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College of Arts and Sciences

McCausland Faculty Fellowship

The McCausland Faculty Fellowship was established as part of a $10 million endowment from College of Arts and Sciences alumnus Peter McCausland (’71) and his wife Bonnie. The three-year fellowship is available to early career faculty who bring innovation to their research and teaching. As can be seen by the fellows’ accomplishments, the benefit of this award goes far beyond its monetary value. This fellowship allows faculty to explore new areas of research and share findings in their field and beyond. Students gain from innovative courses and education opportunities outside the classroom sparked by the fellows’ creativity and dedication.

2019 Fellows

Alissa Richmond Armstrong: Assistant Professor, Biological Sciences

HeadshotProfessor Armstrong joined the Department of Biological Sciences in 2016 after postdoctoral training at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The Armstrong Lab uses the model organism Drosophila melanogaster—commonly known as the fruit or vinegar fly— to investigate how distinct nutrient sensing pathways function in fat cells to regulate the well-characterized stem cell-supported ovary. Given the current obesity epidemic and the link between obesity and increased risk for several diseases, including type 2 diabetes and cancer, Armstrong hopes that the research performed in her lab provides a better understanding of the role adipocytes/adipocyte-dysfunction play in controlling normal/abnormal physiology.

In addition to her research, she teaches fundamental genetics and a seminar-style course on adult stem cells and physiology. As part of her personal and professional commitment to recruiting and retaining underrepresented groups to the sciences, Armstrong participates in several outreach activities involving students from elementary to graduate school.

Lydia Mattice Brandt, Associate Professor, School of Visual Art and Design

Brandt HeadshotAn architectural historian and historic preservationist, Professor Brandt is known nationwide for her expertise on George Washington’s Mount Vernon and the remembrance of America’s early history through material objects and architecture. Her book “First in the Homes of His Countrymen: George Washington’s Mount Vernon in the American Imagination” was published by the University of Virginia Press in 2016.

Fellowships from the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington at Mount Vernon; the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art; Winterthur Museum, Garden and Library; and the Henry Luce Foundation have supported her research. Her 2016 monograph received the Henry-Russell Hitchcock Award from the Victorian Society in America. The University of South Carolina recognized her outstanding teaching with the Michael J. Mungo Undergraduate Teaching Award.

Brandt is also a dedicated advocate for local history and preservation. She has authored or co-authored National Register of Historic Places nominations in Virginia, South Carolina and Illinois. She is one of three professors at the University of South Carolina who led the campaign for a monument to the university’s first African American professor, Richard T. Greener, erected in early 2018.

Eli Jelly-Schapiro: Assistant Professor, English Language and Literature

HeadshotProfessor Jelly-Schapiro writes about and teaches contemporary literature, within a global and historical frame. His first book, “Security and Terror: American Culture and the Long History of Colonial Modernity,” was published by the University of California Press in May 2018. His articles and essays have appeared in a variety of scholarly and popular venues, including Critique, Mediations, the Journal of American Studies, Transforming Anthropology, the Los Angeles Review of Books, The Millions, The Chronicle Review, Transition, and The Nation.

He has begun work on a second book project, which explores how the multiple temporalities of contemporary capitalism are figured in fiction and theory.

Christi Metcalfe: Assistant Professor, Criminology and Criminal Justice

HeadshotProfessor Metcalfe’s research focuses on criminal case processing, developmental patterns of crime from adolescence to adulthood, and public attitudes toward crime and the criminal justice system. Specifically, her work has explored the influence of courtroom workgroup familiarity and similarity on the plea-bargaining process, the intermittent nature of offending behavior, and the correlates of support for punitive policy approaches and policing initiatives. She has also conducted research in Israel regarding ethnic threat, support for conciliatory solutions and perceptions of the police.

Her work has appeared in journals such as Justice Quarterly, Law & Society Review, Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, Journal of Quantitative Criminology, and Criminal Justice and Behavior. She co-authored an anthology titled “Criminal Courts in Theory, Research, & Practice: A Reader.” Metcalfe enjoys working with both undergraduate and graduate students on research projects and teaches courses on criminal courts, crime over the life course, and criminological theory.

