Early Career Research Award (ECRA)

The Early Career Research Award was initiated in the College of Arts and Sciences in 1989. Annually, the College confers the Early Career Research Award to up to three faculty members who are in the early stages of developing their research programs.

Candidates for the ECRA must have been employed full-time by the University of Memphis for no more than five academic years and be not more than eight years beyond receiving the terminal degree, prior to the semester of application. Nominations are made and awardees recommended to the Dean of the College by the Graduate Council for Research and Graduate Studies during the spring semester.

In recognition for their research achievement, each recipient of the ECRA receives $250 that can be applied toward research-related expenses, a plaque, and recognition at our August faculty meeting.

Dr. Kristin Kramer

Dr. Kramer, Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, joined the faculty at the University of Memphis in 2005 after completing her Ph.D. in Zoology at the University of Minnesota and Postdoctoral Fellowships at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the University of Maryland.

She writes that the broad objective of her research program "is to determine what hormonal mechanisms, acting in the brain, regulate social behavior in mammals…Additionally, by identifying mechanisms regulating both positive and antisocial behavior, the research provides a basis for clinical work aimed at preventing and alleviating psychiatric illness in humans."

With 18 refereed publications, funding of her postdoctoral fellowships, Kristin is clearly an established scholar. In his letter of nomination, Dr. David Freeman, Department of Biology, writes, "Not only is Kristin a productive scientist, but her research is highly cited and recognized by her professional peers. Her research has been cited in papers published in several prestigious international journals including: Ethnology, Behavioral Brain Research, and Neuroscience," among others.

Another colleague describes Kristin as having "hit the ground running" upon her arrival" at the University. "Dr. Kramer's research is at the interface of multiple disciplines that range from the whole organisms to the molecule and is, by definition, integrative." Another colleague from another university writes, "She exemplifies what a young researcher should be. She is absolutely dedicated to her studies, extremely hard working, resourceful, intelligent, creative, and has the ability to design and implement high quality studies."

Dr. Max Louwerse

Dr. Max Louwerse.jpgDr. Louwerse, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology and a member of the Institute for Intelligent Systems, joined the faculty in 2003 after completing his Ph.D. in Linguistics at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, and after completing a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Memphis.

He describes his research areas as "covering a wide range of topics in interdisciplinary research related to computational psycholinguistics, including cohesion and coherence relations in discourse comprehension and production, multimodal communication, mixed initiative dialog, narrative structure, and various other aspects of discourse processing."

Max is first co-editor of a book entitled Thematics: Interdisciplinary Studies (2002) and author or co-author of 18 journal articles and 12 book chapters. He has received funding for his research from the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Health, among other federal organizations.

In his letter of support for Dr. Louwerse's nomination, Dr. Art Graeser writes, "The claim that Dr. Louwerse has been productive since joining our faculty would be an understatement. [He] has published over 10 articles per year since he joined us….He was senior editor on an edited book that included accomplished researchers throughout the world. I have been extremely impressed with the interdisciplinary scope of his research in language and discourse processing, noting that his research spans the fields of linguistics, cognitive psychology, cognitive science, education, and artificial intelligence."

Another colleague from another university writes "What distinguishes Dr. Louwerse's research is his ability to attack real problems in a well-informed way, regardless of the home discipline….This takes sharp intelligence, broad knowledge, fearless creativity, an endless energy."

Dr. David Richards

Dr. Richards, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, joined the faculty in 2003 following completion of his Ph.D. in Political Science at Binghamton University, SUNY.  Richards writes that his "primary research specialty is in the field of human rights.

While empirically-driven human rights scholarly literature has existed for some time, this is recently an area of quickly-growing importance outside of academia as well" David is Co-Director and Co-Founder of the Cingranelli-Richards (CIRI) Human Rights Research Project. This project was recently funded by the National Science Foundation.

According to Dr. Shannon Blanton, the CIRI data set is "the most extensive human rights dataset in existence, and is widely used by both academics and policymakers alike. Indeed, through this dataset, Dr. Richards has had a major impact in the field….it is used in over 100 countries and by 400 organizations." Dr. Richards has at least nine refereed journal publications, most of which he is first author.

His research is described by one external reviewer as "path breaking and highly relevant to the study of contemporary politics….Thus, in a relatively short time, David Richards has proven himself to be a productive and leaning scholar in the realm of globalization and human rights." Another scholar writes, "We need more scholars like David in the social sciences, and we are all better off for having him engaged in the work he is producing."