PSFA Research, Scholarly, and Creative Activities Newsletter

Fall 2023

Welcome to the Fall Semester to Everyone in PSFA!

headshot of Janis McKay

Welcome to our New Dean!

The College extends a warm welcome our new Dean, Janis McKay, who joins SDSU from the College of Fine Arts at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), where she served for 28 years as a full professor of Music, specializing in bassoon and music history, and became vice dean of the college in 2020. McKay has a deep commitment to and understanding of the value of research, scholarly, and creative activities. She was instrumental in supporting UNLV’s shift to R1 status through her engagement with the arts within interdisciplinary research endeavors. McKay has also been a professional classical musician for 36 years and continues to practice daily, even if she can’t play as often in her new role. She has played bassoon and contrabassoon in world-renowned orchestras and ensembles and is the author of “Played Out on the Strip: The Rise and Fall of Las Vegas Casino Bands.” Dean McKay is excited about the diverse and deeply engaged research, scholarly, and creative activities in PSFA and looks forward to supporting faculty! For a full introduction to Dean McKay, please visit PSFA Stories.


Bedau and the cast at the first rehearsal for Ziggy, Stardust & Me
Bedau and the cast at the first rehearsal for Ziggy, Stardust & Me

Inspired Stories on the New Stage

The long-awaited Performing Arts District (PAD) opens this fall with an original musical directed by Dani Bedau, Associate Professor, School of Theater, Film, and Television. Ziggy, Stardust & Me, adapted from the novel by James Brandon, is written by James Martinez Salem and Jessie Field and produced by Dani Bedau and James Brandon. Though Bedau is still juggling the details of opening a new musical in a new space (awaiting the fire marshall approval in order to have keys released!), She took time to share her personal perspective on the play and why it was selected to be part of the School of Theatre, Television, and Film's main stage season of plays, “When your dear friend of nearly thirty years writes a novel you read it. You hope you will like it and have some good things to say about it. What you don’t expect is to LOVE it and to have it scream off the page at you, ‘Make me into a musical!’ This is what happened for me with James Brandon’s Ziggy, Stardust & Me. I was drawn to the 1973 setting, the era of my own early childhood, and all of Brandon’s magical pop culture references (especially Bowie). I appreciated his willingness to take on difficult issues like the psychological community’s consideration of homosexuality as a mental illness and the mistreatment and bullying of queer teens. I valued the way the book centered Black and Native American characters and included references to important historical moments relevant to both of those communities. But most of all, I was struck by the tenderness and depth of the love story between two young boys who find each other unexpectedly in the middle of America, the way they come to support and care for one another. I was hooked.”

Now we are hooked too and can’t wait to visit the PAD to see the opening act! 

 Ziggy, Stardust & Me opens September 30th, 2023 at 7:30 p.m. and runs until October 8.

 Each show is followed by an in depth panel discussion.

 For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit TTF

Arceneaux at WWOZ, a community radio station in New Orleans, with DJ Charles LaBorde
Arceneaux at WWOZ, a community radio station in New Orleans, with DJ Charles LaBorde

Live Radio, Preserving Tradition

For Noah Arceneaux, Professor in the School of Journalism and Media Studies, this summer was spent traveling and recording around the Acadian region of Louisiana, also known as Cajun Country. With Cajun roots that go back generations and a career studying media and culture, Arceneaux began a project to document French radio in Louisiana when he joined SDSU. This project was set aside for others until the Covid-19 pandemic inspired him to dig up genealogy records in his home, which led to a refocus on the radio documentation project. During summer 2023, Arceneaux spent a few weeks traveling throughout Louisiana documenting local radio. Of those he met along the road, Arceneaux shared that, “People are excited to see some positive attention being brought to one of the many things that makes southern Louisiana so distinct.” He was fortunate to stay with an aunt that lived in the area and a favorite stop was Fred’s Lounge, a bar in the small town of Mamou that hosts a live Cajun music show every Saturday morning. Arceneaux shares, “The whole thing is broadcast over station KVPI in the nearby town of Ville Platte. The weekly broadcasts have been going on since 1962, and it's remarkable that they’ve kept it going. The station does put its programming online, so anyone located anywhere can listen to the Fred’s Lounge broadcast, but for me, it’s almost like a religious experience to visit Fred’s in person.”

“Ode to Joe” Record Release

David Whitman, winner of the Independent Music Award for “Best Album: Jazz Instrumental” in 2018 and lecturer in the School of Music and Dance, is celebrating the release of his new album “Ode to Joe” on the Shifting Paradigm jazz label. The album is an ode to Joe Morello, a jazz drummer in the Dave Brubeck Quartet. Morello was sight impaired and developed a unique mode of teaching based on the subtle adjustments in touch on the drum. Whitman created the new album by leading a recording session of jazz giants at Capitol Studios Hollywood. Whitman shares, “I was inspired to honor Morello because he was my own teacher and such a prolific pedagoge and musician alike, and the way I play on the album is in part a result of my time with him.”

