March 28, 2016

The wide breadth of research and creative activities of CU Denver faculty was once again on full display at the Office of Research Services’ (ORS) grant awardees breakfast.

This year’s event, held at the Student Commons Building, honored 33 faculty grant award winners as well as 20 others, who were awarded travel, publication costs, and discretionary funding. Besides a large group of faculty, attendees included Chancellor Dorothy Horrell; Provost Roderick Nairn; Bob Damrauer, associate vice chancellor for research, CU Denver; and Michael Jenson, assistant vice chancellor for research, CU Denver.

Teage Bohlen
Teague Bohlen, associate professor of English, delivered a presentation about his research for a novel.

Two earlier awardees gave presentations about their research and creative activities. Teague Bohlen, associate professor of English, delivered a talk about the research process for his forthcoming second novel, tentatively titled “The Normal Home.” Jamie Hodgkins, assistant professor of Anthropology, gave a presentation on the “Long Journey of Homo sapiens.”

This was the most recent “class” of ORS grant awardees since the breakfast celebrations began in 2014.

Awardee presentations

Bohlen, whose first novel, “The Pull of the Earth,” won the Colorado Book Award for fiction, used an ORS grant he received last spring to make several trips to a former orphanage campus in Normal, Ill., to research his latest novel. He originally planned to write a literary ghost story with commercial appeal.

CU Denver Associate Professor Teague Bohlen
This is an old photo from the abandoned orphanage campus that CU Denver Associate Professor Teague Bohlen researched for his forthcoming novel.

Bohlen had lived near the campus during a portion of his childhood. “It was a weird, abandoned place and it always struck me as this place I wanted to return to narratively,” he said.

But after interviewing former residents and employees of the campus, Bohlen realized he didn’t feel right about using the orphanage as a setting for melodrama and misery. “It became a whole new story,” he said. “I think there will be a haunting aspect to the novel when it’s done. But it changed pretty radically, and it’s all because of the research I did there last spring.”

Bohlen, who titled his presentation, “Going Where the Work Wants, Willingly,” said he’s about three-quarters done with the novel.

CU Denver professor Jamie Hodgkins
Jamie Hodgkins, assistant professor of Anthropology, doing research fieldwork.

Hodgkins summarized her research currently in progress in South Africa and Italy to reconstruct the daily foraging habits and nutritional choices of early modern humans in Africa and Neandertals in Europe. She used a combination of zooarchaeology, isotope geochemistry and aerial photography to illustrate and explain her project.

She said that paleoanthropological research has revealed that our own family lineage is far more complex than once thought. It is also true, she said, that through time this diversity has been whittled down to one remaining species, Homo sapiens.

“Understanding how our species has survived when others did not is key to determining what makes us ‘human’ and where we fit into the natural world,” Hodgkins said. “Reconstructing landscape use patterns, hunting and foraging behaviors, and the mobility of early modern humans and our closest fossil relatives the Neandertals, can help clarify ecological factors that contributed to our success.”

‘Incredibly helpful’

Each year, CU Denver students are selected to participate in Hodgkins’ fieldwork at Pinnacle Point (South Africa) and Arma Veirana (Italy), providing them with valuable experience in the modern methods of Paleolithic archaeology.

For more information about the Office of Research Services call 303-315-5826 or visit www.ucdenver.edu/ors

Bohlen said the ORS grants are “incredibly helpful” to the research process. “I especially appreciate the support the ORS shows to not only scientific research but creative work as well,” he said. “Too often, I think, creative work gets sidelined in processes like this.”

Small-grant proposals for up to $3,000 can be submitted to ORS at any time and are reviewed on two-month cycles, Jenson said. Large-grant proposals for up to $25,000 are reviewed twice a year. The grants are available to faculty members on the CU Denver campus, particularly tenured and tenure-track faculty. An interdisciplinary committee reviews all grant applications.

The full list of grant awardees:

  • Robert Allen, assistant professor, Counseling
  • Christy Briles, assistant professor, Geography and Environmental Science
  • Michelle Carpenter, associate professor, Visual Arts
  • Leslie Gaston-Bird, associate professor, Recording Arts
  • Michael Greene, associate professor, Integrative Biology
  • Amy Hasinoff, assistant professor, Communication
  • Carlos Hipolito-Delgado, associate professor, Counseling, and Diane Estrada, associate professor, Counseling
  • Remi Holden, assistant professor, Information and Learning Technologies
  • Aaron Johnson, assistant professor, Integrative Biology
  • Rian Kerrane, associate professor, Visual Arts
  • Jung-In Kim, assistant professor, Educational Psychology
  • Jefferson Knight, assistant professor, Chemistry
  • Bryan Lester, associate professor, Visual Arts
  • Marjorie Levine-Clark, associate professor, History
  • Hai Lin, associate professor, Chemistry
  • Carrie Makarewicz, assistant professor, Planning and Design
  • Marty Otanez, associate professor, Anthropology
  • Scott Schaefle, associate professor, Counseling, and Robert Allen, associate professor, Counseling
  • Kent Seidel, associate professor, Research Evaluation Methods
  • Levin Sliker, assistant research professor, Bioengineering
  • Christoph Stefes, associate professor, Political Science, and Betcy Jose, assistant professor, Political Science
  • Brad Stith, professor, Integrative Biology
  • John Tinnell, assistant professor, English
  • Diana Tomback, professor, Integrative Biology
  • Annika Mosier, assistant professor, Integrative Biology
  • Sarah Tyson, assistant professor, Philosophy
  • Travis Vermilye, assistant professor, Visual Arts
  • Tam Vu, assistant professor, Computer Science
  • Diana White, associate professor, Mathematical and Statistical Sciences
  • Michael Wunder, associate professor, Integrative Biology

Travel funding recipients:

  • Farnoush Banaei-Kashani
  • Mary Connelly
  • Roxann Hayes
  • Aaron Johnson
  • Jung Jae Lee
  • Yong Liu
  • Kannan Premnath
  • Xiaojun Ren
  • Douglas Shepherd
  • Elizabeth Steed
  • Diana Tomback
  • Tam Vu
  • Liliya Vugmeyster

Publication funding recipients:

  • Carol Golemboski
  • Cheryl Matias

Discretionary funding recipients:

  • Martin Huber
  • Chris Miller
  • Annika Mosier
  • Xiaojun Ren

For more information about ORS call 303-315-5826 or visit www.ucdenver.edu/ors

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