- Michael H. Ferkin, Biology
- Jennifer A. Wagner-Lawlor, English
The College of Arts and Sciences' Distinguished Research Award (CASDRA) was initiated
in 1993-94 upon the recommendation of the College Council for Research and Graduate
Studies. In recognition for outstanding research achievements, each recipient receives
$500.00 toward research expenses, a plaque, and recognition at our August faculty
We are very pleased today to acknowledge two of our faculty members for their outstanding
research performance, Dr. Michael Ferkin, Department of Biology and Dr. Jennifer Wagner-Lawlor, Department of English and the College of Arts and Sciences.
Dr. Michael Ferkin
Dr. Ferkin, Professor, Department of Biology, joined the University of Memphis faculty
in 1995 after completing his Ph.D. in Biology at Boston University. Dr. Ferkin received
an Early Career Research Award from the College of Arts and Sciences in 1996.
According to Michael, over his professional life, he has always been interested in
how animals behave. More specifically, he has addressed how animals communicate and
how their communication affects their social and sexual interactions. Much of his
research has focused on voles.
Michael has received continuous funding from NIH and NSF for his research since 1985,
leading to an outstanding publication record of over 76 peer-reviewed articles in
top-tier journals, including Nature. Nominated by Professor Reza Pezeshki, Dr. Ferkin
has received very strong support for his nomination by colleagues in various University
of Memphis departments. This clearly reflects the esteem in which he is held.
To quote only one of the several scientists who sent letters in support of his nomination:
"Mike has established a productive and varied research program in behavioral biology,
behavioral endocrinology, and more recently in animal cognition... he has developed
his own unique ideas and research projects that are making important contributions
to behavioral biology...What I like most about his approach is that he has a thorough
knowledge of the organizes he works with, and he combined this knowledge with interesting
and novel questions and experiments."
Dr. Jennifer Wagner-Lawlor
Dr. Wagner-Lawlor, Professor, Department of English, and Associate Dean for Interdisciplinary
Studies, College of Arts and Sciences, joined the faculty in the Department of English
here at the University of Memphis in 1990 after completing her Ph.D. in English at
Yale University. Dr. Wagner-Lawlor received an Early Career Research Award from the
College of Arts and Sciences in 1996.
Over the course of her career to date, Jennifer has encompassed several genres of
research including 19th Century British poetry, the theory of parody, literature in
a cultural context, and more recently utopian studies. Her early work on the English
Sonnet led to her book entitled A Moment's Monument: Revisionary Poetics and the Nineteenth-Century English Sonnet (1996,) and her work on literary parody resulted in her edited collection entitled
The Victorian Comic Spirit (2000).
Jennifer is currently working with Dr. Barbara Ching on an edited volume on the sensibilities
of Susan Sontag. In addition to her books, Professor Wagner-Lawlor has published over
twenty refereed articles.
From among many letters of support, here are some comments: "... the outstanding virtue
of Wagner-Lawlor's criticism remains the detailed and sensitive attention to linguistic
form" and ... [she] "lets us see artists as their own best critics through their formal
choices." Another colleague writes that "Professor Wagner-Lawlor's initiative, generosity
to other scholars, and unflagging curiosity has enhanced the reputation of the University
of Memphis among academics all over the United States, in Britain, and beyond."