For more information, visit Paradigm and read more in this article in Jazz Weekly

Grant Announcements

Congratulations to our Grant Awardees: The College recognizes the following faculty on grants they received this summer, awarded between June and August 2023. 

Bruce Appleyard, Public Affairs / co-PI Vinod Sadidharan, HTM

  • The San Diego Foundation for Coastal and Climate Resiliency Education & Action Initiative for a Cali-Baja Sustainable Paradise, $100,000, July 2023 - June 2024

Annie Buckley, Art and Design

  • California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation for Prison Arts Collective: Chapters, Research, and Training, $295,544, Jan 2023 - June 2025
  • Anti-Recidivism Coalition Title II Grant Program (for art for youth in probation), $15,000, January 2023 - December 2023

Annie Buckley, Art and Design / co-PI Tereza Trejbalova, Criminal Justice

  • California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation for Prison Arts Collective: Facilitator Training Program, $73,083, July 2023 - June 2024
  • California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation for Prison Arts Collective: Community-building through Transformative Arts, $61,167, July 2023 - June 2024

AJ Kim, Public Affairs

  • Protecting Immigrant Families for Local Tables Partnerships: Protecting Immigrant Families in Atlanta, Des Moines and Philadelphia, $50,000, February 2023 - December 2023

Rachael Record, Communication

  • California Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program for Testing Persuasive Anti-tobacco Messages for California's Tobacco Endgame Among Diverse and Underserved Communities, $237,969, June 2023 - June 2024

Madison Swayne, Public Affairs; co-PI Jessica Barlow, Public Affairs

  • California EPA Toxic Substances Control Department for Statewide Inventory of Brownfields in California, $81,205, June 2023 - June 2024
  • California EPA Toxic Substances Control Department for Statewide Inventory of Brownfields in California, $149,025, September 2022 - June 2025

Megan Welsh Carroll, Public Affairs; co-PIs: Jerel Calzo, Jennifer Felner, Natalie Mladenov, Madison Swayne, Matthew Verbyla

  • California Department of Public Health for SDSU proposal to develop statewide guidance for WaSH services for people living in encampments and shelters in California, $279,840, April 2023 - June 2024


Dr. Madison Swayne (left) and Adriana Rios (right) utilizing ArcGIS Pro mapping software to map San Diego County restrooms. Photo credit: Megan Welsh Carroll.
Dr. Madison Swayne (left) and Adriana Rios (right) utilizing ArcGIS Pro mapping software to map San Diego County restrooms. Photo credit: Megan Welsh Carroll.

Student Wins Prestigious Award

PSFA is pleased to congratulate Adriana Rios, a second year master's student in Psychology and research assistant and lead mapper in the Project for Sanitation Justice (PSJ), in being named for the 2023 Award in Communication in the Spatial Thinking Student Competition from Esri and the International Statistics Institute. The prestigious award recognizes Rios’s nearly three years of work learning advanced mapping and other research skills to shed light on the lack of access to safe and dignified public restrooms in her home region of San Diego County. Rios was mentored by Associate Professor Megan Welsh Carroll and Assistant Professor Madison Swayne, both in the School of Public Affairs, who co-lead PSJ alongside Professor Jerel Calzo and Assistant Professor Jennifer Felner, both of the School of Public Health. 

Rios was inspired to join this exciting cross-disciplinary and cross-College research team to help mitigate a growing societal issue related to access to public restrooms. Rios shared, “The lack of public restrooms is a widespread crisis that contributes to the lack of access to sanitation and hygiene; ultimately, resulting in a public health concern that puts all citizens in danger and more susceptible to diseases. We can all relate to needing to utilize the restroom as it is a universal need and fundamental human right that should be inclusive, equitable, and available to all people and in all cities.” 

Of winning the award, Rios is pleased that, “Our statistics ultimately can assist individuals, community-based organizations, and policymakers at various scales in understanding existing restroom facilities and gaps in availability.”

For more information, please visit the Project for Sanitation Justice. You can also view Adriana's award-winning storymap examining public restroom access along San Diego transit lines and read Adriana’s first-author peer-reviewed journal article

Professor Yin Yu in her studio with student researcher Brad Dela Llana.
Professor Yin Yu in her studio with student researcher Brad Dela Llana.

PSFA Students and Summer Research

We are pleased to share that a total of six faculty and student teams took part in the 2023 SDSU Summer Undergraduate Research Program! Teams from across the College participated, including faculty and students from the Schools of Art and Design, Music and Dance, Public Affairs, and Theater, Television, and Film. From Criminal Justice, students Isabella Todd and Siham Ismail worked with Assistant Professor Tereza Trejbalova and the San Diego Police Department to review case files and conduct interviews with people whose sentences have been reduced through the Fresh Start program while student Jonathan Zepeda worked with Assistant Professor Erica Redner-Vera to conduct field research and surveys with American Indian Youth to understand their experiences with racism, discrimination, and the criminal justice system. In the arts, students Jordan Eichhorn and Jessica Ebert produced a short film about performance art and motherhood with Assistant Professor Jessica McGaugh; student Graham Sanders created an intuitive audio mixing controller to enable more artists to design for surround sound environments with Associate Professor Chris Warren, while students Cashle Schoettle and Alyssa Moreno researched the embodied experience of emotions in their performance with Associate Professor Jess Humphrey and student Gina Ferguson and Brad Leroy Dela Llana worked with Assistant Professor Yin Yu to design wearable technology devices.

