Monday Memo, April 11, 2023

A Newsletter for Faculty and Staff of the College of Arts & Sciences

April 11, 2023

Dear A&S Faculty and Staff,

In respect and reverence for the people killed and seriously injured in yesterday’s mass shooting, the Monday Memo is being published on Tuesday. We echo President Schatzel’s message of sympathy and grief for those directly affected by this violence, recognizing the bravery and heroism of people from the Louisville Metro Police Department, the UofL Police, and UofL Health. Counseling for faculty and staff is available through or by calling 800-865-1044, and all should feel free to reach out to Dean Owen, MaryPat Chiavaroli in HR, or myself for assistance in finding those and other resources.

In the College of Arts & Sciences, Melissa K. Merry, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Political Science, studies gun policy and has a peer-reviewed article, “The Prospects for Gun Policy Change Following Mass Shootings,” forthcoming. In a recent article in The Conversation, Prof. Merry and her co-author talk about how media attention to mass shootings misrepresents the true scope of the problem, wherein individual homicide and suicide are more common forms of gun injury and death. They ask:

Is there a way to break the policy stalemate and make real progress on the problem of gun violence? We suggest that one path forward is to reformulate the policy narratives to better capture the full scope and severity of the problem. Mass shootings are horrific tragedies, but so is every gun death.

May the stories that follow in this edition of the Monday Memo remind and encourage you, as they do me, that A&S is a community whose members are undertaking fruitful and constructive work in areas such as anti-racism and anti-violence, as a metropolitan research university intensively engaged with those in our city for whom we care so deeply. 


Julie Wrinn, Chief of Staff


Community Engagement


Above: Marc Ellis, Assistant Director of Procurement Services, with DJ Biddle, Laura Krause, Laura Motley, and the students from Waggener HS Black Student Union with L’s UP!

In an ongoing collaboration with Jefferson County Public School partners, DJ Biddle, Director for the Center for Geographic Information Sciences (GIS), and Laura Krauser, GIS Research Coordinator, hosted Laura Motley and her students from Waggener High School's Black Student Union in the Helton GIS Lab in support of the students' West End Food Apartheid project. Biddle and Krauser led an introductory lesson on GIS mapping software and building effective storymaps. The students learned how to tell the story of inequitable access to fresh and healthy food in West Louisville utilizing databases from the U.S. Census, USDA, CDC, and other sources to examine demographics, health outcomes, and other population characteristics and their relation to access to major supermarkets. 


After three distinct versions, each tested by a series of focus groups with community residents, the website has finally launched. This project has engaged more than 50 UofL students, along with a coalition of professors, community leaders and activists. Undergraduates in business, computer science, and public health did the majority of the new website's coding and writing, with additional writing contributed by A&S undergraduates Daniel Cruse (English), Kyla Thomas (English), Hunter Graham (political science), Romith Paily (minoring in biology and philosophy), Loghan Currin (Individualized Major), Laura Hanna (biology), and Nelia Smithson(neuroscience). Kudos to these students for collaborating on such an invaluable community resource in the pursuit of environmental health. Read more about the project in UofL News and WLKY.


Undergraduate Research & Creative Activity


Students in Hilaria Cruz’s “Endangered Languages” course (Linguistics 590), Department of Comparative Humanities, recently published a series of vignettes in the Louisville Political Review, a student-run newspaper at UofL, on the global phenomena of the disappearance of languages, the diminishing of smaller languages, and language revitalization across the globe. Read more from (above, left to right): Kyle Cook (French and Mandarin Chinese), Dr. Cruz, Saro Klug (Anthropology and Linguistics), Emma Fridy (Political Science and French), Amy Follmer (French and Spanish), Jonah Larison ( graduate student in Linguistics) and William Holland (Linguistics and Spanish, not pictured).


