2023 Early Career Research Award (ECRA)

Each academic year the College of Arts and Sciences recognizes and rewards faculty members with outstanding research programs in the early stages of their career. Recipients receive $500 to be used for research (not for salary) and a plaque as tokens of this recognition. For consideration, a candidate for one of these awards must be a tenure-track faculty member in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Memphis, be employed for no more than five academic years in that position, and be no more than eight years beyond receiving the terminal degree, prior to the semester of application. No past recipient will be eligible to receive the award again.

Minhae Cho, Assistant Professor, School of Social WorkMinhae Cho, Assistant Professor, School of Social Work

Dr. Cho is an assistant professor in the School of Social Work. She came to the University of Memphis in the fall of 2019 after earning a PhD at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities in 2019.

Dr. Cho’s research focuses on culturally diverse, vulnerable children and families who are involved in multiple social service systems including child welfare, juvenile justice, school discipline, and mental health systems. Her research aims to promote interdisciplinary and cross-system approaches for the development of effective interventions that prevent their ongoing or deeper system involvement. Dr. Cho is particularly interested in multiple forms of marginalization experienced by these populations such as disability status and membership in ethnic or sexual minority groups. Her research applies an intersectional lens in understanding their issues and resilience. Dr. Cho has developed a strong record of scholarly publications in high impact interdisciplinary journals. She is the co-author of Disability, stigma and children’s developing self: Insights from educators in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and the U.S. (Oxford University Press, 2020).

Her practice experiences in both South Korea (her home country) and the U.S. have greatly benefited her in teaching both foundational and advanced social work courses at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels within the School of Social Work.

Emily Elizabeth Puckett, Assistant Professor, Department of BiologyEmily Puckett, Assistant Professor, Department of Biology

Dr. Puckett studies spatial-temporal genomics of the American black bear. Specifically, she focuses on understanding the molecular basis of unique traits within the species, and how the genetic variants have spread over geographic space since their origin. Her work also identifies landscape features that are corridors or barriers for bear movement, which aids wildlife agencies in their decision making process for the management and conservation of the species.

Puckett joined the department in 2018. She earned a PhD in evolutionary biology from the University of Missouri. Her dissertation was on the phylogeography of the American black bear. She followed this work with a global phylogeographic analysis of the brown rat. Her research at the University of Memphis will focus on demography and comparative genomics within the bear family. Courses taught include Topics in Evolution- Speciation 7017/8017 and Genetics 3072.



Daniel J. Smith, Assistant Professor of PhilosophyDaniel J. Smith, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Department of Philosophy

Dr. Smith is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy in the Department of Philosophy. He began at Memphis in 2018 after receiving a Ph.D. from Penn State, and a BA and MA from the University of Warwick in the UK.

His research covers a variety of topics in the history of modern philosophy and contemporary continental philosophy. His writing has been published in journals including the European Journal of Philosophy, Research in Phenomenology, Kant-Studien, Continental Philosophy Review, The European Journal of Psychoanalysis, Critical Philosophy of Race among others. With dissident Indian philosopher Divya Dwivedi, he is a founding associate editor of Philosophy World Democracy, a multilingual open access journal that publishes politically engaged philosophy from global perspectives.

At the undergraduate level, he teaches a regular survey course in Modern philosophy. At the graduate level he has taught courses on Kant's Critique of Pure Reason, Foucault's "Society Must Be Defended", German Idealism, and will soon teach a course on the history of the history of philosophy.