OBSERVER by xumiaomaio



                             OBSERVE R
                               Graduate Study, Research, and Sponsored Programs at Bradley University
                                                                                                                                Fall/Winter 2008

   A Bank of Cultural Currency
      After visiting the Prairie Center of the Arts, one may have
the urge to separate and classify all the projects of Michele
and Joe Richey, for they do so much. There is the pulse of their
enterprise, their machine shop, and behind that same façade
(literally behind where they handle the daily operations of their
shop), there is the Prairie Center’s gallery. Even more than that,
there are the artists-in-residence housed in Germantown Hills.
Still more, when people think about all the facets of the Prairie
Center of the Arts, they may list the numerous scholarships,
assistantships, exhibitions, and local school projects that
Prairie Center makes possible. However, what is missed when
the center is dissected and the numerous parts are assessed
separately is the mutualism that Prairie Center of the Arts
facilitates – the exchange and investment that make this center       Lakeview Museum fundraiser at Prairie Center of the Arts. Photo by Nick Harvey.
of cooperation an artistic bank of cultural currency.
      When Michele Richey explains the center’s name, she                machinery and desks. The warehouse is a reserve of new and old
makes the mission of the center clear: to exponentially increase         – the products of craft and culture.
the artistic value of Peoria. Michele underlines the importance                However, the space, the cultural vault of the Prairie Center,
of the institute being named “of” the arts rather than for. It is        is not the only defining factor of this social institution. Like a
neither the goal nor mission of the center to influence the arts         bank using a theory of fractional reserve, the products and
or in some way guide the artist. Rather, the art center provides         assets of artists and of the Richeys fund the ability of the center
a reserve of artifacts, artists, and exhibitions. Instead of being       to exponentially invest in the community. The Richeys offer up
concerned with the piloting of art, Prairie Center of the Arts           the industriousness of their lifetime to the artistic community at
offers an abundance of cultural capital. The gigantic warehouse          large. In fact, the art center’s backbone is the Richey’s machine
in Peoria’s industrial district cradles an expanding community of        shop. From their shop, they are able to offer high-tech crafts
artists, not so it can move the arts in anyway, but so it can loan       and techniques like their cutting-edge water jet, which provides
out this cultural capital to the artists in Peoria. This investment      exact cuts on multiple mediums. Michele describes her husband
from the Prairie Center allows Peoria artists to collaborate and         as being able “to make anything,” and as new ideas present
grow the artistic enterprises in the community.                          themselves, Joe sets out to manifest them. For example, Joe
      The young not-for-profit business is very much a center            is currently manufacturing a printing press. More importantly,
rooted in the cultural capital of the rural Midwest. Through             these tangibles represent the potential being offered up to and
the doors and walls of the center flow, not only the products            exercised in the artistic community. The Richeys are devoted
of art, but also the culture of a working Peoria. The center is          to the Prairie Center of the Arts, and it shows in their persistent
set in the old industrial district of Peoria, and the romantic           production.
120-year-old building is immersed in the history and culture of                If one were to stop after listing the tangibles responsible
the community. Behind the track lighting and hardwood floors             for the emergence of the artistic center, they would have missed
illuminating the gallery, among the empty gigantic rooms of the          the most vital function of the Prairie Center. The Prairie Center
former rope factory, one comes upon sporadic rooms filled with           is providing a collaborative center where artists, institutions,
artistic installations of wildflowers and sculptures of recycled         and students can brush shoulders. The center is becoming a
material. Then at the end of a tour through the unlimited                market of exchange, and to foster this exchange, Prairie Center
space and storage, one comes upon loads of antique crafted               is committed to investing in artists. This investment brings
                                                                                                    Prairie Center, continued, page 2

