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Congratulations to the 2021-22 CURE Fellows!

Smith Institute is pleased to announce the 10 Course-based Undergraduate Research Experiences (CURE) Fellows. This year’s fellows are from a mix of disciplines.

The fellows are listed as follows:

Sherese Duncan, Interdisciplinary Studies & Business; Katrina Waterson, Spanish, University College; Tim Champion, Chemistry; Helen King, Political Science; Indhu Gopal, Physical Fitness & Wellness, University College; Gary Guffey, Communication Arts; Brendan Kern, Biology; Doug Cooper, Social and Behavioral Science; Alexa von Dohlen, Biology; Chakraborty, Computer Science

Dr. Tim Champion is Professor of Chemistry and Director of the Johnson C. Smith University (JCSU) Quality Enhancement Plan “Cultivating a Culture and Curriculum for Undergraduate Research”. Dr. Champion is beginning his 34th year at JCSU and his 17th year as Chair of the Natural Sciences and Mathematics Department. Dr. Champion received his undergraduate degree in chemistry from UNC-Chapel Hill, and his Doctor of Arts in Chemistry from the University of Northern Colorado. Dr. Champion has won several awards, and received over $4 million in external funds as PI of various grants. Dr. Champion routinely mentors postdoctoral fellows through the SPIRE collaboration with UNC-Chapel Hill. Along the way, he has picked up several Grantsperson of the Year Awards from the Government Sponsored Programs division at JCSU. Dr. Champion has served as Faculty Senate President and has chaired numerous JCSU faculty committees. His research interests include science education, educational technology, and computational biochemistry. 
A native of North Carolina, Tim is devoted to his wife, KT, and his three children, Julie, Paul, and Will. His hobbies include reading history and science fiction, kayaking, chess, camping, and binge-watching Netflix. 

Dr. Douglas Cooper is an Associate Professor of Psychology and Program Coordinator of the Psychology Program at Johnson C. Smith University. Dr. Cooper joined the faculty of Johnson C. Smit University in 2011 after completing his PhD in social psychology with a minor in quantitative methods at the University of South Florida in Tampa. He also holds a Masters in Experimental Psychhology from Western Illinois University in Macomb and a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology from Bradley University. As a social psychologist, Dr. Cooper is interested in how our self and identity shape the interactions we have with society and in the decisions we make. He is also interested in health disparities in minority populations and how to broaden minority participation in research and graduate school as well as prepare them for employment after graduation.

Dr. Suryadip Chakraborty is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at Johnson C. Smith University.

Sherese Duncan is President and CEO of Efficio, Incorporated, and is a distinguished Professor of Entrepreneurship at Johnson C. Smith University. Duncan has served as an advocate of entrepreneurship in higher education since 2006 and has developed and taught entrepreneurial training for entrepreneurs, professionals, and business owners around the world, through Efficio’s For Educator’s division.  She has also taught undergraduate and non-credit courses on business strategy, business systems, technology, internet, social media, financial management, human capital, marketing, and many other disciplines of entrepreneurship for various entrepreneurial centers. Duncan’s expertise extends to research on entrepreneurial cognition and behavior, innovative marketing, economic intelligence, and power relationships. As a professor and researcher, Duncan’s philosophy is to engage in continuous pedagogical assessment to shape an environment in which students, faculty, and staff are supported in their efforts to learn, understand, and challenge academic experiences that have impact beyond the classroom. As the visionary leader of Efficio, Inc., Duncan is spearheading a global initiative to help entrepreneurs build successful business enterprises inside and outside of the classroom.

Dr. Indhu Gopal has been an educator for two decades and has taught Exercise Physiology, Kinesiology, Psychomotor Development, Biology, Anatomy & Physiology, Microbiology, Physical Fitness & Yoga. Dr. Gopal earned degrees from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in Human Physiology (M.S.) and the University of North Carolina, Greensboro (Ph.D.) in Exercise Physiology. She emigrated from India where she spent many years learning classical Indian Dance-Bharatha Natyam and Yoga. Gopal is an award-winning professor, and has been invited to make presentations at professional conferences spanning 4 continents, and has authored several publications in peer reviewed journals. Dr. Gopal’s research interests include HIV/AIDS, Mind-Body Interventions Obesity, Exercise, Antioxidants & Pedagogy. Dr. Gopal’s leadership at JCSU includes serving as chairperson of various committees, faculty mentor for student research experiences, received numerous grants, and served as coordinator of several programs, including Study Abroad. Dr. Gopal took students to Israel and Egypt, provided 40+ students with mentorship in research, and. She loves to travel, meet people from different cultures and try different ethnic foods.

Dr. Gary C. Guffey teaches in the Communication Arts program at Johnson C. Smith University. Dr. Guffey earned a Doctor of Philosophy in Mass Communication from the Grady College in Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia.  He obtained a Master of Arts degree in Journalism from Indiana University in Bloomington, and a Master of Business Administration degree from Wake Forest University. At Indiana University and the University of Georgia he enrolled in media law courses. Dr. Guffey completed undergraduate coursework at High Point University, where he double majored with a Bachelor of Arts in Media Communication and a Bachelor of Science in Business and Economics.  He also studied accounting at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro.

Dr. Alexa von Dohlen is a Professor of Biology. She earned her degrees (B.S., Ph.D.) at Virginia Tech and she completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her research interests include parasitology, wildlife medicine, public health and zoonotic vector-borne parasites. Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation. She has published a book chapter and over 50 papers in peer-reviewed journals such the Journal of Parasitology, Veterinary Parasitology and the Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine.  She is active in the American Association of Veterinary Parasitologists, the American Society of Parasitologists and she has served as president of the Southeastern Society of Parasitologists. Outside of JCSU, she enjoys cooking, exercising and playing with her bulldogs. 

Katrina Watterson, PhD is an assistant professor of Spanish in University College at Johnson C. Smith University. She currently teaches Spanish 131 and 132, and her research interests include kinesthetic learning strategies and African Diaspora focused culture and history with a concentration on Spanish-speaking regions.

In Fall 2019 she was granted the opportunity to teach the Spanish Cultural Immersion course, which covered the Afro-Latino culture past and present. Dr. Watterson takes pleasure in implementing a Course-based Undergraduate Research Experiences for her Spanish 131 course which will allow students to explore these topics for the upcoming Fall 2021 semester. 

Dr. Brendan Kern, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Biology at Johnson C. Smith University and has taught there since 2005, joining the faculty in 2006, and has taught courses in genetics, developmental biology, cell biology, forensics, introductory biology, and more. They graduated from the University of Houston with a BS in Biology in 1997 and from Baylor College of Medicine with a Ph.D. in Cell and Molecular Biology in 2003. Dr Kern was part of the SPIRE Postdoctoral program at UNC-Chapel Hill from 2003-2005, which is how they originally came to JCSU. Their primary area of research is in student success and retention with a laboratory background in developmental biology.

Dr. Helen Adair King is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Johnson C. Smith University. She holds a BA in Political Science from Wake Forest University, a MPA from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and a MA and a PhD in Political Science from the University of South Carolina. 

Dr. King’s research areas include women in politics, campaigns and elections, and campaign ethics. 

Dr. King has given interviews about various political topics with local media outlets including WSOC, WBTV, WCNC and WFAE.

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