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Liberal Arts Achievements

Help us congratulate our students, faculty, and alumni for their dedication and hard work! If you have an achievement you'd like to share, please submit your story here.

Spring 2024

Dr. Bartell Berg

Associate Professor of German

Dr. Jason Callahan

Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice

Dr. Matt Hanka

Professor of Political Science

Dr. Melissa Stacer

Director of Master of Arts in Criminal Justice

Dr. Taylor Petty

Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice

Yu-Li Alice Shen

Instructor in English

Dr. Jane Weatherred

Assistant Professor of Advertising and Public Relations

Dr. Leigh Anne Howard

Chair of the Communication and Media Department

Dr. Stephanie Young

Associate Professor of Communication Studies

Dr. Steven Williams

Associate Professor of Sociology

Dr. Del Doughty

Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Professor of English

Dr. Shannon Pritchard

Associate Professor of Art History

Dr. Greg Blair

Assistant Professor of Art and Design

Fall 2023

Dr. Andy Buck

Associate Professor of Sociology

Jenn Horn and Taylor Horsley

Instructor in English and Adjunct in English

Dr. Joy Santee

Associate Professor of English

Dr. Taylor Petty and Dr. Laura Lutgen-Nieves

Assistant Professors of Criminal Justice

Dr. Dan Bauer

Professor of Anthropology

Nancy Raen-Mendez

Instructor in Art

Dr. Denise Lynn and Dr. Stella Ress

Chair of the History Department and Associate Professor of History

Dr. Kristin LaFollette

Assistant Professor of English

Dr. Shannon Pritchard

Associate Professor of Art History

Dr. Denise Lynn

Interim Chair of the History Department

Mr. Robert Millard-Mendez

Professor of Art

Michael Strezewski

Associate Professor of Anthropology

Ms. Yu-Li Alice Shen

Instructor in English

Dr. Jason T. Callahan

Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice

Dr. Zachary A. Pilot

Assistant Professor of Psychology

Chuck Armstrong

Assistant Professor of Art and Design

Greg Blair, Ph.D

Assistant Professor of Art and Design

Dr. Sara Christensen Blair

Chair of Art & Design

Dawn Paris

Senior Administrative Assistant

Epiphany Kneedler

Adjunct - Art and Design

Andrea Hoelscher

Adjunct - Art and Design

Katherine Watts

Adjunct - Art and Design

Summer 2023

Norma Rosas Mayén

Professor of Spanish

Dr. Bartell M. Berg Ph.D.

Associate Professor of German

Kelly Kaelin

Assistant Professor of History and Gender Studies

Dr. Rocco J. Gennaro

Professor of Philosophy

Dr. Trent A. Engbers

Associate Professor of Political Science and Public Administration

Mr. Robert Millard-Mendez

Professor of Art

Ms. Alisa (AL) I. Holen

Associate Professor of Ceramics

Spring 2023

Carly Cato, a political science major with a pre-law minor, has been awarded the Law Scholar Award. This esteemed award offers a minimum half-tuition scholarship to the IU McKinney School of Law, and Cato is one of only two USI students to receive the honor. Cato has shown a remarkable aptitude for law, and her academic achievements have set her apart as a deserving recipient of the Law Scholar Award.

Midori Matsuura, a political science major, has been honored with the prestigious USI Trustees Distinguished Merit Award. This award recognizes Matsuura's exceptional achievements in her field of study and highlights her dedication to academic excellence.

Audrey Kidwell ‘08, a distinguished graduate of USI, has been named this year's Women's History Month community honoree by Tallahassee Community College. Kidwell graduated from USI in 2008 with a double major in political science and international studies and has since become an influential leader in her community. Her outstanding achievements have earned her this esteemed recognition as a role model for women, demonstrating her commitment to excellence and dedication to empowering others. 

Dr. Kelly Kaelin, Assistant Professor of History, has been awarded a summer stipend grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to use toward work on her book, Moravian Missionaries, Gender and Race in the 18th-Century Caribbean. The book discusses women's participation in the 18th-century Moravian churches of the Caribbean.  

Kaelin's project is one of 258 others from across the country awarded grants and stipends from the NEH. The NEH summer stipends are for scholars who will enable archival research for more than 100 publications.

Dr. Matt Hanka, Associate Professor of Political Science, recently appeared as a guest on the PBS show, Shively and Shoulders, on WNIN. In the episode, Dr. Hanka provided expert analysis and insight on the Evansville mayoral primary election. The episode is available to watch on YouTube.

