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Research Development Academy Scholars

The Office of the Provost, Division of Diversity & Engagement, and the Office of Research & Engagement congratulate the following faculty for being selected into the Research Development Academy!

2021 – 2022 Cohort

Sangwoo Ahn
Assistant Professor, Nursing

“I came to think that the best way to manage Alzheimer’s disease is prevention given that there is no cure. My program of research focuses on determining effective strategies to delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease using non-pharmacological approaches (e.g., healthy lifestyles such as physical activity). I also aim to find ways how to stick to healthy lifestyles among older adults, which helps curb the occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease.”

Leia K. Cain
Assistant Professor, Evaluation, Statistics, and Methodology

“I am a qualitative- and mixed-methodologist who examines liminal identities and how individuals approach the decision to disclose those identities within varying spaces. Most recently, I have been named the first Pride Center Faculty Fellow.”

Sherley Cruz
Assistant Professor, College of Law

“My research explores the intersections of law, culture, and access to justice in the context of low-wage worker rights.”

Felicia Francine Dean
Assistant Professor, School of Interior Architecture 

“My research fosters the relationship of the design process to spatially latent material identities. My investigation explores the reconciling space and place through the lens of my bi-racial experiences that advance the methodologies of fabrication and design strategies.”

Georgi Gardiner
Associate Professor, Philosophy

“I research epistemology, especially applied, social, and legal epistemology. Recently I have focused on profiling, prejudice, legal standards of proof, and on the relationships between rape accusations and evidence.”

Denita Hadziabdic Guerry
Assistant Professor, Entomology and Plant Pathology

“My academic research encompasses focal areas including forest health, population biology, and conservation efforts for native plants. My lab colleagues and I are interested in understanding the complexity of host-pathogen-vector interactions and system-associated microbial communities within the host phytobiome across both introduced and native ranges of several plant species.”

Jiangen He
Assistant Professor, School of Information Sciences

“My research focus on visual analytics, data-driven predictions, and metrics in science of science and studies of how social factors in artificial intelligence affect our information behavior.”

Mary Laube
Assistant Professor, School of Art

“My paintings and drawings address the transformative relationship between identity and culture within the context of the Korean diaspora.”

Katherine H. Morgan
Assistant Professor, Nursing

“My research focuses on the interactions between the microbiome, humans, and human ecology to discover how the microbiome influences human health.   We conduct cohort studies of humans with conditions such as Alzheimer’s Disease, by identifying the microbial community structure and its metabolic activities (the “metabolome”), then looking for biomarkers that may become intervention points where we may promote health and prevent disease.”

Mustafa Oz
Assistant Professor, Journalism & Electronic Media

“My research interests lie in the area of political engagement and political participation in online spaces, particularly on social media platforms.  More specifically, I examine how people use new technologies and online platforms, such as social media websites, to participate and engage in politics.”

Codou Samba
Assistant Professor, Management and Entrepreneurship

“My research interests fall into two overlapping categories: (1) the intersection of strategic leadership and decision-making, and (2) the socio-psychological foundations of strategic management. Overall, I aim to understand — from a socio-psychological perspective— how top management teams make decisions and how effective those decisions are.”

Solange Muñoz
Assistant Professor, Geography

“I am an urban and cultural geographer and a Latin Americanist with long-standing interests in the political, economic, and socio-spatial processes of inequality, marginalization, and contestation in the urban landscapes of Latin America and the U.S. My research interests and objectives are part of current debates on the urban and social consequences of globalization, urban development, and gentrification. I focus on the social and spatial significance of housing, home and neighborhood infrastructures in the urban landscape.”

Paris Whalon
Student Success Librarian for Media Literacy, UT Libraries

“My research interests include gaming as experiential learning, media influence and pedagogy in academia and black cyberculture during recent movements and events.”


2020 – 2021 Cohort

Elizabeth Barker
Assistant Professor, Mechanical, Aerospace, and Biomedical Engineering 
“My research leverages interdisciplinary scientific knowledge of device design, biomaterials engineering, and polymer characterization. My research career is focused on designing and developing novel polymer materials for implant devices and drug delivery, and I intend to commercialize my laboratory findings for use in the clinical setting. My goal is to be a link between engineering and medicine and to contribute to the care of others as a research scientist dedicated to the development of medical devices that physicians can use to improve the lives of their patients.”
Stefanie Benjamin
Assistant Professor, Retail, Hospitality & Tourism Management

“My research agenda lies within the nexus of social equity and critical tourism scholarship exploring marginalized populations’ lived experiences and counter narratives.  I’m interested in producing and promoting social advocacy while amplifying underrepresented voices within the tourism landscape through practice, research, and education. As a certified qualitative researcher, I design research studies using collective storytelling, visual methodologies, social media analysis, and (auto/duo) ethnography to try and understand how race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, and White supremacy influence the travel experience and landscape. This research falls under the umbrella of Tourism RESET where I serve as the Co-Director and Research Fellow.”

Lindsey Hornbuckle-Lampkin
Assistant Professor, Kinesiology, Recreation, & Sport Studies

“The overarching goal of my scholarly work as an exercise physiologist is to make a positive impact on health disparities in underserved populations, with a particular focus on African-Americans. My research program includes two core areas including physical activity and exercise interventions to improve cardiometabolic risk, and cultural relevance and social support for exercise adherence.”

Anchalee (Joy) Panigabutra-Roberts
Associate Professor, UT Libraries

“My scholarly interests cover a range of topics in library and information science; from researcher identifiers, linked data/knowledge graph, scholarly communication, to diversity, equity and inclusion issues in cataloging description and controlled vocabularies.”

Jason L. Scott
Assistant Professor, Kinesiology, Recreation, & Sport Studies

“My research examines leisure behavior with an emphasis on leisure time physical activity among marginalized populations including at-risk youth and individuals with disabilities. I am focused on research design, quantitative analyses such as structural equation modeling and multi-level modeling to understand mechanisms that influence leisure behavior.”