October 2010 Accolades

Posted: October 1, 2010 at 1:03 am, Last Updated: September 30, 2010 at 2:18 pm

Accolades is a monthly column that recognizes the latest achievements of Mason faculty and staff members.

Send information to gazette@gmu.edu. Please note: The next Accolades column will be published on Nov. 1, 2010. The deadline for submissions is Oct. 25, 2010.

College of Health and Human Services

P.J. Maddox, Health Administration and Policy, was appointed to Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell’s Virginia Health Reform Initiative Task Force on Capacity.

College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Jo-Marie Burt, Public and International Affairs, gave a keynote speech, “Truth Commissions and Accountability in the Aftermath of Atrocity: Comparative Lessons from Latin America,” at the International Seminar “Reflections on Memory, Citizenship and Gender in Transitional Democracies” organized by the Universidad del Rosario and the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) in Bogotá, Colombia, on Sept. 14. Burt was also an invited guest speaker at the conference, “Debates on Memory,” organized by the Memory Studies Workshop at the National University of San Marcos in Lima, Peru, on Aug. 26. She spoke about post-conflict reconstruction and reconciliation in Peru in the context of the seventh anniversary of the publication of the Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Final Report.

Stephen J. Farnsworth and S. Robert Lichter, Communication, are co-authors of a chapter titled “The Struggle Over Shaping the News,” published in the sixth edition of the book “Media Power in Politics” edited by Doris A. Graber and published by CQ Press in 2010.

Mark N. Katz, Public and International Affairs, joined the Middle East Policy Council as visiting senior fellow and is writing write a series of short articles titled “The ‘War on Terror’ in Perspective: History, Geopolitics, and American Foreign Policy.” The first article, “The ‘War on Terror’: Not Going Well, but Does That Mean It Is Lost?” is posted on the council’s website. The Washington, D.C.-based council is a nonprofit organization that seeks to expand public discussion and understanding of issues affecting U.S. policy in the Middle East.

Cynthia Lum, Criminology, Law and Society (CLS), in partnership with Christopher Koper, director of research for the Police Executive Research Forum, and James Willis, CLS, were awarded the National Institute of Justice’s (NIJ) Research in Policing Grant. The $592,000 project through NIJ’s Office of Research and Evaluation is a multi-site study to examine the relationship between police culture; organizational structures and behavior; and foundational forms of technology in policing.

David Weisburd, Criminology, Law and Society (CLS), and doctoral student Dave McClure, in partnership with Redlands (Calif.) Police Department, were awarded a National Institute of Justice grant of $470,000 that will examine improving police use of information in the field using mobile technologies such as smart phones. Weisburd, Cynthia Lum and Charlotte Gill, CLS, were awarded a two-year $980,000 grant from the Department of Homeland Security to conduct a comprehensive study of law enforcement and security in airports. Weisburd is the principal investigator, Lum is co-principal investigator and Gill is faculty researcher on the grant.

Terry Myers Zawacki, English, delivered a keynote address, “Researching the Local/Writing the International: Developing Culturally Inclusive WAC Programs and Practices,” at the 10th International Writing Across the Curriculum conference held at Indiana University in May 2010. In April 2010, she was an invited speaker at a meeting of the European Research Network on Learning to Write Effectively held in Prague, Czech Republic. With co-author Anna Sophia Habib, English, she published ‘Will Our Stories Help Teachers Understand?’ Multilingual Students Talk about Identity, Voice and Expectations across Academic Communities” in “Reinventing Identities in Second Language Writing,” edited by Michelle Cox et al. and published by the National Council of Teachers of English in 2010. She wrote a chapter on writing in criminal justice for the writing-in-the-disciplines supplement for “A Writer’s Reference,” as well as two chapters on preparing students as writers in their disciplines for “The Bedford Handbook Instructors Annotated, 7th Edition” published by Bedford/St. Martin’s in 2010.

