A word cloud of the 22-23 PEN & Inc. Cohort project descriptions

Introducing the 2022-23 PEN & Inc Cohort

The Project Enhancement Network and Incubator (PEN & Inc) received a record number of applications for the 22-23 academic year. The selection process was incredibly difficult due to the high quality of the applications and the merits of each project proposal. Ultimately, the Office of Digital Research and Scholarship was able to accept a record 15 participants to the program.

In addition to being the largest cohort, this group of PEN & Inc participants comes from the widest variety of disciplines of any cohort. We were able to accept participants from the Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Communication, Education, Engineering, Entrepreneurship, Fine Arts, and Music, as well as a participant from the Center for Leadership and Social Change. We are also excited that this group will consist of participants at many different stages of their studies and careers, including undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, and staff. Our hope is that the participants will be able to learn from each other’s experience and expertise.

Ashley David, Undergraduate Honors in the Major Student

Project Name: Analyzing the Soret Coefficient Using Time Resolved FTIR-ATR

Project Description: There is a clear, and immediate need for more sustainable forms of energy, and my goal is to make an ideal, energy re-harvesting system utilizing waste heat from consumer products, cars, and even large scale industrial processes. This will be done by modeling the Soret effect, which is also known as diffusion in response to a temperature gradient, and using this phenomena in a thermogalvanic battery cell- powered by waste heat as opposed to chemical potentials. My research analyzes the Soret coefficient in polymer electrolytes using time resolved FTIR-ATR (fourier transform infrared spectroscopy – attenuated total reflectance). Specifically, I am varying salt concentrations (of LiTFSI), as well as size of temperature gradients to see the effects these parameters have on magnitude of the Soret coefficient for creation of a universal model.

The website I create for this project will show the scientific process of my experiments beginning from the very first temperature calibrations, all the way to the MATLAB code for modeling the numerical and analytical diffusion coefficients.  This website will also serve as a supplemental material to my published scientific paper, which will make it easy to see how experiments were conducted and allow readers easy and fast access to supplemental material.

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Dr. Kristin Dowell, Associate Professor of Indigenous Art & Film

Project Name: Digital Sutures: Family & Cultural Memory in Indigenous Women’s Films

Project Description: This digital exhibit accompanies a virtual film screening scheduled for spring of 2023. Both the exhibit and the screening are connected to the book Digital Sutures: Family & Cultural Memory in Indigenous Women’s Films, currently under contract with Wayne State University Press.

Digital Sutures features films by Indigenous women that push new cinematic ground in rendering Indigenous stories, ancestral knowledge and family histories on screen. Each chapter focuses on an individual filmmaker working in a distinctive genre of film: experimental documentary, stop-motion animation, archival remix, and handmade cinema. The films I write about— Four Faces of the Moon (2016) by Amanda Strong (Michif), her silent life. (2012) by Lindsay McIntyre (Inuk/Scottish), Caribou in the Archive (2019) by Jennifer Dysart (Cree from South Indian Lake, Manitoba on her father’s side), and Indians of Gunflint Lake (2021) by Marcella Ernest (Ojibwe)—are vibrant examples in their adept use of the medium’s inherent capacity to collapse time and space, to suture their personal histories with larger Indigenous cultural narratives that resist the legacies of settler colonial violence. Their work is connected to a larger global movement of Indigenous women speaking back against the silence and erasure of Indigenous women’s stories, voices, and experiences. Digital Sutures, is the first sustained analysis of the artistic practices of Indigenous women filmmakers contesting and remixing the archives while using their filmmaking practices to renew and strengthen cultural identity and family ties.

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Susana Frade, Doctoral Student in Classical Guitar Performance, College of Music

Project Name: Legacy of Isaac Nicola: His method for classical guitar

Project Description: The work of Cuban pedagogue Isaac Nicola (1916-1997) enhanced the classical guitar world. His Método de Guitarra, portrays some of his pedagogy’s main principles on technique. However, his approach to repertoire compared to other contemporary methods is what makes this work unique and a great contribtion to the guitar repertoire.

In the method, Nicola approaches the Classical guitar technique through Cuban composers’ music. He mixed these two worlds, the classical and the popular, to create a Classical guitar method with distinctive elements of the traditional Cuban music. This curation of the music was innovative and helped to enrich the guitar repertoire. It served to promote Cuban composers and enhance the literacy of the instrument while working on traditional technical aspects of the classical guitar.

