2023 Taft Nicholson Summer Fellows
Learn about the eleven U of U faculty that will be in residence in University Village
on the Taft-Nicholson Environmental Humanities Education Center campus, working on
their individual research agendas in the quiet and peace of the Centennial Valley
in 2023. Click the photos to learn more about our summer fellows.
Past Taft Nicholson Summer Fellows
Learn about the eleven U of U faculty that were residents at the University Village on the Taft-Nicholson Environmental Humanities Education Center campus. They worked on their individual research agendas in the quiet and peace of the Centennial Valley in 2021. Click the photos to learn more about the 2022 summer fellows.
Sara Yeo, Michael Middleton and Rory Becker had to cancel this year due to COVID.
Learn about the eleven U of U faculty that were residents at the University Village on the Taft-Nicholson Environmental Humanities Education Center campus. They worked on their individual research agendas in the quiet and peace of the Centennial Valley in 2021. Click the photos to learn more about the 2021 summer fellows.
2019 was the inaugural season for the Summer Fellows Program. In the month of July, seven U of U faculty were in residence in University Village on the Taft-Nicholson Environmental Humanities Education Center campus working on their individual research agendas in the quiet and peace of the Centennial Valley. Click on the photos to learn more about the 2019 Summer Fellows.
Fred Adler is a professor in Department of Mathematics and the School of Biological Sciences. He is a mathematical biologist with particular interest and expertise in models of self-organized dynamics and application of ecological and evolution principles across biological scales. He is the author of two textbooks, Modeling the Dynamics of Life: Calculus and Probability for the Life Sciences (Brooks/Cole Publishing) and Urban Ecosystems: Ecological Principles for the Built Environment (Cambridge University Press). Professor Adler will use the fellowship to draft a book on the unifying concept of Concentration in ecology, biology, economics, and the arts.
Lisa Henry is an associate professor in the Department of Architecture and Chair of the School of Architecture. Her research combines traditional scholarly production with experimental design projects. Professor Henry combines architectural theory and literary analysis with a black feminist methodology to explore how literature specifically focused on the American landscape can inform architectural and activist practices. Professor Henry Benham will develop a research plan focused on the role of interdisciplinary research in the development of Design Justice and activist architectural practice.
Lauren Birgenheier is an Associate Professor in the Geology and Geophysics Department. She specializes in reconstructing ancient depositional environments recorded in sedimentary rocks. In particular, at Taft-Nicholson she will be writing a paper that critically evaluates the deposition of mudstones or shales in ancient oceanic environments. Professor Birgenheier will develop a field-based geoscience teaching module that centers on the unique geologic surroundings of the Taft-Nicholson Center. She will develop parallel versions of this teaching module for two different learning audiences - undergraduate geoscience majors and visitors to the Taft-Nicholson Center from all backgrounds.
Brenda Bowen is a professor in the Department of Geology and Geophysics. Her research as an interdisciplinary geoscientist focuses on how changing environmental conditions influence the composition of sediments, authigenic minerals, and fluids in both modern dynamic systems and ancient lithified strata. Professor Bowen is collaborating with Professor Wischer and will prepare for an exhibition of Wischer’s sculptural work that is inspired by Bowen’s biophysical research which focuses on the landscape of the Bonneville Salt Flat. They will develop and write five-year plan for art-science collaboration.
James Gagnon is an assistant professor in the School of Biological Sciences and holds a Mario Capecchi Endowed Chair in Biology. His research focuses on vertebrate development and adult tissue homeostasis through the lens of the lineage tree and studies variability in the vertebrate lineage tree - how it is compensated for and how it can lead to individuality. Professor Gagnon will develop a new research stream based on an active topic in his research lab. Briefly, this research stream will evaluate new CRISPR-Cas genome editing tools in zebrafish embryos.
Peter Lippert is an associate professor in the Department of Geology and Geophysics. His Research uses field study in conjunction with paleomagnetic, rock magnetic, collaborative stratigraphic, geochemical, and geochronologic approaches to investigate a wide range of geological puzzles. It utilizes the unique information encoded in the magnetic and chemical properties of geological materials to understand tectonic, paleoclimate, and paleoecological processes, and to recognize feedbacks between geodynamics, climate change, and surface processes. Professor Lippert will immerse himself in the geology and resources of the valley and will explore access to and appropriateness of locations for field instruction. He will investigate the feasibility of a field course and begin the groundwork for new instructional modules.
