Faculty Set to Shine at Inaugural Showcase

October 31, 2019
By: Nancy Sheehan

Research and creative projects by Worcester State University’s faculty achieve a level worthy of national attention, but that recognition can be elusive. The inaugural Showcase of Faculty Scholarship and Creativity on Tuesday, Nov. 5, is meant to be a meaningful step toward the acknowledgement their work deserves.

More than 20 faculty members have signed on to give poster presentations, talks, or performances from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. in various locations in the Student Center. The new event will shine a spotlight on scholarly and creative activity, with opportunities for students and the campus community to see the faculty’s body of work and engage across disciplines.

Poster presentations will be in the Student Center exhibition area and will vary widely, from Supports for Visual Comparisons in STEM Textbooks, by Benjamin Jee (Psychology), to Using a Soil bacterium to Kill Parasitic Roundworms, by Yan Hu (Biology). Both are E-posters.

Oral presentations, to be held in the North/South Auditorium, range from the historical, Nordic Days: Festival, Culture, and Identity in Lübeck, 1920-1960, by Erika Briesacher (History), to the very contemporary, “#MeToo’s Socio-Cultural and Structural Impact on Patriarchal Power,” by Julie Frechette (Communication).

There will be two performances, Gleefully Foolish, by Jonathan Blake (English), and Contemporary Poetry, Or Something Like It with Samuel Capradae (ESLO).

“Faculty members have been asking for a faculty parallel to the annual student Celebration of Scholarship and Creativity for some time,” Russ Pottle, dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, says. “It was a shared initiative among people in Academic Affairs. We all wanted to do this and the provost (Lois Wims) has been extremely supportive and really pushed to make it happen.”

The audience for the showcase will be multifarious, Pottle says. “It would be great for students to come and see this. It’s also great for faculty to see what each other is doing and for the university community to see this kind of activity as a really vital part of the academic enterprise.”

“It is an exciting moment for the campus community to celebrate the great achievements of our faculty beyond the classroom,” says Henry C. Theriault, associate dean for academic affairs. “I hope that this showcase will inform potential students and families as well as area academics about just how substantial WSU research and creative activity is.”

Additionally, at a dinner after the showcase, inaugural Dean’s Lectures will be given by Karen Woods Weierman (English) and Margarita Perez (Education), both of whom will be presented with awards in recognition of the high quality of their academic work.

The Faculty Showcase schedule is as follows:

Poster Presentations

Student Center Exhibit Space, 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

  1. Making Library Online Tutorials Rock by Office Sway Shu Qian
  2. Supports for Visual Comparisons in STEM Textbooks​ (E-Poster), Benjamin Jee
  3. Effects of Increasing Depth of Word Knowledge on Social Inferencing Skills in Adolescents with High Functioning Autism, ​ Lori Bass
  4. Prions as a Potential Bioweapon – Hazard Prediction and Risk Analysis, Lawrence Roberge
  5. ​Student Experience of Connection in LPN-RN Programs: An Integrative Review, Amanda Cornine
  6. LibreFoodPantry: Developing a Multi-Institutional, Faculty-Led, Humanitarian Free and Open Source Software Community, Karl Wurst
  7. Monitoring and Evaluation of Critical Success Factors Drives Enterprise Resources Planning Systems Toward Success ​ (E-Poster,) Shruti Nagpal
  8. Accelerating Gateway course completion of Liberal Arts MATH Pathway at WSU, Hansun To and Eileen Perez
  9. WSU Math Center, Elizabeth Gilbert and Eileen Perez
  10. Mathematics Pathways, Gateway Courses and Co-Requisites, Eileen Perez and Michael Winders
  11. Presentation of published research from the Biology Department, Peter Bradley and Ellen Fynan
  12. Insights from using Supplemental Instruction (SI) in Data Structures Course to Increase Retention, Aparna Mahadev
  13. Using a Soil Bacterium to Kill Parasitic Roundworms ​ (E-Poster), Yan Hu
  14. Boys and Their Toys: Desert Storm and Gendered Imagery ​ (E-Poster), Erika Briesacher and Alex Briesacher
  15. Long-term Memory Specificity Depends on Inhibition of Closely Related Items ​ (E-Poster), Brittany Jeye
  16. The Impact of Social Media on Emotional Quality of Life, Daniel Hunt


Oral Presentations

North/South Auditorium

  1. College Student Mental Distress: Research Activism, Champika (“K”) Soysa, Laura Murphy, and Kevin Fenlon, 12 p.m. to 12:50 p.m.
  2. ​Discovery and Development of ACX-362E for CDiff Treatment, Weichu (“Brian”) Xu, 1 p.m. to 1:25 p.m.
  3. ​Report on my sabbatical at MIT/Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research and cancer-related projects I am continuing with WSU undergraduate students, Jennifer Hood-DeGrenier, 1:25 p.m. to 1:50 p.m.
  4. ​#MeToo’s Socio-Cultural and Structural Impact on Patriarchal Power, Julie Frechette 1:50 p.m. to 2:15 p.m.
  5. Across the Salt: Portrayals of Chinese Americans in Modern American Period Television, Michael Baker 2:30 p.m. to 2:55 p.m.
  6. Teacher Behaviors and Coping with Failure: Motivational Resources as Potential Mediators, Jacquelyn Raftery-Helmer, 2:55 p.m. to 3:20 p.m.
  7. Nordic Days: Festival, Culture, and Identity in Lübeck, 1920-1960, Erika Briesacher, 3:20 p.m. to 3:45 p.m.



  1. Gleefully Foolish, Jonathan Blake 12 p.m. to 12:30 p.m., Student Affairs Conference Room
  2. Contemporary Poetry, Or Something Like It, Samuel Capradae, 2:30 p.m. to 2:55 p.m., Student Center Performance Space
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