The University of Iowa

Ballard and Seashore Recipients, 2014-2015

Mark Baccei

Baccei, Mark – Educational Policy and Leadership Studies »

I will investigate how undergraduate student leadership is influenced by a variety of institution-directed and self-directed activities throughout the undergraduate experience. I will pay specific attention to the influence university-driven, campus-based trainings have on undergraduate leadership development. Using longitudinal data, I will seek to ascertain if the net effects of campus-based trainings on leadership development are conditional on student’s gender or race.

James Bigelow

Bigelow, James – Psychology »

Humans and other primates are better at remembering visual compared to auditory events, and are even better at remembering combined audiovisual information. My dissertation will investigate cellular activity in the prefrontal cortex, a brain area known to be important for memory, in subjects performing an auditory, visual, and audiovisual memory task. The findings may help explain differences in memory among sensory modalities, and how the brain integrates auditory and visual information into a unified percept.

Tingting Chen

Chen, Tingting – Teaching and Learning »

My dissertation aims to investigate how depth of vocabulary knowledge has developed among advanced- and superior-level learners of Chinese as a foreign language (CFL). In particular, it explores how vocabulary depth varies across CFL proficiency levels and how it relates to learners’ preexisting phonological and morphological knowledge. This study also represents a small yet principled investigation so as to build an empirical base for understanding the vocabulary dimensions of “advanced” and “superior” second/foreign language proficiency.

Jonathan Crylen

Crylen, Jonathan – Film Studies »

My dissertation addresses undersea filmmaking in the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, focusing on its technological aspects. First, it asks how audiovisual technologies have fashioned remote, non-terrestrial environments for the eyes and ears of a broad public. Second, because filming undersea has depended upon submersibles, diving gear, and other apparatuses seldom built for the express purpose of recording sounds or images, it explores cinema’s links to non-representational histories that have set the conditions for filmmaking.

John Eicher

Eicher, John – History »

My dissertation follows two groups of German-speaking Mennonites who inhabited Russia until the 1870s, fled separately to Canada and Germany, and were reunited in Paraguay in 1930. I argue that some diaspora communities adopt and dismiss multiple national identifications to preserve their communal autonomy and avoid state persecution. The promise of my comparative study is that it reveals how diasporas operate within a global context of nation-states and interpret their collective narratives.

Philip J. Erickson

Erickson, Philip J. – Economics »

The number of lawyers being produced at high cost combined with their relative lack of job options has created significant concern. To address this, my dissertation examines how much schools know concerning the market for lawyers compared to their potential students. I study possible solutions to the problem by simulating the market effects of increasing the level of information available to students concerning the economic benefit they could expect from graduating from any given school.

Michaela Frischherz

Frischherz, Michaela – Communication Studies »

Feminist sexual studies have long queried the ways in which women are enabled and/or constrained in their articulations of pleasure in public. The dissertation joins these conversations and attends to moments in public culture wherein the articulation of pleasure is fraught with both contest and creativity. Working at the intersections of rhetorical, feminist, and queer theory/criticism, the project excavates moments wherein women publicly express their pleasures despite the structures of power not always in our favor.

David Greder

Greder, David – Religious Studies »

The 1641 Irish Rebellion is unique in the history of early modern European warfare because of the vast collection of eyewitness accounts known as the 1641 Depositions. My dissertation utilizes the depositions to better understand how common Catholics and Protestants used prophetic and eschatological religious imagery to explain the violence and chaos of war. I also investigate how eschatological religious beliefs, as represented in the depositions, impacted Catholic and Protestant war propaganda in seventeenth-century Ireland and Britain.

Katharina Kley

Kley, Katharina – Second Language Acquisition »

This dissertation project centers on the under-researched construct of interactional competence, which refers to features of jointly constructed discourse. The purpose is to describe interactional competence in detail in a low-stakes, classroom setting targeted at students in their second year of German instruction at the college level. Within this test setting, I investigate the variation in co-constructed discourse that arises from different tasks and from the different combi nations of ability levels in the test-taker pairs.

