Faculty Excellence Awards

The Systematics of Hackelia: Morphological Variation, Phylogenomics, and Species Delimitation
James Cohen, Botany
Groups of plants in the same geographic area and/or family can have similar patterns of diversity and yet have distinct evolutionary histories. To understand and compare patterns across groups, it is necessary to explore individual groups. The family Boraginaceae includes four speciose groups in western North America, with three recently investigated in an evolutionary context. Only the genus Hackelia remains, and it has not been examined critically in over 40 years, a period in which the size of the genus has increased by 25 percent and methods in evolutionary biology have changed radically. Using modern systematics methods, the project will elucidate evolutionary relationships and species boundaries in Hackelia and place the results in the context of plant diversity of WNA.

Book Project Writing, Translation, and Support for Visiting Scholar
Stephanie Wolfe, Political Science
During 1994, almost one million Rwandans were killed in 100 days. In the aftermath, the country has created 265 official memorials and crafted numerous laws in addition to official and unofficial policies regarding the memorial process. Between 2016 and 2019, Dr. Stephanie Wolfe, along with her partners, have conducted 210 in-person interviews and visited 128 memorial sites. The book project is unique because it captures information about memorials from every Rwandan district. As well as testimonies from rural and urban areas. A variety of individuals have been interviewed, from the elite to the disadvantaged. Funding for this project will ultimately support Dr. Wolfe's Rwandan colleague during his stay in Utah as the book manuscript is prepared for submission

K12 Teacher Understanding of Asian/Asian American Students and Families in Utah
Sun Young Lee, Teacher Education

Despite the recent trend that people born in Asia are moving to Utah, teachers in the state are being prepared with little knowledge and experience about Asian/Asian Americans. This project's research aims to increase future teachers' understanding of Asian/Asian American students and families in Utah. Sixty teachers will participate in this research and contribute to building the online archives on "Utah Teachers Talk with Asian/Asian Americans." The teacher candidates will attend a training session and virtually meet with Asian/Asian American Family members during the 2021-22 year, and write a journal. Research outcomes will be used for future teacher education, community engagement, and scholarly activities to increase teacher candidates' awareness of Asian/Asian Americans.

Fanfare Magazine Interview and Review of Album
Shi-Hwa Wang, Performing Arts
Yu-Jane Yang, Performing Arts

Fanfare Magazine is a major recording review and advertising magazine based in New Jersey since 1977. The editor of Fanfare, Joel Flegler, contacted Shi-Hwa Wang and Yu-Jane Yang to interview them and review their recent CD, "Formosan Duo Romantic Album." Fanfare is interested in the CD, which was recorded in Weber State's Browning Center, because of its special IsoMike recording equipment equipment. The IsoMike recording device was developed by Ray Kimber, a very active donor and famed alum of WSU for his recording equipment. Since the release of the CD in 2013, it has generated thousands of dollars in sales that have been donated to a scholarship fund which provides financial help to talented WSU violin and piano students. A positive review from the famed Fanfare Magazine will generate worldwide recognition of Weber State and its talented professors, and will help the Department of Performing Arts attract and recruit high-level students from around the globe. Funding support for this project will be used to run album reviews and advertising in Fanfare Magazine. 

Faculty Collaborative Awards

Global Community Engaged Learning Project — Ghana
Jeremy Farner, Building Design & Construction
Julie Rich, Geography, Environment & Sustainability
Mark Bigler, Social Work
Sally Cantwell, Nursing
Kendall Beazer, Medical Laboratory Sciences
Shauna Morris, Interior Design
Shawna Code, Facilities Management
Ron Goch, Athletics
Diana Meiser, Library

