Utah Tech University


We interview students and faculty about their research.
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Fall 2020

Student Highlight: Enriching Physician Education with the Humanities

Rachel Manuele

Rachel Manuele graduated from DSU this past Spring. As a double major in Biology (biomedical science) and English (literary studies), Rachel was able to combine her Honors Program research paper requirement with her English major senior capstone project. The result was a research project looking at the degree to which classes in the humanities can enhance the lives of medical students and their careers once they become doctors. Her project, entitled, ““Medical Humanities: A Novel Approach to Medicine,” looked at how incorporating humanities into medical education might benefit doctors and patients.

“Some medical schools, like the University of Arizona College of Medicine and the University of Utah Medical School, already incorporate a humanities-based curriculum into their medical student’s first two years of classes and they are finding benefits,” Rachel explained. Through interviews and questionnaires, Rachel gathered information from members of the St. George medical community and the University of Utah. Her research revealed that Washington County medical personnel could also benefit from an interdisciplinary approach. According to Rachel’s findings, there is a large agreement among medical personnel and patients that, “the integration of the humanities into Washington County medical education would benefit both patient and physician and allow for better connection, meaning, purpose and healing.” For more information, contact Rachel Manuele.

Faculty Highlight: Improving the Preparation of Clinical Educators

Dillon Hyland

Assistant Professor Dillon Hyland attributes his interest in research to his mentors and instructors at Indiana State University, where he received his Doctorate in Athletic Training. Before graduating, Dr. Hyland had published two journal articles: one related to the best methods for rehabilitation after arthroscopic hip surgery and a more recent article on the experiences of athletic training preceptors who serve as teachers and mentors to students who want to become athletic trainers. Dr. Hyland presented this most recent research at this year’s Dixie State University Undergraduate Research Symposium. The article, “Socialization Experiences of Athletic Training Preceptors,” was published in the 2020 Journal of Athletic Training Education. Dr. Hyland and his colleagues interviewed members of seven focus groups about their preceptor experience. Following their interviews and analysis of themes and sub-themes, the researchers were able to offer insights into how clinical educators learn to teach students and offer recommendations.

“Doing research helps me understand the breadth and depth of current topics in my field,” explained Dr. Hyland.  “Performing original research boosts confidence as a clinician and increases interest in a specific area or specialty. As a result of my research, I’ve become increasingly interested in clinical education. I’m now actively collaborating with other clinical educators and coordinators around the country.”  For more information, contact Dillon Hyland.  To see all the presentations at the 2020 DSU Undergraduate Research Symposium click here.

Student Highlight: Her Research Helped Open Windows of Opportunity

Shandon Stiner

Dixie State University junior Shandon Stiner values the connections and opportunities that resulted from her research.  Shandon started her research as a sophomore under the encouragement of mathematics professor Vinodh Chellamuthu.  Because she was majoring in math and minoring in computer science, Dr. Chellamuthu suggested she work to develop a computer model that would be able to predict the effect of spraying mosquitos and vaccinations on the transmission of the West Nile Virus to horses.  Additional encouragement came from the fact that the Southwest Mosquito Abatement and Control District was offering a $1000 scholarship for someone who could do the research.

Not only did Shandon present the results of her research to the personnel at the Southwest Mosquito Abatement and Control District, she was also invited to present her research at the Joint Mathematics Meeting–the largest professional mathematics meeting in the world–held last January in Denver, Colorado.  Most recently, Shandon presented her research at the DSU Research Symposium.  “Doing research was not only a valuable experience for making connections and seeing opportunities, it allowed me to build a lot of skills essential to working in my field,” Shandon commented.  After graduation, Shandon plans to pursue a career in cryptography.  For more information, contact Shandon.

Student Highlight: Interest in Vampires leads to Research Grant

Mary McFadden

Did you know that DSU’s Undergraduate Research Office provides funding for student research? This year, the office funded several new interesting student research projects including DSU senior Mary McFadden’s research on the history of vampires in literature.  McFadden, an English major with an emphasis in creative writing, has had a long interest in folklore, myths and monsters. This year she published a short story about a werewolf in The Southern Quill, DSU’s literary and artistic journal.  According to McFadden, “Vampire-like monsters were mentioned in cuneiform tablets dating back to ancient Assyria, sparking literary interest in vampires ever since.  More recently, vampires have taken on a romantic persona that is very different from the terrifying creatures of origin.”