Jae Hwan Kwon

Kwon, Jae Hwan – Marketing »

My dissertation explores the context effect created by an extremely positive and strong attitude (EPASA) object on the subsequent evaluative judgment of a target object. Of importance, I find that both the magnitudes and directions of the context effects of an EPASA vary by the quality of target objects. More importantly, it is found that these differing magnitudes and directions of the context effect of an EPASA finally result in evaluative space distortion.

Cynthia Laborde

Laborde, Cynthia – French »

My doctoral thesis explores how an important contemporary literary genre, the French autobiographical comic book, approaches the topic of health and disease and links it closely with questions of identity formation. The central aim of my thesis is to demonstrate how these French graphic novels have become an important literary and cultural site for examining the social and artistic significance of a form of writing in which private health concerns are made public.

Rossina Liu

Liu, Rossina – Teaching and Learning »

My dissertation stems from my three-and-a-half-year and ongoing ethnographic observation of (and participation in) the literate lives, practices, and identities of adults in a community writing workshop at a homeless shelter. I examine the literacy spaces in which ten veterans and other shelter house adults respond to their marginalization, challenge stories of deficits, and revise themselves into the identity of a literary town with nonfiction forms. Results dispute deficit assumptions of persons in homeless situations.

Sonja Mayrhofer

Mayrhofer, Sonja – English »

My dissertation examines how the humors influenced representations of bodies in medieval literary texts (St. Erkenwald, Chaucer’s Franklin’s Tale, Richard Cœr de Lyon, and Marie de France’s Yonec). In chapters exploring the connection between the humors and religious devotion, marriage, cannibalism, and shape-shifting, I show that humoral psychology was not just a medical theory known to medieval medical practitioners, but also a deeply influential cosmology for the literary representation of bodies and emotions.

Jennifer McCabe-Bean

McCabe-Bean, Jennifer – Psychology »

Maternal responsiveness to infant needs is understood to be an important factor in determining the trajectory of a child's development for good or ill. It is critical to identify the basic processes responsible for poor maternal responsiveness in order to develop effective treatments for at-risk mothers. This dissertation study examines how an emotional process during a woman's pregnancy (i.e., her perceived threshold for tolerating distress) influences her ability to respond sensitively during future mother- infant interactions.

Benjamin C. Miele

Miele, Benjamin C. – English »

My dissertation recovers the moral, epistemological, and textual complexity of espionage in early modern England. Surveillance tactics at this time relied to a large extent on textual practices such as reading. The proliferation of print and manuscript texts made reading more decentralized and secret, thereby creating a culture of surveillant readers in early modern England. Elizabethan and Jacobean literature reacted to this cultural ethos of revelation by exploring the instrumentality of the spy trope and questioning the power of human perception to reveal the truth.

Mark Walker

Walker, Mark – Sociology »

My dissertation investigates the interplay between the self, social networks, and psychological well-being. To do so, I first compare different methods for gathering extensive personal social networks. Next, I assess how participating in social roles that are discrepant in meaning (both in terms of cultural and self-held meanings) can reduce individuals psychological well-being. Last, my research scopes out how the interplay between identity meanings and social network structure factors in to this process.

Admire Mseba

Mseba, Admire – History »

My dissertation explores the history of competition for land from the precolonial period through the colonial period. It situates conflicts and accommodations over land within the intimate social settings of households, kinships, farms and mission stations to understand why historically some African men and women accessed land while others failed. In them, I find political and social dynamics which, together with colonial rule, created inequality among Africans and contributed to unequal access to land throughout the twentieth century. They include gender, kinship, status and generation.

Christina Nicholas

Nicholas, Christina – Anthropology »

The evolution of the human lineage is the result of a complex interplay between biological and cultural factors. This project investigates facial growth and development in humans and Neandertals in order to answer both clinical and anthropological questions. In particular, this project looks at the relationship between the competing selective pressures that respiration and mastication place on facial form, including culturally-prescribed behaviors such as paramastication (using the teeth as tools).