The Global Community Engaged Learning Project — Ghana brings together four colleges, six departments, Facilities Management, and nine faculty advisers as part of an innovative, high-impact educational experience for Weber State University students. The Global Community Engaged Learning (GCEL) program is a collaborative effort by Weber State University faculty to offer service-learning projects for their students. It is an award-winning program that received the Exemplary Collaboration Award in 2020. The GCEL program has been ongoing for over seven years, with service projects completed in Mozambique, Thailand, Peru, Uganda and Fiji, and has included construction of: (1) training centers for women with medical and educational facilities; (2) orphanage renovations, sanitation facilities, rainwater collection and irrigation systems; (3) a community preschool, a water harvesting system; and (4) a library, computer lab, and school rooms. Other projects included teaching local children art, English, health and hygiene and sports. The GCEL service learning projects have proven to be highly impactful for the countries served, and WSU students' lives have been changed, instilling a greater desire to be more involved in their own communities to help resolve social issues. The 2021 Global Community Engaged Learning Project — Ghana will be a collaborative effort between WSU and the non-profit Ghana Make A Difference (GMAD). This non-profit rescues and cares for children who have been slave-trafficked, abandoned or who have special needs. GMAD works to reunite the children with their biological family or to place them in a new fmaily. This GCEL project brings together WSU faculty and staff from geography, social work, building design and construction, interior design, facilities management, nursing, medical laboratory sciences, the library and athletics to develop this international, interdisciplinary, philanthropic service-learning opportunity in Ghana. The project for this partnership between GMAD and GCEL includes: (1) constructing a new school facility; (2) assisting Ghanaian social workers with the rescued children; (3) providing medical assistance for villagers with health issues; and (4) teaching children a variety of subjects and offering them social interaction opportunities as part of the rehabilitation process. 

Expansion of the Sandquist Lab Zebrafish Facilities
Jim Hutchins, Health Sciences
Elizabeth Sandquist, Zoology

The expansion of the Sandquist Lab zebrafish facilities is a collaboration between the Colleges of Health Professions, Science, and Social and Behavioral Sciences. Weber State's neuroscience program spans all of these colleges. To date, there are three neuroscience minor students working on funded Office of Undergraduate Research proposals, and this has strained existing animal housing. In short, the undergraduate researchers being trained have run out of space for the animals they need to conduct experiments. This proposal seeks funding to add aquarium tanks to house zebrafish. Dr Elizabeth Sandquist and Dr. Jim Hutchins are working on a zebrafish model of human autism.

International Guitar Soloist Concert and Collaborative Masterclass in Conjunction with Weber State's Translation Week
Francisco De Galvez, Performing Arts
Isabel Asensio, Performing Arts
Marco Socias, Guitar Soloist
Baldomer Lago, Utah Valley University

This project spans academic departments and institutions, including Weber State's Department of Performing Arts and Department of Foreign Languages, as well as Utah Valley University (UVU). The Weber State symphony orchestra will feature music with a distinguished guitar soloist from Spain, Marco Socias. Together, they will perform the Aranjuez guitar concerto by Joaquin Rodrigo. Socias' visit will be accompanied with a celebration of Spanish cultural events, organized by Baldomero Lago. Lago is an honorary consul of Spain in Utah and a professor at UVU. The cultural content of the events will be used by WSU's Department of Foreign Languages during translation week — a week that will bring influential Spanish artists to campus.

Entrepreneurship for the 21st Century Artist
Carey Campbell, Performing Arts
Ruby Chou, Performing Arts

This project is intended to incorporate the theatre and dance students in the Department of Performing Arts into an entrepreneurship course available for music students. The two objectives for this project are: (1) customize a section of the entrepreneurship course for theatre and dance students; and (2) develop a plan to expand the Music Entrepreneurship Certificate to all of the performing arts department and create a support system for the students to complete the certificate.

Water Music of Vanuatu: Gaining Insights on the Acoustics of Water Impact Events
Randy Craig Hurd, Mechanical Engineering Technology

A group of female musicians from the Banks Islands in the island nation of Vanuatu carry on a unique cultural tradition; standing waist deep in water, the women strike the water surface in various ways to create a beat to which they dance and sing. Beyond the anthropology of this unique performance, these musicians seem to have a unique understanding of how water impact (with their hands) can be modified to control the resulting sound. Researchers in the physics community are still working to understand the connection between fluid-structure interaction and acoustic response. The proposed project will study the water music created by this group of musicians in Vanuatu and recreate basic components of their music in the laboratory, while recording the fluid movement and acoustic response. Gaining insight into these connections will be of interest to the physics community, but also has practical engineering applications for commercial and military operations at sea.