Skip to Content

Office of the Vice President for Research


Featured Scholars

The Office of the Vice President for Research is proud to recognize the University of South Carolina's diverse and talented faculty whose creativity and innovation are changing the world around us. Featured Scholars is one program through which we do that.

Each month, the Office of the Vice President for Research puts out a call for nominees to be recognized as Featured Scholars. We gather up USC's the best and brightest talent, and feature them here on a regular basis to get the word out about their innovative work, and provide appreciation for the contributions they make to the Carolina community every day.

Summer 2014 Featured Scholars

Suzanne Baxter

Suzanne Baxter, College of Social Work

Suzanne Domel Baxter, Ph.D., RD, LD, FADA, FAND is a Research Professor with an academic home in the College of Social Work, and office located in the Institute for Families in Society. Trained as a registered dietitian and a postdoctoral fellow in nutrition, Dr. Baxter conducts methodological research to investigate the accuracy of children's dietary recalls. Her research includes validation studies to compare observations of children eating school meals to dietary intake reported by children during interviews. Dr. Baxter also conducts research concerning a possible relationship between childhood obesity and participation in school meals. As principal investigator or co-principal investigator, Dr. Baxter has been continuously funded via competitive grants by the National Institutes of Health and US Department of Agriculture since she came to the University of South Carolina in 2003. She has authored more than 75 peer-reviewed research publications and several book chapters. She has served on the Board of Editors for the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics since 2007. She led the effort to create and raise funds for the Amy Joye Memorial Research Award through an endowed fund established through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation in honor of her former nutrition research project director at USC who suffered a medical tragedy in 2004 and died in 2009 at the age of 41. She is an Affiliated Scholar at the Center for Research in Nutrition and Health Disparities at USC. Dr. Baxter is a past president for the South Carolina Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and was recognized as Outstanding Dietitian of the Year in 2012 by the same organization.

Jorge Camacho

Jorge Camacho, College of Arts and Sciences

Dr. Camacho is an Associate Professor of Spanish and Comparative Literature at USC. He has published more than 50 articles, notes, and book chapters in top refereed journal and scholarly collections such as Iberoamericana, Hispanófila and the Oxford Literary Cultures of Latin America. His articles cover a wide variety of topics from Colonial Caribbean literature to Spanish American Modernismo. He has served on editorial boards, edited several dossiers on specialized topics and has lectured at universities in the US and abroad, most recently being the guest speaker for an international Oxford bibliographies seminar online. In 2013, the University of North Carolina Press published his second book, Etnografía, política y poder: José Martí y la cuestión indígena, and this year, editorial Iberoamericana-Verveut is publishing his third monograph on the impact of slavery on the colonial white elite: Miedo negro, poder blanco en la Cuba colonial. Furthermore, he recently uncovered a previously unknown translation made by José Martí for the Argentinian government in 1893, Argument for the Argentine Republic Upon the Question with Brazil and two articles written by Alejo Carpentier for a surrealist journal in France. In addition to his scholarly work, Prof. Camacho is also an intellectual deeply committed to issues of political equality, anti-racism and democracy. He has published more than 30 articles on these areas in different journals. He is the Spanish Program Director at USC-Columbia, and the recipient of this year's Russell Research Award for the Humanities and Social Sciences. He is now working on two projects: an anthology of nineteenth century short stories and another monograph on the connection of politics, race and religion in Cuba.

Bob Heere

Bob Heere, College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management

Bob Heere joined the faculty at the University of South Carolina in 2013 as an Associate Professor and Ph.D. Program Director in the Department of Sport and Entertainment (SPTE). Prior to joining SPTE, he held academic appointments at the University of Texas at Austin, Florida State University, The Cruyff Institute for Sport Studies (the Netherlands), and Auckland University of Technology (New Zealand). His research expertise is on the social impact of sport on society, with a particular focus on social identity theory and community development. To that end, he has conducted research on five different continents, cooperating with researchers from China, Korea, Japan, New Zealand, Serbia, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Brazil and South Africa. His research allowed him to work with organizations such as the Beijing Olympic Games Organizing Committee, Fulham FC, the University of Texas at San Antonio Roadrunners, the World Golf Foundation, and the Multicultural Refugee Coalition Austin. His research has been published in leading sport management journals such as Journal of Sport Management, Sport Management Review, European Sport Management Quarterly and Sport Marketing Quarterly and several of his articles are among the most cited in the field over the last decade. He has also published in business journals such as the Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice and the Journal of Business Ethics. In 2013, the North American Society for Sport Management (NASSM) awarded him the status of NASSM Research Fellow. In 2012, he published his first book in his home country the Netherlands, Het Olympisch Speeltje, a critical account of the Dutch ambition to host the 2029 Summer Olympics.