Michael Mejia is an associate professor in the Department of English. He is the author of the novels TOKYO and Forgetfulness, and his fiction and nonfiction have appeared in many journals and anthologies, including AGNI, DIAGRAM, The Collagist, Seneca Review, and My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me. Professor Mejia will work on Conquests of Mexico, an examination of Latin American migration in the context of the personal and the historical. Through fragments of fiction and nonfiction, Conquests weaves together three journeys in a grand vision of movement across América.
Ofer Rog is an Assistant Professor in the School of Biological Sciences. Their research focuses on how the genetic material, packaged in chromosomes, is being delivered from one generation to the next. Professor Rog will develop a proposal for a new course targeted to graduate students in Biology and in Design and Architecture. The course will use 3-dimensional printing to model cell-biological processes involving self-assembly, during which many similar components interact with each other to create a large cellular structure.
Rebecca Utz is an associate professor in the Department of Sociology. She researches lifecourse sociology, focusing on health and aging in America. Specifically, questions about how families manage end-of-life and chronic disease care transitions, developing and testing interventions that maximizes the benefits of respite time use for caregivers to persons with Alzheimer's Disease and related dementias. Professor Utz will complete two manuscripts, “Supporting Widowed Persons: An Individually-Tailored Bereavement Intervention Based on Dual Process Model” and “Redefining Respite Care: Lessons Learned from the COVID-19 Pandemic”
Wendy Wischer is an Associate Professor in the Department of Art & Art History. Her creative work highlights environmental issues and seeks to translate data into personal meaning. Through interdisciplinary research, often in collaboration with scientists and engineers, it addresses our environmental crisis in hopes of finding impactful ways to connect people more deeply with the environments they live in and each other. Professor Wischer is collaborating with Professor Brenda Bowen and they will work on drafting a paper around their Art and Science exhibition of Wischer’s sculptural work that is inspired by Bowen’s biophysical research on the landscape of the Bonneville Salt Flats. They will also develop ideas for future art-science collaborations.
Lynne Zummo is an assistant professor in the Department of Educational Psychology. Her research investigates how cognitive, social, and cultural factors interact to influence learning of climate change science in K-12 classrooms and the Natural History Museum of Utah. Professor Zummo will advance this research through writing that theorizes about quantitative data practices, or how people make sense of numerical information within their social and cultural contexts. Bridging cognitive theories with sociocultural concepts, this writing will theorize about learning experiences that can foster data practices in ways that support public alignment with science.
Tom Alberts studies probability theory and its intersection with statistical mechanics, along with its application to statistics. His most prominent focus is on two-dimensional conformally invariant systems, but also has interests in random walks in random environments, directed polymer models, last passage percolation, and random matrix theory. Alberts received his PhD in 2008 from New York University and completed postdocs at the University of Toronto and California Institute of Technology before joining the U's Mathematics Department in 2014.
Tom Alberts is an associate professor in the Department of Mathematics. His main research interests are in Probability Theory and Statistical Mechanics with some previous experience in Statistics. He will use his time at the Taft-Nicholson Center to complete a book on Gaussian analysis that is geared towards senior undergraduate and beginning graduate students. He will also be completing research papers on random matrix theory for composite materials.
Kevin Coe is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of Utah. Professor Coe’s research and teaching focus on the interaction of American political discourse, news media, and public opinion, with a particular interest in the U.S. presidency and issues of identity. He is the author of more than 40 academic articles and chapters, which have appeared in such venues as Communication Monographs, Communication Research, Journal of Communication, Public Opinion Quarterly, and The Oxford Handbook of Political Communication. He is the coauthor, with David Domke, of The God Strategy: How Religion Became a Political Weapon in America (Oxford, 2008), and has written opinion pieces for a wide range of news outlets, including the Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun, and Time.com. He holds a Ph.D. in Speech Communication from the University of Illinois, and an M.A. and B.A. from the University of Washington.
