Research Notes

 College of Science and Mathematics

Campus Wildlife catalog

Department of Biology faculty and students have completed a two-year study to document all vertebrate species on the Statesboro Campus. The study, organized by Professors Michelle Cawthorn, Ph.D., Ray Chandler, Ph.D., Lance McBrayer, Ph.D., and Jamie Roberts, Ph.D., was funded by the University’s Center for Sustainability. With the help of dozens of students, the scientists observed, live-trapped, netted, audio-recorded or photographed 207 species of vertebrates (fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals) on the campus. This impressive diversity includes 19 species of fish, 19 amphibians, 24 reptiles, 126 birds and 19 mammals. Because the study mapped the location of every animal found, future construction and other development can be done in a way that minimizes impacts on biodiversity. There are educational benefits as well, because a biodiverse campus is a living laboratory that students and faculty can use just by walking outside their building.


College of Arts and Humanities

Baptist History

Professor Timothy Whelan, Ph.D., has continued his groundbreaking research in British Baptist history, women’s studies, and literary history. He published his ninth article in the Baptist Quarterly, the official voice of the Baptist Historical Society. The article is a detailed history of the life and successive generations of Thomas Mullett (1745-1814), a previously unknown Baptist layman who became a friend and correspondent of several significant political, religious and literary figures in England and America. At the same time, Whelan’s essay, “No Sanctuary for Philistines’: Baptists and Culture in the Eighteenth Century,” appeared in Challenge and Change: English Baptist Life in the Eighteenth Century, another publication of the Baptist Historical Society.

Last August, Whelan conducted a daylong symposium for doctoral students in history at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. His presentation focused on his work in uncovering manuscript collections in England and America pertaining to Baptist history, and how these previously unknown collections are transforming long-held paradigms about English Baptist history in the 18th and early 19th centuries. Since 2000, Whelan has published 10 books and 26 articles on Baptist history and life in England between 1750 and 1850, and is now one of the foremost Baptist historians in the world for that period.

Whelan is also nearing the completion of a new online edition of the “Correspondence of Mary Hays,” the radical 1790s novelist. It will include some 470 letters to and from Hays (1759-1843), along with biographical notices of all the correspondents and individuals named in the letters as well as the first extensive genealogy on the Hays family to be compiled by any scholar. He has worked with the original manuscripts of these letters, now belonging to collections in London, Oxford, New York City and Philadelphia.


 Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health

Sociocultural Factors in Mammography

Associate Professor of Epidemiology Yelena Tarasenko, Dr.P.H., co-authored a study that investigated the sociocultural factors associated with breast cancer screening within the past two years among Latina immigrants. Barriers to breast cancer screening for the Latina women include lack of health insurance, income inequality, documentation status or how the women receive cancer education. The study included 82 women between 40 to 64 years of age. The  findings provide evidence for the importance of sociocultural factors in Latina immigrant women’s timely mammography screening. As an indirect study outcome, the study team developed Spanish language informational resources about affordable breast and cervical cancer screening options to distribute to study participants.


Allen E. Paulson College of Engineering and Computing

Student research team

An Engine Combustion Laboratory research team of undergraduate and graduate students were invited to present research papers at the Society of Automotive Engineers World Congress in Detroit. The team, led by Professor Valentin Soloiu, Ph.D, received seven awards for their research. Their research covered topics that ranged from advanced combustion modes, noise and vibrations studies in automotive engines to intelligent/autonomous vehicles technologies. The students included Martin Muinos, Aliyah Knowles, Remi Gaubert, Jose Moncada, Bernard Ibru and Thomas Beyerl.


 Waters College of Health Professions

$1.6 M  Grant for Concussion Awareness

A research team associated with a Department of Health Sciences and Kinesiology professor has been awarded a $1.6 million Centers for Disease Control and Prevention grant to develop One Team, a program to address safety and concussion awareness in youth sports. Assistant Professor Tamerah Hunt, Ph.D., is collaborating with Seattle Pediatric Concussion Research Collaboration, and Seattle Children’s Center for Childhood Health, Behavior and Development members, Sara Chrisman, M.D., and Emily Kroshus, Ph.D.

The One Team program will focus on children ages 9 to 13 in youth football and soccer leagues in the Puget Sound region and in southern Georgia. The goal is to decrease concussion risk in youth sports athletes. One Team will initiate safety huddles prior to the start of games to address sportsmanship and concussion reporting with coaches, officials, parents and athletes. During the safety huddles, athletes will be encouraged not to engage in illegal and dangerous collisions that could lead to concussions, and report concussive symptoms. Researchers will spend the first year refining the program followed by a yearlong randomized controlled trial evaluating outcomes in sportsmanship and reporting concussive symptoms.


College of Behavioral and Social Sciences

Uncovering the Past

Professor Heidi Altman, Ph.D., is working on a collaborative project that connects the methods of zooarchaeology with ethnography and ethnohistory. The associate professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology and her Florida State co-author, Tanya Peres, are looking to connect archaeologically known peoples to their contemporary descendants by focusing on traditions related to the use of animals that persist through time. In a recently published article, Altman examined beliefs and practices related to deer, aside from their use as venison. The research focuses on the use of deer antlers as hunting amulets and charms. The researchers connect these archaeological pieces to what is known about the cosmology, medicine and hunting practices of historically known and contemporary peoples in the same region. This expands the field of zooarchaeology to encompass interpretations of animal remains to be something aside from food remains. By expanding these contexts, researchers have better success at interpreting archaeological sites, and are able to make connections across the proto-historic or “Contact Period” in which many cultural practices did or did not change.


College of Business

Social Justice and Comic Books

Department of Management faculty, John Harris, Ph.D., assistant professor of management, David Jiang, Ph.D., assistant professor of entrepreneurship, Curtis Sproul, Ph.D., assistant professor of management, and Stan Suboleski, Ph.D., clinical professor of hospitality management, are working on a project that follows the themes in comic book superhero titles/franchises. They are looking to see how various approaches to social justice issues, which are often embedded in comic themes, affect the overall sales performance of these comics.


College of Education

Emotional Learning

Associate Professor of Instructional Technology Charles Hodges, Ph.D., is participating in a cross-college collaborative research project that recently received nearly $10,000 in internal seed grant funding from Georgia Southern University’s Faculty Research Committee (FRC). The University’s FRC provides internal funding to promote faculty research and scholarship projects that will lead to future external funding. College of Engineering and Computing faculty Pradipta De, Ph.D., assistant professor of computer sciences principal investigator (PI) and Aniruddha Mitra, Ph.D., professor of mechanical engineering (co-PI) paired with Hodges (co-PI) to examine the influence of student affect in the learning process. The project, titled “Modeling Student Affect in the Classroom Teaching Environment,” proposes that learning complex ideas in science, math, engineering and technology requires cognitive skills but is also impacted by the emotional responses of learning. Students who show a positive affect, such as attentiveness or curiosity, have a higher possibility of learning a concept compared to students showing a negative affect, like frustration, boredom or confusion. Data collection began fall 2017 in Mitra’s mechanical engineering courses.