E-Portal Newsletter Fall 2011

The Tenacious Angela Ford

2011 A&S Alumni Fellow exposed one the biggest legal scandals in U.S history

Angela FordAt 5-foot-3 and “just north of 100 pounds,” Angela Ford, the 2011 Alumni Fellow from the College of Arts and Sciences, might not be an imposing physical presence. But she’s more than capable of making a strong impression.

As a UofL political science student in the early 1980s, Ford was elected the first female president of the Student Government Association where she immediately impressed members of the university’s board of trustees with her tenacity. This included then-chairman and chief executive of Humana David Jones, who was on the UofL board at the time.

“She was tiny but had a big brain and a big heart, and a lot of moxie,” Jones recalls.

Those qualities have served the 51-year-old Lexington lawyer well beyond UofL during a sterling legal career recently highlighted by her successful 5-year fight to expose one of the biggest legal scandals in U.S. history—the theft of tens of millions of dollars from Kentuckians injured by the diet drug fen-phen.

The case culminated with the sentencing of disbarred lawyers William Gallion and Shirley Cunningham Jr. to long prison terms and a court order of $127 million in restitution to her 423 clients, who previously were represented by those same lawyers.

Advocate for What’s Right

Ford grew up in Louisville’s Audubon Park neighborhood, one of eight children of John H. Ford, now 87, and Gladys Ford, 80. “She became a strong advocate for what she thinks is the right thing to do,” said her mother, who is a former assistant to the UofL dean of music.

After earning her political science degree at UofL in 1982, Ford attended the University of Kentucky before earning her law degree at Northern Kentucky University and then eventually setting up her law practice in Lexington.

Fellow lawyers applaud Ford’s perseverance in the fen-phen case, one that many say was a long-shot challenge against targets that included a judge once named Kentucky's co-judge of the year.

“If somebody had come into my office with this case, I would have said, ‘You've got to be kidding,’ ” says Louisville trial lawyer Gary Weiss. “She took a difficult case and spent a fortune of time and money, and (has) done a service to her clients and society.

“She ought to get the lawyer of the year award, maybe lawyer of the decade.”

Ford will be honored as the A&S Alumni Fellow along with alumni fellows from other UofL schools and colleges at the 2011 Alumni Awards Banquet and Ceremony, Oct. 27, at the Galt House in Louisville. The reception starts at 6 p.m.; dinner and ceremony at 7 p.m. For information on how to attend, call (502) 852-6186.

Fostering peace in Northern Ireland

Melinda Leonard (yellow jacket) and psychology students in Northern Ireland.

Research by College of Arts and Sciences students and their professor may help improve peace efforts in Northern Ireland.

Melinda Leonard, a UofL assistant professor in psychology, took 12 students on a two-week trip to that country in May to research teen participation in the Ulster Project International (UPI), a cross-community organization that aims to bring together teens from the Catholic and Protestant communities. It’s an effort Leonard has worked with since the 1990s.

For the students, the trip was an intensive first look at the longtime dispute unfiltered from television cameras or printed words.

“I hadn't expected the conflict between the Protestants and the Catholics to be so vividly obvious to an outsider,” said sophomore psychology major Rosanna Scott.

The Catholic-Protestant divide in Northern Ireland is a political conflict with origins dating back several centuries. Generally, Catholic denotes native Irish and Protestant refers to the British ruling class. The division manifested itself with war-like violence in the last part of the 20th century. Despite a 1998 peace agreement, society still is strictly segregated.

Sometimes, according to the UPI website, the only time teens from the two groups have any interaction is through a cross-community organization.

That’s what Scott saw on the trip.

“Not only is there an invisible line people do not cross when communicating between groups (if that communication even takes place)—there is actually a physical line the two communities refuse to cross, as well,” she said. “Entire communities are physically walled in with ‘Peace Walls.’ The houses closest to the ‘Peace Walls’ have wire on their windows to protect their families from flying objects and shattered glass. People rarely know who borders their backyard.”

Leonard became involved with UPI through the Chattanooga, Tenn., chapter, and served on its board from 1995-2000. During that time, her sons were host teens for a month to three boys from Northern Ireland.

“As a board member and parent, I had always wondered whether participation in the UPI really made a difference to the Northern Irish teens,” she said.

She had the opportunity to ask that question for the first time in 2004 when, as a graduate student in experimental psychology, she heard Miles Hewstone, a prominent Oxford University researcher, talk about intergroup conflict in Northern Ireland.

Leonard later presented her question to Hewstone. From there took shape an ongoing research collaboration that teams the two of them with Ed Cairns, from the University of Ulster in Coleraine, Northern Ireland.