Through her research into the origin of ancient vampire-like stories, early vampire literature and more modern vampire characterizations, McFadden hopes to trace the gradual split into factions of vampire personifications.  She also hopes to publish the results of her research in Curiosity, DSU’s student-run interdisciplinary research journal and present her research at next year’s Utah Conference on Undergraduate Research.

Students who are interested in applying for a research grant should consult the Undergraduate Research Office website.  Students interested in publishing in Curiosity should click here.

Faculty Highlight: Pioneering the Study of Sound and Listening as Functions of History and Culture

Dr. Kristen Brown

English Professor Kristen Brown earned her doctorate from the University of South Carolina where she taught composition, literature, and ethics. This fall, Dr Brown joined the DSU faculty as one of eight new visiting post-doctoral fellows. In addition to her love of teaching, Dr. Brown has a strong interest in research. “Research is a process of discovery that fosters meaningful conversations. Those conversations often lead to lifelong learning, enacting new ways of seeing and being in the world,” she commented. Her most recent publication, entitled “Queering the Waters: The Subversive Potential in E. Pauline Johnson’s Canoe,” was published in Western American Literature (Volume 55, Number 2, Summer 2020). The article focuses on intersections of Indigenous literature, the erotic and eco-criticism. In a second article, Professor Brown explores the field of sound studies, which aims to understand the relationship of sound (music, speech, noise and silence) to history and culture. The article, entitled “Tiny Taps and Noisy Hacks: Listening to Zitkala Ša’s Sonic Politics,” will be published this Spring in Resonance: A Journal of Sound and Culture. For more information, contact Kristen Brown at kristen.brown@utahtech.edu.

Program Highlight: DSU New Research Journal Featured by Scholastica


DSU’s new student and faculty research journal—Curiosity is featured on a blog by Scholastica academic publishing.   Curiosity: Interdisciplinary Journal of Research and Innovation, Dixie State’s first student-run peer-reviewed publication, published its inaugural issue in May 2020 with articles on linguistics, education, sociology and literary studies.  “The journal has been a fantastic opportunity to showcase the results of many research mentoring efforts that take place on campus,” says Assistant Professor of English Olga A. Pilkington, who serves as Editor in-Chief of the journal.

Students from all disciplines are invited to submit.  Faculty can also submit papers and it is hoped that each issue will contain at least one faculty paper, although these may be a research status article or a republication.  “Our goal is to establish a track record and then to be included in online indexing services such as ERIC and LexisNexis so that our research will be available to scholars worldwide,” commented Pilkington.  For submission guidelines, see https://academics.utahtech.edu/uro/research-journal/.  For more information, contact Olga Pilkington at opilkington@utahtech.edu.

Faculty Highlight: Post-Doctoral Fellows

In the Fall of 2020, DSU welcomed its first cohort of Visiting Post-Doctoral Fellows. The addition of these new faculty positions furthers our institution’s commitment to research and scholarship. A total of eight Post-Doctoral Fellows will join DSU faculty, with five appointments in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and two in the College of Science, Engineering, and Technology. These new professors are advancing their disciplines and are actively publishing their research.

Display image of Dr. Kristen Brown

Dr. Kristen Brown

Post-Doctoral Fellow of English

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Display image of Dr. Lacy Hope

Dr. Lacy Hope

Post-Doctoral Fellow of English

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Display image of Dr. Kyle Killebrew

Dr. Kyle Killebrew

Post-Doctoral Fellow of English

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Display image of Dr. Anne Levitsky

Dr. Anne Levitsky

Post-Doctoral Fellow of Humanities

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Display image of Dr. Benjamin Mann

Dr. Benjamin Mann

Post-Doctoral Fellow of Communication

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Display image of Dr. Derek McAllister

Dr. Derek McAllister

Post-Doctoral Fellow of Communication

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Display image of Dr. Arianna Harrington

Dr. Arianna Harrington

Post-Doctoral Fellow of Biology

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Display image of Dr. Richard Warner

Dr. Richard Warner

Post-Doctoral Fellow of Chemistry

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Research office

Email: research@utahtech.edu

Phone: 435-879-4488

Office: HCC 488