March 2, 2023

Four Goucher faculty embark on ‘Year of Exploration’

  • Aerial view of Goucher

Four Goucher College faculty members have been selected as the 2023 recipients of the Myra Berman Kurtz Fund for Faculty Research and Exploration of the Sciences (KRES Fund) Year of Exploration.

Now in its second year, the KRES Fund seeks to enable Goucher faculty to remain lifelong learners and continue their intellectual curiosities and passions through the exploration of the sciences, technology, and their relationship to society. The fund is designed to encourage faculty to pursue new experiences outside of their prior work, explore novel areas of knowledge, and push disciplinary boundaries. Recipients are provided with a year’s worth of funding to begin these new projects.

This opportunity to pursue a new passion project is made possible by a generous $400,000 pledge to Goucher College from Stuart Kurtz in honor of his late wife, Myra Berman Kurtz ’66. The KRES Fund will grant multiple faculty members a year-of-exploration award each year over the next decade.

The 2023 KRES recipients:

  • Julie Chernov Hwang, associate professor of political science and international relations, will explore how social network analysis can be used to further the study of extremism and polarization. The grant will allow her to apply a new data-science method for identifying and mapping patterns of relationships among individuals and organizations, to explore questions like who the key players in a network are, how groups form alliances, how terrorist cells are constructed, how recruitment occurs, and how ideological principles spread.

  • Nina Markovic, associate professor of physics and astronomy, will explore a new project involving the design and development of a microscopic alignment mechanism that would allow for the construction of ultraclean customized nanoscale circuits in vacuum without lithography. Such circuits are the building blocks for all modern electronic devices, from computers and smart phones to the circuitry that controls airplanes and household devices.

  • Antje M. Rauwerda, associate professor of literary studies, will explore the scientific dimensions of what reading does to our brain, our mind, and our behavior. The grant will allow Rauwerda to expand her knowledge of neuroscience and cognitive psychology as it relates to the act of reading—specifically as a collaborative act between the author and reader.

  • Mehdi Shadaei, assistant professor of business management, will explore the effectiveness of simulations and game-based learning in the business classroom. This project will empirically test the impact of game-based pedagogies on student learning in entrepreneurship classes across multiple college campuses.