During their May trip, Leonard and her students visited with and collected data from 369 Catholic and Protestant UPI members ranging in age from 14-75.

They sought answers to such questions as: Why do certain people get involved with cross-community organizations in Northern Ireland? What psycho-social factors do they possess? And does involvement in a cross-community organization have an effect on intergroup friendships, forgiveness, guilt issues and action tendencies?

Click here to read more about Leonard’s efforts in Northern Ireland

Perm-anent Connection

College of Arts and Sciences professor Victor Henner spearheaded a visit by a delegation of government and university officials from Perm, Russia. The delegation came to Louisville this summer to learn how the University of Louisville has changed over the past decade and to explore how Perm universities and UofL might collaborate in the future.

For 15 years Henner, who is a physics professor, has split his time between UofL and Perm State University. Several months ago, he approached the Perm regional government to suggest a visit.

Perm is of similar size to Louisville and is experiencing an increase in resources for higher education, Henner said, noting that he thought a visit to Louisville, a sister city to Perm, might help government officials understand how best to use those resources.

A 13-person delegation, including the governor of the Perm region, the regional minister of education, three university rectors and two vice rectors, spent several days in town in June. Delegation members toured UofL campuses and the city; met with UofL administrators; talked to members of the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education and with the state budget director; and visited other universities.

Government leaders learned how higher education interacts with the state and city while academic leaders explored opportunities for joint programs that allow students to gain both academic and cultural experience through more frequent and actively coordinated academic and cultural exchange programs.

“The visit was a continuation and hopefully broadening of the relationship between Perm, Perm universities and Louisville and UofL,” said Tom Dumstorf, co-chair of the Perm Sister Cities Committee and Russian language instructor at A&S. “UofL is often reaching out to the Louisville community and this is an extension of that outreach to connect more actively with the extensions of Louisville now flourishing abroad.”

Henner worked with the Perm Sister Cities Committee to coordinate the visit.

“When Perm officials decided to come to Louisville, I asked Tom for help,” Henner said. “He, with great support from students Michael Zeller, and Justin Tirone found the key persons at UofL and in the city.”

Sister Cities Executive Director Joanne Lloyd-Triplett also played a part in organizing the visit.

Henner said that collaboration was the key thing he’d like to see come from the visit. In the time he’s been at UofL, 15 Perm master’s students have studied at UofL. Some other ideas are under consideration.

“I hope (the Perm delegation) will prepare some concrete proposals,” Henner said. “I want this to benefit both UofL and Perm State.”

10 A&S students earn Fulbrights

Ten of the 14 University of Louisville students or recent graduates who received Fulbright research or teaching awards in 2011 hail from the College of Arts and Sciences.

Participants are selected for the U.S. Student Fulbright Program based on their academic merit, ability to serve as cultural ambassadors and leadership potential. The prestigious international educational exchange program is funded by the U.S. Department of State.

Since 2003, UofL students have received 60 Fulbright scholarships—more than any other university in Kentucky. UofL was ranked in the top 20 of Fulbright-producing schools in the nation in 2010.

The A&S Fulbrights are:

image001.jpgJonathan Bender

A 2011 summa cum laude graduate in biology and French, Jonathan Bender is conducting breast cancer research in Montpellier, France. He is from Fort Thomas, Ky.

“In many ways, I view this Fulbright scholarship as the culmination of my undergraduate experience at UofL,” Bender says. “With a double major in biology and in French, it seems that performing breast cancer research in France is the best marriage of the two disciplines.”

image002.jpgAnna Hellmann

A 2011 graduate in biology, Anna Hellmann is researching tuberous sclerosis complex at Cardiff University in Wales. She is from Lakeside Park, Ky.

“I cannot wait to get to this new place and find my niche while still having so many new things to explore,” she says. “I am so looking forward to making connections within the international science community.”

image003.jpgRobert Works

A 2010 graduate in political science and Spanish, Robert Works is researching judicial reforms and stability in Colombia. He has just finished a year at El Colegio de Mexico in Mexico City. Works is from Independence, Ky.

“One political science course, Latin America in the World, triggered my interest in the region's struggle to consolidate democracy,” Works says. “Since one of my professors has published widely on Latin American judicial reforms, and since I have an abiding interest in law, I was drawn to questions regarding the administration of justice.”

image004.jpgWhitney Bennett

A 2011 magna cum laude graduate in anthropology, Whitney Bennett is teaching English in Turkey. She is from Henderson, Ky.