For this project I will create a multimedia with exercises and pieces from the Method. I will record the pieces and analyze the rhythm, genres, and technical challenges present in the music. I will also illustrate with examples the traditional rhythms and explain how they translate to the classical guitar setting. It will be a discussion mainly on Classical guitar technique and Cuban music.

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Miguel Garcia-Salas, Doctoral Student in the School of Communication Science and Disorders

Project Name: Helping Vulnerable Families Read With Their Children Through Online Training Modules

Project Description: Children from economically disadvantaged families, from culturally diverse backgrounds, or who speak English as a second language often struggle with school, and specifically literacy. One way to promote language and literacy skills is to engage in effective shared reading practices at home. However, parent use of shared reading strategies assumes that the parents are aware of the strategies, can access shared reading resources, and that the resources are provided in ways that allow for the transfer of knowledge to implementation. Economically disadvantaged families, as well as families from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, face significant barriers in access and implementation of shared reading strategies, and those barriers underscore discrepancies in the effectiveness of shared reading interventions. This project aims to create an online, accessible, culturally-responsive shared reading module and examine the effects of different levels (or “tiers”) of that training. The modules will contain interactive lessons on dialogic reading, allow parents to answer questions and problem solve while watching video examples, and to record themselves reading with their children and subsequently receive feedback regarding their use of shared reading strategies. The project will examine the effects of different levels of online training to determine the ideal amount of training needed to help vulnerable families better read with their children.

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Brenna Gilliam, Undergraduate Honors in the Major Student

Project Name: Dante Through a Queer Lens: Exploring Contemporary Adaptations of the Commedia

Project Description: For my Honors in the Major thesis project in Italian studies, I have chosen to explore contemporary adaptations of Dante Alighieri’s Commedia by queer artists and authors. I aim to investigate the question of why Dante’s work tends to resonate so strongly with queer individuals and situate my conclusions within the context of queer theory and adaptation studies. My research, along with the multimedia pieces that I have selected, will ultimately be organized into a digital exhibition using Scalar, which will showcase the broad array of queer adaptations in existence that draw heavy inspiration from the Commedia. These pieces will be grouped according to common themes and include accompanying commentary. The exhibition will also include discussion of existing scholarship by prominent authors in queer theory such as Jack Halberstam and Annamarie Jagose, as well as by prominent authors in adaptation studies such as Linda Hutcheon and Thomas Leitch. Using this scholarship, I hope to develop a nuanced understanding of how the word “queer” can be defined in this context and challenge traditional ideas of what constitutes adaptation.

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Dr. Carolina Gonzalez, Associate Professor of Spanish and Linguistics

Project Name: Invented Languages

Project Description: “Invented Languages” is a digital exhibit focusing on invented languages and language invention. Invented languages or ‘conlangs’ (constructed languages) are developed consciously, unlike natural languages such as English or Navajo. Like natural languages, invented languages have extensive vocabularies and fully developed grammatical systems. This digital exhibit will introduce language invention and feature curated examples of conlanging projects developed by FSU students in two courses, IDS 2291 ‘Language Birth, Language Death’ and the graduate seminar ‘The Art of Language Invention.’ Each project includes the development of the vocabulary and grammar (sounds, words and sentence structure) of an original conlang in addition to the development of a related fictional world. This includes not only a description of this world, but also the creation of a fictional map, a writing system, and the translation of a myth or legend into the conlang. The exhibit will also include additional materials such as short videos by the student conlangers providing tips on conlanging and/or explaining how they developed some of their ideas and/or components of the conlang/fictional world. This digital showcase will increase the visibility of our students’ creative projects and serve as inspiration to other students interested in this area.

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Gabrielle Isgar, Doctoral Candidate in Modern Languages

Project Name: UMA-to-IPA Translator

Project Description: The Unified Mayan Alphabet (UMA) is the official orthographic system used to write down the Mayan languages spoken in Guatemala and Mexico (as of Government Accord 1046-87). This alphabet is used to represent the sounds of Mayan languages for formal contexts and educational materials. The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is a phonetic notation system used by linguists to represent the sounds attested across all of the World’s languages. This system allows linguists to understand how a word would be pronounced without having knowledge of the language at hand.