We caught up with Professor Yu and Brad in their design studio to learn more about the process. Professor Yu explains that she starts out sharing theoretical readings and creating some initial hands-on exercises and then invites students to propose their own research questions, sharing that, “I want to give them space to do their own research.” Brad, an Electrical Engineering student and musician, was in the studio that day and shared his project in the works. His motion-activated glove is designed for users to feel the music they hear. He wants to apply what he learns here to his project with the Robotics Club, designing a submarine for a national competition. 

students dancing in studio
SDSU Undergraduate Research interviewed Professor Humphrey and her students to learn more about their work that intertwines personal stories and technical training in ballet, hip-hop, and contemporary styles and capture their performance on campus at the celebration of the summer research program

SDSU 2023 Summer Undergraduate Research Teams

Center and Institute News

The University has recently approved a new policy to create new Centers and Institutes. This policy as well as a guide to what is new are available in the PSFA resource folder. Please note that Centers and Institutes at SDSU must be approved by the University. We encourage faculty that are interested to apply to first review the current list of University Centers and Institutes as well as PSFA Centers and Institutes to ensure that the work is not already covered in an existing unit. Please reach out to Associate Dean Annie Buckley if you want to discuss further. We look forward to new applications!

News and Events

Finding Time for Writing!

We are pleased to share this new resource for faculty! Dedicated Writing Space: The Division of Research and Innovation runs Dedicated Writing Space (DWS), a sponsored program that supports faculty productivity. DWS provides a community of practice to support faculty research and scholarly productivity. Each semester, DWS meets weekly for multiple 1-hour blocks. DWS time is unstructured with no programming or presentations. Faculty come to the virtual DWS space, share their goal for the hour and then focus on their writing. To sign up, please email Avesta Baraki ([email protected]). 

  • DWS Schedule for Fall 2023: 
  • Mondays 10-11 AM (1 hour)
  • Wednesdays 1-2 PM (1 hour)
  • Thursdays 10-11 AM and 11-12 PM (2 hours)


New Space Faculty Research Information

Please save the link and check out the new section on the PSFA website with information and resources for Research Scholarly and Creative Activities in PSFA


Workshops to Support Research Advancement

The SDSU Research Foundation (SDSURF) supports faculty in applying to and managing externally funded grants and contracts for research, scholarly, and creative activities. This year, they are hosting many helpful workshops that will answer your questions on everything from connecting to grant officers in funding agencies to managing accounts and hiring staff as well as ins and outs of intellectual property and more. See this brochure for a full listing and to RSVP for these helpful workshops. 

Grants on the Horizon:

Jefferson Science Fellowships

Established in 2003 by the Secretary of State, the Jefferson Science Fellowships serve as an innovative model for engaging the American science, engineering, and medical communities in the U.S. foreign policy and international development process through a one-year immersive experience at the U.S. Department of State or the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Deadline October 17, 2023 

Library Innovation Lab

The program provides a nine-month practice-based professional development experience (and cash grants of up to $5,000) to ten participating library programmers each year. To date, 52 California libraries from across the state have participated in the program which aims to provide welcoming experiences for immigrants and foster more inclusive communities. Each year a cohort of library “innovators” researches, designs, implements and assesses a small-scale, short-term public humanities project at their library. Working in a collaborative learning environment that combines virtual group meetings with individual advising, participants will acquire new skills and knowledge in programming and project management, build confidence and develop capacity in working with immigrants and other target audiences. Creativity and imagination are exercised through experimentation with new programming approaches.

See a list of projects developed by Library Innovation Lab participants. Deadline February 1, 2024. 

National Endowment for the Arts: Challenge America

Challenge America offers support primarily to small organizations for projects in all artistic disciplines that extend the reach of the arts to groups/communities with rich and dynamic artistic and cultural contributions to share that are underserved. Challenge America features an abbreviated application, a robust structure of technical assistance, and grants for a set amount of $10,000. Grants require a cost share/match of $10,000 consisting of cash and/or in-kind contributions. Total project costs must be at least $20,000 or greater. Deadline May 2 - May 16, 2023

For resources on grant writing and research advancement, see the resource folder

Archive: RSCA Newsletter Spring 2023

Welcome to the first edition of the PSFA Newsletter for Research, Scholarly, and Creative Activities! We hope you will enjoy celebrating some of the many exciting updates in the College and checking out upcoming opportunities for funding, collaboration, and partnerships. This newsletter is part of a broader initiative within the College and University to provide further support for research, scholarly, and creative activities for faculty.