“The honors program and anthropology department have both greatly prepared me for the Fulbright program,” she says. “As relatively small departments, both have been able to offer more individualized attention than I encountered in other, larger programs. This commitment helped me to pursue more than I might have otherwise. I may not have even applied for a Fulbright if it had not been for the encouragement of one of my anthropology professors.”

image005.jpgCharles Helms

A 2011 graduate in political science, Charles Helms is teaching English in Kosovo. He is from Owensboro, Ky.

“My experiences in Greece during my study-abroad semester in the fall semester of my junior year gave me the confidence and background necessary for solitary travel and stirred a passion for Southeast Europe as a whole,” he says.

image006.jpgQuentin Johnson

A 2011 summa cum laude graduate in political science, Quentin Johnson is teaching English in Malaysia. He is from Symsonia, Ky.

“Everything from the Fulbright application process to the actual program itself is unique and I don't think that anything I had done before truly prepared me for the experience,” Johnson says. “It is an intense process and I could not have made it through without the guidance and assistance of the UofL faculty and staff.”

image007.jpgCynthia Martinez

A 2010 master's graduate in Spanish and a lecturer in the Department of Classical and Modern Languages, Cynthia Martinez is teaching English to students in Brazil. She is from Louisville.

“Though I've always had an interest in teaching, it was not until I became a graduate student at UofL that I actually experienced formal classroom teaching as a graduate teaching assistant,” she says. “In addition to giving me practice and experience, this experience increased my interest and solidified my decision to continue teaching.”

image008.jpgNicole Moran

A 2011 summa cum laude graduate in English, history and humanities, Nicole Moran is teaching English in a rural province of Malaysia. She is from Alexandria, Ky.

“Taking classes in Scotland through the English-Speaking Union was one of the instrumental factors that helped prepare me for this scholarship experience,” she says. “Spending time abroad increased my interest in traveling and experiencing new cultures.”

image009.jpgJulianne Nguyen

A 2011 graduate in English, Julianne Nguyen is teaching English to students in Madrid, Spain. She is from Union, Ky.

My yearlong studies abroad in China and Chile are good preparation for my Fulbright experience,” she says. “Being an English major has honed my reading, writing and English skills to give me the tools I need to be a good English teacher.”

image010.jpgErica Summe

A 2011 graduate in political science and Spanish, Erica Summe is an English language-learning assistant at an English teacher training college in Argentina. She is from Florence, Ky.

“My study abroad experiences to Spain and the International Honors Seminar to Taiwan and China … encouraged my interests in foreign cultures,” she says. “Traveling across the United States and abroad helped me to appreciate the differences in other cultures, but more important, to recognize our commonalities.”

A&S students earn more prominent scholarships for research and international study

Six College of Arts and Sciences students and one recent graduate earned scholarships to conduct research, travel abroad and, in some cases, study foreign languages and cultures that are considered critical to U.S. national security.

The scholarship winners are:

  • Jordan Burns
    Jordan Burns, a senior biology major, is traveling to Brazil to study and intern in public health as a Boren Scholar, a program funded by the National Security Education Program. Burns is from Catlettsburg and graduated from Boyd County High School.
  • Blake Christopher
    Blake Christopher, a senior history and political science major, spent part of the summer studying at Oxford University in England as an English-Speaking Union Scholarship winner. He is from Irvine and graduated from Estill County High School.
  • Hunter Davis
    Hunter Davis, a 2011 UofL graduate with majors in political science and philosophy, is spending a year in New Zealand as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar where he will continue his education at the University of Canterbury. Davis is from Ashland and a graduate of Paul G. Blazer High School.

  • Irene Levy, a junior anthropology major, spent the summer in Jordan on a U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship to study Arabic. Levy is a Louisville native and graduate of duPont Manual High School.
  • Olivia Sailor
    Olivia Sailor, a senior biology major, will spend a semester in Thailand as a Freeman-ASIA Scholar. Sailor graduated from Lafayette Jefferson High School in Lafayette, Ind., and lived in Bardstown, Ky., prior to enrolling at UofL.
  • Amanda Yee
    Amanda Yee, a junior anthropology major, is in Morocco working on her mastery of Arabic as part of a U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship. Yee is from Greenwood, Ind., and is a graduate of Greenwood Community High School.
  • Michael Zeller
    Michael Zeller, a history and political science major, will travel to Russia as a Boren Scholar. While in that country, he will work as an intern at an organization that advocates civil liberties and will take classes at Moscow State University. Zeller is from Louisville and a graduate of duPont Manual High School.

Another student received a prestigious scholarship that will allow her to study within the U.S. Sara Shafer, a humanities doctoral student, will travel to the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City to examine Yiddish texts as part of her research on German Jewish literature. She received the Deutsche Akademische Austausch Dienst research grant—also known as the German Studies Research Grant—to help her prepare for her dissertation. Shafer is from Paintsville and graduated from Paintsville High School in 2002.

