Utah Tech University


We interview students and faculty about their research.
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Due to the hard work of DSU faculty and the contributions of generous donors, Dixie State University has a number of collaborative agreements with outside entities and other universities that provide real world research experience to our students.  This past summer, two DSU students worked with researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore Maryland. Two others worked locally with researchers at Intermountain Precision Genomics in St. George, Utah. Although the internships this year were virtual due to COVID-19 concerns, the students gained valuable experience doing actual research on cutting edge research projects “These summer internships provide an amazing opportunity for our students,” says Doug Sainsbury, Biological Sciences Advisor.  According to Dr. Lincoln Nadauld who advises the internship program, “Every one of the past internship recipients have gone on to be accepted to a graduate program, medical school or is in the process of applying to a graduate program or medical school.”

Hana Hanks

Nursing Major

Hana Hanks, a senior majoring in nursing, worked with researchers at Johns Hopkins University’s Freel-Meyers Lab to develop a long-acting drug design for the treatment of Tuberculosis.  Such a treatment would improve the patient outcomes of those infected with Tuberculosis around the world as well as decrease antibiotic resistant infections.  Hana will graduate this summer and plans to attend medical school.  She hopes to pursue emergency medicine with an emphasis in wilderness medicine and research.

Colton Rosendhal

Biology Major

Colton Rosendhal is a biology major with an emphasis in biomedical sciences.  He is also minoring in chemistry and health psychology.  Colton worked with Intermountain Precision Genomics on a research project to identify specific gene mutations that might be involved in heart diseases such as Atrial Fibrillation.  Colton plans to apply to medical school this summer and eventually become an oncologist.

Jonathan Tuscano

Biomedicine Major

Jonathan Tuscano, a senior majoring in biomedicine, worked with researchers in Dr. Laura Ensign’s Johns Hopkins University lab to create a method of delivering ophthalmic drugs that would not degrade quickly in the eye.  Currently, such medicines must be delivered through an injection to the eye. A method for producing long lasting ophthalmic drugs would greatly increase the quality of life for patients and perhaps eliminate the need for ophthalmic injections entirely.  Following graduation, Jonathan plans to enter a physician-scientist training (MD/PhD) program.

Spencer Thatcher

Biomedicine Major

Spencer Thatcher worked with Intermountain Precision Genomics seeking to identify and understand gene mutations that might contribute to Multiple Sclerosis.  Spencer graduated this past spring from DSU with a degree in biomedical sciences and a minor in chemistry.  He is currently conducting his own independent research while working at Intermountain Regional Medical Center as a Patient Care Technician and preparing to apply to medical school.

Faculty Highlight: Research has Opened Doors

Anne Levitsky
Anne Levitsky

Anne Levitsky’s interest in music and Medieval studies has created many opportunities for professional growth.  As a graduate of Stanford University, she has been a Lecturer at Columbia University and has also taught at Stony Brook University. This April she will speak about her research at the Medieval Academy of America in Indianapolis and in May at the International Medieval Congress in Western Michigan University.

Dr. Levitsky is one of the new Post-Doctoral Fellows hired by Dixie State University this fall and she comes to DSU with an admirable body of research and publication.  Her research on Troubadour lyric poetry was published in Mediaevaliain 2018.  Her book chapter, “’Per vers o per chanso’: Grammar, Gender, and Song in Aimeric de Peguilhan’s ‘Mangtas vetz sui enqueritz,’” will also be published this spring in Gender and Voice in Medieval Literature and Lyric, (University Press of Florida).   Another book chapter, “Education,” (with Susan Boynton), will be published in 2022 in A Cultural History of Music, Vol. II: A Cultural History of Music in the Middle Ages, published by Bloomsbury. In addition to these forthcoming publications, Dr. Levitsky has a contract for a future book entitled, Singing the Physical: Song and Materiality in Troubadour Lyric Poetry, to be published by Liverpool University Press.

At DSU, Dr. Levitsky teaches Humanities 1010, which exposes students to a wide range of topics in music, art and literature.  For more information, contact Dr. Levitsky atanne.levitsky@utahtech.edu.