The Departments of Biology and Psychological and Brain Sciences sent four of the five students (pictured below, with Dr. Paul DeMarco) who presented at the 17th annual ACC Meeting of the Minds, hosted by Virginia Tech on March 24-26, 2023:

  • Jaley Adkins, majoring in public health, gave a talk entitled “Synthesis of silver nanoparticles using plant-based extract.” Faculty mentor: Andrew Wilson
  • Cole Cassidy, majoring in psychology, presented a poster entitled “Think About How Much You Know: How Children Perceive Their Own Knowledge.” Faculty mentor: Judith Danovitch
  • Ashley Fulkerson, majoring in biology, gave a talk entitled “Stability Analysis Support Development of Epicertin, a Novel Mucosal Healing Agent for Ulcerative Colitis.” Faculty mentor: Nobuyuki Matoba
  • Ethan Mills, majoring in biology, gave a talk entitled “Drying Red Blood Cells: The Prospects and Challenges of RBC Lyophilization.” Faculty mentor: Michael Menze
  • Veena Pendyala, majoring in neuroscience, presented a poster entitled “The Sensory Potential of Synaptopodin: An Analysis of Synaptopodin within the Dorsal Root Ganglion.” Faculty mentor: Jeffery Petruska

Congratulations to these students and their faculty mentors.


Research Agenda


Shannon Walker, a doctoral student in the Department of Biology, received $1,739 in funding from the Kentucky Academy of Science for a project comparing stress and disturbance effects on wetland plants.


Tenure-track and tenured faculty have one more week to apply for $2,000+ in research funding, as follows:

The Research and Creative Activity Awards Competition exists to promote research and creative activities of faculty members, increasing extramural research funding and the number of scholarly publications, refereed exhibits, and artistic performances of the college. Any tenured or tenure-track faculty member in A&S is eligible. The initiative will support proposals that contain one of the following elements: (i) novel/ground-breaking ideas, (ii) exploratory research in an emerging field or extending the frontiers of an established field, or (iii) inter-disciplinary/collaborative research. The maximum amount for an individual grant is $2,000; $4,000 for inter-disciplinary/collaborative research projects involving two or more A&S investigators; or $2,500 for teams composed of one A&S investigator and a graduate student. The proposal form can be accessed here, and the deadline is 5 pm on Monday, April 17, 2023.

The Victor Olorunsola Endowed Research Award provides up to $2,000 for research assistance, supplies, or seed money for travel or equipment support. Applicants must be full-time, tenure-track assistant professors in A&S who are within their first four years of that track. The proposal form can be accessed here, and the deadline is 5 pm on Monday, April 17, 2023.


Undergraduate Spotlight


Lori Porter, a senior physics and astronomy major with a minor in data science, has won the prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship for her proposal, "FIRE Matters: Developing a Theoretical Model of the Baryon Cycle with the FIRE Simulations," focusing on investigating the patterns of baryon transport in and around galaxies. This proposal was an offshoot of her internship project at the Center for Computational Astrophysics, Flatiron Institute, in New York. At UofL, Porter’s focus has been on using Python to analyze the "loneliest galaxies in the universe," known as void galaxies, and what they can tell us about galactic evolution and morphology.

A Brown Fellow and a Goldwater Scholar, Porter is also a member of several campus organizations, including the Society for Women in Physics and Astronomy, the University Scholars Honors Program, and UofL's Society for Physics Students, where she is an officer.

Porter said, “I love that science never truly ends; there's always more to discover. For every question you answer, two more take its place.” In fall 2023, Porter will have an opportunity to generate many more questions when she begins studies towards a Ph.D. in astrophysics at Columbia University.


Alumni Spotlight


One of the cultural jewels of Louisville, the Louisville Ballet, has named Leslie B. Smart (B.A. Liberal Studies, 1988) as its new executive director. According to the Lane Report, Smart’s background in the arts began at age seven when she studied ballet under Cecile Heller, who danced with the Roland Petit Ballet and later led the University of Louisville Dance Academy. Smart danced in many Louisville Ballet Nutcrackers along with her sister, Lisa Hayes Matthews, and both would go on to join Louisville Ballet in the 1970s, performing lead roles. Additionally, Smart and her sister studied at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Dance and at the School of American Ballet at Juilliard, the official school of the New York City Ballet – where Louisville native and former NYCB principal dancer Wendy Whelan is now artistic associate director.

A Certified Fundraising Executive, Smart has an extensive background in philanthropy and nonprofit management. She currently serves as a faculty member with the Center for Nonprofit Excellence. Before that, she served as the president of CHI Saint Joseph Health Foundations and served in similar roles for Norton Healthcare Foundations and Yew Dell Botanical Gardens.

