INTERDISCIPLINARY ACADEMIC CONFERENCE 6th Annual • Hosted by Weatherford College


THURSDAY & FRIDAY, APRIL 11 - 12, 2024

As Bob Dylan once sang, "the times they are a-changin'". Advancements in artificial intelligence and the exploration of the Cosmos made possible by the Webb Space Telescope have ignited our collective curiosity and made us wonder: what’s next? Building on this spirit of potential and promise, the theme for the 2024 Weatherford College Interdisciplinary Academic Conference is: New Horizons.




Noon - 1:00 p.m. • ACAD 106

Keynote Speaker

Amy Johnson

Principal Transportation Planner, Metropolitan Transportation Plan North Central Texas Council of Governments

Amy Johnson is a principal transportation planner for the North Central Texas Council of Governments and manages activities for the Dallas-Fort Worth Metropolitan Transportation Plan. She has been collaborating with colleagues and partners on focus areas such as public involvement, financial planning, and scenario planning. As a long-range planner, she is passionate about collaborating and breaking down silos to ensure that NCTCOG planning priorities reflect the needs and values of DFW residents. She has a B.A. in Geography from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Session I | 1:00 - 2:00 p.m.

Domestic Policy Panel

ACAD 106

Abstract: Covering topics such as the election of 2024, the Inflation Reduction Act, and polarization. Panelists TBA.

Poiesis and the Typologies of Creativity

ACAD 109

Zvony Nagy

Abstract: As a multimodal interplay of creative actions and interactions, creativity is viewed as a composite of culturally and socially conditioned processes and products. In recent studies on embodied music cognition, it has been suggested that creativity is a product of our bodies' actions and interactions with the environment. The author places creativity in the context of poiesis: to make or to bring something into being. Poiesis implies a synergy of creative processes, forms of knowledge, and perspectives. Defining poiesis as creative agency, the author focuses on a complementary aspect of poiesis, one of emergence. Expanding upon the notion of embodied creative spaces, the author proposes the formation of typologies of emerging creative processes. In turn, the author describes three types of poiesis as instances of self-referential creative agency: autopoiesis, the process by which a system can recreate itself; allopoiesis, the process by which a system can create something other than itself; and practopoiesis, the process by which creative agency's autopoiesis works through a series of interactions among its creative processes to adjust itself. This, in turn, results in a type of creativity characterized by self-referential processes that are independent of other creative processes and their own creative spaces, providing a complementary perspective on our understanding of musical creativity.

Session II | 2:00 - 3:00 p.m.

The Impacts of Fire on Mycorrhizal Fungi

ACAD 107

Brycen Read et al.

Abstract: Honors students will present their research in a discussion-style poster format.

Love as the Cornerstone of Ethics

ACAD 109

Gregory Trickett

Abstract: In a recent presentation, I argued that the foundation for moral philosophy is virtue. Insofar as virtue is an excellence of character directed toward good action and moral philosophy is concerned with good moral action, I argued, virtue is an integral, if not foundational part of moral philosophy. In this paper, I suggest that of the virtues that make up this foundation, love is key. Drawing from both ancient philosophical and the Christian tradition in virtue ethics, I argue that the reason love is considered the chief of the theological virtues is because love give substance to all other virtues. To paraphrase St. Paul, without love, all other virtue is meaningless.

Honors Program Poster Panel

ACAD 109

Abstract: Honors students will present their research in a discussion-style poster format.

Session III | 3:00 - 4:00 p.m.

Hispanic Murals

ACAD 109

Laura Cummins

Abstract: In this session, Señora Cummins will show a variety of murals painted by Hispanic artists. These murals were painted at different times in different locations around the world. Participants will discuss and evaluate what they see.

Is Mathematics Really That Boring and Scary?

ACAD 107

Abstract: Mathematics is historically scared—or sometimes hated—by people, because many believe that mathematics is hard. This is partially true and partially false. In terms of understanding, mathematics can be difficult. However, not everything in mathematics is boring and scary. In this presentation, two Weatherford College Honors Program students will be presenting various aspects in mathematics, ranging from Sequences and Series to Fluid Pressure using Calculus. Still feel scared? How about this: Ranging from approximating Pi to medical and biological applications. Want to know more? Come check us out!

Session IV | 4:00 - 5:00 p.m.

Texas Tots - Breaking Texas Up

ACAD 107

David McKee

Abstract: When Texas was annexed by the United States, a provision was included that allowed for Texas to be split up into smaller states. What would this look like in practice? This project proposes three new states: Trinity, Lincoln, and Texas, each with their own economic strengths and unique cultures.

Foreign Policy Panel

ACAD 104

Abstract: Covering topics such as the war in Ukraine, the war being waged by Israel, and other international issues.

FRIDAY, APRIL 12, 2024

Session V | 9:00 - 10:00 a.m.

