Baylor University Announces Faculty ‘Rising Stars’ for 2017-2018

December 4, 2017
Rising Stars graphic

Contact: Whitney Richter, Director of Marketing & Communications, Office of the Vice Provost for Research, 254-710-7539
Follow OVPR on Twitter: @BaylorOVPR

WACO, Texas (Dec. 4, 2017) – The Office of the Vice Provost for Research at Baylor University has announced the 2017-2018 class of the Rising Stars Fellowship program.

Selected from nominations provided by their deans, Rising Stars represent faculty from a 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 research record and potential for recognition in their 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 advisers who provide mentorship and information.

Truell Hyde, Ph.D., vice provost for research at Baylor, also offers each Rising Star the opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C., to meet 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, Sociology, College of Arts and Sciences
Ashley Barrett, 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, Geosciences, College of Arts and Sciences
LesLee Funderburk, Family and Consumer Sciences, Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences
Stephanie Gerow, Educational Psychology, School of Education
Debra Harris, Family and Consumer Sciences, Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences
Chloe Honum, 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, 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, Biology, College of Arts and Sciences
Matthew Quade, Management, Hankamer School of Business
Stacy Ryan, Psychology and Neuroscience, College of Arts and Sciences
Alan Schultz, Anthropology, College of Arts and Sciences
Emily Smith, Health, Human Performance and Recreation, Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences

Since 2014, a new cohort of Rising Stars has been added to the program, with previous participants 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,” Hyde said. “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


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 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 travel 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.

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