2017-2018 Rising Stars Fellows Announced

November 28, 2017
Rising Star - Press Release
Baylor University Rising Stars

WACO, Texas (November 28, 2017) – The Office of the Vice Provost for Research is pleased to announce the 2017-2018 class of the Rising Stars Fellowship program. Selected from nominations provided by their Deans, Rising Stars represent a wide range of disciplines, including the sciences, the arts and humanities and the professional schools. The fellows participate in an intensive mentorship program designed to provide them the skills needed to successfully pursue external research funding, produce scholarly publications and partner with collaborators across disciplines and at other academic institutions.

Rising Stars nominations are based on both research record and potential for recognition in his or her field of study. Faculty selected for the program are provided instruction and support in the development of proposals to be submitted to external funding sources, introduced to past Rising Stars cohorts to aid in the development of interdisciplinary research and introduced to external advisors who provide mentorship and information. The Vice Provost for Research, Dr. Truell Hyde, also offers each Rising Star the opportunity to travel to Washington, D. C, to meet personally with funding program managers to discuss their research and explore potential funding opportunities.

The 2017-2018 Rising Stars Fellows and their academic units are listed below:

  • Matthew Andersson, Department of Sociology, College of Arts and Sciences
  • Ashley Barrett, Department of Communication, College of Arts and Sciences
  • Erik Blair, Electrical and Computer Engineering, School of Engineering and Computer Science
  • Stephanie Boddie, Social Work, Diana R. Garland School of Social Work
  • Corneliu Bolbocean, Economics, Hankamer School of Business
  • Tomas Cerny, Computer Science, School of Engineering and Computer Science
  • Elesha Coffman, History, College of Arts and Sciences
  • James Fulton, Department of Geosciences, College of Arts and Sciences
  • LesLee Funderburk, Family and Consumer Sciences, Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences
  • Stephanie Gerow, Department of Educational Psychology, School of Education
  • Debra Harris, Family and Consumer Sciences, Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences
  • Chloe Honum, Department of English, College of Arts and Sciences
  • Monique Ingalls, Academic Studies, School of Music
  • Seung Kim, Electrical and Computer Engineering, School of Engineering and Computer Science
  • Sunghwan Lee, Mechanical Engineering, School of Engineering and Computer Science
  • Kevin Magill, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, School of Education
  • Eric Martin, Great Texts, Honors College
  • Ashley Otto, Marketing, Hankamer School of Business
  • Jani Parsons, Keyboard Studies, School of Music
  • Jason Pitts, Department of Biology, College of Arts and Sciences
  • Matthew Quade, Management, Hankamer School of Business
  • Stacy Ryan, Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, College of Arts and Sciences
  • Alan Schultz, Department of Anthropology, College of Arts and Sciences
  • Emily Smith, Health, Human Performance and Recreation, Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences

A new cohort of Rising Stars has been added to the program each year, since 2014. Dr. Hyde explains that previous participants are invited to act as part of the current Rising Stars program:

"Previous Risings Stars meet with each new group to act as mentors and establish connections for collaboration. They also help new faculty acclimate to the program by letting them know what to expect and how they can best benefit from the various opportunities provided. These kinds of interactions add an important layer to the mentorship that goes on within the academic departments."

Learn more about the 2017-2018 and prior year Rising Stars at:

Are you looking for more News?


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 17,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.


The College of Arts & Sciences is Baylor University's oldest and largest academic division, consisting of 25 academic departments and seven academic centers and institutes. The more than 5,000 courses taught in the College span topics from art and theatre to religion, philosophy, sociology and the natural sciences. Faculty conduct research around the world, and research on the undergraduate and graduate level is prevalent throughout all disciplines. Visit


Baylor University's Diana R. Garland School of Social Work is home to one of the leading graduate social work programs in the nation with a research agenda focused on the integration of faith and practice. Upholding its mission of preparing social workers in a Christian context for worldwide service and leadership, the School offers a baccalaureate degree (B.S.W.), a Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) degree and three joint-degree options, M.S.W./M.B.A., M.S.W./M.Div. and M.S.W./M.T.S., through a partnership with Baylor's Hankamer School of Business and George W. Truett Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. program. Visit to learn more.


