On-campus Research

Faculty Mentors

The following table provides on-campus research opportunities. Please email the mentor for further instructions on how to apply. Remember to check back as this page will be updated each semester.

Faculty Research Projects

Mentor Discipline Project Name/Description Contact

College of Business

Derick Esplin, Ph.D. Accounting Upgrading the accounting curriculum: Skills that accounting graduates need in order to have a successful career in accounting. DerrickEsplin@utahtech.edu

College of Science, Engineering, & Technology

Geoff Smith Ph.D. Biology Research on the Side-Blotched Lizards that has been published in different scientific journals. Geoffrey.Smith@utahtech.edu
Curt Walker Ph.D. Biology Study of the canyon tree frogs in Zion National Park. Curt.Walker@utahtech.edu
Rico Del Sesto, Ph.D. Chemistry

Materials Science

Design and synthesis of new chemicals and materials with applications in medicine (antibacterial, antifungal), energy (biofuels, heat transfer fluids), environment (sampling, decontamination, forensics), and optical/magnetic responsive materials. Rico.DelSesto@utahtech.edu
Wendy Schatzberg, PhD

Chemistry Education & Nanomaterials Chemistry


In chemistry education, the projects involve understanding how students learn and use chemistry knowledge in the classroom and laboratory. In nanomaterials, the projects look at the design, synthesis, and analysis of nanomaterials in the laboratory, environment, medicinal, and energetics. Wendy.Schatzberg@utahtech.edu
Zhenyu Jin, Ph.D Geography/GIS GIS, Disease and Health Mapping. Research on the application  GIS to monitor and map spread of disease, healthcare issues. Zhenyu.Jin@utahtech.edu
Vinodh Chellamuthu, Ph.D.
Mathematics Mathematical Modeling, Ecology, Biology, Data Analytics, Differential Equations, Numerical Analysis, Spread of Disease. Vinodh.Chellamuthu@utahtech.edu
Jesse Hicks Ph.D Mathematics Ongoing projects in Mathematical Relativity, Lie Theory, Quantum Computing, Cryptography, Machine Learning, & Blockchain. Jesse.Hicks@utahtech.edu
Bhuvaneswari Sambandham (Buna), Ph.D. Mathematics Fractional differential equations and numerical methods for ordinary and partial differential equations. Buna.Sambandham@utahtech.edu
McKay Sullivan. Ph.D
Mathematics Game Theory, Cryptography, Mathematical Physics, Representation Theory & Conformal Field Theory. Mckay.Sullivan@utahtech.edu
­­Russell Reid, Ph.D. Mechanical engineering Currently investigating the potential of liquid-based kinetic energy harvesting for biomedical applications. Russell.Reid@utahtech.edu

College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Florence Bacabac, Ph.D. English

Professional and Technical Writing Emphasis

Digital rhetoric, writing for multimedia and the web, writing across the curriculum, civic engagement and service learning, second language writing, and women’s rhetoric. Florence.Bacabac@utahtech.edu
Shauna Wight, Ph.D English Online affinity spaces and literacy learning, how literacy education affects students’ educational trajectories, teaching for transfer. Shauna.Wight@utahtech.edu
Theda Wrede, Ph.D English Literary studies including multicultural, feminist, postcolonial, and environmental criticism in American and world literature. Theda.Wrede@utahtech.edu
Amanda Scott, Ph.D English Victorian literature, gender studies, Native American literature/ tribal identity, Romantic poetry, Civic Engagement. Amanda.Scott@utahtech.edu
Lacy Hope, Ph.D. English Assistant Professor in the English Department. Interested in Digital humanities, technical and professional writing, technology and writing, and the rhetorics of data and information. Lacy.Hope@utahtech.edu
Nancy Ross, Ph.D. Arts and Sciences Interested in topics related to feminism, race, Mormon studies, and the sociology of religion. She is currently working on Mormon studies projects related to garments, art history, and the history of the women’s ordination movement in the RLDS Church. Nancy.Ross@utahtech.edu
Joy McMurrin, Ph.D English/Professional and Technical Writing Writing in the professions. Technical documentation. Web 2.0. Interactive media. Design. Usability. Joy.Mcmurrin@utahtech.edu
Erin Ortiz, Ph.D Organizational Communication Organizational Communication and Service Leadership. Erin.Ortiz@utahtech.edu
Dannelle Larsen-Rife, Ph.D. Psychology &