Rachel Alicia Griffin, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Race and Communication in the Department of Communication at the University of Utah. As a critical/cultural scholar who has earned several honors, her research interests span Black feminist thought, critical race theory, sexual violence, and the social institutions of sport, media, education, and the U.S. presidency. Dr. Griffin has published in journals including Women’s Studies in Communication, Critical Studies in Media Communication, the International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, the Journal of International and Intercultural Communication, and Communication, Culture, & Critique. She is also the co-editor of Adventures in Shondaland: Identity Politics and the Power of Representation (Rutgers University Press, 2018). Her pending research project is a co-authored monograph titled Marginalization and the Modern Presidency: Presidential Communication, Identity Politics, and the Battle for “Real’ America. Exceptionally committed to sustaining synergy between research and service, Dr. Griffin has delivered well over 100 anti-sexual violence and Inclusive Excellence presentations nationally and internationally.
Isabel Dulfano, a member of the Department of World Languages and Cultures, teaches classes on a wide range of topics, including Business Spanish, Indigeneity in the Americas, and contemporary Latin American feminist literature. Her recent research interest has examined the autoethnography, agency, activism, and self-representation of Indigenous women in the Americas.
Dr. Lisa Taylor-Swanson
Dr. Lisa Taylor-Swanson, PhD, MAcOM, EAMP is an Assistant Professor in the College of Nursing at University of Utah. She is a native of Salt Lake City and completed an Honors BS in Psychology with a minor in Women’s Studies. Her research focuses on the improvement of chronic pain with an emphasis on midlife women’s health, gender disparities of the opioid epidemic, and the evaluation of traditional East Asian medicine interventions (including acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, and moxibustion). She has completed a Master’s degree in Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine (Seattle Institute of East Asian Medicine - SIEAM) and a PhD in Nursing Science (University of Washington). Dr. Taylor-Swanson previously provided acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine in private practice for over 17 years with an emphasis on women’s health and the treatment of male- and female-factor infertility. Dr. Taylor-Swanson is an avid flamenco dancer and enjoys world music, yoga, hiking, swimming, and skiing.
Roseanne Warren is an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Her research in the Advanced Energy Innovations Lab\ investigates new nanomaterial structures and advanced nanofabrication techniques for electrochemical energy storage applications. Her areas of expertise include electrochemical capacitors, sodium-ion batteries, biodegradable energy storage materials, carbon nanotube synthesis, and atomic layer deposition. She will use her time as a Summer Faculty Fellow to complete the first full draft of an engineering design textbook.
Jeremy Rosen is an associate professor of English at the University of Utah. He studies contemporary American and global fiction, with an emphasis on genre, the publishing industry, marketplace, literary institutions, and the blurry line between literary and popular fiction. His work has appeared in ASAP/Journal, New Literary History, Contemporary Literature, Post-45, and the Oxford Encyclopedia of Literary Theory. His first book, Minor Characters Have Their Day: Genre and the Contemporary Literary Marketplace, was published as part of Columbia University Press’s “Literature Now” series in 2016. As Summer Faculty Fellow, he will be finishing his book Genre Bending, which considers the adoption of previously “low” forms of genre fiction by esteemed contemporary writers of literary fiction.
Rachel Mason Dentinger
Rachel Mason Dentinger is an assistant professor in the Department of History. Her research focuses on the history of science and technology, particularly biology and medicine. She is currently revising her book project Waging Nature’s War: How the Coevolutionary Theory of Natural Insecticides Made Combatants of Us All, the first historical study of coevolutionary theory. For the duration of her stay at the Taft-Nicholson Center, she intends to rewrite a chapter focused on the biological and historical agency of nonhuman organisms, which considers the way that biologists encounter insects and plants in the field.
Paisley Rekdal is the author of four books of nonfiction, and seven books of poetry, including Nightingale, Appropriate: A Provocation, and, most recently, West: A Translation. Her work has received the Amy Lowell Poetry Traveling Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, an NEA Fellowship, Pushcart Prizes, a Fulbright Fellowship, and various state arts council awards. The former Utah poet laureate, she teaches at the University of Utah where she is a distinguished professor.