College of Science

Nicole Darnall, Environmental Science and Policy, presented with Mason visiting professor Younsung Kim “Which Types of Environmental Management Systems Are Related to Greater Environmental Improvements?” in August. She also presented with former Mason visiting scholar Vera Ferron-Vilchez and a colleague “Does Certification Really Matter? Stakeholder Influences and the Moderation of Business Performance” at the Academy of Management Research Conference in Montreal, Canada.

Harold Geller, Physics and Astronomy, was an invited speaker at the Almost Heaven Star Party at the Mountain Institute in Spruce Knob, W.Va., in September. He spoke about the Fermi Paradox, a proposition put forth by the nuclear physicist Enrico Fermi wherein the belief by some in the vast number of intelligent civilizations in the galaxy is questioned to the point that Fermi asked simply, “Where is everybody?”

College of Visual and Performing Arts

Tommy Britt, Film and Video Studies, produced a music documentary titled “Stewart Summer,” which premiered in the Athens International Film and Video Festival in April in Ohio. The film has been accepted into competition at the Tucson Film and Music Festival, which will take place in October in Arizona, and the Southern Appalachian International Film Festival, which will take place in October and November in Tennessee.


Jill Nelson, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Margret Hjalmarson, College of Education and Human Development, received a $148,971 grant from the National Science Foundation for the project “Encouraging Innovative Pedagogy through Long-Term Faculty Development Teams.” The period of performance is Sept. 1, 2010 through Aug. 31, 2012.

Nathalia Peixoto, Electrical and Computer Engineering, is co-principal investigator on the $309,971 National Science Foundation-funded project “Pattern-Steering in Nonlinear Dynamical Networks. Timothy Sauer, Mathematical Sciences, is the principal investigator, and John Cressman, Physics and Astronomy, is another co-principal investigator. The period of performance is Sept. 1, 2010, through Aug. 31, 2012.

Robinson Professors

Spencer R. Crew, Robinson Professor of American, African American and Public History, was the historical advisor for “Songs of Freedom,” a children’s hardcover book and DVD published by Blue Sky Project, a nonprofit media-development organization. Crew also presented “The Role of the Underground Railroad as a Cause of the Civil War” at the second Signature Conference sponsored by the Virginia Sesquicentennial Commemoration of the American Civil War and held at Norfolk State University in September. Crew also wrote “Striking a Blow for the Ideals of a Great Nation” in the Sept. 19 edition of the Free Lance-Star newspaper, Fredericksburg, Va.

Robert Hazen, Robinson Professor of Earth Sciences, presented the opening keynote address on “Mineral Evolution” at the quadrennial meeting of the International Mineralogical Association in Budapest, Hungary, as well as lectures on “Mineral Surfaces and the Origins of Life” and “The Deep Carbon Observatory.”

John Paden, Robinson Professor of International Affairs, lectured at the Foreign Service Institute on “Islam in Nigeria” and at the U.S. Department of State on “Ethnicity in Africa: Implications for Development and Stability.”

School of Management

M. Yvonne Demory, Management, presented the paper “Plain Purpose v. Plain Language in Title VII Retaliation Claims” at the Academy of Legal Studies in Business in Richmond, Va.

Keith Jones, Accounting, presented the paper “Improving Fraud Detection: Evaluating Auditors’ Reactions to Abnormal Inconsistencies Between Financial and Nonfinancial Measures” at the American Accounting Association Annual Meeting in San Francisco. The presentation was also printed in the conference proceedings. Jones also published an article, “The Game of Fraudulent Financial Reporting: Accounting for Ethics,” in Advances in Public Interest Accounting.

Karen Kitching, Accounting, presented the paper, “An Analysis of How Charities Use Revenues” at the 2010 American Accounting Association Annual Meeting in San Francisco in August.

Hun Lee, Management, presented the paper “Asymmetry in Competitive Tension, Strategic Groups and Firm Performance” at the Academy of Management Annual Meeting in Montreal, Canada.

Mikhail Pevzner, Accounting, published with coauthors the article “Conditional Accounting Conservatism and Future Negative Surprises: An Empirical Investigation” in the Journal of Accounting and Public Policy in August. Pevzner also published with coauthors the article “Implications of Absorption Costing for Firm Performance and Valuation” in Contemporary Accounting Research.

