2016 Summer Grant Recipients
Dr. Brooke Christian
Dr. Brooke Christian graduated from Appalachian State University in 2005 with a degree in chemistry and received her Ph.D. in Biological Chemistry in 2010 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her graduate work in the research group of Dr. Linda Spremulli focused on mechanisms of translation initiation in mammalian mitochondria. While at UNC, Brooke received a Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need fellowship to teach chemistry to underprivileged students in the after school program at local high schools. Brooke did her postdoctoral work at Yale University as an NIH postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Gerald Shadel where she studied the contribution of mitochondrial reactive oxygen species to the neurodegenerative disease Ataxia-Telangiectasia. While at Yale, Brooke enjoyed being part of Women in Science at Yale, an organization devoted to promoting the success of women in science by pairing women with mentors in both science and life outside of science. Brooke joined the department of chemistry at Appalachian State University in 2015 and teaches biochemistry and biochemistry lab. Her work at Appalachian State focuses on mitochondrial reactive oxygen species and the roles they play in assembly of oxidative phosphorylation complexes and in adipocyte differentiation. When she is not working, Brooke enjoys running, cooking, and spending time with her husband and two children.
Dr. Elizabeth Shay
Dr. Shay joined the Department of Geography and Planning at Appalachian in 2015. Areas of teaching and research include town and regional planning, community development, and transportation and land use, with a focus on the built environment, travel behavior, active living and active travel, and health. Current research initiatives relate to elder-friendly built environment, transportation equity, and resilient mountain communities. Previously, she held appointments as research assistant, lecturer and research assistant professor at UNC-Chapel Hill, where she directed the Sustainable Triangle Field Site and coordinated environmental and sustainability capstones (senior team research and development projects for community clients). Shay earned her Ph.D. from UNC-Chapel Hill's Development of City and Regional Planning.
Dr. Alice Wright
As an anthropological archaeologist, Dr. Alice Wright studies the material traces of ancient societies to learn what life was like in the deep past. For more than a decade, she has been investigating early episodes of culture contact – moments in (pre)history when different people encountered each other for the first time – and how cultural plurality and diversity shaped everyday life. Her ongoing research projects focus on indigenous American Indian societies of the Eastern Woodlands and the interaction networks that linked them during the Middle Woodland period, ca. 200 BC – AD 600. Recently, Dr. Wright led geophysical survey and excavations at the Garden Creek site in North Carolina, where she discovered earthen monuments indicative of Middle Woodland culture contact between communities in the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Ohio Valley. Today, with colleagues from Bryn Mawr College and Sewanee University of the South, she is developing the Pinson Environment and Archaeology Regional Landscapes (PEARL) Project, a collaborative, interdisciplinary effort tackling the Middle Woodland archaeological record of west Tennessee.
Dr. Wright joined the Department of Anthropology at Appalachian State in 2014, after receiving her PhD from the University of Michigan. She teaches courses on North American, Mesoamerican, and Southeastern archaeology, archaeological theory, and archaeological approaches to landscapes and human-environment interactions, and as well as an archaeological field school affiliated with the PEARL Project. Her research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the American Philosophical Society, the University of Michigan, and now, Appalachian State's College of Arts and Sciences.
Dr. Cuong Mai
Dr. Mai joined the Department of Philosophy and Religion at Appalachian State in 2015. His teaching and research focus on the religions of Asia, particularly the history of Chinese and Vietnamese Buddhism. The summer grant will be used to support travel to Hanoi, Vietnam, in order to explore archival sources housed in the Han-Nom Institute, an important research collection of rare manuscripts written in classical Chinese and the indigenous Nom script. Dr. Mai's project looks at the intersection of women's religious practices, spirit mediumship, folk opera, and popular Buddhism in the worship of the Buddhist deity, Quan Am (Guanyin, Avalokiteshvara), also known as the "Goddess of Mercy". The project will shed light on how gender, embodiment, and ritual produce experiences of sacred presence and power, particularly for women devotees. At App State Dr. Mai offers courses on Buddhism, Chinese religions, religion and death in comparative perspective, and courses on religion and ritual, and religion, sexuality, and gender.
Dr. Andrew Smith
Dr. Smith is a social psychologist whose research investigates people's judgments and decisions. Recently, Dr. Smith has investigated factors that influence people's willingness to take risks in a variety of domains including financial (e.g., investing in the stock market), social (e.g., asking someone out on a date), and health risks (e.g., smoking). For example, in an ongoing project, Dr. Smith is investigating the effect of peer observers on college students' propensity to take risks. Dr. Smith has published in a number of academic journals and his research has been funded by the National Science Foundation. Dr. Smith joined the Department of Psychology in 2011 after receiving his Ph.D. from the University of Iowa. He generally teaches Social Psychology and Research Methods in Psychology, in addition to periodic classes in Social Cognition and Judgment and Decision Making.
Dr. Gabriele Casale
Dr. Casale joined the Department of Geology in 2011, and began his tenure track position shortly after completing his Ph.D. at the University of Washington in 2012. His research interests are in the complex interplay between contemporaneous shortening and extension in mountain belts from a field structural geology perspective. His research is centered upon the formation of domal structures in the deeply exhumed continental crust in the Blue Ridge. He is currently constructing 2D kinematic interpretations across the Valley and Ridge. The goal of this effort is to quantify the timing, amount, and distribution of shortening in the foreland in order to compare with deformation recorded in the deeply exhumed crystalline crust.