October 26, 2016

Meet the SPA Fellows

Sponsored Projects Administration is pleased to introduce you to the 2016-17 Fellows (Cohort A). The SPA Fellows Program is an intensive educational experience designed to develop the knowledge base and grant-writing skills of faculty members who display superior potential regarding the ability to obtain external funding in support of research, scholarship, creative projects, and other fundable endeavors. 

Allison Rober

Allison Rober is an Assistant Professor of Environmental Biology in the Department of Biology at Ball State University. Allison earned a Certification in Teaching College Science and her Ph.D. in Integrative Biology and Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, and Behavior (EEBB) with a specialization in Environmental Science and Policy from Michigan State University.

Allison’s research focus is in the area of algal community ecology, with particular interest in environmental controls on benthic algal communities and their role in ecosystem processes. Much of her research focuses on how processes related to ongoing climate change (e.g., variable hydrology, light availability, nutrient enrichment, and warming) influence algal community composition in wetlands and the potential consequences for food web structure.

Allison is actively involved in a variety of initiatives to enhance science literacy through scholarly teaching and developed the BSU Scientific Teaching Program for graduate students interested in learning to build and implement student-centered instructional materials and teaching strategies for STEM courses.

Philip Smaldino

My lab is interested in studying “unusual” DNA shapes. We study a specific protein that is present in human cells, that can change the shape of certain regions of DNA. We are interested in how this change in DNA shape can turn a gene “on” or “off”. We use these findings to better understand and treat specific human diseases including HIV/AIDS and ALS (Lou Gehrigs disease).

Outside of research and teaching, I enjoy spending time with my wife, Melissa, and our (soon to be) two children. We enjoy working on our large vegetable garden, tending to our 11 chickens and three goats, and staying active at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church.

Leeann Lower

Hi, my name is Leeann Lower, but most people call me Lee. I am an Assistant Professor in Sport Administration at Ball State University (BSU). This is my second year at BSU, having recently finished my doctorate at The Ohio State University (OSU) in Sport Management. While at OSU I acted as research coordinator for LiFE Sports, a sport-based positive youth development program.

My primary research interests are in the areas of organizational effectiveness and sport for development. My scholarship is based on the premise that a sport program can maximize participant outcomes and achieve the organization’s vision, if designed, delivered, and evaluated effectively. I became interested in the areas of organizational effectiveness and sport for development through my family’s involvement in Athletes in Action as well as my own experiences running collegiate cross-country and participating in recreational sport.

Apart from my position at BSU, I enjoy an active lifestyle with friends and family. You will often find me training for a marathon, playing recreational sports or games, or traveling to experience a new city or event. I also appreciate reading a good book and being out in nature. It has been such a joy joining the Ball State community. I hope to continue to expand my network and skills through meaningful experiences, such as the SPA Fellows program.

Brandon Kistler

My name is Brandon Kistler and I am a new faculty returning to Ball State after completing my PhD at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I have a background in both nutrition and exercise physiology with specific expertise in cardiovascular methodology including ultrasound, tonometry, heart rate and blood pressure variability.

My research focuses primarily on strategies to overcome barriers and help prevent inadequate or inappropriate nutrition in patients with renal disease. My recent projects have focused on the safety of providing nutrition support during hemodialysis treatment and have been geared towards providing the scientific knowledge to develop evidence-based guidelines for this controversial practice. I have been the primary investigator or co-investigator on grants from the American Heart Association, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, American College of Sports Medicine, and United States Department of Agriculture. 

Tya M. Arthur

Tya M. Arthur, PhD, MPH, CPH, is an Assistant Professor of Health Science in the Department of Nutrition and Health Science at Ball State University. She received a master of public health in Health Policy and Management from the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Rural Public Health and a doctorate in Health Education from Texas A&M University in College Station, TX.

Dr. Arthur’s research interests focus on culturally sensitive health promotion and health care with the goal of preventing and reducing chronic disease among racial/ethnic minority and low income communities. Her program of research involves (1) developing, implementing, and evaluating community-based, culturally sensitive health promotion interventions, and (2) identifying and addressing the health-related social needs (e.g., food insecurity, transportation, and housing instability) of low-income patients with the goal of reducing healthcare costs and improving quality of care and health outcomes.

Dr. Arthur has been inducted into the Delta Omega Honorary Society in Public Health, the Eta Sigma Gamma National Professional Health Education Honorary, and the Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education.

Christina Jones

Christina Jones, PhD, is a tenure-track Assistant Professor in the Department of Nutrition and Health Science in the College of Health at Ball State University. Dr. Jones spent three years as an Assistant Professor of Corporate and Health Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater before joining the BSU faculty. She completed her doctorate in Health Communication from Purdue University in May 2014 and her Master of Arts in Communication from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign in May 2009.

Dr. Jones’ expertise and accompanying research program in health disparities and health advocacy in vulnerable populations spans across chronic disease prevention, social justice and health, and health behavior theory, using both qualitative and quantitative methodologies.

Considering her mass media and strategic communication background, Dr. Jones also maintains interests in community-driven research as well as health promotion, intervention design, and program evaluation. Dr. Jones is a recipient of the 2016 National Communication Association’s Golden Monograph Award, which is a competitively selected achievement bestowed at the top publication in the discipline of the prior year.

In her free time, Dr. Jones enjoys spending time outdoors with her son, Gabriel, as well as cheering on her favorite football teams – the Purdue Boilermakers and the Indianapolis Colts. In the Spring you may also find her at the speedway – Dr. Jones is a consistent attendee of the Indianapolis 500 and a committed fan of IndyCar racing.

Teresia Mbogori 

My name is Teresia Mbogori and I have recently joined Ball State University as an Assistant Professor of Nutrition and Dietetics. I was born and raised in Kenya where I did all my basic education and Bachelor’s degree. In 2009, I moved to Israel to pursue a Master’s degree in Nutritional Sciences at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. I returned to Kenya in 2011 and worked for a few years as an adjunct instructor at my Alma Mater, Egerton University. I then moved to Texas Tech University in 2013 to pursue a Doctoral degree in Nutritional Sciences. I graduated in August 2016 and immediately joined Ball State University as a faculty member.

My research interests are in food security, nutrition education and public policy. I am interested in community empowerment projects that enable the community to develop solutions for their own food security and nutrition needs.

I am married and have two boys, ages 12 and 9. When I can, I enjoy reading books and watching movies that are totally unrelated to my discipline. For example, I follow NASA on Facebook and watch their channel when they launch space ships. Although most of this happens late at night, I still stay up to watch it live.

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