Forum highlights faculty research

By Rachael Renz
November 5, 2009

Four Cabrini professors have been conducting self-inspired research and on Thursday, Oct. 29 the annual faculty forum was held in the Grace Hall Boardroom, where each professor had the opportunity to show their findings. Each professor has been examining their choice of matter and has great plans to continue their research.

The professors who were participating had developed a presentation and some brought in props and handouts for the listeners.

Dr. Carrie Nielsen, assistant professor of biology, conducted research over this past summer on different soils, eutrophication and nitrate. Nielsen’s presentation was titled “Beneath our Feet: Examining the Effects of Campus Landscape,” and explained the research that she performed along with students Christopher Catagnus and Lynda Kaufmann.

“Nitrification is the rate at which nitrate is produced in soil,” Christopher Catagnus, junior biology major, said.

“Our goals for our experiment are to get a lab to carry out our experiments and maintain unmanaged and managed soils,” Nielsen said.

Dr. David Dunbar, associate professor of biology, spoke to the audience of students and faculty of his research. His presentation was titled “Living Life on the Wild Side.”

Over the duration of his research, Dunbar has been focusing on a microorganism named halophiles which are microorganisms that live and grow in high-salt environments.

Another faculty member to demonstrate her analysis was Dr. Melinda Harrison, associate professor of chemistry. Her team of researchers included Bruce Beaver and two Cabrini students, Kayla Messer and Derreck Shenk. Their presentation was titled “Perfecting the Art of Wine Making: What’s in the barrel?”

After so many winemakers reproducing their wine, they eventually want to maximize their profits with their production, which happens to be wine barrels. Harrison explained that wine is aged in oak barrels and is enhanced with the addition of vanilla, oak and spicey overtones. “Ellagitannins gives wine its distinct taste and smell,” Shenk said.

Dr. Paul Wright, associate professor of English, titled his presentation “Voices Blended.” Wright has a love for Shakespeare and it has inspired him to research and teach William Shakespeare’s works of art; one work of art being “Coriolanus.”

“Coriolanus” is a Shakesperian tragedy and also his last effort at tragic mode. “I love this play and I have researched and analyzed it for many years. Most people believe that the main character is the enemy himself, but I believe Rome to be,” Wright said.

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Rachael Renz

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