Developmental science, practice, and application of interpersonal neurobiology, especially as it applies to Integrative Health. Particularly interested in understanding how early experience contributes to mental and physical health across lifespan. Dannelle.Larsen-Rife@utahtech.edu
Kristine Olson, Ph.D. Psychology Industrial-Organizational Culture, diversity, work-family interface, gender, and organizational climate applied to the workplace. Kristine.Olson@utahtech.edu
John Wolfe, Ph.D Philosophy Ancient Philosophy, Medieval Philosophy, American Pragmatism, Philosophy of Religion, Ethics, and Philosophy and Popular Culture. John.Wolfe@utahtech.edu
Matt Smith-Lahrman, Ph.D Sociology Qualitative sociology, ethnography, participant observation fieldwork. Matt.Smith-Lahrman@utahtech.edu
Lish Harris, Ph.D Criminal Justice Criminological Theory; Race and Crime; Issues of Social Justice. Lish.Harris@utahtech.edu

College of Health Sciences

Travis Ficklin, Ph.D.  Biomechanics

Exercise Science

Exercise Science, which include Biomechanics, Motor Control, and Measurement and Evaluation.  Research on flail-like motions and sports performance, especially in the realm of the diamond sports baseball and softball. Recently Travis has taken an interest in motion capture lab with 3D markerless motion capture and 2 strain gauge force platforms. Travis.Ficklin@utahtech.edu
Susan Hart Ph.D. Exercise Science Exercise Science, Motor Learning & Bone Density. Comparison of different theories related to attentional focus in a rehabilitation setting. And investigation of factors that affect the development of bone mineral density. Susan.Hart@utahtech.edu
Lisa Welch Health Sciences Academic dishonesty in online learning. Undergraduate student knowledge of the oral transmission of sexually transmitted infections Lisa.Welch@utahtech.edu
Brenda Armstrong MDH Oral Health Care / Nursing Home Health Reserach conducted with the support of Senior Charity Care Foundation (SCCF) and the Utah Dental Hygienists’ Association (UDHA) to study the oral health status of nursing home residents. Brenda.Armstrong@utahtech.edu

College of Arts

McGarren Flack
Visual Art Sustainability of art and materials correlating to the art pieces; social constructs and art. McGarren.Flack@utahtech.edu
Lauren DiSalvo
Art History 18th-century classical reception. Lauren.DiSalvo@utahtech.edu
Jennifer Weber Dance Research engages critical approaches to existing codified dance techniques to reimagine the ways in which the various training methods, practices, and genres of dance can be in conversation. The direct areas of application she investigates are dance pedagogy, creative process, and the individual artist. Jennifer.Weber@utahtech.edu
Bryant Smith
Music 19th Century Latter-day Saint Brass Bands and their cultural connections to America Bryant.Smith@utahtech.edu
Ka-Wai Yu, D.M.A. Music Doctoral thesis, entitled “When concerto meets song cycle: A study of vocal influences in Robert Schumann’s Cello Concerto in A Minor, OP.129 with reference to his Dichterliebe, OP. 48” Ka-wai.Yu@utahtech.edu
Robert Matheson, D.M.A. Music Electro-acoustic music performance practice and composition. Double bass performance, contemporary music and commercial music. Robert.Matheson@utahtech.edu



Research office

Email: research@utahtech.edu

Phone: 435-879-4488

Office: HCC 488