Tasha Laman

Tasha Laman, College of Education

Tasha Tropp Laman, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the Department of Elementary Education Instruction and Teacher Education at the College of Education. She instructs preservice and classroom teachers, English language learner specialists, administrators, and literacy coaches on how to support English language learners' growth as writers. Laman conducts community-engaged research and participates in a long-term school-university partnership with A.C. Moore Elementary School in Richland School District One. With an ongoing commitment to create more equitable classrooms through literacy education, Laman's research documents students' cultural and linguistic resources and how those resources become integral to effective literacy instruction. "In my courses," says Laman, "we study the critical social issues that are always at play in our interactions with students. We unpack our biases so that we can learn with and from the students in our classrooms. We learn that speaking, reading and writing in multiple languages—whether Spanish, Arabic, or African American Language—language is an asset, and not a deficit. As literacy teachers, we have tremendous power in teaching children how to write texts that inform others and the world." Laman has received USC's Mortar Board Teaching Award, the S.C. Literacy Champions Award from the S.C. Education Oversight Committee, and the Richland One Superintendent's Award. In 2013, Laman collaborated with ITE colleagues Erin Miller and Julia López-Robertson and received the Taylor & Francis Distinguished Article of the Year from the Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education for their qualitative study Noticing and Naming as Social Practice: Examining the Relevance of a Contextualized Field-Based Early Childhood Literacy Methods Course. Her latest book is entitled From Ideas to Words: Writing Strategies for English Language Learners.

Holly LaVoie

Holly LaVoie, School of Medicine

Dr. Holly LaVoie is an Associate Professor in the Dept. of Cell Biology and Anatomy at the USC School of Medicine. She received her Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Biology from the College of William and Mary, a PhD in Physiology from the Medical College of Virginia of Virginia Commonwealth University, and completed a post-doctoral fellowship in Reproductive Biology at the University of Virginia. Since joining the university in 1999, Dr. LaVoie's research has focused on the hormonal and molecular regulation of normal and abnormal ovarian function. She studies the ovarian cells that surround the developing egg, before ovulation and after ovulation; these cells produce the necessary steroid hormones to support pregnancy. Abnormal ovarian steroid hormone production is associated with infertility and early pregnancy loss. Using animal models and donated human ovarian cells from patients undergoing assisted reproduction techniques, Dr. LaVoie employs cellular and molecular biology approaches to study the essential steps in turning on genes and their protein products that convert cholesterol into new steroid hormones. Dr. LaVoie's research has consistently been funded through the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA). She has served on the editorial boards for the journals Reproduction, Biology of Reproduction, and Experimental Biology and Medicine, and is currently an Associate Editor of the last journal. She has served on numerous grant panels and is an active member of the Society for the Study of Reproduction, the Endocrine Society, and the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine.

Selina Hunt-McKinney

Selina Hunt-McKinney, College of Nursing

Clinical Assistant Professor, Dr. Tena McKinney joined USC College of Nursing in March 2013 after completing a Duke University, School of Nursing research fellowship in Chronic Illness and Care Systems Trajectories. In 2010, she completed the requirements for her PhD at the Arnold School of Public Health, Health Services, Policy and Management where she studied health services and workforce. Dr. McKinney's research program focuses on increasing health system capacity for high quality health care as influenced by nurse leadership behaviors and clinical-academic partnerships to enrich the nursing education experience. For example, in Spring 2014 Dr. McKinney partnered with one of the largest health systems in SC to develop strategies to resolve clinical nursing education placement shortages on inpatient units. Student, faculty and nursing staff surveys indicated positive experiences with the educational ecosystem model, which distributes learning opportunities across multiple, diverse settings and increases clinician-student engagement. Not only did health system personnel contribute to nursing education in the clinical setting, but staff nurses also participated in College of Nursing simulations with students. The next steps are to nurture and develop the program further and to explore potential measures of the ultimate outcomes of nursing educational programs- patient care outcomes and experiences. In addition to her research and teaching, Dr. McKinney practices as a psychiatric nurse practitioner at Children and Family Health Care Clinic and serves as the SC Nurses Association, Commission Chair of Professional Development and Advocacy. She has provided services to underserved populations in rural and inner-city communities in SC since 1993.

