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Focus on Faculty

Read news and highlights about faculty from the spring 2021 semester.


Professor Among Researchers for NASA Project

Nathaniel Frissell, Ph.D., assistant professor in Scranton’s Physics and Engineering Department, is among the scientists participating in research projects on traveling ionospheric disturbances. One project received funding support from NASA. The second project is through an International Space Science Institute (ISSI) team. Through these projects, the University will receive more than $167,000 in funding to support graduate students, data analysis/computing equipment and conference travel.

Dr. Frissell is among the researchers working on a NASA Living With a Star project entitled, “Wave-Driven Asymmetries in the Ionosphere-Thermosphere due to Asymmetries in the Northern and Southern Polar Vortices.” The project is being led by Richard Collins, Ph.D., principal investigator, of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute.

A space physicist, Dr. Frissell is also part of an International Space Science Institute (ISSI) team entitled, “Resolving the generation mechanisms and electrodynamical effects of Medium Scale Traveling Ionospheric Disturbances (MSTIDs).” The team is led by Jeffrey Klenzing, Ph.D., of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, and Katherine Zawdie, Ph.D., of the Naval Research Laboratory.

Dr. Frissell explained that traveling ionospheric disturbances, also known as TIDs, are wave-like variations in electron density in the ionosphere, the electrically charged region of the Earth’s upper atmosphere. Dr. Frissell and his students will be using TID observations from the Super Dual Auroral Radar Network (SuperDARN), GPS Total Electron Content databases, and the amateur radio databases in their research.

Continue reading the news, here.


Community Group Awards Faculty Member Silver Medal

i-smulowitz-phd.jpgThe American Advertising Federation of NEPA recognized Stacy Smulowitz, Ph.D., associate professor of communication and media at  Scranton, with the Silver Medal Award at a virtual ceremony on Mar. 12.

An Accredited Business Communicator (A.B.C.), Dr. Smulowitz is president of Smulowitz Communications, a strategic communication and leadership consulting firm. She also serves as executive director of the Eastern Communication Association and education chair of Boost Business NEPA.

She was also published recently by Rowman and Littlefield Publishers. The book, The Communication Solution: Leading Successful Change in Higher Education, provides a practical and theoretical guide based on preexisting and original research data to issues surrounding planned organizational change strategies, core competencies and other aspects of the change process needed for effective leadership in higher education.

At the University, Dr. Smulowitz teaches courses in advertising, leadership and organizational communication. She often includes community-based learning projects for students in her classes, which include developing and pitching marketing-based, integrated advertising campaigns to area organizations. Past clients for the classes have included Scranton Tomorrow, Cedar Bike & Paddle, East Scranton Business Association, Anthracite Heritage Museum and others. In addition, through her academic courses, University students also participate in the American Advertising Federation’s National Student Advertising Competition.

Dr. Smulowitz also serves as moderator for the University’s Advertising Club, through which students also work with area businesses to gain real-world experiences. Clients the student club has previously worked with include Sno Mountain, Café Sveda, Duffy’s Accessories, Coconut Summer, Stinky’s Chili and Anthracite Bicycle Coalition.


Book by English Professor is Award Finalist

i-krausbook.jpgA book written by University English and Theatre Professor Joe Kraus, Ph.D., was a finalist for the inaugural Union League Club of Chicago’s Outstanding Book on the History of Chicago Award 2021, which was presented in a virtual format on April 7. His book, “The Kosher Capones: A History of Chicago’s Jewish Gangsters,” was one of 10 finalists. The 2021 award was presented to “Occupied Territory” by Simon Balto.

In 2019, Dr. Kraus’s book, The Kosher Capones, won the 2019 bronze Indie Award in the category of history (adult non-fiction).

The Kosher Capones, published by Northern Illinois University Press, tells the story of Chicago’s Jewish gangsters from the end of the 19th century into the 1980s. Dr. Kraus’s grandfather and great-uncles were part of the notorious Miller Brothers of the Jewish West Side, who were among Chicago’s early Jewish gangsters. Dr. Kraus spent thirty years collecting details from newspapers, archives, photo collections and other sources. The book traces the changing political, demographic, and economic pressures that transformed the opportunistic gamblers and bootleggers of Maxwell Street and Lawndale into some of the under-the-radar architects of the Chicago Syndicate that grew out of the gang made famous under Al Capone’s leadership.

Dr. Kraus is chair of the Department of English and Theatre at Scranton. He joined the faculty at the University in 2004. From 2015 to April of 2021, he served as president of the Society for the Study of Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States (MELUS).


Professor Discusses Autism on 'Call the Doctor'

kelly-1.jpgUniversity professor Michael E. Kelley, Ph.D., was a guest on WVIA’s "Call the Doctor," where he talked about autism. The segment aired April 7, April 8 and April 11.

The episode focused on current treatments, therapies and available medications.

The full segment titled "Autism: Searching for Answers" can be seen on WVIA’s website, here.


Find the latest faculty news in Royal News, here.

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