Appalachian State University Government and Justice Studies Faculty Member Quoted in New York Times

Appalachian State University faculty member Curtis Ryan was quoted as an expert on Jordanian politics in the New York Times on September 17. Dr. Ryan is a professor of Government and Justice Studies, who specializes in International Relations and Comparative Politics, with particular interests in Middle East Politics, Islam and Politics, and International Terrorism.

Nominations now open for the 2014 College of Arts and Sciences faculty and staff awards

The College of Arts and Sciences is now accepting nominations for the 2014 faculty and staff awards. The awards recognize faculty for outstanding service, teaching or scholarly work. In addition, the College has now established an Outstanding Staff Award to recognize the importance of services provided by staff members. Newly revised guidelines are available here and fillable nomination forms for each award are posted here

The awards include: 

  • William C. Strickland Outstanding Junior Faculty Award 
  • Donald W. Sink Family Outstanding Scholar Award
  • Part-Time Teaching Excellence Award
  • Jimmy Smith Outstanding Service Award
  • Academy of Outstanding Teachers Award
  • Outstanding Staff Award

Deadline for submission is July 25

Professor in Department of Geography receives $494,000 grant from NSF

Assistant professor in the Department of Geography and Planning Dr. Baker Perry received a five-year $494,000 grant from the National Science Foundation. The grant will support Perry’s research on precipitation and climate change in the Andes Mountains in South America. 

Perry has been conducting research in the Andes Mountains for over fifteen years. He said, “I grew up in some of these areas and that really instilled a curiosity and fascination as to what was happening in the mountains and the broader significance related to water resources, human health and societal impact.”

The grant will assist his study of meteorology and climatology of precipitation as well as install new monitoring stations at the Quelccata Ice Cap outside Cusco, Peru, and Chacaltaya, a mountain peak near La Paz, Bolivia. Chacaltaya is the site of a former glacier that disappeared in 2009.

In addition to weather balloons and new monitoring stations, Perry will relocate a Micro Rain Radar from Avery County in North Carolina to Peru for two years and then Bolivia.

Perry will collaborate with an international team of scientists including fellow researchers from N.C. State University. Over the five-year period Perry will take a Watauga County teacher and an employee from Grandfather Mountain to assist with his work. Perry also aims to take undergraduate and graduate students to assist with fieldwork and research at various points in the study.

The full story is available here. More information about the Department of Geography and Planning is available here

Senior chemistry major wins National Goldwater Scholarship

BOONE- 2013 and 2014 have proven to be very busy years for senior chemistry major Corbin Daniel Ester.

In addition to exceling in a rigorous discipline, conducting research with faculty, and being an active member of several campus organizations during the academic year, Ester spends his summers in research internships. While others are winding down and preparing for a break, Ester is gearing up to work with world-class scientists at the National Institute of Health (NIH).

However, his hard work is paying off. 

Ester was announced as a 2014 recipient of the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship from the Excellence in Education Foundation. The $7,500 scholarship is extremely competitive and students must be nominated by faculty members and have a minimum 3.6 GPA. Less than 300 scholarships were awarded for 2014. Ester is only the second student from Appalachian State University to receive the award.

The scholarship honors Senator Barry Goldwater and seeks to support students in mathematics or the sciences displaying intellectual curiosity and intensity who possess potential for significant future contributions in their chosen field.

Ester said, “I’m extremely honored and excited to be a Barry Goldwater scholar. It is not just a reward for my personal efforts during my undergraduate career, but also is indicative of the abundant support provided by my ASU family, my mentors, Dr. Dale Wheeler and Dr. Leslie Jones, and the Honors College.”

Ester spent the summer of 2013 in a research-training program through the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Ester was also the first student from Appalachian State University to receive the George T. Barthalmus Undergraduate Research Grant in 2012-2013.  The grant supported his research on hydrogen production from newly synthesized catalysts with Department of Chemistry professor Dr. Dale Wheeler. 

Prior to participating in the program at the University of Texas, Ester said, “This would not be possible if not for the strong support I receive from both my family and my Appalachian family.”