Dr. Sri Dandotkar, Assistant Professor of Psychology, had his article entitled, “Knowing, Thinking, and Learning: Fostering Critical Thinking in Undergraduate Psychology Classes,” published by The Journal of Effective Teaching in Undergraduate Psychology Classes. Read Dr. Dandotkar’s article here.

Dr. Alexandra Natoli, Assistant Professor of French, was selected as one of 20 educators for the summer pedagogy seminar “Teaching in Troubled Times,” hosted by the Olga Lengyel Institute for Holocaust Studies and Human Rights (TOLI) in New York, NY. Dr. Natoli joins Drs. Todd Schroer and Oana Popescu Sandu as USI faculty members to have received this honor.

Drs. Stacer and Jalain standing with a projector screen with presentation titleDr. Caroline Jalain and Dr. Melissa Stacer of the Criminal Justice department presented their research on how Veterans Treatment Courts adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic at the Western Society of Criminology conference held in Vancouver, BC on February 2-4, 2023.

Stalking The Legacy: The Science and Art of John James Audubon is set to air on WNIN at 7:00 p.m. Sunday, February 26. Produced by Leigh Anne Howard and Dave Black, Department of Communication and Media, this documentary also features Dr. Tamara Hunt and Dr. Kristalyn Shefveland from the History Department.

Dr. Kristalyn Shefveland, Associate Professor of History and Interim Assistant Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, gave the keynote address, Old Florida: Yankee Settler Colonialism in the Land of the Aís and Seminole, at the 2023 Florida Conference of Historians in Stuart, Florida.

Dr. Matthew Hanka, Associate Professor of Political Science, appeared on WNIN Lawmakers to discus local, state, and federal governments with WNIN's John Gibson. See the Video

Dr. Kristalyn Shefveland, Associate Professor of History and Interim Assistant Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, gave the keynote address, Old Florida: Yankee Settler Colonialism in the Land of the Aís and Seminole, at the 2023 Florida Conference of Historians in Stuart, Florida.

Screenshot of Dr. Hanka taken from the video of the discussion.Dr. Matthew Hanka, Associate Professor of Political Science, appeared on WNIN Lawmakers to discus local, state, and federal governments with WNIN's John Gibson. See the Video

Fall 2022

Dr. Jessica Jensen, Associate Professor of French, was the recipient of a $1,500 Indiana Language Roadmap Grant from the Center for the Study of Global Changes and the Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies at Indiana University. It is intended for developing and implementing a statewide plan to strengthen world language learning, with collective input from stakeholders across business, education, health care, and government sectors. This project is supported through the Language Flagship, an initiative funded by the Department of Defense through their National Security Education Program and administered by the Institute for International Education.

Dr. Dave Black presented his documentary In Harmony’s Way: A Battle to Save a Bridge on October 18 to a meeting of the Southwestern Indiana Historical Society with a discussion following on the current state of the bridge and efforts to fund its revitalization. The documentary provides a history of the closed toll bridge in New Harmony and the efforts to find a solution for its long-term survival.

Criminal Justice faculty have been active in presenting at the American Society of Criminology in Atlanta, GA. Presentations included "Examining Attitudes Towards Police Reform and Use of Force through Public Opinion and Media Coverage" by Jason Callahan and Whitney Hayes (Virginia Tech), "Substance Use and Mental Health" by Laura Lutgen-Nieves, Caroline Jalain, and Taylor Petty, and "Gender and Trafficking Myth Acceptance: Making Child Sex Trafficking Case Decisions" by Taylor Petty, Richard Wiener (University of Nebraska-Lincoln), and Anna Pittman (USI student).

Dr. Oana Popescu Sandu has had two recent publications. The first is an article in an edited volume entitled Cultures of Mobility and Alterity: Crossing the Balkans and Beyond (ed. Yana Hashamova, Oana Popescu Sandu and Sunnie Rucker-Chang; Liverpool University Press, 2022). The book trailer can be found in the include link. The second article appeared in Comparative Literary Studies and is titled  “New Cold War Nostalgia in Recent US Cultural Productions: Retro and Irony in the Transnational Postsocialist World.” Comparative Literary Studies, 59 (3), 612-630. This article examines the intersection of nostalgia, irony, and retro in “new Cold War” story lines that dominate two U.S. cultural productions—the feature film Creed II (2018) and the series Comrade Detective (2017).

Rosalie Moffett’s works “Hawks” and “Hysterosalpingography” have been nominated for a Pushcart Price by 30 Poems and the New England Review. The Pushcart Prize is an American literary prize published by Pushcart Press that honors the best "poetry, short fiction, essays or literary whatnot" published in the small presses over the previous year.