“Leslie brings a perfect combination of career experience, leadership strength and even personal history to this job,” said Ralph de Chabert, president of Louisville Ballet’s board of directors. “She is that rare leader who understands the artistic side of Louisville Ballet but also has a firm grasp of the business and development side.  Read more in the Lane Report. 


The End of an Era


In recognition of Al Futrell and his distinctive four-season footwear, the department presented him with framed UofL flip flops and this message: “Al Futrell, Ph.D., Chair, Department of Communication, 2002-2023. A flippin’ awesome chair.”

By Kandi L. Walker, Ph.D.

The picture below is a great representation of the work and energy of Al Futrell. He has a wonderful group of people around him because over the years he invested in people. As everyone said in their remarks at the Department of Communication’s celebration of him on March 29, Al has changed a lot of lives—he believes in people, fights for people, and befriends people. He makes people laugh and he always has a good story to share. 

I am thankful for Al's leadership, guidance, and friendship. I am also thankful that he isn't leaving UofL. The Department of Communication still needs his wisdom. 

Twenty-one years—Al, you are worth celebrating.




Above, left to right: Tyler Mayfield, Committee Chair, Grawemeyer Award in Religion; Kelly Brown Douglas, 2023 Religion Award winner; and Marion Hambrick, Executive Director of the Grawemeyer Awards, at the awards dinner on March 28. 

Our College is proud of its role in adjudicating three of the five Grawemeyer Awards, which bring internationally renowned thinkers to campus each year.  In the last edition of the Monday Memo, we neglected to mention that the Religion award is administered by the Department of Comparative Humanities in collaboration with the Louisville Theological Seminary. This year's winner in that category, the Rev. Dr. Kelley Brown Douglas, is the author of Resurrection Hope: A Future Where Black Lives Matter. In addition to her public lecture, she visited a Humanities classroom and attended a luncheon of faculty, staff, and students.

Congratulations to Dr. Viviana Andreescu, Associate Professor, Department of Criminal Justice, on her selection as a Fulbright U.S. Scholar. During the spring semester of 2024, Dr. Andreescu will teach in the sociology Ph.D. program in the School of Sociology and Social Work at the University of Bucharest, Romania.

Congratulations to eight members of A&S who are among those recognized by the UofL Office of Research and Innovation's 2023 Entrepreneurship and Innovation Awards for their technologies, industry partnerships, and more:

  1. Robert Buchanan
  2. Craig Grapperhaus
  3. Gerald Hammond
  4. Cheri Levinson
  5. Michael Menze
  6. Michael Nantz
  7. Christina Ralph-Nearman
  8. Farshid Ramezanipour

See "Upcoming Events" below or the UofL calendarfor details on the April 18th event where these awards will be presented.

Kudos to Natalie Christian, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Biology, on her recent election as an Early Career Fellow of the Ecological Society of America. Dr. Christian studies the community ecology of plant-associated microbiomes and how these microbial communities respond to global change, as well as how we can harness the plant microbiome to improve crop health. Additionally, she conducts biology education research to understand and promote teaching methods that are best for student learning. Read more.

In the aftermath of Donald Trump’s indictment, Dewey Clayton, Ph.D., Professor of Political Science, was interviewed by WHAS on what that news will mean for two candidates for Kentucky governor who have close ties to the former president. Read more.

It’s not Trivial! Dr. Janna Segal (Theatre), Dr. Ann C. Hall (Humanities), doctoral student Nancy Jones(Humanities), and three other scholars participated in a highly competitive trivia game during the 45thannual Comparative Drama Conference in Orlando, FL in late March. Categories included general knowledge and theatre trivia. We are happy to report the team won against four other groups by more than 30 points. Go Cards!


Upcoming Events


The Hite Institute of Art and Design will benefit from proceeds from an auction to be held on online on April 12 featuring the art collection of Dario and Madeline Covi. Dario Covi (1920-2021), a highly respected scholar of Italian Renaissance art history and professor emeritus of fine arts, was an important figure in the College of Arts & Sciences for more than half a century. Madeline Cundiff Covi was the art librarian at the Hite Art Institute from 1952 to 1957. The collection is available to preview now and the auction will begin at 10 am on April 12, 2023. For more information, details, and a preview, visit the website.


