Recent CASL Faculty Kudos - September 2021

September 9, 2021

Recent faculty awards, presentations and publications.

If you start noticing more spiders crawling around your house this fall, researchers say it’s not a reason to freak out. In a recent USA Today articleAssociate Professor of Biological Sciences Anne Danielson-Francois explained that populations of spiders don’t suddenly spike; they’re probably “just more noticeable because the males are moving around” in search of mates this time of year. Their timely appearance heading into Halloween is mere coincidence, according to Danielson-Francois.

Congrats to Office of Metropolitan Impact Executive Director and Social Sciences Lecturer Tracy Hall for her recent co-authored publication Toxic stress and disconnection from work and school among Detroit youth.” The paper, which was published in the Journal of Community Psychology, was co-authored with U-M School of Social Work Lecturer Jessica Camp and includes contributions from two UM-Dearborn students and three U-M grad students. Their work was supported by a 2018 UM Poverty Solutions Faculty Competition Grant.

Arab American Studies Director Sally Howell is quoted in the ABC News article, “20 years after 9/11, Islamophobia continues to haunt Muslims,” which chronicles how hate crimes against Muslims spiked after 9/11 and during the Trump administration. Howell said invisibility gives Islamophobia power. "When Muslims are visible to non-Muslims through their institutions, through their names, through their headscarves, through the Halal signs on their restaurants, then people would know their co-workers, their neighbors, as Muslims, and this helps overcome whatever...prejudice or concern they might have."

Professor of Geology and Chair of the Department of Natural Sciences Sven Morgan received $433,254 from the National Science Foundation for his project entitled “The role of Grain Boundary Migration in Water Weakening of Naturally Deformed Quartz.” The goal of this collaborative project with Fayetteville State University is to determine if movement of the interfaces between crystallites in a polycrystalline material allows water to enter and cause the structures to break down.

Joan Remski (PI), Marilee Benore and Daniel Lawson (Co-PIs) received a five-year, $1.44 Million NSF S-STEM award for their project “Retaining students in STEM on a commuter campus with efficient high impact practices.” Through their S-STEM project 56 talented, low-income full-time students will receive four years of scholarship support and summer experience stipends (total student support is more than $1M). Furthermore, their proposed Research Rotations program (developed specifically for this project) will expose more undergraduates from groups that are underserved in STEM to undergraduate research experiences.

Natalie Sampson, associate professor of health and human services, received $10,000 from the State of Michigan’s Commission on Middle Eastern American Affairs in support of the Environmental Health Research-to-Action (EHRA) program. Co-led by Associate Professor of Sociology Carmel Price, this successful youth program has provided dozens of high school students with a community-based summer science experience to directly address cumulative environmental exposures and related health inequities in local communities, and allowed these students to go on to become leaders, engaging residents in data-driven policy advocacy.

Associate Professor of Biology and Bee Campus USA Chair for UM-Dearborn David Susko recently wrote a blog post highlighting our campus' pollinator education and conservation activities. Bee Campus USA is a national initiative of the Xerces Society that recognizes, supports and encourages pollinator conservation on college and university campuses. Read Susko’s post.

Political Science Associate Professor Dale Thomson explains why city governments often aren’t able to directly address resident concerns and questions — like where 5G towers are placed or why some neighborhoods get freeway sound walls while others don’t — in the Detroit Free Press article, "How Michigan is using pre-emption to strip down local governments with 'political move'." In the Sept. 7 article, Thomson said that big corporations like preemption "because it means they don't have to fight every local zoning board and every local city council to get what they want." He said he understands why the power shift is concerning, but said this political move isn't always a bad thing — it depends on the issue and how beneficial it is to the overall public. "(It's) all about whether a given policy or law is pushed by a small minority or whether it’s something that will benefit everyone."

Psychology Professor Nancy Wrobel is the 2021 recipient of the American Arab, Middle Eastern, and North African Psychological Association (AMENA-Psy) Distinguished Contribution to Psychological Scholarship Award. Wrobel’s scholarship and research contributions toward helping Arab/MENA populations stood out as particularly significant and innovative to the national organization’s award selection committee. Wrobel's research interests focus on assessment and diagnostic decisions across cultural groups. Her published research includes validation of Arabic versions of mental health and dementia screening instruments, as well as acculturative stress measures. She’s also written about mental health risks and trauma in Arab Americans.

Back to top of page