2016-2017 Wake Forest University Fellows
For nearly 20 years, the Academic and Community Engaged Faculty Fellowship has supported faculty at Wake Forest University through the development of service-learning courses for undergraduate and graduate students. Many of Wake Forest’s most engaged teachers have emerged from the ACE fellows program over its history. This legacy serves as the underpinning to the 2016 ACE Fellows class.
Alan Brown is Assistant Professor of English Education at Wake Forest University. He is a former high school English teacher who now serves as the secondary education program director for the Department of Education. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on topics such as action research, adolescent literacy, educational leadership, English methods, and young adult literature. His scholarly interests include various intersections of academics and athletics, including critical examinations of the social culture of sports in K-12 schools and engaging students in contemporary literacies based on their own extra-curricular interests.
Barbara Lentz is an innovator who employs experiential learning in law, college and professional settings to equip students to think creatively and work collaboratively to solve complex problems. At Wake Forest University, Barbara has taught 15 different courses to JD, international LLM, MSL and first-year college students on subjects including nonprofits, art law, contracts, leadership, business concepts, collaboration and advocacy to foster student development and to engage students in their communities. In addition, Barbara has taught in certificate programs for nonprofit professionals to improve management, operations and services of nonprofits in North Carolina. Barbara has served on many nonprofit boards, co-founded a backpack program to provide supplemental food for public school children in more than 20 schools and is a longtime arts supporter. Before accepting a teaching appointment, Barbara practiced law with two national law firms. She is a graduate of Duke University (Economics and Public Policy Studies) and received her JD from the University of Michigan Law School. She is a life-long Cubs fan.
Derek Hicks teaches and researches broadly in the areas of African American religion, religion in North America, race, the body, religion and foodways, theory and method in the study of religion, Black and Womanist theologies, and cultural studies. Currently, he serves as co-chair of the Religion and Food Group at the American Academy of Religion. Dr. Hicks is the author of the book Reclaiming Spirit in the Black Faith Tradition (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012). He is currently working on a second monograph entitled Feeding Flesh and Spirit: Religion, Food, and the Saga of Race in Black America (under review with UNC Press). In addition, he served as assistant editor of the volume entitled African American Religious Cultures (ABC-CLIO Press). He also contributed chapters for the books Blacks and Whites in Christian America: How Racial Discrimination Shapes Religious Convictions (New York University Press, 2012) and to the edited volume Religion, Food, and Eating in North America (Columbia University Press, 2014). In support of his scholarship, Dr. Hicks has been awarded fellowships and grants from the Ford Foundation, the Fund for Theological Education, the Louisville Institute, the Henry Luce Foundation, and the Wabash Center.
Sara Dahill-Brown is an assistant professor of political science at Wake Forest University. Her research and teaching interests in American politics focus on public policy, education, state and local government, and democratic accountability. She also teaches courses in quantitative research methods. She earned a Masters and PhD in political science from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where she was also an advanced fellow at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research. Her dissertation, The State of American School Governance: Who’s in Charge and Does it Matter? investigates changing power relationships between state and local authorities, and the consequences of centralizing political authority. She grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah, and earned a BA in Political Science and Sociology from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. Prior to entering graduate school, she taught in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas with Teach for America. Her work recently appeared in Politics and Policy.
Eranda Jayawickreme is an assistant professor of psychology at Wake Forest University. He received his Ph.D. in positive and social/personality psychology from the University of Pennsylvania in 2010. His research focuses on well-being, moral psychology, psychological growth following adversity, and integrative theories of personality, and has worked with populations in Rwanda, Sri Lanka and various populations in the USA. His awards include the 2015 Rising Star award from the Association for Psychological Science (which recognizes outstanding psychological scientists in the earliest stages of their research career post-PhD whose innovative work has already advanced the field), a Mellon Refugee Initiative Fund Fellowship, and grants from the John Templeton Foundation, the Templeton Religion Trust, and the Asia Foundation/ USAID.
Michael Gross is an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Wake Forest University. Before joining Wake Forest, he was an Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering at Bucknell University. Dr. Gross has a broad range of scholarly interests from electrochemical energy conversion to processing and design of novel solid-state materials and composites to student motivation in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) courses. He is a recipient of the ASM Marcus A. Grossman Young Author Award, the TMS Extraction and Processing Technology Award, and was named a Bucknell University Dean’s Fellow in 2013. Dr. Gross teaches materials chemistry, solid-state chemistry, electrochemistry, inorganic chemistry, and science of sustainability. He currently has funding from the National Science Foundation to work with faculty and students at eight institutions of higher education to better understand and support student intrinsic motivation in STEM classes. Through his motivation studies, he has transformed chemistry laboratory classes to support positive student engagement and motivations with great success for which he received the Wake Forest Teaching Innovation Award.