McMurry University faculty receive Sam Taylor Fellowships

Staff Writer

Seven McMurry University faculty members have been chosen to receive Sam Taylor Fellowships. Given annually by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church, the Fellowships are for research projects or continuing education. Recipients of the award and their plans for the funding are:

Dr. Pug Parris
The purpose of this research project is to garner information about the lives of the six founding faculty women of McMurry University through ancestral study, courthouse records, gravesite photographs and interviews with surviving family members and former students. This project will advance the intellectual social and religious life of those inspired by the lives of these six women and their legacy to McMurry University.

Dr. Anna Saghatelyan
The project is the conclusion of the research cycle that Dr. Saghatelyan began in 2006 as she began her analysis of the flora of Texas. This research agenda has already yielded results that have been published in the Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas and disseminated at conferences and meetings at the Botanical Society of America and delivered at invited lectures.

Dr. Dana Lee
Dr. Lee’s research project is titled “First molecular hypothesis for evolutionary relationships among subspecies of the Eastern Mole.” Funds from this fellowship will be used to purchase supplies to complete the project and allow for Dr. Lee to work with undergraduates as they complete degree requirements of a senior capstone research project at McMurry University.

Dr. Joel Olufowote
Dr. Olufowote’s project is on social justice. This project would provide some theoretical foundations to his research questions regarding whether certain lives are more valuable or meaningful than others and whether diversity and multicultural experiences bring more meaning to their lives.

Dr. Hyunshun Shin
Dr Shin’s project will focus on the discovery of potential anticancer from synthetic compounds and the isolation of new compounds from natural products has the potential to make a major contribution to the scientific community by expediting the discovery of newer cancer drugs. The study of deacetylase has been a major component of Dr. Shin’s research agenda for the past 12 years.

Dr. T.J. Boyle
Dr. Boyles’s research project, the establishment of a baseline data set for plankton, periphyton and macrobenthic organisms found in 12 local reservoirs, has the potential to provide a valid protocol for state agencies like the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and Texas Parks and Wildlife as they evaluate Texas reservoirs. The project has special significance because of the severe drought that occured in Abilene and the surrounding areas.

Dr. Joel Brant
Dr. Brant’s project is an investigation of the population genetics of eastern moles in the Abilene, Texas area. With its regional focus Dr. Brant’s project will provide an opportunity for him to involve his students in his research.

The will of the late Sam Taylor set aside funds to be used for continuing education and development for faculty members of United Methodist-related colleges and schools in Texas. These grants may be used for graduate study or post-graduate research. Funds are limited and the fellowships are competitive. The Division of Higher Education of the United Methodist General Board of Higher Education and Ministry administers the endowment.