     The Graduate School and Office of Sponsored Programs
 Prairie Center, continued from page 1
multiple institutions and organizations into their mission               the opportunities and economy of art grows. More and more,
towards catalyzing a vibrant, noteworthy artistic and cultural           created cultural capital and services can be traded and shared
community in Peoria. To promote that production of cultural              among artists in the Peoria and local community.
capital, Prairie Center has been more than willing to fund artist             The collaboration between Bradley University and the
residencies and graduate students at Bradley. In turn those              Prairie Center of the Arts continues to build a healthy economy.
young artists and their institutions transform the investment            In the future, Prairie Center would like to collaborate in the
from the art center into cultural capital.                               classroom. At some point, Michele says she would like to see
      The investment and scholarships for Bradley graduate               the artists-in-residence engaging with Bradley students and
students do not merely fund their education but foster and               professors in the classroom. Also on the horizon, Prairie Center
further their professionalism and abilities. At the center of            would like to take advantage of its industrious zoning and
art, these students interact with Peoria’s art professionals             add kilns and a furnace that are fit only for their location. The
from schools, museums, and art guilds. The center has                    dividends from their investments continue to fuel the Peoria art
encouraged Bradley’s graduate students in photography,                   community. Behind Michele’s visions is truly the simple desire to
sculpture, printmaking, and countless mediums. By doing so,              see artists prosper and to have a helping part in their products
                                                                                               and successes.
                                                                                                      More importantly, the collaboration
                                                                                               between the Prairie Center of the Arts,
                                                                                               Bradley University, and the Peoria art
                                                                                               community at-large fosters an exchange of
                                                                                               services, talents, and vision, all of which are
                                                                                               vital to the emergence of the community’s
                                                                                               artistic growth as well as its economic
                                                                                               growth. In effect, what is happening at the
                                                                                               Prairie Center of the Arts, with its ability to
                                                                                               reach out to the art community, is a sort of
                                                                                               mutualism, where the community is working
                                                                                               together to support itself, so that it can
                                                                                               develop a cultural economy, which adds
                                                                                               value to the city and community. By creating
                                                                                               a center of free artistic exchange, Prairie
                                                                                               Center puts the best interests of the art
                                                                                               community and the larger Peoria community
                                                                                               first. Inside of the warehouse are stored the
                                                                                               reserves of the art community that function
 The old rope factory building that is now Prairie Center of the Arts.
                                                                                               exponentially in and around Peoria.
 Photo by Nick Harvey.

For more information…
Contact the Graduate School about graduate                               Contact the Office of Sponsored Programs
degree programs and for any other questions or                           to gain information about external funding for
suggestions.                                                             research, creative works, and other initiatives.
•                                                    • (309) 677-3877
• (309) 677-2375 • (309) 677-3343 (fax)                                  •

  Chief Executive Philanthropist
       Dr. Dolins and The Sirens Records
      In this day and age, it is unlikely to find a private, for-profit       Lifetime Achievement Award winner). Dolins also plans to bring
business where the sole goal is philanthropy. There is a reason               Kimberly Gordon, Chris Foreman, and Andy Brown to campus
we never hear of a Chief Executive Philanthropist. Nonetheless,               this fall. In the past few years, with the help of ICAC, Erwin Helfer,
at least one man at Bradley can claim that title. Bradley’s Dr.               Barrelhouse Chuck, Detroit Jr., Katherine Davis, and Donald and
Steven Dolins of The Sirens Records ( is                 Geraldine Gay have performed on campus. In addition to the
a mark of that anomaly. Through his record label, Dolins has                  performances, students were given an opportunity to interview
succeeded in fulfilling a life-long, selfless goal. Dolins’ initial goal      the musicians as part of an Honors class taught by Dolins on
at 19 to record his boogie woogie piano mentor has evolved into the “History of the Blues”; these interviews are archived at the
preserving the lineage and voice of Chicago boogie woogie, jazz, Bradley library. He has also taught a class on the History of
and gospel piano.                                                             Chicago Blues to retired learners at Bradley.
      For the last couple decades, Dr. Dolins has continued to                      The preservation of American folk music is not uncommon
keep alive the vision he began when he helped record Erwin                    or trivial nor has the importance of Dolins’ contribution to
Helfer, John Davis, Sunnyland Slim, Willie Mabon, and Jimmy                   cultural preservation gone unnoticed. Famous music critic, Nat
Walker in 1976. After producing his first record in his late teens,           Hentoff, of the Wall Street Journal, notes the achievement of
Dolins went on to earn his Ph.D. in computer science at The                   Dolins and his record label in the January 8, 2003 article titled
University of Texas-Arlington. However, don’t let his background              “The Bards Who Keep a Tradition Alive.” Hentoff writes, “Steve
in data mining and data
warehousing confuse you. When
asked what effect his degree has
on The Sirens Records, there is
a disconnect and Dolins shakes
his head. To him the two areas
of his life are incompatible. In
fact, his degree and work as
a professor in the Computer
Science Department have little
to do with his record producing.
Dolins is a man wearing two hats;
by day he instructs computer
science students, but by night he
is immersed in the music scene.
Oftentimes, his contributions to
the Bradley campus resemble
those of a music, theatre, or
studio arts professor rather
than of a computer science
professor, for Dolins also works
to bring Chicago folk sounds
                                          From left to Right: Ari Brown, Earma Thompson, Steven Dolins, and John Brumbach. Photo by Paul Natkin.
to the University and the
Peoria community. Recently,
through a grant co-written with                                               Dolins is a blues man and, like the other insistent amateurs
Dr. Derek Montgomery, Dolins brought 85-year-old bebop                        before him, he is sharing his love of the music with a growing
jazz pianist Earma Thompson to campus (possibly the last                      number of fortunate listeners.” Although Hentoff classifies
professional engagement for the Jazz Institute of Chicago                     Dolins as an “insistent amateur,” he compares him to legendary