Jessica O’Bleness

O’Bleness, Jessica – Psychological and Quantitative Foundations »

Language is supported and shaped by a child’s environment. Aword gap exists such that children from low-income families hear and know fewer words than affluent peers. One factor that contributes to the word gap and differences in language development is the amount of language used by parents that is directed to their child. My dissertation will investigate the efficacy of a play-based intervention for increasing mothers’ language production to promote their toddlers’ language development.

Erin Peters

Peters, Erin - Art History »

Under the first Roman emperor Augustus (27 BCE-14 CE), at least seventeen temples in Egypt were newly built or expanded. This dissertation challenges the current scholarly tendency to separate the art and architecture produced in Egypt from that produced in the rest of the empire, and it advances an incorporative approach that considers Augustan temples in Egypt as part of the Roman Empire, thereby enriching the current understanding of Roman art.

Thomas Rose

Rose, Thomas - Classics »

My dissertation is a historical commentary on Plutarch’s Life of Demetrius, one of the principal historical sources for the troubled period following the death of Alexander the Great. The commentary, drawing on ancient texts, material culture and modern scholarship, offers a detailed discussion of the many historical, military, political, and intellectual problems of the time. Chief among these are the development of Hellenistic kingship and ruler-cult, and the politics and propaganda of Alexander’s successors.

Elizabeth Rathman

Rathmann, Elizabeth – Spanish »

The dissertation examines the properties of the indicative and subjunctive moods in Spanish, arguing that their distribution is grounded upon the discourse-pragmatic notion of assertion. I argue for a distinct classification of the subjunctive mood: referential (discourse-old) and volitional clauses display the subjunctive mood, while assertive clauses require the indicative mood. The dissertation also provides a new analysis of the subjunctive disjoint reference effect and ‘recomplementation’ (double-complementizer) constructions.

Rebecca Roma Stoll

Roma Stoll, Rebecca - English »

This dissertation examines how eighteenth-century authors aestheticize suffering in order to provoke pleasurable sympathetic responses from readers. As sympathy became the model of eighteenth-century morality, literature was seen as an important tool for developing the “moral sense” necessary for ethical behavior and social cohesion. However, I argue that such texts also dramatize pain’s disruption of the sympathetic process by allowing readers to become cruel mental participants in the other’s pain or to court their own masochistic discomfort.

Biljani Samoukovic

Samoukovic, Biljani – Educational Policy and Leadership Studies »

In this dissertation I will critically examine the concept of teacher expertise and its role in today’s system of public education, and develop a concept I will call “reflective expertise.” I will also develop a concept of relational knowledge. To enrich my development of the concept of reflective expertise, I will conduct a qualitative study with teachers in public primary and secondary education. The purpose of the study will be to elicit teachers’ input about teacher expertise and agency. I will explore the connection between reflective expertise and teacher empowerment, as its most prominent manifestation. If this connection is established, then teacher expertise will acquire a social, political and ethical dimension.

Emily Schilling

Schilling, Emily – Political Science »

Decades of congressional research emphasize how each legislator's decisions depend on those made by their colleagues. Yet extant empirical methods struggle to capture the resulting interdependent nature of legislators' actions. My dissertation seeks to address this gap through the use of new statistical techniques that provide a more appropriate way to detect theoretically predicted forms of interdependence. Specifically, I use spatial regression techniques to explicitly model and estimate the presence of interdependence between legislators.

Ahyoung Shin

Shin, Ahyoung – Psychological and Quantitative Foundations »

Vertical scaling is one of the most commonly used methods to track an examinee's academic progress overtime. Despite the importance of constructing a vertical scale that accurately measures an examinee's growth, often times a vertical scale is affected by a number of methodological choices. The purpose of my dissertation is to examine how different ways of handling missing data affects the construction of a vet1ical scale, and the subsequent consequences for interpreting growth.