Summer 2014 Ester will participate in the NIH Summer Internship Program in Biomedical Research at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland. He will have the incredible opportunity to work closely with Dr. Mariam Poirier, a pioneer in many areas of cancer research, and many other scientists conducting cutting edge biomedical research. Interns are hand selected from the applicant pool by the research scientists working at the NIH. 

Ester has demanding career aspirations and plans after completing his undergraduate degree: “I plan to enter a M.D./Ph.D. program after my undergraduate education with the long-term goal of obtaining dual-appointments at a research university and hospital.”

“I truly believe that without Appalachian State University, I would not have been as blessed.”

New Sociology professor to offer course on punishment in the US

Dr. Kenneth Sanchagrin will be joining the Appalachian State University Department of Sociology this fall and will instruct a course titled “Punishment in American Society (SOC 4340:101).” The course will meet during the Fall 2014 semester on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:30 p.m.-4:45 p.m. 

SOC 4340 offers a detailed examination of punishment in the United States with a focus on methods of social control found outside of the criminal justice system. It will cover topics such as deterrence, conflict, and retribution theories, and students will read theory from Michel Foucault and Emile Durkheim.

The course will begin by giving students an introduction to theories examining why and how the United States punishes. The remainder of the course will critically analyze different types of social control and reactions to crime in everyday life. There will be a prominent focus on the topic of technology and surveillance as a means of control.

Sanchagrin received a PhD from the University of Iowa and a JD from the Michigan State University College of Law. Before returning for his PhD, he worked as an attorney practicing both criminal and civil law. He has expertise in the criminal justice system, the etiology of crime, and the careers of lawyers.

For more information, contact Dr. Sanchagrin at sanchagrinkj [at] appstate [dot] edu or see the attached PDF. 

13th Annual Summer Holocaust Symposium held July 12-18

BOONE- The 13th Annual Martin and Doris Rosen Summer Symposium on Remembering the Holocaust will be held July 12- July 18 on the Appalachian State University campus. The event is open to the public and admission is free.

The symposium focuses on insights about the victims, perpetrators, and consequences of the Nazi Holocaust and how teachers working with a variety of age groups can use this information in the classroom. Mr. Martin Lawrence Rosen, a founder of the Symposium and generous supporter of Appalachian State University, died in April of this year. 

Speakers for the event include Dr. Michael Berenbaum, founding director of the U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., Rabbi Harry Reicher, professor of law at the University of Pennsylvania, and Dr. Ann Millin, Historian in Leadership Programs in the United State Holocaust Memorial Museum’s National Institute for Holocaust Education in Washington, D.C.

Several current and former Appalachian State University professors will also be speaking, including Dr. Rosemary Horowitz, Dr. Rennie Brantz, and Dr. Zohara Boyd. Dr. Simon Sibelman, the Leon Levine Distinguished Professor and Director of the Center of Judaic, Holocaust, and Peace Studies, will present the First Annual Leon Levine Distinguished Professor Lecture titled, “Betraying the Promise?: France, the Jews, and the Shoah.” 

The tentative schedule for the event is as follows: 


2:00-4:00         Teacher Registration

5:00-6:30         Welcome, Introductions and Picnic

7:00                 Havdalah Service

7:30-9:00         Klezmer Music Concert



8:30-9:30         Breakfast at Temple of the High Country

9:45-11:45       Jewish History and Religion (TOHC) [Dr. Simon P. Sibelman]

12:00-1:30       Lunch

2:15-4:30         The Longest Hatred: Judeophobia/Anti-Semitism [Dr. Simon P. Sibelman]

6:00-8:00         Symposium Banquet



8:30-9:00         Opening Section/Agenda Overview/Questions [Dr. Simon P. Sibelman]

9:00-10:30       The Rise of the Nazi Party [Dr. Rennie Brantz]

10:45-12:45     “No One Died Illegally At Auschwitz:” The Nazis’ Obsession With 

                         Legalizing the Holocaust [Dr. Harry Reicher]