                                                                                                                  Dolins, continued, page 4

    Dolins, continued from page 3

                                                                              Entrepreneurial Engineering
                                                                              Dr. Shastry's Microwave and Wireless
                                                                                      Engineering Program
                                                                                 Engineering and business are core strengths of Bradley
                                                                           University. To bring together these strengths, Bradley is planning
                                                                           to build an Engineering and Business Convergence Center.
                                                                           Professor Prasad Shastry in the Department of Electrical and
                                                                           Computer Engineering is already providing an example of the
                                                                           kind of benefit such a center will offer. Aided by grant and
                                                                           contract funding, Dr. Shastry is able to provide the university and
                                                                           business community with marketable technologies and offer
                                                                           his undergraduate and graduate students access to privileged
                                                                           experiences and resources.
                                                                                 Dr. Shastry teaches in the Microwave and Wireless
                                                                           Engineering program, which houses much of the software
                                                                           and hardware to complete the modeling, design, and testing
                                                                           in the development of wireless equipment. Students work in
      Dr. Dolins at the piano. Photo by Brian O'Mahoney.
                                                                           one of two major labs. The third floor lab consists of computer
producers, who all began as merely “enthusiasts.” Maturing                 modeling stations and a shielded chamber for testing radio
from Dolins’ enthusiasm is a bona fide record label archiving              frequency devices. The impressive student-built chamber allows
the cultural sounds of Chicago. As the labels exposure has                 for the department to test and study wireless devices. However,
grown, The Sirens Records has been featured on NPR’s All Things            this feat of design and production is only a preface to the
Considered, Fresh Air, and Piano Jazz.                                     technology utilized in the program.
      Contrary to what his mention in the Wall Street Journal                    Located one floor below is extensive, cutting-edge
would suggest, The Sirens Records is a financial burden for                technology for testing microchips. The state-of-the-art
Dolins. Like Dolins’ trials in today’s business world, the original        equipment in the Advanced Microwave Engineering Laboratory
trips through the hills of the American South to record folk               was purchased with a Major Research Instrumentation grant
voices did not come without tribulation. Since the beginning of            from the National Science Foundation to establish an advanced
the 20th century, archivists, collectors, and producers have set out       radio frequency and wireless engineering laboratory for wireless
to capture the folk spirituals, jigs, and hymns that nestle into the       microchip testing. Included in the equipment is a Cascade
hills of Appalachia, yet the road traveled to collect and preserve         Microtech wafer probe station, an amazing semi-automatic,
these voices is never effortless. Burkhard Bilger describes it best        extremely exact machine for testing the performance and
in his article “The Last Verse” for The New Yorker, “The trip was          reliability of microchips. In fact, the additional equipment in
often a torture to him [the music archivist]: he collected in the          the lab enables the department to participate in every phase of
heat of summer, traveling on foot and horseback, by bicycle                production of microchips but manufacturing.
and motorcar, pack mule, punt and aptly named jolt wagon.”                       Not only does the lab provide teaching and research
Dolins does not have to go farther than Chicago to find voices             training opportunities but the Major Research Instrumentation
he feels a need to preserve, but the road is not without hardship.         grant enables Bradley to leverage their access to sophisticated
Nonetheless, Dolins recognizes that these voices are integral to           testing equipment with local businesses. One example is
American culture, and that is why he is willing to preserve these          Validus Technologies, which, according to its website, “is an
strands of culture for others at any cost. Although the musicians          advanced research and development firm that focuses on
of Chicago boogie woogie, jazz, and gospel will whither and                emerging technologies. The Peoria-based company designs
fade, their voices will stay alive on The Sirens Records. Dolins is        and develops microelectronic devices for various embedded
investing in the future of music and art in American folk sounds           applications within diverse industries.” The collaboration with
in the same way the songs excavated from the hills became                  Validus has added benefits for Bradley students, who gain
fodder for Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, and other American                    commercial engineering experience, as well as the possibility of
musicians.                                                                 internships and jobs within Validus after graduation.

