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Series of Faculty Presentations Scheduled As Part of Inauguration Celebration

April 12, 2024
Faculty Research Panel

As part of its inauguration celebration for President Thomas D. Burns, York College hosted a series of faculty presentations on April 11. The three-part event kicked off at 10 a.m. on the second floor of the Waldner Performing Arts Center with a showcase titled “New Voices at YCP.”

Dr. Gabriel Cutrufello, Chair of the Communication and Writing Department and Associate Professor of Rhetoric and Composition, introduced a panel of four York College professors who presented their research: Assistant Professor of Education Dr. Tara Johnston, Assistant Professor of Rhetoric and Composition Dr. Emily Cope, Assistant Professor of Environmental Horticulture Dr. Jason Smith, and Associate Professor of Psychology Dr. Samantha Deffler.

Dr. Smith’s “Addressing Plant Production Challenges with YCP Students” was completed with student researcher Kaitlin Dannenberg ‘24 (Long Island, NY). Dannenberg, a double major in Environmental Horticulture and Environmental and Sustainability Studies, began working with Dr. Smith on his project in Spring 2023 and became so interested that she elected to continue working on the research, which focused on the effects of plant growth regulators, over the summer. “I like when students get excited when they stumble upon an unanswered question,” says Dr. Smith. “It’s really rewarding to work with students in experiment design, and it's gratifying for me to see them get a hang of it.”

Dr. Johnston’s study, “Exploring Early Literacy Practices and Knowledge Among Pre-Service Teachers: A Mixed Methods Investigation,” followed Education students from their sophomore years in college to when they began student teaching and observed how early literacy practices change over time. Johnston has already begun implementing her findings in her own classroom instruction at York College. “I want them to be empowered with the knowledge they need,” she says.

Dr. Cope conducts research that explores how Evangelical Christians express their faith in their writing. She says her findings will inform how she structures assignments for her own students and could inform other teachers on how to “help students explore points of overlap between values in multiple areas of life.” Her book, Evangelical Writing in a Secular Imaginary, was published in February.

Two more showcases were held in DeMeester Recital Hall throughout the afternoon and featured presentations by faculty who engaged students in experiential learning opportunities, including community- and project-based learning projects. Those panels included Associate Professor of Sport Management Dr. Molly Sauder, Professor of Psychology Dr. Carla Strassle, Assistant Professor of Cybersecurity and Business Administration Tamara Schwartz, Assistant Professor of Communication Dr. Madhavi Reddi, Executive Director of the J.D. Brown Center for Entrepreneurship Oscar Winters, and Professor of Chemistry Greg Foy. 

The series concluded with a Faculty Research and Creative Works Showcase in the Waldner Performing Arts Center, where researchers presented posters and discussed their research with attendees.