THE DA VINCI FELLOWS
now available through our speakers program
Dr. Amy Aldridge, Assistant Professor of Communication Studies at Northeastern State University, developed unique symposia that challenge her students to apply creative thought and critical inquiry in experiential assignments in which students identify, examine, and develop creative solutions to issues affecting student life at NSU. In so doing, she has addressed one of the toughest challenges faced by any educator—how to make his or her course materials relevant to students, in ways that wed in-depth study, creative team work, and meaningful action in the community.
Dr. Kevin J. Hayes , Professor of English at the University of Central Oklahoma, is among the preeminent bibliographers in the United States. The author of over twenty published scholarly volumes, Dr. Hayes has made seminal contribution to the study of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century American literature and culture, the history of literacy in the United States, and the development of American film and literature during the twentieth century. Dr. Hayes’s most recent publication, The Road to Monticello: the Life and Mind of Thomas Jefferson (Oxford University Press, 2008) has been acclaimed by scholars, critics and reviewers and is an insightful intellectual biography of our nation’s third president.
Dr. John Johnson, Professor of Computer Science, University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma. Professor Johnson’s research focuses on artificial intelligence. In 2007, Team Nova, a group of USAO undergraduates and graduates, with nine months of research and labor built a robotic vehicle able to traverse city traffic. The team finished in the top 50 teams from six countries. Using an innovative approach, Dr. Johnson has been able to create machines that can be “taught” useful skills.
Brad Matson is the Director of the Digital Media Institute (DMI) at Northern Oklahoma College. In 2007, Brad formed a partnership with Game Equals Life, an Oklahoma gaming company headed by a 2003 graduate of Northern’s DMI program. This partnership opened the door for Brad’s students to work with coders and artists to create elements of a video game to be released on Xbox and PC. His students have the opportunity to use their talents in a professional working environment and to make important contacts for job placement upon graduation. The end product which will be released to the public in 2010 will be an amazing action, adventure medicinal game for diabetics which sends the player on a quest to maintain healthy blood sugar.
Greg Mellott , Professor of Film and Video Production at Oklahoma City Community College, in 2008 was awarded an Emmy for best historical documentary, Dream No Little Dream: The Legacy of Robert S. Kerr. Greg was responsible for all aspects of the production from researching the life and times of Robert S. Kerr, scouting all locations and conducting all the interviews, directing the narrator, Keith Carradine, then supervising the editing. It has been broadcast on OETA and through a grant from Chesapeake Energy. The DVD version has been distributed to all high schools and middle schools in Oklahoma.
Dr. Martha Parrott, Professor of Mathematics in the College of Science and Health Professions at Northeastern State University teaches upper level mathematics content for pre-service elementary teachers. Through innovative teaching, she provides creative opportunities to nurture a true understanding of mathematics rather than memorized rules and procedures. Because most pre-service teachers enter mathematics courses with high levels of anxiety and very low levels of efficacy, this issue becomes even more complex because teachers who do not like mathematics and who do not feel successful as mathematics learners are, in fact, those who will spend the least amount of time teaching math to their own students. Dr. Parrott has changed traditionally textbook-driven, lecture-oriented mathematics courses to student-centered courses which deepen the students’ understanding of fundamental concepts and promote both mathematical learning and teaching.
Audrey Schmitz is the Director of the Eleanor Hays Art Gallery at Northern Oklahoma College. She has developed and/or coordinated more than 55 exhibits which give the students an opportunity to utilize the gallery as an alternative learning space. The gallery has significantly impacted the creative culture of the surrounding communities in a manner rarely accessible to a rural community. Specializing in ceramics, sculpture and fine art photography, her creative leadership has enhanced the quality of life through amazing exhibits and the recruitment of distinguished artists.
Dr. Wayne Stein , Professor and Assistant Chairperson, Department of English, University of Central Oklahoma. Dr. Stein’s teaching expertise, which includes gaming and rhetoric, Kung Fu Films, Chinese Cinematic Vampires, Cyberpunk Film and Fiction, combines gaming and writing to make learning fun for his students. Three years ago, Professor Stein developed a different way to teach English through gaming. Using a gaming book, Languaging Force X (LFX), created by Stein, students enter a cyberpunk game world where college level writing skills make one a special person of power.
Dr. Li Xiaobing , Chair, Department of History and Geography, UCO, has served as host to numerous Chinese delegations which come to study a variety of topics from Oklahoma’s health system to agriculture. Dr. Li’s latest book, A History of the Modern Chinese Army, is the first in-depth analysis of the Chinese military written for a western audience. This study will become a standard work for students, scholars and the America diplomatic corps. It is the latest in a long list of Dr. Li’s works concerning China, the Korean War and American-Chinese diplomatic relations and Chinese immigration to the United States.