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Research Newsletter

Engaging Research

Fall 2021


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AVPR Message

Michael Blanda
Dr. Michael Blanda

As Assistant Vice President for Research and Federal Relations it is my pleasure to provide the opening remarks for the fall 2021 issue of Engaging Research. We must start by thanking Dr. Walter Horton for his leadership and guidance over the last five years. During his tenure as Chief Research Officer, Texas State set new records for both restricted research and development expenditures, restructured the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, and oversaw the establishment of three new university centers. But most importantly Dr. Horton has piloted Texas State’s trajectory toward National Research University Fund eligibility and R1 status through the travails of the COVID-19 pandemic and historic winter storm. We will miss him and wish him all the best in future endeavors.

It is well known the pandemic had a chilling effect on research productivity for almost one year beginning in March 2020 when we reduced laboratory activity to 25% occupancy and eliminated in-person human subjects research. However, by developing and adhering to standard operating procedures that allowed safe return to the labs, we have been able to gradually increase capacity until finally, in April 2021, labs were opened for 100% occupancy and human subjects research returned to in-person interventions. The Texas State research community responded in true Bobcat spirit by boldly embracing the “new normal” and in doing so unleashed an unprecedented amount of energy and effort.

This edition of Engaging Research reflects that energy and productivity in the stories of life-changing research across five of our Texas State colleges. It also highlights Texas State faculty members for their achievement in winning the National Science Foundation CAREER award. I have the great honor and pleasure of knowing and working with each one of our NSF CAREER awardees. I even had two of our winners as undergraduate students in chemistry courses that I taught many years ago! 

These NSF CAREER awardees and the other faculty in this issue represent the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit that permeates the entire Texas State culture. In that sense we should acknowledge the passion and commitment of all faculty, students, and staff members that drive our researchers to make meaningful discoveries and contributions in their respective academic disciplines.

Faculty Research Spotlight

Ryan Anderson - Agricultural Sciences

Agricultural Mechanics Training Program Brings Secondary Teachers Up to Speed

"The academy is an intensive ten-day professional development program that covers three major content areas within agricultural mechanics, including small gas engines, electricity, and welding."

Faculty Research Spotlight

Vanessa de Macedo Higgins Joyce - Journalism and Mass Communication

Texas State Partners with Colombian Universities to Support Vulnerable Communities


Carmen Westerberg - Psychology

Collaborative Team Explores Links between Sleep and Memory

Faculty Research Spotlight

Cody Patterson - Mathematics

Teaching Teachers: Shifting Math Education from Rote to Reasoning


New Faculty Research Spotlight

Cindy Faith Miller - Counseling, Leadership, Adult Education & School Psychology

Promoting Inclusive Engineering Spaces for Elementary School Students

Research Coordinator Corner

Preparing for the NSF CAREER: Tips and Resources from Your Research Coordinators

By Maggie Hutchins, College of Education, and Jessica Schneider, College of Liberal Arts


About ORSP

Exciting research happens every day in every department of Texas State University. Our faculty generate new knowledge and catalyze ideas into reality, combining creativity and determination to achieve innovation.

Each semester, we feature some of these accomplished researchers in our newsletter, where they share their work and advice about funding, managing teams, and more. The newsletter also includes practical tips for finding collaborators, mentoring students, and using ORSP’s resources to the fullest.

Remember, ORSP is here to support your research from start to finish.    

Editorial Team

Kay Hetherly, editor

Evy Gonzales

Jessica Schneider

Andrea Hilkovitz

Christopher Larson, web developer