New Brown Fellows “major/minor” in A&S

Ten new University of Louisville Brown Fellows begin their college careers this semester, and eight of them are majoring or minoring in subjects within the College of Arts and Sciences—more proof that A&S continues to be the undergraduate core of the university.

The Brown Fellowship, a premier scholarship and educational enrichment program for high-achieving students, was established by the James Graham Brown Foundation in 2009. The program also funds 10 students each year at Centre College in Danville, Ky.

Brown Fellows receive an enhanced academic experience that includes individual study, field-based experiential learning and community service. Each student works with an on-campus program mentor to develop individual leadership projects that incorporate his or her academic and research interests.

The new Brown Fellows with A&S majors and/or minors are:

  • Allison Grant
    Allison Grant
    Allison Grant, Harrodsburg, Ky. Proposed project: To organize a “financial fitness” tutoring program for middle- and high-school students. Academic area: biology and possibly a major or minor in American Sign Language.
  • Atticus Gurley
    Atticus Gurley
    Atticus Gurley, Taylor Mill, Ky. Proposed project: To raise funds for underprivileged students to purchase books at school book fairs. Academic area: Spanish with a minor in mathematics.
  • Madeleine Loney
    Madeleine Loney
    Madeleine Loney, Hebron, Ky. Proposed project: To teach English to children and adults from homes where English is not the first language. Academic area: psychology and sociology with a minor in Italian.
  • Billy Menkhaus
    Billy Menkhaus
    Billy Menkhaus, Edgewood, Ky. Proposed project: To collaborate in the design of efficient and cost-effective water purification systems. Academic area: bioengineering or mechanical engineering with a minor in Spanish.
  • Jacqueline Orth
    Jacqueline Orth
    Jacqueline Orth, Plano, Texas. Proposed project: To start an elementary school tutoring program. Academic area: electrical engineering with a minor in Chinese studies.
  • Nathalie Tapolsky
    Nathalie Tapolsky
    Nathalie Tapolsky, Louisville. Proposed project: To start a program to educating middle- and high-school students about body image issues. Academic area: bioengineering with a French minor.
  • Rachael Thomas
    Rachael Thomas
    Rachael Thomas, Hopkinsville, Ky. Proposed project: To teach basic health precautions and water sanitation methods in El Salvador. Academic area: biology with a minor in Spanish.
  • Ethan Tomlinson
    Ethan Tomlinson
    Ethan Tomlinson, Louisville. Proposed project: To raise community awareness about the value of service dogs. Academic area: biology and Spanish

Axton Reading Series-Fall 2011

Derek Mong
Derek Mong

Award-winning writers to give readings, conduct master classes

UofL’s Anne and William Axton Reading Series, which is sponsored by the English department, returns this fall with one of its Axton fellows as well as a trio of award-winning Chicago-based writers to discuss their work and lead master classes.

The readings and master classes are free, open to the public and on Belknap Campus.

The fall series kicked off on Sept. 15 and 16 with a reading and master class by Adam McOmber, an adjunct English faculty member at Chicago’s Columbia College and associate editor of the literary magazine Hotel Amerika. His short-story collection This New & Poisonous Air was published this year, and his debut novel Empyrean is set for publication in 2012. He received an Association of Writers and Writing Programs’ Intro Award.

The series continues in late October with a familiar face. Derek Mong is a Stanford University doctoral student in English literature and the 2008-10 Axton fellow in poetry at UofL, where he taught courses and organized the “The Soul That Grows in Darkness: The Axton Festival of Film and Verse.” His poetry collection Other Romes debuted this year.

He and his wife, translator Anne O. Fisher, received a 2010 National Endowment for the Arts grant for their translation of Russian author Maxim Amelin's poems.

Mong will give a reading at 7:30 p.m., Oct. 27, in the Bingham Poetry Room, Ekstrom Library and then teach a master class at 10 a.m.-noon, Oct. 28 in Room 300 of the Bingham Humanities Building.

The fall series concludes in November with Suzanne Buffam and Srikanth Reddy, two University of Chicago creative writing teachers. Buffam’s poetry collections are Past Imperfect and The Irrationalist; her honors include the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.’s Literary Award for Poetry and the League of Canadian Poets’ Gerald Lampert Memorial Award. Reddy has published the poetry collections Facts for Visitors and Voyager, and contributed to the 2004 anthology Asian American Poetry: The Next Generation. Reddy also is literacy director for the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Trust in India.