Casey Pycior’s work was recently showcased online by the South Dakota Review. They feature his essay “Cahokia, Summer 2017,” from whence this observation: “About 10 times southwest through the haze, the Gateway Arch goose eggs on the horizon, the St. Louis skyline an uneven roll of dominoes ready to topple into the Mississippi River as it wends past. I pull out my cell phone to take a photo and undergo a brief but jarring realization that 1000 years of technological advancements separate the mound I’m standing on and the cell phone I old in my hand.

MT Hallock Morris judged the State “We the People” competition in Indianapolis. In this program, middle and high schools learn about the Constitution, prepare a written statement, and then participate in “hearings” where they are questioned about their knowledge. The winner from each state goes on to the National Competition. It is an example of great outreach work by our faculty.

2022 National Student Electronic Media Convention

John Morris, Instructor of Radio/TV, and student, Tyler Huyser who, along with three other radio station workers, took third place in the Imaging category of the National Student Production Awards.

2022 National Student Electronic Media Convention

USI Instructor and current president of the event sponsoring organization, College Broadcasters Inc (CBI), John Morris addresses the crowd prior to the awards program.

2022 National Student Electronic Media Convention

John Morris, USI Instructor of Radio/TV, discusses “play by play” reporting for sports broadcasts in a breakout session at the National Student Electronic Media Convention in Baltimore, Maryland.

secac 2022 Conference Program Cover. Light teal with blobs of color that appears to melt.Sara Christensen Blair, Professor of Art and Chair of the Art and Design Department, and colleagues represented the University of Southern Indiana Art and Design Department by presenting at the 78th Annual Southeastern College Art Conference (SECAC) in Baltimore on October 26-29, 2022.

Sara Christensen Blair presented “The Sweet and Subtle Smashing of the Status Quo — Not Just a Pile of Candy.” Dr. Gregory Blair, Assistant Professor of Art and Design, presented “Street Art and the Disruption of the Expected.” Virginia Poston, Instructor in Art History, presented “The Invisible Celts: A Neglected European Tradition.” Chuck Armstrong, Assistant Professor of Graphic Design, presented “Preparing Students to Flourish in a Digital World: The Importance of Learning to Code or Script.” Nancy Raen-Mendez, Instructor in Art, presented “The Unpainted.” Robert Millard-Mendez, Professor of Art, presented “Spectacles of the Sublime: Monsters in Contemporary Sculpture.” Click here to learn more about SECAC

In addition to SECAC, art faculty have been involved in other venues. Dr. Greg Blair was invited to the Department of Art at Mississippi State University from Oct. 17-19 as a Visiting Artist/Scholar. During his visit, Dr. Blair led a student workshop at the Noxubee Wildlife Refuge on how to connect artistic practice to the experience of place. Likewise, Al Holen, as a result of her sabbatical work, had an article published in the Nov./Dec. issue of Pottery Making Illustrated, which is a partner magazine with Ceramics Monthly.  The article, entitled “Double-Walled Chopstick Bowls,” provides pictures and descriptions of several of Al’s works along with her clay/glaze recipe and a pictorial step-by-step process for creating the bowls.  It features “how-to” photos taken by recent alum R. Cole Collier.

Dr. Kristin LaFollette, Assistant Professor of English, gave a presentation entitled "Toward a Humanistic Approach in Medical Education” at the 2022 Indiana College English Association (ICEA) Conference in Indianapolis. LaFollette was also voted in as secretary for the organization.

Jennifer Horn, Instructor of English, gave a presentation entitled " Folklore & FYE: Building Community through Created Traditions” at the Annual Meeting of the American Folklore Society in Tulsa, OK.

Dr. David O’Neil published two peer-reviewed articles: "Syntax, Prosody, and the Brut: Continuity in the Medieval English Alliterative Tradition." and "Social Integration and Campus Internationalization Through Performing Arts Volunteerism."

Dr. Elissa Mitchell, Associate Professor of Social Work, has four contributions in the new book, Active Learning Lessons, Activities, and Assignments for the Modern Social Work Educator, coming out later this month (Routledge). The book includes example assignments and class activities. Elissa’s contributions focus on the teaching of Macro Practice (chapter 5 of the book).

Dr. Jane Weatherred, Assistant Professor of Advertising and Public Relations, along with coauthor Leigh Moscowitz from the University of Southern Carolina, recently published their study “Exemplification of child abduction in US news media: Testing media effects on parental perceptions and assessment of risk,” which was published in the Journal of Experimental Criminology. The study uses a three-group experimental design to examine how news stories of child abduction affect parental concerns. Their findings suggest that watching news stories about abduction doesn’t lead people to report that the problem of child abduction is worsening. However, watching news stories about abduction does make people think that their communities are less safe and those who think that their communities are less safe are more likely to report worsening conditions of child abduction.

