MURRAY, Ky. — Several Murray State University faculty, staff and students were recognized during Spring Scholars Week, held April 16–20, for their outstanding accomplishments in research and creative activity.

“One of the most vital aspects of research is sharing your results with the world — whether it is at conferences or in publications,” said A.J. Boston, co-coordinator for the Office of Research and Creative Activity. “Our university provides our faculty and students the resources to achieve their research goals.”

Four students were recognized during the Sigma Xi Poster Banquet, sponsored by the Sigma Xi scientific research society, for their poster presentations. The winning students included the following individuals:

— Katelyn Foppe, an undergraduate student, in the Best Poster – General category and as the Outstanding Undergraduate Poster for “Estimation of the Consumption of Illicit Drugs During Special Events in Two Communities in Western Kentucky, USA, Using Sewage Epidemiology” with support from faculty advisors Dr. Bikram Subedi and Dr. Dena Hammond-Weinberger

— Russell Milam, a graduate student, in the Best Poster – Biology category for “Wildlife Use of Livestock Water Troughs in Several States East of the Mississippi River” with support from faculty advisor Dr. Nancy Buschhaus and co-authors Buschhaus and Daniel Taylor

— Philip Roberson, a graduate student, in the Best Poster – Geosciences category for “A Quantitative Analysis of Astarte from the Pliocene of the Atlantic Coastal Plain” with support from faculty advisors Dr. Michelle Casey and Dr. Kate He

— Sreeharsha Chamala, a graduate student, as the Outstanding Graduate Poster for “Confidentiality: The Primary Goal of Cyber Security” with support from faculty advisor Dr. Michael Bowman

Faculty members from each college were also recognized throughout Scholars Week for their outstanding achievements. These individuals include: Dr. Cemil Kuzey from the Arthur J. Bauernfeind College of Business; Dr. Mardis Dunham, Dr. Samir Patel and Dr. Susana Bloomdahl from the College of Education and Human Services; Dr. Michael D’Ambrosio from the College of Humanities and Fine Arts; Dr. Naveen Musunuru from the Hutson School of Agriculture; Dr. Michael Flinn from the Jesse D. Jones College of Science, Engineering and Technology; Dr. Katy Garth from the School of Nursing and Health Professions; and Cris Ferguson from University Libraries.

These awards honor the faculty, but they serve another important function of creating visibility for our colleagues’ research interests and achievements across campus,” Boston said.

Dr. Cemil Kuzey from the Arthur J. Bauernfeind College of Business is an assistant professor of computer information systems at Murray State. His research interests include operation research, data mining, structural equation modeling and business intelligence. Kuzey has published a number of articles in many peer-reviewed journals, including “The Journal of Cleaner Production,” “Expert Systems with Applications,” “Decision Support Systems” and more as well as two chapters in “Frontiers of Business, Management and Economics.”

Dr. Mardis Dunham, Dr. Samir Patel and Dr. Susana Bloomdahl from the College of Education and Human Services are all faculty members in the department of educational studies, leadership and counseling. The group collaborated on a paper entitled “Anchoring ADHD Symptoms to Mental Age” with graduate student Callie Martin that was published in a peer-reviewed journal, “Psychology in the Schools,” in November 2016.

Dr. Mike D’Ambrosio from the College of Humanities and Fine Arts is a professor of theory and composition in the University’s department of music. His compositions have been performed by ensembles and musicians around the world in addition to earning a number of accolades, including the top prize in the chorus category for “Wind on the Island” during the recent RED NOTE Musical Festival Composition Competition.

“Mike D’Ambrosio is a prolific composer whose compositions have been performed all over the world,” said Dr. Lucia Unrau, chair for the department of music. “He continues to receive many well-earned commissions and awards. His compositional scholarship, along with his ability to teach and mentor students, is outstanding.”

Dr. Naveen Musunuru from the Hutson School of Agriculture is a professor of agribusiness economics and a “nationally acclaimed researcher in the field,” said Dr. Brian Parr, head for the department of agriculture science. Musunuru has published several articles in top-tier journals in the past year alone, such as “Atlantic Economic Journal,” “International Advances in Economic Research” and “International Journal of Food and Agricultural Economics.” He has also played an instrumental role in securing half a million dollars in external funding to further support his research and academic programs overall in the Hutson School of Agriculture.

Dr. Michael Flinn from the Jesse D. Jones College of Science, Engineering and Technology is an associate professor of biology. Among his numerous research interests is his study of the dynamics and health of aquatic ecosystems. Flinn’s current projects examine biodiversity in rivers and streams located in the upper-delta region of the U.S. as well as freshwater habitats in the arctic, invasive species inhabiting local waterways and water quality in the region. Flinn is currently involved with research through four externally-funded grants and has published work in top-tier scientific journals.

“Collectively, these research activities contribute to our understanding of aquatic environments while providing opportunities for students to engage in meaningful research,” said Dr. Steve Cobb, dean for the Jesse D. Jones College of Science, Engineering and Technology. “Flinn is highly regarded for making his research accessible to a variety of audiences.”

Dr. Katy Garth from the School of Nursing and Health Professions is an associate professor and program coordinator for the family nurse practitioner specialty in the Doctor of Nursing Practice program at Murray State. In addition to her academic credentials, Garth holds certifications and licenses as a registered nurse and advanced registered nurse practitioner of Kentucky. She is also certified as a family nurse practitioner by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. Her clinical and professional focus is in neurology and primary care, while her research interests include studying barriers and facilitators to self-care in diabetes mellitus and the incivility between students and faculty in nursing programs and among nurses in health care facilities. She previously worked as a nurse practitioner at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

“Dr. Katy Garth’s ability to work with colleagues in pursuing scholarly activities is being recognized,” said Dr. Marcia Hobbs, dean for the School of Nursing and Health Professions. “Her consistent productivity, excellence in collaborating and editing skills have earned her the nomination and, hence, the award.”

Cris Ferguson from University Libraries is the director of technical services. In her day-to-day work, Ferguson is known for going above and beyond to assist students, faculty and professionals with their research endeavors. Ferguson’s responsibilities include electronic and continuing resources, collection development and management of technical service areas within academic libraries.

“Ms. Cris Ferguson’s research reflects her expertise in the field, which is recognized by practicing librarians and vendors alike,” said Ashley Ireland, dean for University Libraries. “We commend and recognize Ms. Ferguson’s excellence in research activity.”

Scholars Week is a semi-annual event at Murray State presented by University Libraries and the Office of Research and Creative Activity. With a variety of possible sessions to attend, the purpose of Scholars Week is to recognize student work and research among the greater campus community.


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