Matt Miller

Matt Miller, USC Aiken Department of English

Dr. Matt Miller is an Associate Professor of English at USC Aiken. He received his Ph.D. in Twentieth-Century American Literature form USC Columbia. Since graduating from USC Columbia he has published numerous articles and has made numerous presentations at conferences such as the Annual British Commonwealth and Postcolonial Studies conferences. However, what Dr. Miller is most excited about is his putting the finishing touches on his newest book project, Transnational American Writers: Early and Contemporary Responses to Globalization. The book is organized around five "pioneers" of transnationalism in American literature who have been matched with contemporary writers. Focusing on five tropes developed by these earlier transnational writers, Miller argues that immigrant/ethnic American literature has shifted to address globalization and the United States' relationships to various places of origin. He received a RISE grant to work on his chapter on Claude McKay and Junot Díaz, both of whom revise the traditional immigrant novel. In addition to this research, he is finalizing his first book project, Graphic Novel Pedagogy: Best Practices for Using Comics in the College Classroom. This collection of essays from teacher/scholars across the United States brings together cutting-edge approaches and student-centered practices for successfully incorporating comic books into college curriculum. He will deliver the entire manuscript to the publisher (McFarland Press) early in the summer. Currently, he has an essay on Chang-rae Lee's Native Speaker under review at the South Atlantic Review. In that essay, he explores how trauma is worked through in the context of marriage and language.

Jennifer Parker-Harley

Jennifer Parker-Harley, School of Music

Jennifer Parker-Harley, USC School of Music Assistant Professor of Flute, enjoys a versatile career as a teacher and performer. An experienced orchestral flutist, she was a member of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra in Ohio for eight years before moving to South Carolina. Parker-Harley has also been a member of the Ft. Wayne Philharmonic and the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra and has performed with the Cincinnati Symphony, the St. Louis Symphony, the National Repertory Orchestra and the Heidelberg Schlossfestspiele Orkester. An active recitalist and prizewinner in several national competitions, Jennifer appears as a frequent performer at the National Flute Association's annual convention and in schools and music series across the country. The success and national reputation of the USC flute studio reflects Dr. Parker-Harley's dedication as a teacher. Recent graduates have gone on to study at such prestigious institutions as the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, the Peabody Institute, the University of Texas, the Cleveland Institute of Music and Northwestern University. Her students have also been prizewinners in competitions of the National Flute Association, the Florida Flute Association, the Kentucky Flute Society, the Central Ohio Flute Association and the South Carolina Flute Society.

Katrina Walsemann

Katrina Walsemann, Arnold School of Public Health

Katrina M. Walsemann, PhD, MPH, is an associate professor in SPH's Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior. She completed her masters and doctoral studies at the University of Michigan in Health Behavior and Health Education and her postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Michigan's Population Studies Center. She joined ASPH in Fall 2007. Her research focuses on bridging life course analysis with socio-cultural perspectives on population health. She is particularly interested in understanding how social inequalities and institutional discrimination influence health and racial health disparities across the life course. Her recent studies include examining 1) the long-term effects of school segregation on mental and physical health; 2) if the timing of when an individual completes a post-secondary degree – before or after the mid-20's – matters for mid-life health; and 3) how gender, education, and race intersect to shape health trajectories through mid-to-late adulthood. Currently funded research projects extend to topics that are receiving national policy attention, including 1) the health implications of student loan debt; 2) the influence of criminal justice involvement on substance use from youth to adulthood; and 3) the health of undocumented immigrants.

Yanwen Wu

Yanwen Wu, College of Arts and Sciences

Professor Yanwen Wu has worked extensively on GaAs interfacial and AlGaAs self-assemble quantum dots for their applications in quantum information processing. Using coherent nonlinear pump/probe spectroscopy, she has deftly demonstrated single excitonic qubit rotation, two-qubit gate operation, single excitonic qubit density matrix tomography, and selective spin qubit rotation. These demonstrations are not only crucial milestones towards realizing quantum computing and quantum error correction in these quantum systems, they have also set the groundwork for advanced coherent nonlinear optical control in a wide range of zero dimensional semiconductor structures. Dr. Wu has established herself as a dedicated experimentalist capable of developing novel techniques and experiments that advance semiconductor science and understanding. She has demonstrated that it is possible to create an arbitrary qubit rotation on the Bloch sphere and to read out both the imaginary and real components of the density matrix (PRL, 96, 087402 (2006)). Dr. Wu is the first to establish an approach to performing a tomographic measurement of the density matrix of a single qubit in a semiconductor quantum dot by using phased-locked optical pulses. This measurement provides a standard procedure for quantifying the error and dephasing incurred during qubit operations. More significantly, it shows that these zero dimensional semiconductor "artificial atoms" are capable of preserving the coherent phase information from the two phase-locked optical pulses.