the field of politics, Spanish, international relations, and law.

Ortiz plans to continue her personal independent inquiry into the immigrant identity in the social structure of the United States alongside this internship with CWS-Lancaster’s Immigration Legal Services Program.



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