The keynote presentation for Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Week is “Black or White or Yellow? How Asians are Racialized in America,” by Dr. Evelyn Hu-DeHart, a world-renowned scholar from Brown University, on Thursday, April 13, Swain Student Activities Center (SAC), Multi-purpose room, 11:30AM-1PM. Attendance is free and open to the public and food will be served at 11:30AM. Please RSVP here. Read more about Dr. Hu-DeHart here. See flyer below.


The 31st Neuroscience Day symposium will be held April 13 in the Kosair Charities Clinical and Translational Research Building, Health Sciences Center Campus. Neuroscience Day is an opportunity to showcase neuroscience research from around the region and features an exciting lineup of local and invited speakers. This year's meeting focuses on the relationship among brain function, development and plasticity. We are excited to host two outstanding scientists from the National Institute of Mental Health, James Bourne and Tobias Merson. Membership, abstract submission and meeting registration are free. For more information, visit the webpage.


In celebration of Black Maternal and Child Health Week, the Transdisciplinary Social Justice Research Consortium is offering our final program of the spring—a documentary film screening of Birthing Justice followed by a discussion with the filmmakers, to be held in SRB 139 from 4-7 pm on Thurs., April 13, with snacks served. The Consortium is partnering for this film and panel with the Louisville Coalition for Black Maternal Health. See flyer below.


The Department of Theatre Arts Presents: Fairview,by Jackie Sibblies Drury, a comedic commentary on the white gaze in Black life, and how white supremacy infiltrates art and life. Directed by Catron Booker. Remaining performances are Thurs.­–Sat., April 13–15, 7:30 pm; and Sun., April 16, 3:00 pm. The Playhouse, 1911 S. 3rd Street , Louisville, Kentucky 40208


Come celebrate groundbreaking UofL technologies, industry partnerships, and more at the Office of Research and Innovation's 2023 Entrepreneurship and Innovation Awards. Following a reception, more than 70 faculty and staff will be recognized for their efforts, including eight from A&S (see “Kudos” above). UofL President Kim Schatzel and Executive Vice President for Research and Innovation Kevin Gardner will also present several major awards, including Innovator of the Year. April 18, 2023, 4:30-6:30 p.m. Drinks and appetizers will be served. Where: Student Activities Center Multipurpose Room (2100 S. Floyd St., Louisville, KY 40208. Register here.


All are invited to attend presentations by students in Dr. Felicia Jamison’s “Introduction to Public Humanities” class, in which undergraduate and graduate students collaborated with community organizations to research and tell the history of enslavement at Oxmoor Farm. Established in 1787 by the Bullitt Family, Oxmoor Farm enslaved over 100 people. To uncover their histories, students conducted oral history interviews with descendants, archeological digs in former slave cabins, curation of a museum exhibition about an enslaved woman named Louisa, archival research and metadata at the Filson Historical Society, and wrote about visitor responses to traumatic historical sites of enslavement. Wednesday, April 19 at 4:30pm to 6:00pm, Oxmoor Farm, Library Section 720 Oxmoor Avenue Louisville, KY 40222. See flyer below.


The Liberal Studies Program Showcase. The Liberal Studies Program will be hosting a showcase of students' capstone presentations and featuring a keynote address by Dr. Dan Jones, the founder of 21st Century Parks/The Parklands. Tuesday, April 25 at 9:00am to 2:00pm, Shumaker Research Building, 139,2210 S. Brook Street, Louisville, Kentucky 40208


A&S awards will be presented at the A&S Celebration of Excellence on Tuesday, April 25, 2:30 p.m. in the Red Barn, 2011 South Brook Street. Light appetizers, beer, wine, and nonalcoholic beverages will be served. Please RSVP by April 17 by accepting or declining the Outlook invitation previously sent. If you haven’t received an invitation, please request one from


All are invited to attend research presentations by students graduating with their M.A. in Health Care Ethics (Philosophy). Natalie Evanow, Louise Scharff, Andrew Givens, and Ellen Findley have conducted research in partnership with Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness (LMDPHW) and will discuss their work on Wed., April 26, 12-1:30 in Schumaker 139. Event is free and open to the public. See flyer below.


Delphi U's Face-to-Face workshop offers an unmatched opportunity to learn more about the design and facilitation of online courses. Participants have the chance to work directly with members of the instructional design team and collaborate with online instructors from across the University while exploring best practices in course design, engagement strategies and student evaluation. This four-day workshop begins May 8 with an optional review of Blackboard Basics and runs until May 11. Learn more and register online at