2018 Outstanding Graduate Student Research Awards

  • Laura SchubertLaura Schubert

    English: Composition and TESOL PhD, December 2017

    “Exploring the Connections Between Students’ Mindsets and Their
    Writing: An Intervention Study With a Course-Embedded Writing
    Tutor”

    Ben Rafoth, Advisor (summary by Rafoth)

    Laura Schubert is an assistant professor at James Madison University. She graduated from IUP in December 2017 with her PhD in English (Composition and TESOL; Ben Rafoth, advisor), and earned her MA degree in English from Millersville University and her BA degree in English from Eastern Mennonite University. Laura’s doctoral dissertation applies current theories in the social sciences to an in-depth study of writing tutoring for engineering students. Her findings add to the knowledge of the field by describing specific traits of growth-minded writers and the ways these traits impact their writing. Her research shows that mindsets have more fluidity than is described in the literature, and that understanding this fluidity can be applied to the training and supervision of writing center tutors. At her defense, her dissertation committee unanimously awarded her Pass with Distinction, noting that Laura followed exceptionally high standards for empirical research, made significant and lasting contributions to her field, and wrote her dissertation in a manner that was clear and thoughtful.

    Cameron FissCameron Fiss

    Biology MS, May 2018

    “Multiscale Habitat Selection of Fledgling Golden-winged Warblers
    in Managed Mixed-oak Forest Communities of Northern
    Pennsylvania”

    Jeffrey Larkin, Advisor (summary by Larkin)

    Cameron Fiss completed his undergraduate studies at Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2014. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in biology after focusing on ecology, evolution, and environmental sciences and minoring in environmental geography. During his undergraduate years he worked as an avian research technician for Jeff Larkin and his graduate students. Cameron’s attention to detail, dependability, and passion for ecological research earned him an externally funded graduate assistantship in the IUP Biology Department. Cameron began working for his Master of Science degree at IUP in 2015. Working with Larkin, Cameron helped develop and carry out a research project aimed at better understanding the breeding ecology of an imperiled songbird—the Golden-winged Warbler. Specifically, this project assessed the habitat requirements and movement patterns of fledgling Golden-winged Warblers in managed forests of Pennsylvania, where the species is rapidly declining. One of the major goals of this project was to provide land managers with information that would allow them to incorporate the full-breeding season habitat requirements of this imperiled songbird into their forest management plans. After tracking over 120 fledglings for four summers (2014–17), Cameron defended his thesis in November 2017. To date, Cameron has published four papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals and has four more currently under review. Additionally, Cameron has presented his research at five international, national, or regional science conferences. Cameron’s career goals are primarily research driven and include completing a PhD in the near future. Upon completion of this degree, Cameron hopes to continue using his background in conservation and ecological research to help solve some of the various complex issues facing plants and wildlife.

    Matthew HassettMatthew Hassett

    Criminology PhD, May 2018

    “Attitudes Regarding the Concealed Carry of Firearms on
    University Campuses”

    Bitna Kim, Advisor (summary by Kim)

    Matthew Hassett is a doctoral student in the Criminology and Criminal Justice program and will graduate in May 2018. His dissertation focuses on the timely and critical topic of the Concealed Carry of Firearms on College Campus (“Campus Carry”). By employing an extensive survey instrument that examines both attitudes of campus carry and the predictors of those attitudes, his study yielded the most comprehensive explanation of student, faculty, administrator, and staff attitudes to date. While past studies mainly focused on the impact of demographic variables on campus carry attitudes, Hassett’s study examined a full list of predictors, including environmental factors that can actually be adjusted in the future. His conclusion and policy implications were built on his comprehensive data collected at IUP in 2017: 831 undergraduate students, 120 graduate students, 220 faculty members, and 209 administrators/staff. Additionally, attitudes were uncovered within a national sample of 1,554 experts in the field of criminology and criminal justice. I believe that his extraordinary dissertation is well-deserving of an award. I have no doubt that he will successfully represent our discipline in his academic life. He has accepted an assistant professorship at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke beginning fall 2018.