The primary aim of this project is to contribute an open-access Unified Mayan Alphabet (UMA) to/from International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) translator available in English, Spanish and K’iche’ (a widely spoken Mayan language). The use of multiple notational systems to discuss and describe the same Mayan languages is often necessary, yet confusing. Now that many of these languages have been documented and described, UMA-to-IPA will make it more possible to involve indigenous Mayan languages in theoretical debates related to phonetics/phonology by making educational materials published in UMA more accessible to an academic audience. At the same time, UMA-to-IPA will also allow community members and language workers to use the IPA translations to improve their pronunciation or search an unknown sound symbol.

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Dr. Jayur Mehta, Assistant Professor of Anthropology

Project Name: Gulf Coast Resilience

Project Description: Indigenous and African American communities along Louisiana’s Gulf Coast are fighting historical erasure driven by slow-onset processes like erosion, subsidence, sea-level rise, gentrification, pollution, and industrial development, as well as rapid-onset hazards like hurricanes, tidal flooding, and tornadoes. From the loss of archaeological and historical sites along coastal marshes and inland waterways to the systematic destruction of plantation landscapes and “lost” African American burial grounds, Louisiana’s coastal environments are disappearing rapidly, erasing Black and Indigenous histories. Due to discrimination in segregated school systems in Louisiana, Native American and African American students have not fully participated in the research and documentation of their own ancestral histories. My research trajectory is called Fighting Erasure and it seeks to rectify this historical error. I work directly with the Chitimacha Tribe of Louisiana and descendant communities in St. John Parish, Louisiana to do the following: 1) to study and document Indigenous and African American archaeological histories with undergraduate students from historically underrepresented groups, 2) to collaborate with teachers from the Chitimacha and St. John communities to develop K-12 curriculum that is experiential and field-based, and 3) to develop courses and research at Florida State University that makes community collaboration a necessary and integral component to graduate anthropological research and training.

Fundamental and collaborative research with the Chitimacha Tribe of Louisiana entails surveying archaeological sites, environmental features, and the built environment in and around their tribal and ancestral homelands. With local collaborators, the project documents climate risks to the Chitimacha community and their ancestral sites. Multidisciplinary archaeological and geomorphological, field-based research will be conducted with undergraduate and graduate students; their work will be integrated into K-12 curriculum designed with teachers and counselors from the tribal school.

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Brenna Miller, Undergraduate Honors in the Major Student

Project Title: Tallahassee Music Map

Project Description: The city of Tallahassee, Florida, is home to vibrant and diverse music communities. From old time and blues to country, rock, folk, and classical music, musicians and music organizations from across Tallahassee engage thousands of participants and audience members in the local music scene each year.

The Tallahassee Music Map project aims to highlight the city’s rich musical history and serves as a resource for local residents to learn more about the city and even participate in music-making. While my main target audience for the Tallahassee Music Map is local, I also hope to reach audiences beyond Tallahassee who want to learn more about the musical history of the area or get involved with music around the city and in the North Florida region. By visually representing the locations of various genres of music, the map will also help to inform visitors about the various ways that the policies and politics of Tallahassee’s city government, and regional policies in the Southern United States, affect and influence where and how musicians perform and host different musical genres.

The music map also incorporates local university music programs, such as Florida State University’s world music ensemble program. These university-based ensembles often feature members of the local community. In fact, this is what originally inspired me, as an undergraduate student at Florida State, to look outside of the College of Music and learn more about the history of local music traditions. Following this initial curiosity about music in Tallahassee and my desire to participate in forms of music-making that fall outside of classical traditions, I searched through Facebook groups and word of mouth for information on local musical opportunities, but I found no central location for jam sessions, performances, and history. I quickly realized that Tallahassee has such a rich musical history across genres, but no central location to learn about the local music scene. It was then that the idea for the Tallahassee Music Map came to me. My hope is that the map will serve as an ongoing central repository for the musical history of Tallahassee.

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Chris Omni, MPH – Doctoral Candidate in Art Education

Project Name: The Omnipresence of Black Joy

Project Description: The Omnipresence of Black Joy (OBJ) digital project is a timely expansion of a concentrated, one-year, multi-phased project, launched in September 2021, that included a 3MT (Three Minute Thesis) presentation, Blacktivate Joy, that won First Place at Florida State University and took second place at the state of Florida competition, a TEDx FSU Talk entitled Granny’s Garden: Growing Black Joy, and an international panel discussion for the 2022 SoundWalk September Global Festival entitled Black Joy is a Stride: How Movement Moves the Message.