Steven Rodney: Assistant Professor, Physics and Astronomy

Steve RodneyProfessor Rodney’s research is centered around the use of gravitational lensing to study distant stars that are magnified by the curvature of space.  He recently was part of an international team of astronomers who used this technique with the Hubble Space Telescope to study the most distant star ever seen.  Rodney is now part of a NASA-funded project aiming to locate stellar explosions so far away that their light has taken some 10 to 13 billion years to reach Earth.  He is working with USC undergraduates and doctoral students to build software and design survey strategies for the James Webb Space Telescope, which launches in 2020, and the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope, scheduled for the mid-2020's. 

In 2018, Rodney was recognized with the university’s Garnet Apple Award for teaching excellence. Rodney earned a B.S. in physics and astronomy at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, and went on to graduate studies at the Institute for Astronomy of the University of Hawaii.  After completing his dissertation on stellar explosions, he became a postdoctoral researcher at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, where he was awarded a Hubble Postdoctoral Research Fellowship.  

Sean Yee: Assistant Professor, Mathematics

Yee HeadshotProfessor Yee’s scholarship synergizes the teaching and learning of undergraduate mathematics. His primary focus is providing seminars and courses on teaching for mathematics graduate students who are teaching assistants or full instructors of record for undergraduate mathematics courses. His research has resulted in multiple National Science Foundation grants revolving around peer-mentorship models for graduate student instructors.

With these grants, Yee has created and implemented professional development for experienced graduate students to mentor novice graduate students in teaching, thus generating a community of practice around teaching. Prior to coming to Carolina, Yee taught secondary mathematics for six years in Ohio and was an assistant professor of mathematics education at California State University, Fullerton. His scholarship has also included book chapters and journal publications focusing on mathematical proof education, educational discourse theory, conceptual metaphor theory as a means to improve teacher listening, secondary methods courses, and mathematical problem solving.

Lori Ziolkowski: Assistant Professor, School of Earth, Ocean and Environment

Ziolkowski HeadshotZiolkowski leads a dynamic lab of graduate and undergraduate students on research topics related to climate change in the polar regions and life in extreme environments. Her efforts have included field work in Antarctica, as well as several Arctic locations.  Ziolkowski is also passionate about broadly sharing her knowledge of climate change  by teaching both non-major classes and sciences majors alike. 

Her research has garnered international recognition as she was named the Baillet Latour Fellow, a Belgian initiative that provides young scientists with the opportunity to conduct research in East Antarctica. She also was named a USC Breakthrough Rising Star. Ziolkowski completed postdoctoral research at McMaster University in Canada, where she was a National Science and Engineering Research Council postdoctoral fellow. 


  • Gretchen J . Woertendyke: Associate Professor, Department of English Professor Woertendyke has begun writing and researching her next book, “A History of Secrecy in the New World,” which explores how Jacobin terror, slave conspiracy or Freemasonry are perceived as threatening.
  • Michael Gibbs Hill: Associate Professor, Department of Languages, Literature and Culture  Professor Hill recently returned to the classroom to study modern standard Arabic so that he could begin his next project working on the history of cultural relations between China and the Middle East.
  • Catherine Keyser: Associate Professor, Department of English Language and Literature Professor Keyser has used her time as a McCausland Fellow to explore food studies and race, which inspired her current book project.
  • Joseph A. November: Associate Professor, Department of History  The McCausland Fellowship has allowed Professor November to begin research for his two books: first a story of volunteers who used their computers to transform the relationship between science and the public, and the second of which is a biography of Robert Ledley, inventor of the whole-body CT scanner.
  • Blaine Griffen: Associate Professor, School of Earth, Ocean and Environment and the Department of Biological Sciences Professor Griffen’s National Science Foundation supported research explores human effects on marine life and variation between individuals within populations. 
  • Hunter H. Gardner: Associate Professor, Department of  Languages, LIterature and Cultures Professor Gardner increased her study of plague narratives and of Greco-Roman antiquity in film and popular culture and co-authored “Odyssean Identities in Modern Cultures,” (Ohio State University Press, 2014), an edited volume on the reception of the Odysseus myth in the 20th century.