1:00-2:00         Lunch

2:15-4:15         Lecture: Dr. Michael Berenbaum

7:00-9:00         Keynote Address: Dr.Michael Berenbaum



8:30-8:45         Review/Reflections/Questions [Lee Holder]

9:00-11:00       Film and the Holocaust [Dr. Simon P. Sibelman]

11:15-12:45     Lecture: The Aryan Angel of Death: Reinhard Heyrich [Dr. Charles Sydnor]          

12:45-2:00       Lunch

2:15-4:15         Survivor Testimony: Dr. Zev Harel

7:00-9:00         Keynote Address: Kathy Kacer



8:30-8:45         Review/Reflections/Questions [Lee Holder]

8:45-9:45         Using Survivor Testimony in the Classroom [Dr. Rosemary Horowitz]

9:45- 10:45      Teaching the Holocaust [A series of workshop session.]

10:45-11:00     Break

11:00-12:30     Teacher Workshop [Lee Holder]

12:30-2:00       Lunch

2:00-3:30         Teacher Workshop [Lee Holder]

3:30-3:45         Break

3:45-5:00         Literature of the Holocaust [Dr. Rosemary Horowitz]

7:00-9:00         The First Annual Leon Levine Distinguished Professor Lecture: 

                         Betraying the Promise?: France, the Jews and the Shoah 

                         [Dr. Simon P. Sibelman]



8:30-8:45         Review/Reflections/Questions [Lee Holder]

8:45-10:30       Did They Fight Back?: Jewish Resistance and Survival Strategies 

                         During the Holocaust [Dr. John Cox]

10:30-10:45     Break

10:45-12:00     Introduction to Night [Panel]


12:00-1:30       Lunch

1:30-3:00         Discussion of Simon Wiesenthal’s Sunflower [Panel]

3:00-3:15         Break

3:15-4:15         Holocaust Denial [Dr. Simon P. Sibelman]

7:00-9:30         Special Evening Event: Screening of Hannah Arendt  



8:45-9:00         Review/Reflections/Questions [Lee Holder]

9:00-10:30       Racism, the Holocaust and Modern Genocide [Dr. John Cox]

10:30-10:45     Break

10:45-12:00     Continuing Your Holocaust Education [Lee Holder]

12:00-12:30     Closure and Graduation


More information about the speakers is available here. For more information about the event, visit the Center for Judaic, Holocaust, and Peace Studies website at or email holocaust [at] appstate [dot] edu

Davidson Professor to speak at College of Arts and Sciences commencement ceremony

Magdalena Maiz-Peña, William H. Williamson Professor in the departments of Hispanic Studies/Latin American Studies at Davidson College will be the guest speaker for the College of Arts and Sciences commencement ceremony on May 11th

Maiz-Peña received her a from Arizona State University, where she also earned BA and MA degrees. As former chair of the Spanish Department at Davidson College, she specializes in twentieth-century Latin American Women Writers, Life-Writing and the Politics of representation, and Contemporary Latin American literary and cultural narratives. Her teaching interests include Basic and Intermediate language courses, Introduction to Hispanic literatures and cultures, Contemporary Latin American literatures, and The Latin American City and its historical and cultural representation.

She is the author of Identidad, nación y gesto autobiográfico, and co-editor of Modalidades de representación del sujeto auto/biográfico femenino. Her recent publications have appeared in Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and the U.S. Maiz-Peña is serving in the Board of Trustees of the North Carolina Humanities Council, as well as in the Board of the Levine Museum of the New South, and has served in the Board of Trustees of the Mecklenburg Public Library of Charlotte, the Arts and Science Lake Norman Regional Advisory Board, and the Latin American Women’s Association Merit Scholarship Committee, among other non-profit organizations. Professor Maiz-Peña was a member of the Committee for the Status of Women in the Profession 2001-2004, President of the Asociación Internacional de Literatura y Cultura Femenina Hispánica 1998-2000, and President of the Women’s Caucus of the Modern Language Association 2006.  She is currently an associate co-editor of the multidisciplinary journal of criticism Ambitos Feministas, has collaborated in special volumes for Letras femeninas, was associate editor for MALCS Chicana/Latina Studies: the Journal of Mujers Activas en Letras y Cambio social.

