Cooper, Rosenberg Fellowship recipients chosen at Penn State Brandywine

Mick Yoder in the bio lab

Mick Yoder, assistant professor of biology, is one of two Cooper Memorial Faculty Fellowship recipients this year. 

Credit: Michael McDade

MEDIA, Pa. — Three faculty members at Penn State Brandywine were recently awarded the Cooper and Rosenberg Fellowships for their contributions to research and higher education.

The Cooper Memorial Faculty Fellowship is a bequest of the late Jane Cooper, a former science faculty member at Brandywine. The fellowship provides funds to an outstanding member of the Brandywine faculty, supporting the recipient’s work as a teacher and researcher.

This year’s Cooper Fellowship went to two faculty members: James Berkey, assistant professor of English and director of the writing studio, and Mick Yoder, assistant professor of biology.

Berkey is conducting an in-depth study of Civil War soldier newspapers. His project, “Battlegrounds of Print: Materiality and the Civil War Soldier Press,” traces the social, material and cultural roles of soldier newspapers as part of the broader Civil War print culture. He also plans to create a digital database of the papers, which will use digital storytelling and visual mapping to bring the documents to life.

“This fellowship will allow me to visit a number of archives that I have been unable to visit so far,” said Berkey. “As I move into the later stages of the digital project, the fellowship will also provide opportunities to collaborate with other institutions.”

Berkey also looks forward to including undergraduate students in his work.

“I feel very fortunate to have received the Cooper Fellowship,” he said. “It’s a great vote of confidence in my work by the campus community. I’m excited to have this opportunity to advance my scholarship as well as provide research opportunities for undergraduates.”

The other recipient, Mick Yoder, will apply his Cooper Fellowship towards embryonic research. Yoder uses a frog model system to examine a family of cell adhesion molecules and their role in notochord development. The principles learned through his research can be applied across all vertebrate development and across many different embryonic tissue systems.

“My research addresses the general question of ‘how does the embryo get its shape?’” said Yoder. “I am specifically interested in how individual cell behaviors contribute to the formation and establishment of new tissues in the embryo.”

The Cooper Fellowship will allow Yoder to further pursue his research with new equipment and greater access to supplies on campus. He looks forward to doing more of his research in the Brandywine labs.

“The fellowship will allow me to perform the majority of my work right here on campus,” he said. “That means I am able to provide undergraduates with a more complete research project, rather than small parts of a whole.”

A second fellowship, the David and Marjorie Rosenberg Career Development Professorship for Leadership and Innovation, was awarded to Assistant Professor of Human Development and Family Studies Kristen Goessling.

The award provides its recipient with financial support and encouragement in his or her academic career. Goessling’s award will support her ongoing research project, “Philadelphia Community Schools: From the Ground Up.” The project studies the current state of educational equality in the Philadelphia region and supports the Ambassadors Program, an emerging, community-based education program.

“This project will enable us to produce a best-practices model of community-based education and organizing that can be implemented in other locales where communities are fighting for quality, equitable public education,” said Goessling.

The Rosenberg Fellowship will provide Goessling with two main resources: the opportunity to secure research time outside of the classroom, and financial support to purchase materials and pay research assistants.

“I cannot overstate the importance of this award for my academic career,” she said. “I am honored to follow in the footsteps of past Rosenberg Fellows.”