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College List of 2016 Accomplishments

2016 was truly a year for the books. Our faculty, staff, students, and alumni had so many accomplishments, and we are proud of all of them. This is just a selection of the many things we accomplished in 2016.

College List of 2016 Accomplishments


  • Our Liberal Arts High program sent its first professor into a high school classroom in February. To date, our professors have traveled to 16 different Idaho high schools and presented to more than 4,100 students through the program.
  • We secured more than $1.1 million dollars in new grants in art, anthropology, English and philosophy, global studies and languages, history and psychology.
  • The student-ran International Affairs Council welcomed Ambassador Arun K. Singh as the keynote speaker for the 45th annual Frank Church Symposium in March.
  • The 12th annual Gender and Sexuality Conference was held in March and focused on how ideas and stereotypes concerning gender and sexuality shape and influence many aspects of daily life.
  • Members of the iDebate Rwanda debate team debated in conjunction with ISU’s debate team on the topic “This house believes that in the aftermath of genocide, forgiveness is more important than justice.”
  • Our fourth annual New Year’s Eve Gala raised more than $100,000 in revenue to help support our students in the arts.
  • Foreign language teachers from across Idaho traveled to Idaho State University to attend the 55th Annual Idaho Association of Teachers of Language and Culture Conference.
  • Five governmental officials from Bhutan visited with the Department of Political Science as part of the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program.
  • Undergraduate students participating in the National Institutes of Health-funded IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) took immersive art and music classes by ISU faculty members, and then displayed their art work in the ART4Sci exhibit.
  • The Spanish for the Health Professions program started in 2014, and has taken off in eastern Idaho. The program provides both health professionals and language students a unique program of study, as well as many service learning opportunities.
  • The College held four summer camps for area middle and high school students in music, theatre, art, and communication: The Summer Institute for Piano and Strings, Marching Band Camp, CAMP, and the Conservatory Theatre Camp.
  • The Department of Music hosted the International Choral Festival, the Idaho Music Educators Conference, the Metropolitan Opera Auditions, Jazz Fest, the Marching Band Invitational, Day of Percussion, and various group, student, and faculty concerts.
  • The School of Performing Arts presented eight theatre and dance productions throughout the year.
  • The Department of Sociology, Social Work, and Criminology received a $1.08 million grant renewal from the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare to help train child welfare workers in Idaho.
  • The Department of Art created a digital studio lab for current art students to receive a more modern and technological training in their art degrees.
  • The State Board of Education approved a Master of Social Work program in our Department of Sociology, Social Work, and Criminology.
  • Psychology graduate students Chris DeCou, Colin Mahoney, and Ariana Tart-Zelvin received awards from national organizations based on their work.
  • Students in Erika Kuhlman’s Women in the North American West class wrote biographies of Idaho suffragists. The history of these women was not previously written, and the students had the opportunity to do original research on important figures in Idaho history.
  • Sixty-one students from Renaissance High School in Meridian received their Associate of Arts degrees in general studies at the Idaho State University-Meridian commencement.
  • The Idaho State University Chamber Choir traveled to England and Scotland for 13 days in May to perform in some of the most historic cathedrals in the world. They performed in Edinburgh, York, Newcastle, Worchester, London, Ely, Oxford and Cambridge.
  • Larry Leibrock, a political science research fellow at the ISU Informatics Research Institute, was awarded a Fulbright Shuman Fellowship to conduct research and teach at Oxford University, England in January 2017.
  • Volkan Aktas, M.P.A. student, interned for the United Nations Department of Field Support in outreach and gender in New York.
  • Music student Kylle Strunk’s composition “Oaxacan Fantasy” was produced by Tapspace, and also won second place at the Portland Percussion Group’s 2016 Call for Scores.
  • Communication, Media, and Persuasion students helped ISU took first place at the National Student Advertising Competition (NSAC) for District XI this Spring. This is the first time ISU has been the regional champion in the competition sponsored by the American Advertising Federation.
  • Idaho State University’s first Teaching Literature Book Award was given to Nancy Rabinowitz for her book “From Abortion to Pederasty: Addressing Difficult Topics in the Humanities Classroom and Beyond.”
  • Psychology professor Xiaomeng (Mona) Xu was honored as a 2015 Rising Star by the Association for Psychological Science. The Rising Star award recognizes outstanding psychological scientists in the earliest stages of their research career.
  • Cathleen Tarp, associate professor of global studies and Spanish, received an Idaho Hometown Hero Award from the JRM Foundation for her vision and work to bring a Spanish for the Health Professions program to ISU.
  • Psychology professors Tera Letzring and Erin Rasmussen brought in more than $800,000 in grant funding from the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health. The grants will help fund their research on personality judgment, and food insecurity and obesity in women.
  • Psychology professor Rob Rieske received over $8,400 from the Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health to train clinical psychology graduate students to assess and provide treatment for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
  • Department of English and Philosophy chair, Jennifer Attebery was selected as an honoree at the 17th annual Southeast Idaho Business and Achievement Ceremony, and won the University Education Award.
  • Anthropology chair, Kate Reedy received a $331,126 grant from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the Office of Subsistence Management to study subsistence in communities on the Lower Alaskan Peninsula.
  • Political Science chair, Donna Lybecker was selected to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Advisory Committee due to her expertise on international border environmental issues.
  • History Lecturer Paul Sivitz developed a map with Montana State University Professor Billy G. Smith that is currently on display in the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
  • Director of Jazz Studies, Jon Armstrong released his new album “Burnt Hibiscus” produced by Orenda Records last fall.
  • Psychology professor Maria Wong received an invitation to serve as a member of the Biobehavioral Mechanisms of Emotion, Stress, and Health (MESH) study section.
  • History professor Justin Stover was invited by the director of Notre Dame’s Keough- Naughton Institute for Irish Studies in Dublin to give a conference talk commemorating the 1916 Easter Rising.
  • Emeritus professor Susan Swetnam was selected as the 2016 recipient of the Idaho Humanities Council’s Outstanding Achievement in the Humanities Award. She also published her eighth book “A Season of Little Sacraments, Christmas Commotion/Advent Grace” with Liturgical Press of Collegeville, Minnesota.
  • English professor Alan Johnson was awarded his second Fulbright Scholar grant to research images of the environment and forest in Indian literature in Southern India for nine months.
  • Anthropology professor Charles Speer and the Department of Anthropology hosted a summer Archaeological Field School in the Sweet Ola Valley in Western Idaho. Each student found at least 60 artifacts including horseshoe nails, medicine bottles, ceramic plates, and square nails.
  • Ryan Topper, M.A. ’13 English, is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Leeds studying trauma in African literature. Last year, he taught interdisciplinary courses for the University of Leeds Centre for African studies, directed a symposium in South Africa, participated in numerous conferences and workshops, and published multiple book reviews.
  • Alumna Holly Kartchner, a government and history professor at Blackfoot High School, received both a JRM Foundation Hometown Hero Award and an American Lawyers Alliance Teacher of the Year Award.
  • Monica Tromp, M.S. ’12 Anthropology, completed her Ph.D. at the University of Otago, New Zealand and became a microbioarchaeologist at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Germany, specializing in plant micro particle analysis.
  • Juan Martinez, B.S. ’15 Political Science, received a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to teach English to students in Mexico, as well as utilize his political and legal work experiences. He began the position in August.



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