Faculty Highlight: Research Focuses on Indigenous Literature

Kyle Killebrew

“Research allows us to think about and participate in the larger world that surrounds us,” observes English professor Kyle Killebrew.  “There are things in this world that are worth giving real scrutiny to,” he adds.  Through his research, Dr. Killebrew explores the world of Indigenous and settler culture and reconciliation.  His most recent article, “The Commission, the Community, and the Cree Woman in the Attic: Lightning’s Older than America in Canada’s Culture of Redress” is published in the current issue of Studies in American Indian Literatures (University of Nebraska Press).

“I approach my research from the perspective of someone who has something to learn and is willing to be taught,” says Killebrew. “I try to instill in my students that research and writing allows them to enter into the discussions going on in the world around them and that it’s important to participate in those discussions.”

Dr. Killebrew, one of DSU’s new Post-Doctoral Fellows, grew up in Illinois and came to DSU this year after completing his Ph.D. at the University of Illinois in film and Indigenous studies.  At DSU, he teaches English composition.  For more information, contact Kyle Killebrew at kyle.killebrew@utahtech.edu.

Faculty Highlight: Writing About Film and the History of Cinema

Stephen Armstrong

English professor Stephen Armstrong started writing about film and film history some years ago. This year he published two volumes of interviews with film greats associated with the famous director Roger Corman’s New World Pictures–a film production-distribution company responsible for the creation and release of more than one-hundred films.  The publication is part of an oral history series that involved conducting and transcribing over 35 interviews.  Several of Dr. Armstrong’s writing students were involved in the transcription and editing process and are listed as associate and assistant editors on the published volumes.  “It’s a great opportunity for my students to gain real experience practicing the editing and professional writing skills we teach them in the Department of English,” Armstrong said. “And it helps them in their future job prospects.”

Since publishing the two volumes, Dr. Armstrong has received a contract to produce a third volume for the series.  Students will again have an opportunity to be involved as associate editors.  The publication of Volume III is due to be released in 2023. For more information, contact Stephen Armstrong at Armstrong@utahtech.edu.

Program Highlight: ISR Students Research Benefits of Outdoor Education

ISR Group

How do outdoor recreation programs benefit underrepresented youth?   This is one of the questions being investigated by five DSU applied sociology students this semester.  The students are part of a research project conducted by DSU’s Institute for Social Research.  The National Parks Service, partnered with DSU’s Outdoor Leadership Academy, provides a variety of outdoor experiences to underrepresented youth. Under the mentorship of sociology professor and ISR Director Robert Oxley, the five students are looking at a wide range of research questions related to DSU’s Outdoor Leadership Institute. The five students and their respective research questions are:

  • Pamela Holiday: “How Intersectionality, Lack of Diversity and Inclusion Affects Outdoor Recreation Use: An Examination of Outdoor Leadership Academy (OLA) and Underrepresented Social Group.
  • MacKenzie Davis: “Differing Benefits of Outdoor Recreation for Underrepresented Youth”
  • Jamie Cormani-Denney: “Social, Emotional, and Intellectual Benefits of Outdoor Recreation”
  • Alena Walker: “Discrimination and Sexual Orientation Issues in Outdoor Recreation Programs,”
  • Luther Knudsen: “Intersectionality and Outdoor Leadership Programs”

The students have already presented preliminary results of their research at national conferences.  In October, they presented at a virtual conference of the Association for Applied and Clinical Sociology and also at the Mid-South Sociological Association.
According to project coordinator Pamela Holiday, “the opportunity to do research like this has given us undergraduates so much great experience in writing and presenting research that will be published and we have had opportunities to network with professionals in our field.”
Final research results will be presented at the Utah Undergraduate Research Conference in February, the Pacific Sociological Association Annual Conference in March and also at DSU’s Undergraduate Research Symposium to be held in April.

For more information, contact Pamela Holiday at pamela.holiday@dmail.utahtech.edu.


Research office

Email: research@utahtech.edu

Phone: 435-879-4488

Office: HCC 488