They will give a reading at 7:30 p.m., Nov. 10, in the Bingham Poetry Room, Ekstrom Library and then a master class from 10 a.m.-noon, Nov. 11, in Room 300 of the Bingham Humanities Building.

A&S lecture series highlights span of research

Whether it’s traveling to tropical forests in Thailand or digging for archeological answers in Greece. Whether it’s analyzing one of the largest Islamic groups in the world or navigating the human brain. The scope and breadth of research by UofL professors often is as vast as the world itself.

Some of them will be serving up stories and observations about their field work during the fall “Meet the Professors” luncheons, an annual lecture series sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences.

Here is the 2011 fall schedule:

  • Sept. 1, “Thailand’s Tropical Forests: Eight Years of Experiences and Field Research,” David Reed, biology professor and Wallace chair of conservation. He will discuss efforts to save forests and animals of Southeast Asia, where 40 percent of animal and plant species face extinction this century.
  • Oct. 6, “Genius or Genetics: Navigating the Creativity and Madness Discussion,” Annette Allen, humanities professor. She will talk about historical evidence of cultural and psychological links between the creative process and mental illness.
  • Nov. 3, “The Muslim Brotherhood in Flux: Historical, Ideological and Political Analysis,” Okbazghi Yohannes, political science professor. He will examine the origins, growth, goals and political influence of the Society of the Muslim Brothers, one of the largest Islamist groups.
  • Dec. 1, “New Light on Ancient Greece: How Recent Archaeological Discoveries are Rewriting Greek History,” John Hale, archaeologist and liberal studies director. He will talk about how the latest archaeological finds in the eastern Mediterranean region are changing the modern view of ancient Greek civilization.

Talks begin at noon in the University Club. Reservations are required, with $14 payment in cash or check. To reserve a spot, contact Janna Tajibaeva at 502-852-2247 or janna@louisville.edu no later than the Monday before each event.

Theater department announces plays for 2011-12 season

Classic tragedy, comedy and historical drama will round out this season for the University of Louisville’s Department of Theatre Arts. Here’s an overview of the upcoming season productions:

  • Richard III, a modern mind wreaks havoc in a medieval setting in William Shakespeare’s historical tragedy.  Director Rinda Frye, theater department chair, stages the “winter of discontent” of the charismatic trickster as he rises and falls through megalomania, paranoia and corruption at the Thrust Theatre Oct. 5-9.
  • The Flu Season, Will Eno’s provocative dark comedy is a love story set in a hospital where the care givers are every bit as odd as the patients. Directed by James Tompkins, associate theater professor, the play will be at the Thrust Theatre Nov. 16-20.
  • Mad at Miles: A Black Woman’s Guide to Truth, by Pearl Cleage, evokes the indignation, love, happiness and suffering of domestic abuse with singing, dancing, humor and dialogue. The production, directed by theater professor and director of the African American Theatre Program (AATP) Lundeana Thomas, will be at the Thrust Theatre Nov. 30-Dec. 4.
  • Blues for an Alabama Sky, a poignant drama by Pearl Cleage, examines the struggles of friends to achieve their dreams amidst the harsh realities of Harlem during the Great Depression. Directed by associate theater professor Nefertiti Burton, the AATP production will be at the Thrust Theatre Feb. 1-5, 2012.
  • Atomic Bombers, written and directed by theater professor Russell Vandenbroucke, dramatizes the story of an extraordinary group of international scientists racing the Nazis to make an atomic bomb. Told through the wry perspective of wisecracking physicist Richard Feynman at the Thrust Theatre Feb. 28-March 4, 2012.

All plays begin at 8 p.m. with additional 3 p.m. Sunday matinees. The Playhouse is at 1911 S. Third St. and Thrust is at 2314 S. Floyd St. Season tickets are $60 for the general public, $50 for UofL employees and those age 65 and older and $40 for students. Individual show tickets are $12 for the general public, $10 for faculty and staff, or $8 for students and senior citizens. For tickets and information, call 502-852-7682 or visit http://louisville.edu/theatrearts.

Leung’s book wins WILLA

Brian LeungTake Me Home, a novel by creative writing associate professor Brian Leung, will receive the Women Writing the West WILLA Literary Award in October. The awards represent the best of 2010 published literature for women’s or girls’ stories set in the American West.

Leung’s book, which is set in set in 1880s Wyoming, is the winner in the Historical Fiction category. Take Me Home tells the story of Adele “Addie” Maine, who returns to a coal-mining town forty years after the deadly events that nearly took her life and drove her away without a word to her husband.

Winners of the Women Writing the West WILLA Literary Awards are chosen by professional librarians, historians and university affiliated educators.