Kevin Rockmann, Management, published with coauthors the article “Expecting the Worst? The Dynamic Role of Competitive Expectations in Teams” in Small Group Research.

Christof Stahel and Alexander Philipov, Finance, presented the paper “Momentum in Corporate Bond Returns” at the Financial Management Association Annual Meetings in New York and at the HEC Montreal in Canada. Philipov also presented the paper “Asset-Pricing Anomalies and Financial Distress” at the FDIC Center for Financial Research in Washington, D.C., and at Quantitative Methods in Finance in Sydney, Australia.

Gnanakumar Visvanathan, Accounting, had the presentation “Does Financial Expertise in the C-Suite Aid or Mitigate Earnings Management?” published in the proceedings from the 2010 American Accounting Association Annual Meeting.

George H. K. Wang, Finance, presented “An Evaluation of Market Quality of Exchanges” and “Algorithmic Trading” while serving as a visiting professor at Capital Markets Cooperative Research Centre in Sydney, Australia, this summer.

Suning Zhang, Accounting, presented the paper “The Effect of Accounting versus Economic Determinants on the Use of Broad-Based Option Plans” at the Fourth Annual Institute for Excellence in Corporate Governance Research Symposium at the University of Texas at Dallas. Zhang also had this paper published in the proceedings from the Chinese Accounting Professors’ Association of North America conference.

School of Public Policy

Zoltan Acs, the new chief economist for the U.S. Small Business Administration, Office of Advocacy, was the speaker at the Small Business Communicators Roundtable on Sept. 9 held in Washington, D.C. The topic for discussion was “Can We Still Compete? Global Entrepreneurship and the U.S.” Acs and Laszlo Szerb completed the government working paper, “Global Entrepreneurship and the United States” for the Office of Advocacy in September.

Philip Auerswald was a topic leader for Strengthening Market Based Solutions at the 2010 annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative in New York City, Sept. 21–23.

Susan J. Tolchin wrote with her journalist husband Martin Tolchin the book, “Pinstripe Patronage — Political Favoritism from the Clubhouse to the White House… and Beyond,” published by Paradigm Publishers in 2010.

The Volgenau School of Information Technology and Engineering

Kris Gaj and Jens-Peter Kaps, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and their graduate students from the Cryptographic Engineering Research Group received the Field Programmable Logic Community Best Paper Award at the 20th International Conference on Field Programmable Logic and Applications held in Milan, Italy, Aug. 31− Sept. 2. The paper was titled “ATHENa – Automated Tool for Hardware EvaluatioN: Toward Fair and Comprehensive Benchmarking of Cryptographic Hardware using FPGAs.” The paper and the benchmarking system, ATHENa, featured in the paper were developed as a part of the National Institute of Standards and Technology-sponsored project, “Environment for Fair and Comprehensive Performance Evaluation of Cryptographic Hardware and Software.”

Donald Gantz, Applied Information Technology (AIT), wrote an article, “Training the Architects of the Networked Future,” which appeared in the September issue of University Business.  The article describes the Mason/Cisco public-private partnership founded on the Cisco Regional Networking Academy operated by AIT.  Through the Regional Academy, AIT has developed affiliations with more than 15 local academies from area school districts, community colleges and universities.

Stephen Nash, Systems Engineering and Operations Research, received $150,909 from the National Science Foundation to organize the workshop “Building Engineered Complex System.”

Amarda Shehu, Computer Science, received $449,998 from the National Science Foundation for the project “A Unified Computational Framework to Enhance the Ab-initio Sampling of Native-like Protein Conformations.” The period of performance is Sept. 1, 2010, through Aug. 31, 2013.

Angelos Stavrou, Computer Science, and Anup Ghosh, chief scientist of the Center for Secure Information Systems, principal investigator and co-principal investigator respectively, received $653,780 from the National Institute of Standards and Technology for the project “Securing Android Smart-Phones via Automated Testing and Certified Communications.” The period of performance is Aug. 1, 2010, through July 31, 2013. This grant comes through the Center for Secure Information Systems.

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