2017 Early Career Research Awards (ECRA)

Dr. Inmaculada Gomez-Soler, World Languages and Literatures

Dr. Inmaculada Gomez-SolerInmaculada Gómez Soler is an Assistant Professor in the Department of World Languages & Literatures where she also coordinates the Lower-Division Spanish Program and supervises Spanish Graduate Teaching Assistants. She obtained her Ph.D. in Linguistics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2012.

Her research program lies at the interface between the formal study of second language acquisition and heritage speaker bilingualism, and language pedagogy. Her research on Formal Linguistics focuses on morphosyntactic acquisition (syntax-semantics and syntax-pragmatics), while her studies on Applied Linguistics explore issues related to computer-assisted language learning, educational language policy implementation, teacher training, and critical pedagogies for heritage learners.

She is currently participating in a collaborative project to create a searchable online public database to document Spanish as it is spoken in the United States, both in areas with longstanding bilingual communities (Florida, Arizona) and in areas in which Hispanic immigration is relatively recent (Tennessee).

Dr. Kathryn Howell, Psychology

Dr. Kathryn HowellKathryn H. Howell, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Memphis. Dr. Howell is best known for her intervention work with women and children coping with violence and other adversities, including evaluation of the Kids' Club and Moms' Empowerment Program, one of the few evidence-based practices for families exposed to intimate partner violence. Her work on resilience focuses on pathways to improving children's social competence and emotion regulation.

She is author or co-author of more than 60 scholarly publications and currently serves as Senior Consulting Editor for the APA journal, Psychology of Violence. She is also the recipient of numerous awards, including the Early Career Award for Contributions to Practice in Child Maltreatment from the American Psychological Association.

Dr. Howell is a licensed psychologist with health service provider designation in the state of Tennessee.

Dr. Xiao Shen, Physics and Materials Science

Dr. Xiao ShenXiao Shen is an Assistant Professor of Physics at the University of Memphis since 2015. He obtained his PhD in Physics from State University of New York at Stony Brook in 2009. 

His research involves applying modern electronic structure theory to computational materials physics. His recent works are in the area of semiconductors and insulators for electronic, optoelectronics, and energy applications.

He often engages in two types of materials research: (1) the overlooked or under-investigated materials that sometimes offer opportunities of new properties and perspectives, and (2) the materials in the late stage of technology development, where the practical problems posed by defects and interfaces have to be addressed to bring their promising applications to reality.