This new project will work closely with a team of undergraduate research students – Teya C. Mosely, Michelle S. Gunn, Ashley E. Powell, Simone M. Eloi, and Yara B. Abbiyyah* from FSU’s Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program to create a website that features scholarly articles, blogs, and interviews about Black Joy. The data gathered from this digital project will help to provide transformative knowledge that disrupts the deficit narratives that have traditionally been the undercurrent of research regarding Black women.

The OBJ project represents “a process of being in service to political and social change on behalf of communities that one represents and is responsible to” (Dillard, 2008, pg. 65). As a Black woman with a master’s degree in Public Health and soon a doctorate in Art Education, I developed this scholarly, arts-based project to enhance the physical, intellectual, emotional, and social well-being of Black women both in and out of the academy.

In addition to creating a website about Black Joy, OBJ will:

  • Support the development of an innovative, interdisciplinary Black Joy curriculum that braids public health, art education, and civic engagement, as well as
  • Provide a digital space of Black Joy that encourages Black women to remove the metaphorical cape associated with the multi-generational narrative of being the Strong Black Woman.

*Yara is a student but she is not affiliated with UROP.

Dillard, C. (2008). When the ground is black, the ground is fertile: exploring endarkened feminist epistemology and healing methodologies in the spirit. In Handbook of critical and indigenous methodologies (pp. 277-292). SAGE Publications, Inc., https://www.doi.org/10.4135/9781483385686

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Paige Rentz, Media Specialist, FSU Center for Leadership & Social Change

Project Name: Tell Me About It! – Multigenerational Perspectives on Identity

Project Description: Tell Me About It! is an intergenerational storytelling project focused on shared social identity.

Initial conversations will build on intersections between Pride Student Union and the Queer & Trans Employee Network and then expand to other groups as interest and partnerships build across campus.

Interviews will be shared through a variety of media, but for the project to be successful and sustainable, it is essential to collect and archive conversations in an accessible, engaging, and user-friendly way. Desired features for the project include the ability to create easy navigation across interview segments, simple integration of transcripts with playable audio, and the ability to highlight dynamic visual elements alongside the oral histories.

Participation in this storytelling for social change initiative not only fosters relationship-building and community connection, it also empowers students to craft messages that inspire awareness and action on social issues.

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Dr. Sherry Schofield, Professor and Curator, JMC Historic Costume and Textile Collection

Project Name: Digitizing the JMC Textile and Apparel Historic Costume Collection

The JMC Costume Collection was started in the 1950’s with donations from faculty members and other stakeholders.  It is currently stored in the Sandels Building in a room that is too small for the 4500+ pieces in the collection.  Since it’s start, different faculty members have taken on the role of “curator” as one of their service obligations in the department.  As such, the focus of the collection and the accessioning of all the pieces have varied.  So when I took over this position 3 years ago, I found some digital information, some accessioning sheets in a notebook, hundreds of notecards, and many pieces that have zero information.  

I started trying to photograph all the existing pieces, and updating an excel collection database.  Although I have made fair progress, there is still much to do.   I have actually had a special topic course approved for spring 2023 on collection management, so that I have student assistance in moving forward.  But even if everything in the collection was photographed and included in the database, there is still a huge void in having others access this information.

So the goal of this project is to move the collection forward by 1) making the information available to historians and other interested individuals; 2) creating a searchable database/website with images; and 3) provide a venue for digital exhibits.

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Gizem Solmaz, Doctoral Candidate in Curriculum and Instruction, Graduate Research Assistant at Learning Systems Institute, Graduate Teaching Assistant at Faculty of Education

Project Name: Conquer Math Anxiety

Project Description: Mathematics anxiety affects learning negatively and ultimately affects students’ attitudes towards mathematics as well as their mathematical performance. Mathematical anxiety is defined as a phenomenon that causes students to feel an irrational fear when they think about mathematics, which affects their performance and prevents them from learning. This is a condition that affects students from kindergarten all the way to the college level. Now more than ever, having good mathematical skills can increase your future career opportunities. However, research shows that mathematical anxiety is negatively affecting students’ career choices by discouraging these skills at every level of their education. Math anxious students are more likely to avoid adding mathematical classes to their program, which then leads them away from jobs that require mathematical skills. If parents and teachers could implement strategies to reduce math anxiety for students in elementary school, it could have dramatic effects on their future mathematical success, and their future career opportunities.