Update: Attached is Maiz-Peña's delivery to graduating students. 

English offers summer course in collaboration with Visiting Writers Series authors

The Department of English is offering a special topics course during the 2014 first summer session titled “Cultures of Attention: Reading and Writing Community in Conversation with the Hughlene Bostian Frank Visiting Writers Series (English 2530).” Students enrolled in English 2530 will have the unique opportunity to collaborate and build relationships with writers featured in the 2014-2015 Hughlene Bostian Frank Visiting Writers Series. English professors Nathan Hauke and Kirsten Jorgenson will lead the course. 

The course will allow students to discuss varying aspects of contemporary writing and have the opportunity to engage with talented and creative writers at various stages in their careers. Students will explore the works of Visiting Writers Series authors through course readings and respond critically and creatively based on discussions with the writers. Interviews and conversations with the authors will be conducted via Skype. The course also aims to prepare students to plan, manage, and host their own reading series.

The authors featured in English 2530 and the upcoming season of the 2014-2015 Visiting Writers Series are: 

Shira Dentz is the author of two books—a book of poems, black seeds on a white dish (Shearsman Books, 2011), and door of thin skins (CavanKerry Press, 2013), a hybrid collection of prose, poetry and visual elemnts. She is also the author of two chapbooks, Leaf Weather (Tilt Press/Shearsman Books), and Sisyphusina, forthcoming from Red Glass Books, and her third full-length manuscript is a finalist for the National Poetry Series. Her writing has appeared widely in journals includingAmerican Poetry ReviewThe Iowa Review, New American Writing, and Brooklyn Rail, and has been featured at the Academy of American Poets’ website (, NPR, Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, and Omniverse. She is the recipient of awards including an Academy of American Poets’ Prize, The Poetry Society of America’s Lyric Poem and Cecil Hemley Memorial Awards, Electronic Poetry Review’s Discovery Award, and Painted Bride Quarterly’s Poetry Prize. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop and holds a PhD in creative writing and literature from the University of Utah. She is currently the Reviews Editor at Drunken Boat.

Hank Lazer is the author of fourteen books of poetry, including The New Spirit (Singing Horse, 2005), Elegies & Vacations(Salt, 2004), and Days (Lavender Ink, 2002).  For over thirty years, he has published poetry in America’s leading literary magazines. Lazer’s work has been nominated for the 2005 Pulitzer Prize and the 2004 Forward Prize.  With Charles Bernstein, he edits the Modern and Contemporary Poetics Series for the University of Alabama Press.  For the past twelve years, his essays on innovative poetry, new modes of lyricism, and representations of spiritual experience have appeared in a variety of journals, including The Boston Review, Jacket, American Poetry Review, and Talisman.  Over the past few years, Lazer has collaborated with jazz musicians Tom Wolfe and Chris Kozak on some jazz & poetry improvisations and with outsider artist Pak on a series of poem-paintings. Lazer, born and raised in San Jose, California, received an A.B. degree in English from Stanford University; he holds M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in English from the University of Virginia. Lazer is a Professor of English at the University of Alabama where he is also an administrator serving as the Associate Provost for Academic Affairs.

Roxane Gay’s writing has appeared in Best American Short Stories 2012, Best Sex Writing 2012, Oxford American, American Short Fiction, West Branch, Virginia Quarterly Review, NOON, The New York Times Book Review, Bookforum, Time, The Los Angeles Times, The Nation, The Rumpus, Salon, The Wall Street Journal’s Speakeasy culture blog, and many others. She is the co-editor of PANK and essays editor for The Rumpus. She teaches writing at Eastern Illinois University. Her novel, An Untamed State, will be published by Grove Atlantic and her essay collection, Bad Feminist, will be published by Harper Perennial, both in 2014. She is at work on both fiction and nonfiction projects.

