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Idaho State University

Four College of Arts and Letters Faculty Members Honored with 2017 Outstanding Researcher Awards

College of Arts and Letters faculty members claimed four of the five ISU 2017 Outstanding Researcher Awards.

Four College of Arts and Letters Faculty Members Honored with 2017 Outstanding Researcher Awards

College of Arts and Letters faculty members claimed four of the five ISU 2017 Outstanding Researcher Awards.

“These researchers, all outstanding in their individual fields, represent the variety of research at Idaho State University,” said Cornelis Van der Schyf, vice president for research and dean of the ISU Graduate School. “The culture of discovery is rich at ISU, and these faculty members exemplify the pursuit of academic and research excellence.”

More complete biographies of honorees are located online at

Jessica Winston – Winston is professor of English and chair of the Department of History. Her research focuses on early modern England, especially the literary culture of the early English law schools and legal societies, the Inns of Court and the reception of the plays of the ancient Roman tragedian Seneca.

She is the author of “Lawyers at Play: Literature, Law, and Politics at the Early Modern Inns of Court, 1558-1581” (Oxford University Press, 2016) and co-editor of “Elizabethan Seneca: Three Tragedies (Modern Humanities Research Association” (2012). Her work has been supported by grants and fellowships from the Idaho Humanities Council, the Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Erin Rasmussen – Rasmussen, professor in the Department of Psychology, conducts translational research in the area of obesity. She has two laboratories that are dedicated to examining behavioral economic and neural correlates of behaviors and decision-making involved in obesity. She will also receive ISU’s 2017 Distinguished Researcher Award at graduation.

Her recent work in this area has shown that high-fat, high-sugar diets influence reward processes in delay discounting—a measure of impulsive food choice.She recently was awarded a three-year research grant from the National Institutes of Health to investigate the relations among food insecurity, diet, obesity and food impulsivity in humans.

She has almost 40 peer-reviewed publications to date, many of which involve ISU graduate and undergraduate student co-authors.

Thom Hasenpflug – Hasenpflug is nationally recognized as a unique performer and educational voice, and his compositions for percussion receive international recognition and are played all over the world.

As a prize-winning composer, he has been commissioned by some of the field’s leading percussionists. International performances of his works have occurred in Vienna, London, Barcelona, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Dublin, Rio de Janiero, Venezuela and Sweden, by various percussionists of note.

He has performed as a member of numerous organizations, and in symphonic and freelance capacities with artists as diverse as Bela Fleck, Peter Cetera, the Moody Blues, Blood Sweat and Tears and many others.

Raphael Njoku – Njoku’s research specialty is African history and African politics. He is the author of “Culture and Customs of Morocco” (2005) and “African Cultural Values: Igbo Political Leadership in Colonial Nigeria 1900–1966” (2006) and is coeditor of seven other books on African history and politics.

Njoku has also published 38 scholarly articles in international journals and edited volumes. Some of his awards include the Distinguished Research Award in the Category of Social Sciences (2009), Indiana University Library Residency Award (2009), Victor Olurunsola Endowed Research Award (2007) and the Schomburg Center award for Research in Black Studies (2006–2007). Njoku is currently the chair of the Department of Global Studies and Languages at ISU.

The other Outstanding Research Award winner was Karl Madaras-Kelly, professor, College of Pharmacy, located in Meridian.