Faculty Fellows Program

The teacher/scholar approach coupled with high-impact student experiences distinguish a University of Richmond education. The Faculty Fellows Program creates time for our faculty to pursue scholarship or creative work that will directly impact student learning. To learn more about the program and to apply, please use the following link: Faculty Fellows Program.  

2023-2024 Faculty Fellows

Jory Brinkerhoff, Professor of Biology

Dr. Brinkerhoff will advance his recent behavioral research on the Lyme disease-transmitting tick, Ixodes scapularis.  In the past few years, Dr. Brinkerhoff and his students have characterized genetic variation in this tick species among different locations in Virginia using traditional and advanced molecular methods, and found that this genetic variation is linked with variable Lyme disease risk.  The lab’s work for the upcoming year will focus on aspects of tick behavior that differ among the genetically distinct populations across Virginia and will aim to identify aspects of tick behavior that may influence transmission of the Lyme disease bacterium in natural cycles..  

Cindy Bukach, MacEldin Trawick Professor in Psychology

Dr. Bukach will complete several tasks related to her initiative of Preparing Undergraduates for Research in STEM Using Electrophysiology (PURSUE). As director of this project, her work will include a final revision and release of open educational resources for an undergraduate course that incorporates inclusive pedagogy; development and facilitation of training workshops and a faculty learning community to support implementation of the course materials by faculty from 20 institutions nation-wide; and curation and release of an opensource electrophysiology database to support authentic undergraduate research. In addition, Dr. Bukach will work with her students to complete three projects studying factors that underlie other-race bias in face perception. 

Javier Hidalgo, Associate Professor of Leadership

Dr. Hidalgo plans to create a Reacting to the Past game – an immersive historical simulation - for use in my classes. This simulation will center on the struggle between the traditional Tibetan elite and the People’s Republic of China over the future of Tibet from 1951 to 1959. The learning objectives of this simulation are to help students achieve a better understanding of Tibetan Buddhism, the ideology of Chinese communism, and China’s policies towards Tibet and perhaps other minority nations within Chinese territory.

Sandra Joireman, Weinstein Chair of International Studies, Professor of Political Science

Dr. Joireman will implement two tracks to her research. First, she will identify trajectories of change for customary land tenure systems after violent conflict and where there are incongruities with international public policy on property restitution. Second, she will examine property expropriation and return in the case of the Zanzibar Revolution, working with students to create a georeferenced database.

Karen Kochel, Associate Professor of Psychology

Dr. Kochel and her students study psychosocial development in childhood through emerging adulthood. She and her undergraduate research team recently conducted two, large-scale, longitudinal studies - one with elementary-aged students and the other college students - with the primary goal of improving our understanding of a cycle of dysfunction whereby depression and other psychological difficulties contribute to and result from problematic interpersonal relationships. Dr. Kochel and her students will collaborate on journal articles and conference presentations based on these data. 

Abdullah Kumas, Associate Professor of Accounting

Professor Kumas’s fellowship will focus on analyzing the trading patterns of institutional investors before, during, and after merger and acquisition (M&A) announcements. Using a proprietary daily institutional investor trading data set (Abel Noser & Ancerno), he will investigate the buying and selling behavior of investors at different stages of the M&A process, including target identification, due diligence, and goodwill announcements, among others. By examining these behaviors, he aims to gain insights into the strategic actions taken by institutional investors during M&A activities.

Kelly Lambert, MacEldin Trawick Professor in Psychology

Dr. Lambert will work on a new Introduction to Neuroscience textbook with Princeton University Press.  In preparation for the text, she and her co-author are focusing on the most effective ways of presenting information to contemporary undergraduate students who are experiencing new and different educational challenges than previous generations.  Accordingly, strategies such as storytelling, enhanced electronic formats, and relevant applications will be emphasized as the fundamental information of neuroscience is organized and presented in the most effective ways to facilitate student understanding.  

Mike Leopold, Floyd D. and Elisabeth S. Gottwald Professor of Chemistry

Dr. Leopold will focus on exploration of halogen bonding interactions of functionalized gold nanoparticles that can serve as a fast detection system of molecules of interest.  More specifically, working with students, he hopes to develop an on-site, screening test for fentanyl-based opioids that would serve to keep first-responders safer in the rapidly emerging national opioid crisis.  In the gas-phase, Dr. Leopold and his students are interested in using halogen bonding functionalized nanomaterials as a material capable of detecting the presence of explosive residues.

Matthew Oware, Irving May Professor of Human Relations, Professor of Sociology

Dr. Oware will focus on exploratory research that analyzes 297 songs by three popular male artists whose parents are white and Black identified: Drake, J. Cole, and Logic. Performing a content analysis of the artists' studio albums from 2010 to 2021, we find that they employ convergent and divergent strategies to present an "authentic" Black rap identity. We argue that although artists possess latitude in portraying themselves, they operate within the confines of a business model prioritizing caricatured Black male rap authenticity. This work further contributes to understanding how racial ideology—the one-drop rule—manifests in popular culture.

Lidia Radi, Professor of Italian and French

Dr. Radi plans to draft the third chapter of her book project, tentatively entitled Living In-Between: Female Voices of the Albanian Diaspora. Her monograph is a study of the in-between spaces encountered through the experience of displacement as described by female transnational writers and their protagonists. The last chapter will examine how spaces in-between can challenge nationalistic narratives. She will argue that the transnational works this monograph engages with suggest that life in a monolithic paradigm often confuses socially established norms with the best ethical life practice. Displaced individuals find themselves in a position to perceive and thus to denounce the hypocrisies, oppressions, and failures of hegemonic systems by forging a new reality that makes human dignity a moral and social habit.