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Faculty Seminars

Open Seating - Tickets are not required.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Vanderbilt faculty members will discuss their research in seminars open to graduates, families and guests. There will be an open Q&A session for the last 15 minutes of each session. 

2:00 – 3:00 p.m.

103 Wilson Hall

Doug Clark DOUG CLARK : What Digital Games Tell Us About Motivation, The Future of Education, and You

Doug Clark's research investigates the learning processes through which people come to understand core science concepts. This work focuses primarily on conceptual change, explanation, collaboration, and argumentation. Clark's research often explores these learning processes through the design of digital learning environments and games. Much of this research focuses on public middle school and high school students in classroom settings. Clark’s work has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Department of Education, and the National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation.

Clark is the principal investigator on the EGAME grant from the National Science Foundation and the EPIGAME grant from the Department of Education. These grants explore designs for integrating the rich intuitive understandings players develop through popular game-play mechanics with explicit formal understandings that players can apply and transfer across other contexts. Clark is also a co-principal investigator on the NSF CTSim grant exploring the integration of argumentation, modeling, and programming to support science learning.

126 Wilson Hall

Ifeoma IFEOMA NWANKWO : Cultivating Innovation through Intergenerational Wisdom

The Wisdom Working Group (WWG) is rooted in the idea that older adults are lifelong innovators and experiential researchers whose informal findings can prove invaluable to Vanderbilt’s project of solving “problems of importance to society” through discovery and learning. The WWG’s guiding questions are:

  • How can researchers, medical professionals, educators, and senior-serving agencies better identify and understand the sociocultural aspects of mental health–promoting behaviors of older adults, especially in underserved communities, and translate that understanding into policies, programs, and curricula?
  • How can intra-curricular and co-curricular collaborations with older adults enhance undergraduate, graduate, and professional education at Vanderbilt and beyond?
  • How can close reading older adults’ autobiographical portfolios help medical students and other healthcare providers-in-training to better contextualize and better treat their patients, including especially their older adult patients and patients from traditionally underserved communities?

Ifeoma Kiddoe Nwankwo (Ph.D., Duke University) is Director of the Program in American Studies and Associate Professor of English in the College of Arts and Science at Vanderbilt University. Her work centers on the impact of the peoples of the U.S., Latin America, and the Caribbean on each other’s identities, particularly as they surface in literary texts, oral narratives, popular music, and film. Her publications include Black Cosmopolitanism: Racial Consciousness, and Transnational Identity in the Nineteenth-Century Americas; “Bilingualism, Blackness, and Belonging: The Racial and Generational Politics of Linguistic Transnationalism in Panama,” “Langston Hughes and the Translation of Nicolas Guillen’s Afro-Cuban Culture and Language,” and “Race and Representation in the Digital Humanities: An Inter-American Case Study.” Kiddoe Nwankwo’s edited volumes include Rhythms of the Afro-Atlantic World (co-edited with Mamadou Diouf, Columbia University) and African Routes, Caribbean Roots, Latino Lives. Her other innovative projects use community-engaged research methodologies alongside literary critical ones to analyze and advance intercultural and intergenerational relations. These projects include Voices from Our AmericaTM, an international public scholarship project that uses semi-structured interviews, autobiography and art production, along with archival research to uncover new aspects of communities’ histories then draws on those new sources to develop and run workshops and other programs for K-12 teachers, older adults, and youth and The Wisdom of the Elders, an initiative focused on revealing and recognizing older adults’ life- and soul- sustaining wisdoms and productively incorporating them into K-12, undergraduate, graduate, and professional education.

3:15 – 4:15 p.m.

103 Wilson Hall

MSkala MELISSA SKALA: Dancing photons and their impact on cancer treatment

Light can interact with molecules in the body to provide critical information on the behavior of cells, blood vessels, and organs. Using the same fiber-optic technology that delivers information across the super-highways of the internet, we can detect photons dancing in tumors. This photon dance can transmit critical information on the state of a person’s tumor, and the drugs that will help them live the longest possible life. This seminar will cover new innovations in photonics research that could enable breathroughs in cancer treatment.

Melissa Skala received her BS in Physics at Washington State University in 2002, her M.S. in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 2004, and her Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering at Duke University in 2007. Her postdoctoral training was also in Biomedical Engineering at Duke University, from 2007-2010. Since 2010, she has been an Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Vanderbilt University. The goal of her lab is to develop and translate optical imaging techniques to improve cancer therapy, resulting in reduced toxicity and longer survival for cancer patients.  

126 Wilson Hall

Doug Shadle

DOUG SHADLE  : When Beethoven Met Santa Claus: The Symphony in Antebellum America  

Go to an orchestra concert today and chances are high that you will hear music by a German composer. You are equally likely not to hear music by an American. But it wasn’t for lack of trying. Nearly one hundred American composers wrote over fifty symphonies during the nineteenth century alone. Some of the most colorful of these works appeared very early in the country’s history, even before the Civil War. This talk introduces listeners to the orchestral music of antebellum America—including a wonderful piece called Santa Claus: Christmas Symphony—and explains why this music has been forgotten for nearly two centuries.

 Douglas Shadle joined the Blair School of Music in 2014 as Assistant Professor of Musicology. His first book, Orchestrating the Nation: The Nineteenth-Century Symphonic Enterprise (Oxford, 2016), examines the challenges faced by Americans who sought entry into the pantheon of great composers. He is currently writing a new book that examines the legacy of Antonín Dvořák’s famous “New World” Symphony. His article “How Santa Claus Became a Slave Driver: The Work of Print Culture in a Nineteenth-Century Controversy” won a 2015 ASCAP Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson Award for excellence in musical writing.

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Future Commencement Dates

 2017  -  May 10, 11, 12
 2018  -  May 9, 10, 11
 2019  -  May 8, 9, 10
 2020 -  May 6, 7, 8

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