The Storied Past and Future Challenges of the Texas Rangers

ACAD 104

Patrick Garcia

Abstract: Texas Ranger Patrick Garcia discusses the rich history of the Texas Rangers, from their founding in 1823 to their present-day role as an elite investigative law enforcement agency. He highlights the Rangers' iconic status in Texas culture and their contributions to maintaining law and order throughout the state's history. Garcia also addresses the challenges the Rangers face in the modern era, including adapting to new technologies, maintaining public trust, and navigating complex social and political issues. This presentation offers a unique perspective on the past, present, and future of one of America's most famous law enforcement organizations.

Historiography of Gender Studies in Colonial South Asia

ACAD 106

Richard Chelvan

Abstract: This essay provides a historiographical background for gender studies in general and studies of sati in particular in colonial and postcolonial South Asia. For the purposes of this paper, sati is defined as the voluntary or involuntary immolation of a widow on the funeral pyre of her husband. The imperialist and colonialist writers serve as a foil in contemporary debates and rarely discussed gender issues except to judge them from a Western or European point of view. The nationalist writers, pre- and post- colonial, usually cover women's issues in relation to religious issues and the role of gender in the traditional society. The Cambridge school of historians generally writes on political developments in the history of South Asia. In reaction to the nationalist as well as the Cambridge historians, the Subaltern Studies Collective grew out of a group inaugurated by Ranajit Guha. The subaltern writers concentrate on writing about the under-represented peasants and eventually women of South Asia. Some of these schools of thought do not single out sati in particular; however, their methodology for using the archive has implications for their discussions on topics of gender. Opposing schools of thought react to differences in methodology as well as differences of opinion on gender issues.

Panel on Psilocybin, Running & Schizophrenia

ACAD 107

Wright, Skaggs & Woodson

Abstract: Panel Presentation of 3 Honor student's research findings, and research process, on the Impacts of Psylocibin on Obsessive Compulsive Disorders, Long Distance Running and Runners High, and the Research Process of Studying the Viral and Parasitic Factors in Schizophrenia. Introductions will provide information on Honors Research and a mentoring process of Honor students for Capstone Projects.

Session VI | 10:00 - 11:00 a.m.

Addressing the Texas Teacher Shortage

ACAD 104

Dr. Leslie Hancock

Abstract: Addressing the Texas Teacher Shortage: Innovative Solutions through the Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences in Early Childhood Education and Teaching at Weatherford College. In response to the critical teacher shortage facing Texas, particularly in high-need areas such as special education and English as a second language, Weatherford College's Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences (BAAS) in Early Childhood Education and Teaching is pioneering strategies to cultivate a resilient and skilled teaching workforce. This presentation outlines the current landscape of the teacher shortage in Texas, emphasizing the urgency and importance of finding sustainable solutions to ensure educational equity and quality across the state. Central to our approach is the innovative partnership Weatherford College has established with local school districts within our service area. Recognizing the untapped potential of paraprofessionals already engaged in our educational communities, we have initiated a "grow your own" program designed to support these individuals in completing their bachelor's degrees, licensure, and certification. This program is tailored to allow participants to remain embedded within their districts, thereby reinforcing their connection to the community and commitment to addressing its specific educational needs. By detailing the structure and outcomes of this partnership, the presentation will highlight how such collaborative efforts can effectively mitigate the teacher shortage. We will discuss the development of specialized cohorts of paraprofessionals in each district, the curriculum and support systems in place to facilitate their progress, and the anticipated impact on local schools upon their graduation and certification. Through this model, Weatherford College not only addresses immediate staffing needs but also invests in the long-term sustainability of quality education in Texas, particularly in districts most in need of dedicated and qualified educators. Attendees will leave with a comprehensive understanding of how targeted educational programs, in conjunction with strong community partnerships, can create a pipeline of highly skilled teachers ready to address the nuanced challenges of modern classrooms, especially in special education and ESL settings. This model presents a replicable framework for other institutions and states grappling with similar shortages, emphasizing the power of community-based solutions in transforming educational outcomes.

Career Direction using Action and Interaction

ACAD 106

Suzanne Jary

Abstract: Career Direction using Action and Interaction. This interactive workshop will help you to explore your values, interests and skills in a fun and action-oriented way. The information identified from self-reflection and experiential activities can help you with defining and clarifying your academic and career directions.

Session VII | 11:00 - Noon

Emerging Voices - Honors Creative Writing

ACAD 107

Jared Abraham & Adrianne Hamner

Abstract: Emerging Voices: Prof. Jared Abraham and Prof. Adrianne Hamner host a showcase of student creative writing spotlighting Weatherford College's emerging voices. Honors students will present original poetry and short stories. Attendees can sip coffee and nibble on snacks while enjoying the eclectic mix of literary styles and perspectives. This event celebrates the freedom of self-expression and showcases the emerging voices at Weatherford College. All who appreciate the arts are welcome to experience these students' fresh, creative voices as they share their work.