Baylor University's Hankamer School of Business provides a rigorous academic experience, consisting of classroom and hands-on learning, guided by Christian commitment and a global perspective. Recognized nationally for several programs, including Entrepreneurship and Accounting, the school offers 24 undergraduate and 13 graduate areas of study. Visit and follow on Twitter at


The Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences at Baylor University was established in 2014, a result of identified priorities for strengthening the health sciences through Baylor's strategic vision, Pro Futuris, which serves as a compass for the University's future. The anchor academic units that form the new College - Communication Sciences and Disorders, Family and Consumer Sciences and Health, Human Performance and Recreation - share a common purpose: improving health and the quality of life. The College is working to create curricula that promote a team-based approach to patient care and establish interdisciplinary research collaborations to advance solutions for improving the quality of life for individuals, familie, and communities. For more information visit


Founded in 1919, Baylor School of Education ranks among the nation's top 20 education schools located at private universities. The School's research portfolio complements its long-standing commitment to excellence in teaching and student mentoring. Baylor's undergraduate program in teacher education has earned national distinction for innovative partnerships with local schools that provide future teachers deep clinical preparation, while graduate programs culminating in both the Ed.D. and Ph.D. prepare outstanding leaders, teachers and clinicians through an intentional blend of theory and practice.


With more than 10 percent of Baylor University's freshman class pursuing major courses of study in the School of Engineering and Computer Science (ECS), the focus remains on preparing graduates for professional practice and responsible leadership with a Christian world view. ECS majors include bioinformatics, computer science, electrical and computer engineering, general engineering and mechanical engineering. Among ECS graduate programs are Master of Science degrees in all disciplines, a Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering and several dual-degree programs. The Teal Residential College for Engineering and Computer Science, in which students and faculty live, fosters the pursuit of wisdom, academic excellence, and meaningful relationships for the development of diverse, innovative leaders.


The Baylor University School of Music provides transformational experiences that prepare students for careers in music. Our students thrive in a Christian environment characterized by a nurturing resident faculty, an unwavering pursuit of musical excellence, a global perspective, dedication to service and devotion to faith. They investigate the rich musical and cultural heritage of the past, develop superior musical skills and knowledge in the present, and explore and create new modes of musical expression for the future. While preparing for future leadership roles, the students join with School of Music faculty in enhancing the quality of community life, enriching the larger culture and making Baylor a place in which heart, mind and soul coalesce. Baylor's School of Music is a member of the National Association of Schools of Music and the Texas Association of Music Schools. Degree programs leading to the bachelor of music education degree conform to certification requirements of the Texas Education Agency.


The Office of the Vice Provost for Research (OVPR) assists faculty members from all academic units in identifying, obtaining and managing the funding needed to support their research and scholarship. Internal 'seed' funding, matching grant proposal funding, searchable online funding databases, grant writing seminars, proposal support and trave awards to national funding agencies are only a portion of what is provided by the various units comprising the OVPR. Additionally, the Vice Provost for Research oversees the ethical conduct of research and assists researchers in maintaining compliance with applicable policies, laws and regulations as well as providing support in establishing interdisciplinary / international collaborations and industry partnerships.

The OVPR acts as Baylor's representative in pursuing partnerships and collaborative agreements with entities outside the university. The office negotiates sponsored research agreements with industry on behalf of faculty and pursues research, technology transfer and the commercialization of technology. The OVPR welcomes the opportunity to discuss collaborative research and scholarship pursuits that can advance the academic mission of Baylor University to achieve R1/T1 status.

The OVPR also manages and operates the Baylor Research and Innovation Collaborative (BRIC), a three-story, 330,000-square-foot facility focused on interdisciplinary/international research, industry/university collaborations, business incubation/acceleration/commercialization, advanced workforce training and STEM educational research and outreach.

For more information, please visit: or