Drs. Hanka & Larowe in suit and tie on a red background. Text reads Election Reporting
Drs. Nick Larowe and Matt Hanka
provided pre-election and election night coverage on News 14 in Evansville, and other news outlets in the area.

Election appearances include:

8/29 - Evansville Courier & Press

10/20 - WNIN Newsmakers

4 piece serving set: Two Cups, One server, Base Stoneware, underglaze, satin black and reticulating glazes 12” x 10” x 9”

Congratulations to Al Holen, Associate Professor of Ceramics, who received the Third Place Award for her 4-piece serving set, Bullseye Bourbon Server. This award comes from the Wichita National Ceramic Invitational Exhibition with this year’s Judge, Eddie Dominguez, Professor of Ceramic Arts at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln NE, selecting three entries out of 33 total participants from all around the Nation. 

Congratulations to Laura Lutgen-Nieves on her recent white paper published by the National Commission on Correctional Health Care. The paper, entitled “From the General Public to America’s Jails: MAT Saves Lives”, examined the use of medication for the treatment of opioid use disorders in our jails.  Her research finds that despite research indicating the efficacy of medications currently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (methadone, buprenorphine, naltrexone) in treating opioid use disorder (OUD), opioid-related overdose deaths continue to rise each year and access to treatment remains impeded. This is particularly the case for justice-involved people, and especially for those who find themselves in America’s jails. Adoption of these medications for treatment has been slow within the criminal justice system. However, some states have begun making changes to the system in an effort to expand access to these medications for the treatment of OUD among justice-involved people. Her findings suggest that if policymakers and health care providers are truly interested in reducing recidivism and enhancing public safety, more deliberate movements need to be made in expanding treatment to people in jail and those being released.

Urska Dobersek and Srikanth Dandotkar have become certified Peer Reviewers for Quality Matters.  Quality Matters is a national nonprofit dedicated to promoting and improving the quality of online education and student learning. As certified peer reviewers they are experts on research based pedagogy to improve the quality of online learning. Sri (and some other colleagues) have also recently published an article on “Knowing about Knowing” in the Journal of Effective teaching in Higher education. In this study, they examined the effectiveness of the reflective writing task as a means of changing how students think about what is known. The teaching method under investigation successfully improved students’ beliefs in a way that predicts student learning.

Eric Altheide’s work in audiobooks is really thriving.  Over the last two years, he has recorded nearly 40 audiobooks including non-fiction, historical fiction, mysteries, romances (released under the pseudonym Grayson Owens) , short stories, thrillers and literary fiction. Upcoming work includes a mystery/thriller about an FBI detective tracking a serial killer, several non-fiction business titles and a non-fiction book about a man retracing the steps of John Muir’s walk from Louisville to Florida in the late 19th century and how much our environment has changed since then. He records this work from a home studio, which thanks to so much interest in his work,  has been upgraded to a professional sound booth this summer. Congratulations Eric.


Congratulations to Dr. Anna Stroulia, Adjunct faculty member in Anthropology in the Department of World Languages and Cultures recently publish an article with colleges the Journal of Neolithic Archeology.  The article entitled, “Fishing, Weaving, Matting: Debating the Function of Notched Cobbles in Neolithic Greece”  addresses notched cobbles (stone piece with symmetric indentations).  These artifacts are widespread, but rarely studied.  Anna and her colleagues find that they were likely used in fishing and represent one of the rare components of fish capture technology preserved from Neolithic Greece.

Dr. Manuel Apodaca Valdez’s book was recently released by Brill Press.  It is entitled Cofradías Afrohispánicas: Celebración, resistencia furtiva y transformación cultural [Afro-Hispanic Confraternities: Celebration, Furtive Resistance and Cultural Transformation]. One Reviewer wrote, “This encyclopedic study of organizations led and founded by Africans and their descendants in the broader Ibero-American world starts with the medieval origins of these groups and carries their stories through to the present day. A timely, sweeping book which synthesizes decades of vibrant scholarship on African diaspora lives, cultures, and beliefs, this engaging work brings together many strands in an expansive geographic overview ranging from Spain to Peru. Readers seeking insights on the complex mesh of African and Catholic spirituality and practices will consult this book for years to come. ~ Nicole Von Germeten, Oregon State University.”