Danielle Endres is a Professor of Communication and incoming Director of the Environmental Humanities Program at the University of Utah. Her research areas are Environmental Communication, Indigenous Communication, and Rhetorical Studies. Her research projects focus on the rhetoric of environmental and science controversies including nuclear waste siting decisions, climate change, and energy transitions. Her work is guided by principles of environmental justice and focuses on how underrepresented and marginalized groups, particularly Native peoples and nations, engage in environmental advocacy and activism. Endres is the author of Nuclear Decolonization: Indigenous Resistance to High-Level Nuclear Waste Siting (forthcoming November 2023), co-author of Participatory Critical Rhetoric: Theoretical and Methodological Foundations of Studying Rhetoric In Situ, and co-editor of several books, including the Routledge Handbook of Energy Democracy. The National Science Foundation and several fellowships from the University of Utah have funded her research. Endres’ public advocacy and leadership work includes being a member of the State of Utah’s Hazardous Waste and Radiation Control Board and serving as treasurer of the Utah Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons. Outside of work, Endres enjoys walking in the mountains, seeing live music, reading mysteries, and hanging out with her partner, kids, and cat.
Michael K. Middleton
Michael K. Middleton is the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the College of Humanities. In addition, Michael holds a faculty appointment in the Department of Communication as an Associate Professor of Argumentation & Public Discourse. Michael’s research focuses on rhetoric, argumentation, public discourse, and cultural studies in the contexts of political advocacy and social movements. In addition, Michael has over 25 years of experience competing in and coaching competitive debate and public speaking where he has coached numerous students to the highest ranks of national and international competition. During that time, he has worked with Northern Arizona University, California State University- Long Beach, the University of Utah, and students from dozens of high schools throughout the country. Michael is currently a member of the National Communication Association's Committee on International Discussion and Debate and is Secretary of the International Forensics Association. Previously, has also worked as a consultant for the International Debate Education Association, as well as as Past President of the Western Forensics & Argumentation Association and the National Parliamentary Debate Association.
Chris Ingraham is an Associate Professor of Communication at the University of Utah, and a core faculty member in Environmental Humanities. His work as an active teacher and researcher engages with a range of ideas from across the theoretical humanities, including media aesthetics, environmental communication, and rhetorical theory. He is invested in critical approaches to the material, aesthetic, and affective practices that configure the environments we create and inhabit. His books include LEGOfied: Building Blocks as Media (Bloomsbury, 2020), Gestures of Concern (Duke University Press, 2020), and Rhetorical Climatology (Michigan State University Press, forthcoming 2023).
Erika R. George
Erika R. George is the Samuel D. Thurman Professor of Law at the University of Utah’s S.J. Quinney College of Law, and she directs the Tanner Humanities Center. She is the author of Incorporating Rights: Strategies to Advance Corporate Accountability (Oxford University Press, 2021). Her research examines the responsibilities of multinational corporations to respect international human rights and various efforts to hold corporations accountable for alleged rights violations. She teaches constitutional law, international human rights law, international environmental law, international business transactions, international trade, and seminars in corporate citizenship. She earned her B.A. with honors from the University of Chicago and her J.D. from Harvard Law School, where she served as Articles Editor of the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review. She also holds an M.A. in International Relations from the University of Chicago. Her recent scholarship has appeared in the California Law Review, the Michigan Journal of International Law, the New York University Journal of International Law and Policy, the Berkeley Journal of Journal of International Law, and the annual proceedings of the American Society of International Law. She is a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, a member of the American Law Institute, a Trustee of Earthjustice, and a member of the Fair Labor Association Board. Previously, she served on the Executive Board of the American Bar Association Center for Human Rights. Before becoming a professor, she was a fellow with Human Rights Watch in New York and practiced commercial litigation with Jenner & Block in Chicago. She is a frequent speaker on human rights, sustainability, equity and diversity, environmental justice, and corporate social responsibility. At the Tanner Humanities Center she identifies and oversees implementation of long and short-term strategic opportunities to enhance the Center’s public humanities engagement efforts and the Center’s support for academic humanities research in collaboration with staff, faculty, board members, leadership of the OC Tanner Foundation, and other stakeholders. She builds collaborative alliances with campus and community stakeholders, develops new program offerings, and advocates locally, nationally, and globally to highlight the centrality of the humanities to understanding the human experience, the challenges humanity confronts, and the opportunities revealed by humanist modes of inquiry to improve the human condition.
Carol Sogard was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, and currently resides in Salt Lake City,
Utah. She is a designer, educator, and community-engaged artist, that is committed
to a multi-faceted artistic practice. Although these areas of creative research are
distinct in output, they purposefully overlap them under the theme of sustainability.