Tim Earley is the author of three full-length collections, Poems Descriptive of Rural Life and Scenary (Horse Less Press, 2014), The Spooking of Mavens (Cracked Slab Books, 2010), and Boondoggle (Main Street Rag, 2005) along with a limited edition chapbook, Catfish Poems (Delete Press, 2013). His work has appeared in The Ecopoetry Anthology, Chicago Review, Colorado Review, jubilat, Cannibal, Bestoned: The New Metaphysick, Conduit, and many other publications. He teaches for the University of Mississippi and the Fine Arts Work Center’s Online Writing Program, 24PearlStreet, and lives in Oxford, Mississippi.

Megan Kaminski’s first book of poetry is Desiring Map (Coconut Books, 2012). She is also the author of seven chapbooks, most recently Wintering Prairie (Dusie Kollektiv, 2014), This Place (Dusie Kollektiv, 2013), and Gemology (Little Red Leaves Textile Series, 2012). Her current work Deep City explores the body and the city as architectures in crisis. She teaches creative writing and literature at the University of Kansas, where she directs the Undergraduate Reading Series and is the faculty sponsor for The Siren, a national journal of student writing. She also curates the Taproom Poetry Series in downtown Lawrence.

For more information about the course contact Nathan Hauke at hauken [at] email [dot] appstate [dot] edu or Kirsten Jorgenson at jorgensonkm [at] email [dot] appstate [dot] edu. More information is also available on the PDF below. 

College of Arts and Sciences awards undergraduate scholarships and Outstanding Advisor Award

The College of Arts and Sciences awarded the Richard N. Henson Outstanding Advisor Award and presented scholarships to six undergraduate students in various departments at the 2014 Honors Day Reception on April 25th. Departments in the College of Arts and Sciences also awarded departmental scholarships to many students.

Alexandra Hellenbrand from the Department of Cultural, Gender, and Global Studies received the 2014 Richard N. Henson Outstanding Advisor Award. Hellenbrand is the departmental director of the Global Studies program and a Professor of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures.

The winners of the undergraduate college scholarships are as follows:

Richard A. Thomas Memorial Scholarship for Arts and Sciences- Caitlyn Lea Brandt, Religious Studies and Anthropology major

Peggy Harmon Shore Pre-Health Care Professional Scholarship- Shannon Ophelia Harris, Chemistry major

GlaxoSmithKline Women in Science Scholarship- Ashlyn Danielle Henson, Chemistry major, and Kimberly Joanne Joel, Chemistry major

Jonathan K. Perryman Scholarship for the Physical Sciences- Andrew Michael Zeidell, Applied Physics major 

College of Arts and Sciences names 2014 Outstanding Alumni

The College of Arts and Sciences named M. Douglas Cotton the winner of the 2014 Outstanding Alumni Award at the Honors Day Reception on April 25th

Cotton graduated from the College of Arts and Sciences with a BS in Criminal Justice in 1986 and a Masters in Public Administration in 2006. He started a 26-year career in law enforcement with the Wilkes County Sherriff’s Office following graduation in 1986. Cotton quickly rose from patrol deputy to a sergeant in criminal investigations and was transferred to the Narcotics Division in 1991. He continued to advance in rank and was promoted to Chief Deputy in 2011.

Wilkes County Sherriff Chris Shew said of Cotton, “He has spent the past 26 years giving his life to law enforcement… his persistence and determination has greatly improved the safety and security of the citizens in our region.” 

Cotton received a Congressional Appointment to the US Department of Defense Polygraph Institute and was awarded an advanced degree in Forensic Psychophysiology. He has also trained with the FBI and the DEA. Cotton was instrumental in establishing a Hazardous Devices Unit for northwestern North Carolina and worked to train, supervise, and speak on behalf of special units. In 2013 he was elected president of the North Carolina Bomb Association and published an article drawing on his experiences during an intervention in Wilkes County.

Cotton is an active supporter of students and programs at Appalachian State University including the Department of Chemistry and the Department of Government and Justice Studies. Cotton also works with students attending Forensic Science summer camps. He brings his experience and knowledge to the ASU Police Department and trains with the ASU Police on emergency response, working to improve the safety of all students and personnel at Appalachian State University. 

For his continued support of Appalachian State University, the College of Arts and Sciences honors Mr. Cotton as the 2014 Outstanding Alumni.