Automation Control in Manufacturing Technology

ACAD 121

Dr. Bill Alexander & Jerry Barrow

Abstract: Attendees will learn how creating control of automation via various systems allows manufacturing to create solutions for industry challenges and support the optimization of efficiencies in those processes. The students designed, built, programmed, and optimized automation control using robotics, conveyors, microswitches and sensors, relays, PLCs, lights, and sequencing of the automation process.

Session VIII | Noon - 1:00 p.m.

WC Interdisciplinary Academic Conference Steering Committee

ACAD 104

Abstract: For anyone interested in the planning of the 2025 WCIAC, please join us to be a part of the vision for next year’s conference. This is a great service opportunity for faculty.

What's New at the WC Library

ACAD 106

Dina Gibson & Jana McFadden

Abstract: "What's New at the WC Library". This workshop would show the participants the updates to our Libguides. These updates would include Test Prep Material, Policy Maps (creates statistics for research), Libby (online audio books and eBooks), SWANK (online films) and an overview of navigating the library website.

Session IX | 1:00 - 2 :00 p.m.

Group Therapy as an Effective Intervention

ACAD 104

Ashley Lutes

Abstract: Group Therapy as an Effective Intervention. What cost-effective solutions do we have to make an impact in the field of addiction recovery within our community? As the opioid epidemic worsens, group therapy is becoming the leading modality for those struggling with substance use disorder. The advantages of group therapy over other modalities are immense. Clients not only learn better ways of communicating with others, but they are also likely to substitute their family of origin with their fellow group members, creating a healthier family dynamic to model from. Providing real-time peer confrontation and feedback are unique features to group therapy that cannot be recreated in typical one-on-one counseling, and is able to be provided at a much lower cost than most other treatments. What is the research behind the psychology of each client's social behavior within the group? How does the facilitator influence the clients and the overall psychological health of the group? And most importantly, what is the research on outcomes of group therapy in each client's long term sobriety? As we explore these questions, my goal is to leave you with hope that there are promising modalities in the field of addiction recovery, and are available for those who are economically disadvantaged within our community.

The Evolution and Emotional Power of Music

ACAD 106

Hailey Medd & Ian Creed

Abstract: In this project, we highlight how music is much more than just background noise—it's a fundamental part of our lives, connecting us to our past and guiding us toward new horizons. By delving into how musical elements have evolved and how they interact with our minds, we've opened up a new way of seeing music. It is not only about notes and rhythms; it's about how these elements touch our hearts, creating memories and feelings that last a lifetime. We trace the evolution of pitch collections, key elements in Western music theory, to understand their transformative impact on music over time. Concurrently, we delve into cognitive music theory to uncover how individuals perceive, process, and emotionally connect with music. Our journey through the history and psychology of music is for anyone who has ever felt a shiver down their spine listening to a favorite song or been moved to tears by a powerful melody. This project is a celebration of music's incredible power to influence us, making the complex world of music theory and cognition accessible and relatable to everyone. It's a reminder that music is a shared human experience, one that continues to shape and be shaped by us in countless ways.

Session X | 2:00 - 3:00 p.m.

Proposing a Better World

ACAD 104

Jared Abraham et al.

Abstract: Proposing a Better World. This panel presentation will highlight the work of several undergraduate students, who crafted plans of action by which a sliver of the world could be improved. All panelists are targeting specific, real-world audiences for their plans, and in this presentation, they have the opportunity to further craft their proposed plans, as a step towards potential submission of them for consideration by the groups with the power to implement them. One presentation will focus on the problem of dead animals on roadways, applying practices from other states to avoid further harm to animals and drivers. Another presentation will engage with the burnout faced by nurses, proposing ways in which their employer can take care of those providing care. The final presentation will engage with the issue of lost trust in the media, proposing a path forward by which the media could perhaps secure its future. Altogether, these three presentations will present ideas for how the times should change, laying out a plan for how to move towards a new horizon.

Teaching Against Historical Misconceptions

ACAD 106

Jessica Luepke

Abstract: Teaching Against Historical Misconceptions. George Washington was the 1st president. All of the Alamo defenders died. President Abraham Lincoln was an abolitionist. Every American supported declaring war on the axis powers in 1941. these are historical misconceptions that are commonly understood as facts based on pop culture, stories passed down through the generation, or even taught in the classroom. How do history professors address these common misunderstandings while providing the facts behind these events? College students are challenged to think critically in the classroom. This presentation is an attempt at providing ways to challenge students to dig into historical facts through primary and secondary research, allowing them to uncover the truth behind historical misconceptions.