Her work sheds light on the environmental impacts of plastic waste, habitat destruction,
industrial pollution, and climate change.
,She works with a variety of mediums, including reclaimed plastic bags, found materials, in addition to digitally printed adhesive papers and fabric. She integrates analog and digital collage processes, weaving, and sewing into the creation of works that are rich and complex in layered details. The design artifacts that she creates instill reflection and inspire viewers and users to contemplate their relationship with the natural world and consider how human behavior dramatically impacts it.
Sogard’s design work and textile artifacts have been honored and published by the AIGA, How Books, Print Magazine, Rockport Publishers, Utah Division of Arts & Museums, and exhibited in galleries nationwide. She earned her MFA in Graphic Design from the University of Utah. Since 1999, she has served as Professor of Graphic Design and Graphic Design Program Chair at the University of Utah in the Department of Art and Art History.
José Francisco Gutiérrez
José Francisco Gutiérrez is an assistant professor in the Department of Education, Culture & Society. He researches the contemporary and historic role mathematics has played in limiting students’ educational opportunities, and he is devoted to creating healthy community-oriented projects that position mathematics in ways that strengthen students’ identities and connections to their families. At the core of Dr. Gutiérrez’s scholarship is a commitment to working with historically marginalized communities. For instance, his present historical work is on Indigenous students, and he is studying the ways mathematics impacts emergent bi-multilingual students. He will use his residency to complete an archival research paper analyzing how the United States used mathematics curriculum in Indian boarding schools between 1879-1930 to enact a policy of cultural assimilation that coincided with land dispossession.
Joanne LaFleur, PharmD, MSPH, is Associate Professor of Pharmacotherapy in the University of Utah College of Pharmacy, Associate Investigator at the Salt Lake City Veterans Affairs Healthcare System Informatics, Decision and Enhancement and Surveillance (IDEAS) Center, and Director of two Centers in the Department of Pharmacotherapy, University of Utah College of Pharmacy: The Drug Regimen Review Center (DRRC), which provides evidence synthesis services to support the Utah Department of Health and the Utah Medicaid Drug Utilization Review (DUR) Board and Pharmacy and Therapeutics (P&T) Committee; The Data-driven Collaborative of Informatics, Pharmacoepidemiology, and Health Economics Researchers (DeCIPHER) conducts pharmacoepidemiology research in support of a variety of sponsors all over the world. For more than a decade, Joanne has taught courses in epidemiology, pharmacoepidemiology, biostatistics, evidence synthesis, and pharmacoeconomics to future pharmacists. Joanne is currently taking her first sabbatical and hopes to use the time to employ her expertise in both epidemiology and evidence synthesis to examine the systematic errors inherent in the generation and use of medical evidence in healthcare systems worldwide.
Anna Neatrour is an associate librarian at the Marriott Library. She is the Digital Initiatives Librarian and Interim Head of Digital Library Services. She manages the Digital Library, Utah Digital Newspapers, Digital Preservation, and Digital Operations, supporting digitization and access to primary sources for the benefit of the University of Utah and the public. Her research interests include name authority control in digital libraries, collaborative digitization, the intersection of digital humanities and digital libraries, and developing collections as data. She has published in journals such as the Journal of Library Metadata, Information Technology and Libraries, and Digital Library Perspectives. She is collaborating with Rebekah Cummings and other co-authors on writing a monograph accepted for publication by the American Library Association on the topic of Digital Library Outreach and Instruction.
Rebekah Cummings is the Interim Director of Digital Matters at the University of Utah Marriott Library where she coordinates digital humanities research, teaching, and support. Prior to her current position, Rebekah was the Assistant Director of the Mountain West Digital Library and the Data Management Librarian at the Marriott Library. In 2018 – 2019, Rebekah served as the Utah Library Association President, and she currently serves as the Utah State Library Board Chair. Rebekah’s research interests include digital humanities, data management, copyright, collections as data, and digital literacy. She has published in journals such as International Journal on Digital Libraries, International Journal of Digital Curation,Digital Humanities Quarterly, Information Technology and Libraries, and Journal of Library Administration and is currently collaborating with Anna Neatrour and other co-authors on a monograph accepted for publication by the American Library Association on the topic of Digital Library Outreach and Instruction.