Jepson Fellows for 2012-13 and Their Project Summaries


Jepson Fellows for 2012-2013 Academic Year

Project titles and summaries provided by the authors are listed below.

1. Janet Asper, Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry

 Development of Super-absorbing Organic Gellants for Crude Oil, and a Polymer Themed Organic Chemistry Laboratory Curriculum”

Project Summary:  this proposal describes two new research projects involving super-absorbent gellants that can absorb crude oil.  The pre-swelling of known polymers will be studied, and “click chemistry” will be used to design and synthesize novel polymers.  Both will be studied for their oil absorption properties.  A new curriculum for the second semester of organic chemistry will be developed, which will focus on polymer chemistry and fully integrate department instrumentation. 


2. Julius N. Esunge, Assistant Professor Professor, Department of Mathematics

 Minimizing Insurance Company Risk in a Random Framework”

Project Summary:  this project seeks to determine the performance level for an insurance company whose management must pay out dividends and honor claims from clients.  While it is certain that claims will be filed, the frequency of such requests is uncertain, and management must navigate the uncertainty.  This project will lead to further research publications, professional presentations, undergraduate research projects, and the enhancement of my regular courses.

3. Ben LaBreche, Assistant Professor, Department of English, Linguistics, and Communication (English)

 Liberty Agonistes: The Problem of Freedom in the Age of Milton

Project Summary:  My book project offers an interdisciplinary look at John Milton’s writings and how they anticipate recent critiques of political liberalism.  During the Jepson Fellowship, I would historicize Milton’s conceptions of natural law, research the political stakes of early modern theories of tragedy, and write on how these intellectual contexts shaped Milton’s writing at different stages of his career.


4. Jangwoon (Leo) Lee, Assistant Professor, Department of Mathematics

A Domain Decomposition Method for Mathematical Models with Random Input Data”

Project Summary:  In my project for a Jepson Fellowship, I will develop a new scientific computing method based on the Domain Decomposition Method for solving mathematical models with random input data that may model fluid flow through porous media (e.g., the transport of pollutant in groundwater).  A successful method would enable us to solve mathematical models quickly and give faster predictions about natural phenomena.


5. Jason Matzke, Assistant Professor, Department of Classics, Philosophy, and Religion (Philosophy)

Between Civil Disobedience and Burning Rage: Reframing Radical Environmental Activism within Deliberative Democracy”

Project Summary:  This project is a book-length study of diverse views and actions grouped together as “radical environmental activism”. It seeks to systematize and critically analyze the arguments of both activists and their detractors, especially against the ideal of deliberative democracy.


6. Colin Rafferty, Assistant Professor, Department of English, Linguistics, and Communication (English)

Beyond Truth: A False Memoir in Literature and Culture”

Project Summary:  Despite the flurry of media attention that accompanies the debunking of a supposed memoir, no full-length study of the false memoir as a literary genre exists.  This project, a book-length manuscript, seeks to study the historical, cultural, and literary implications of the false memoir, analyzing these ostracized texts to determine what they reveal, despite their self-misrepresentation.