Coffin Grants Awarded 2022-23

January 24, 2022
Submitted By: Lydia Chiappetti


Laura A. Enzor, Assistant Professor of Biology, will use her Coffin Grant to support undergraduate research exploring how the projected interactive effects of decreased pH and dissolved oxygen associated with global climate change will affect microplastic ingestion of eastern oysters. Additionally, she and her research team will investigate if these changes will cause an increase in infection rates of Vibrio parahaemolyticus, a human pathogen found in oysters.

Philip Levchak, Assistant Professor of Sociology and Criminal Justice, will use his Coffin Grant for a course release to work on a project that examines the relationship between economic globalization and homicide. This builds on his previous work that theorized how economic growth, inequality, and urbanization (all products of globalization) impact homicide rates.

Dakota Nanton, Assistant Professor of Cinema, Communications, will use the grant to travel to Germany to film a short film, Last Days in Berlin, which will use the history of the city of Berlin as a lens to explore personal and family histories, and intersectional identities through a mix of documentary, animation, and narrative techniques.  

Beth Richards, Clinical Applied Assistant Teaching Professor and Director of the First- and Second-Year Writing program, will use the Coffin grant funds to gather data about the university’s W (writing intensive) courses. Through questionnaires and interviews, she will gather information about the types of writing required in these courses, observe the role these courses play in preparing students for writing in an academic discipline or in the world of work, and provide a point of comparison between the writing skills required for the W courses and the current course objectives for academic writing courses.

Md Kamruzzaman Sarker, Assistant Professor of Computing Sciences, will use this funding to support his undergraduate research team. His aims are to explain and interpret deep learning systems. This work will use efficient concept induction (ecii) algorithm and knowledge graph to analyze the explanation. The explanation from this project will improve trust and remove bias from the deep learning system and corresponding data.



Xin Ye, Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy, will use this grant for a course release to work on the research study with his research team (DPT and undergraduate students) on the cross-education effect of unilateral neuromuscular electrical stimulation with mirror visual feedback. The concept of cross-education is widely used in the field of rehabilitation, where training a less affected limb may induce adaptations on the contralateral (more affected) limb muscles.



Glen Adsit, Professor in Instrumental Studies and Director of HCE Music, will use the Coffin Grant funds to finish the graphic design elements of a publication that he is co-authoring with now-deceased Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Michael Colgrass. The textbook explores a unique method to teach music composition using graphics employed by a single student or a large group of students in the classroom.

Julie K. Hagen, Assistant Professor of Music Education will be presenting her research at the International Society for Music Education’s 35th World Conference. Her paper, Students of Color’s Stories in a Music Education Program, employed a narrative approach and analysis to explore the detailed experiences of six undergraduate students as they navigated their way through a music education degree. The hope is that this research will generate reflection for the fields of music and music education, pondering in what ways we are complicit in problematic structures and in what ways we can enact change.

Prof. Gabe Herman, Assistant Professor of Music Production and Technology, will use the Coffin funding to generate raw data that can be used to conduct objective and subjective measurements in various immersive playback formats. This analysis will seek to identify any preference for a particular format in association with genre, and provide objective observations that may be used in field recordings.

Phil Snedecor, Associate Professor of Music, will use the funding to record, in both audio and video format, a newly composed work for an unusual musical collaboration. Anecdotal Antidotes, by David Sampson, a very prominent Philadelphia composer, is steeped in a modern language, but has some very interesting and flavorful moments that capture the audience. Our new Hartt faculty group, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, consists of some unusual musical colors (Anton Miller, violin, Rita Porfiris, Viola, Phil Snedecor, Trumpet, and Scott Mendoker, Tuba) not usually heard together.  We believe this work has a life beyond us, and are looking forward to sharing this creation. We intend to use this recording (and subsequent live performances it will generate) to promote The Hartt School and the University of Hartford worldwide. 



Kasey Ramirez, Assistant Professor of Printmaking, will travel to Cusco, Peru in summer of 2023 to participate in an artist residency program at the Arquetopia Foundation. Her research will focus on the ways in which environmental vulnerability manifest in the specific cultural and political landscape of Peru. This project will generate drawings and prints contemplating built structures in the context of extreme environmental forces.    

Rashmi Viswanathan, Assistant Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art History, will use this funding to support her research on arts in cultural diplomacy. She plans to research South Asian and United States’ diplomatic archives to better understand how art circulated in the post war era, and how art arrived in major American museum collections. 



Marjorie Jackson, Assistant Professor of Academic Strategies, will use funding to expand and further articulate her theory of academic strategies, Mindful Learning Framework: Principles to Guide Thinking and Learning into a comprehensive plan. The Mindful Learning Framework unifies the principles of Mindset, Metacognition, Positive Thinking, Critical Thinking, Creative Thinking and Meditation.  The fluidity of The Mindful Learning Framework helps students to access their learning from a personal and individualized perspective, while, providing tangible strategies to help them own their educational journey.