Many researchers have reported that math anxiety in teachers can have negative consequences on the math achievement of their students. Because there are so few resources on this topic, I envision building a website that can serve as a central source of information on math anxiety, specifically for elementary school students. I will include research-driven blog posts, podcasts with experts in the field, and short informative videos, including videos that I will create myself. I will also include a forum where teachers and parents can freely discuss their own personal experiences with math anxiety. I see this website as a way to return to the community because I do not want my research to simply stay in papers, but also to be a product that can provide value to anyone affected by math anxiety. As an avid follower of Social Learning Theory, my purpose in life is to improve the lives of children and teachers by making education more effective and accessible, and I think this website could be a great starting point for this.

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Dr. Mila Turner, Social Science Data & Research Librarian

Project Name: Deconstructing Dark Tourism with an African-American Lens

Project Description: This web project will center on the publication of data on the experiences of dark tourism to key African Diasporic heritage sites throughout the Afro-Atlantic region. The visits to dark heritage sites will be exhibited in photo-journalistic style to provide insight into African Diasporic tourism as well as to educate general audiences by digitizing public history. Furthermore, publishing the preliminary data on a CreateFSU site may attract grant funding, invite engagement from the public, and garner additional opportunities to disseminate findings. What follows is a description of the research project to be hosted/exhibited with CreateFSU.

Despite a long African Diasporic history which both preceded and superseded slavery, recent dark tourism research has narrowly examined tourism related directly to enslavement. Related literature recognizes that visiting such sites stimulates complex and even contradictory emotions by visitors. This project aims to contribute to existing research by situating personal accounts of thanatourism among existing dark tourism stories, and at times counter to these dominant stories by exploring the salience of race in tourism through the following research questions:

  • What is the experience of African Americans engaged in dark tourism?
  • What can a Black womanist methodological approach contribute to dark tourism studies?

This autoethnographic study uses both race and ethnicity as central factors in the shaping of dark tourism experiences at African Diasporic heritage sites throughout the world. Embodied encounters at each place will be connected to broader cultural, political, and social meanings of tourism and research. The deeply personal and emotional visits to these sites are critically deconstructed to provide insight into intentions, motivations, emotions and actions of an African-American woman unintentionally participating in dark tourism. Recognizing that thanatourism and dark tourism are tangled, complex concepts, the sites were selected to demonstrate a very wide temporal, historical, cultural, and experiential range. Preliminary findings revealed (1) a rejection of the dark tourist label, (2) the involvement of both push factors (e.g., interest in heritage and identity) and pull factors (e.g., education, remembrance, consecration) in determining sites, (3) site visits as forms of “witnessing testimony,” and (4) the contradiction that place attachment is not directly related to the length of association with a site whereby places become more salient and important over time. Finally, self-representation through narrative writing, poetry, photography, and film created a transitional space on the border between “the professional” and “the personal” which allowed for an emancipatory discourse with a dark history.

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Dr. Svenja Wolf, Assistant Professor of Sport Psychology

Project Name: The Sport Psychology Translation Initiative

Project Description: Sport psychology and mental skills techniques are gaining acceptance and attractivity across sports, populations, and competitive levels. Despite these positive attitudes, performers and especially performance leaders such as coaches still rarely incorporate sport psychology into their work. Based on a literature and pilot interview study we conducted, a central reason for this is the lack of access to trustworthy and usable sport psychology knowledge.

The Sport Psychology Translation Initiative aims to change this and provide a platform that bridges the gap between research and application. To this end, we as a group of sport psychology researchers and consultants (https://education.fsu.edu/lego), will identify and integrate state-of-the-art knowledge on a variety of topics (e.g., performing under pressure, leading a diverse team, managing injuries), translate this knowledge into palatable and directly usable information (e.g., info graphics, behavioral guidelines) and activities (e.g., exercise instructions, worksheets), and create a web presence to share this knowledge and these products with a lay public (especially sports coaches).
A web presence would be ideal for our Initiative because it meets coaches’ information search habits and preferences (as identified in our study), is dynamic and hence can be updated and expanded easily (in contrast to e.g., print publications), and offer the potential for interaction and collaboration (going forward, we would love for coaches to provide feedback on and modifications of our information and activities and offer their own questions we and other researchers could investigate and answer, creating a full cycle of knowledge).

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We are incredibly excited to see how this incoming cohort’s projects develop. Each member of the cohort will be writing a blog post on their project sometime during the next year. Be sure to check back on our blog page, or you can add our RSS Feed to your favorite aggregator to stay updated with the cohort.