Tag: DKU Awards

2021 FSTA Recipients

Ben Anderson  Assistant Professor of Global Health

Received an FSTA award to support a project entitled “Detecting Routine and Novel Respiratory Viruses in China and Vietnam”. It is part of a larger project that aims to develop a low-cost, sustainable system for molecular detection of common respiratory viruses in hospitalized patients. Students in DKU will be able to be trained to carry out the procedure of high-throughput molecular testing of nasal swabs as well as other molecular diagnostic techniques by using the funded thermocyclers. Dr. Anderson has a PhD in Public Health from University of Florida; he joined DKU in 2018 .



Charles Chaoyi Chang  Assistant Professor of Environment and Urban Studies

Received an FSTA award to support his travel to the Annual Conference of the American Political Science Association in Seattle in the fall of 2021, at which he will present his paper entitled “Measuring State Infrastructure” co-authored with Yuhua Wang from Harvard University.  Dr. Chang has a Ph.D. in Environment and Resources from University of Wisconsin–Madison; he joined DKU in 2020.


Kristin Hiller Assistant Professor of English Language; Associate Director for Writing and Language Studio

Received an FSTA award to support a project entitled “Language Policy and Translingualism at Duke Kunshan University”. The aim of the project is to combine linguistic landscape analysis with interviews, observations, images and surveys, to study how language policies and practices at DKU open up or close down spaces for translingual practices.  Dr. Hiller has a Ph.D. in Linguistics, Applied Track from the University of Utah; she joined DKU in 2018.


Tyler Kustra  Assistant Professor of Political Science

Received an FSTA award to support his travel to the International Studies Association conference in Nashville in spring of 2022, where Tyler has been invited to present his paper entitled “Turning out the Lights: How do economic sanctions affect sanctioned countries?” Dr. Kustra has a Ph.D. in Politics from the New York University; he joined DKU in 2020.


Liqi Ren  Associate Director for Innovation and Entrepreneurship; Lecturer of Innovation and Design

Received an FSTA award to support a project entitled “an Investigation of Cultural and Creative Industries as a Driving Force for the Social and Economic Development of the New Villages in Yangtze-Delta River Region”, Which will study the growth of Cultural and Creative Industries (CCIs) that has been promoted by the Chinese government. The project will engage students to field sites in rural China, and the purpose of the resulting products is to develop them into a grant proposal for a larger scale investigation, and to provide students with the opportunity to create products for their signature works.  Dr. Ren has a Ph.D. in Design, Environments and the Arts from the Arizona State University; she joined DKU in 2020.


Saghar Leslie Naghib Senior Lecturer in English Language, LCC

Received an FSTA award to support a project entitled “Lived Experiences form the Pantanal: Translating Climate Change into Everyday Language”. The aim is to study how inhabitants of the Pantanal in Brazil have experienced climate change over the last 20-30 years. The study is expected to yield a paper and a documentary film that presents the conflict of climate change in Brazil and contributes to a narrative from a conflict resolution standpoint. Dr. Naghib has a Ph.D. in Conflict Analysis & Resolution from the Nova Southeastern University ; she joined DKU in 2019.


Xiaoqian Xu Assistant Professor of Mathematics

Received an FSTA award to support a project entitled “Pheromone Effect on Reactions between Rho-GDPase and Rho-GTPase” The project aims to use mathematical modeling to describe the pheromone effect on reactions between rho-GDPase and rho-GTPase in positive feedback pathways in eukaryotic cells. Dr. Xu has a Ph.D. in Mathematics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison ; he joined DKU in 2019.

2020 FSTA Recipients

Kai Huang, Ph.D.  Associate Professor of Physics

Received an FSTA award to support a project entitled “the Influence of Gravity on Granular Drag” The project, a collaboration with the University of Navarra, Spain, aims to gain a better understanding of drag force induced by granular materials such as powders and grains. The first part of this project was published in Scientific Reports, in 2020. Granular materials are the most abundant materials on other planets, gaining Huang’s project the attention of the Chinese Space Program. Dr. Huang has a PhD in Physical Acoustics from Nanjing University; he joined DKU in 2019 and currently chairs the Division of Natural and Applied Sciences.

Zach Fredman, Ph.D.  Assistant Professor of History

Received an FSTA award to support the completion of a book entitled “Uneasy Allies: China and the United States before Mao” edited by Dr. Fredman, and to fund a conference for the co-editors and authors in the United States. Fredman’s book is expected to be published by the Cambridge University Press, UK. Dr. Fredman has a Ph.D. in History from Boston University, MA; he joined DKU in 2018.

Xiaofei Pan, Ph.D.  Lecturer in Chinese Language

Received an FSTA award to support her travel to a Summer Institute for Teachers organized by Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA) at University of Minnesota. CARLA Summer Institutes are professional workshops for language educators, to enhance their ability to develop communicative tasks, rubrics, and assessment tools for student performance on a variety of tasks in a target language. Dr. Pan received her Ph.D in Second Language Acquisition (SLA) from the University of Iowa; she joined DKU in 2019.

2019 FSTA Recipients

Benjamin Anderson, assistant professor of global health
He has received an FSTA to support a project called Epidemiological Surveillance of Enteroviruses (EV) among a Pediatric Population at a Clinical Setting in Jakarta, Indonesia. Using nasal swabs combined with polymerase chain reaction, the research aims to identify risk factors associated with EV infections, as well as identify and characterize EVs using molecular detection and sequencing techniques. The project will be largely carried out by Sankalpa Bhattarai, a graduate student in the master of science in global health program, under Anderson’s supervision. Anderson joined Duke Kunshan in 2017 and has a Ph.D. in public health from the University of Florida.

Emily McWilliams, assistant professor of philosophy
She received an FSTA to cover the cost of traveling to the fifth Biannual Mentoring Workshop for Pre-Tenure Women in Philosophy, where she gave a presentation entitled “What is testimonial withdraw? Why does it matter?” The workshop was held in Boston, the United States, in late June. McWilliams joined Duke Kunshan in 2017 and has a Ph.D. in philosophy from Tulane University, Los Angeles.

David Huang, professor of medical physics
He has received an FSTA to cover the costs of traveling to the American Society for Radiation Oncology’s annual meeting in Chicago, U.S. At the meeting, to be held in September, he will present a poster entitled “A precise proton range telescope in proton therapy.” Huang joined Duke Kunshan in 2014 and has a Ph.D. in particle physics from Temple University.

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