Alyssa Suess

Suess, Alyssa – Psychological and Quantitative Foundations »

The long-term maintenance of treatment effects is a desirable outcome when treating challenging behavior. Recent research suggests that common treatments used to treat challenging behavior may increase the likelihood of treatment relapse when treatment is withdrawn. My dissertation project will investigate the effects of an alternative treatment approach on treatment relapse with children with developmental disabilities. Treatment will be implemented in an outpatient pediatric clinic and via telehealth in the children’s homes.

Mark Sulzer

Sulzer, Mark – Teaching and Learning »

My research examines classroom discussion patterns in secondary English/language arts (ELA) classrooms. Previous research suggests that dialogic discussions – discussions that are dynamic, collaborative, and student-centered – meaningfully contribute to students’ literacy learning, and my work extends this line of research by focusing on the underlying systems of reasoning that mediate dialogic discussions. More specifically, my dissertation study explores the stances practicing ELA teachers take toward youth in the context of classroom discussions.

Lindsey Thomas

Lindsey Thomas - Communication Studies »

This project illuminates the narratives and wellbeing of adult, former foster children. Scholars note that foster children are the most at-risk youth in the United States but have yet to explore how the foster care experience, as told by those who are or have been foster children, might contribute to outcomes. This project strives to better understand how foster care-related experiences are constructed in narratives and the ways in which constructions might contribute to wellbeing outcomes.

Daniel Vatterott

Vatterott, Daniel – Psychology »

We cannot fully process all the information in our environment. For example, simultaneously driving and watching TV is very challenging. To overcome this limited processing capacity, we selectively process important sensory information and ignore irrelevant information. For instance, when driving we want to selectively process task relevant items- other cars, and ignore irrelevant items- billboard signs. My dissertation explores how experience with task-irrelevant items changes our ability to selectively process task-relevant items.

Gabriele Von Roedern

Von Roedern, Gabriele – History »

Questionable Pasts examines strategies that people publicly accused of having a Nazi past employed to manage such accusations between 1957 and 1979. Despite a scholarly sense that West Germans downplayed discussions of perpetration following WWII, accused individuals evidenced fear that such discussions could have significant impacts on their reputations. To combat accusations and reinforce their versions of the past, they engaged in media campaigns and defamation lawsuits, and attempted to acquire and control historical documents.

Allison Wanger

Wanger, Allison - American Studies »

This dissertation offers a cultural history of America’s national cemetery system (NCS), officially established in 1867 to inter Union soldiers killed in action. Today, the NCS consists of nearly 200 cemeteries, on domestic and foreign soil, that inter a vast array of individuals. This project critically investigates the impetuses behind and implications of the metamorphosis of the NCS as a map of national belonging and a site for envisioning the nation’s past, present, and future.

Larissa Werhnyak

Werhnyak, Larissa - American Studies »

Through the 1930s, an American woman suffering a broken engagement had the opportunity to sue her erstwhile suitor for breach of promise to marry. Relying on cultural and legal materials, my dissertation uses this now-obsolete cause of action as a lens through which to examine both shifting norms of gender and class during the period from 1890 to 1940 and the means by which Americans expected legal mechanisms to simultaneously shape and respond to socio-cultural changes.

Shu Zhang

Zhang, Shu – Management Sciences »

With customers only accessible during a specific period of time, who should a sales representative visit and in what order should she visit them? After arriving at a customer, should the representative stay at the customer or go to another one if there is a waiting line and the wait time is uncertain? My dissertation explores answers to these questions by mathematically modeling the decision process, conducting theoretical analysis, and implementing computational experiments.

Melissa Zimdars

Zimdars, Melissa – Communication Studies

From The Biggest Loser to Mike and Molly, televised representations of fatness are multiplying in reflection of heightened governmental and medical concern that the size of our bodies constitutes a problem of epidemic proportions. This project demonstrates how television acts as a forum for not only the politics of fat visibility and world health policies, but also for debating issues of fatness in connection to weight-loss and self-discipline, self-love and size acceptance, and even disability and discrimination.