                                                                                                         Shastry, continued on page 5

Shastry, continued from page 4
      The students in the Microwave and
Wireless Engineering program do not just
produce hypothetical microchips, test their
viability, and present their findings in the
form of a thesis defense. Hung in the halls
outside the second-floor lab are plaques
of circuits, designed by Bradley students in
collaboration with industry partners, which
are featured in the most distinguished
international journals and chic inventions
(like the microchip in your minivan that
senses the trash-can that you are about
to hit as you back out of your driveway or
the super-slim chip inside your cell phone
that delivers the static-free connection
you crave). Instead of just defending the
typical thesis, the microwave and wireless
engineering student at Bradley helps
develop saleable intellectual property.
As Mr. David Paul, CEO of Validus, says,
oftentimes students are sitting in board-
meeting scenarios or involved in the pitch                     Dr. Shastry in the Advanced Microwave Engineering Lab. Photo by Duane Zehr.
of a new product that they helped design and test, and
it goes without saying that this is an indispensable experience.
In exchange for their experience using this cutting-edge
technology, students are rewarded with financial support and                             Externally Funded Grants
insider experience.
      The leadership of Dr. Shastry, ingenuity of the students,                     The Office of Sponsored Programs would like to announce the
dollars from grants, and opportunities offered by companies                         following grant awards for the summer of 2008. Congratulations
like Validus create a unique position for Bradley. The intellectual                 are in order for the following individuals and departments.
property produced at Bradley, like that at a company such
as AT&T, belongs to the institution. Therefore, Bradley is in                       Bradley University’s Division of Continuing Education has
the position to reach out to local businesses to place their                        been awarded $100,000 by the Bernard Osher Foundation to
products in markets, and, better yet, collaboratively produce                       expand programs for mature adults. As a result of the grant, the
new products for lucrative markets. Any agreements or                               Bradley University Institute for Learning in Retirement (ILR), now
contracts enable Bradley to leverage resources and projects                         in its 14th year, has been renamed the Osher Lifelong Learning
in the best interest of their students and at a financial gain                      Institute (OLLI). The OLLI is a collaboration between Bradley
to the institution. With students who are experienced using                         and more than 600 members, who together create a learning
cutting-edge technology, who are designing marketable                               community that evolves from and is sustained by members’
products, and who are employable at start-up companies—the                          educational interests and social needs. The grant from the Osher
enterprising Professor Shastry has created a local economy                          Foundation will fund marketing efforts, additional staffing, and
with an experienced workforce, marketable technologies, and                         new programs for current and new members. New program
investment from outside sources. The program’s ability to                           efforts will focus on study groups, active learning trips, a
create radio transmitters, circuits, and microchips—which are in                    retirement weekend, and expanded intergenerational programs
demand in today’s technology driven world—allows companies                          with Bradley students.
like Validus to invest in the students and their ideas, rewarding
them with internship experiences while enrolled at Bradley and                      The Colleges of Engineering and Technology (EGT) and
employment after their commencement.                                                Liberal Arts and Sciences received an $850,000 grant from the

                                                                                                                    Awards, continued on page 6

    Awards, continued from page 5

Department of the Army. The project entitled, “Peoria Robotics
Internal Hemorrhage Simulator,” seeks to “build and test a system
for recording and subsequently simulating medical procedures.”
The Principal Investigator is EGT’s Donald V. Fites Chair, Dr. John
Engdahl, and Co-Principal Investigators include Drs. Julie Reyer,
Arnold Patton, Bob Podlasek, and Dean Kim of Bradley University.
Dr. Andy Chiou, of the Peoria Surgical Group and adjunct faculty
member of the CEGT, is also a co-principal investigator. With
research space at the Peoria NEXT Innovation Center, the team
of engineers, scientists, and medical professionals aim to create
cost-effective simulators in order to train large numbers of
first responders.

Dr. Joan L. Sattler, Dean of the College of Education and
Health Sciences, received a $60,000 grant from the Federation
of Independent Illinois Colleges and Universities. The grant
to prepare health professionals will provide equipment and
support program development. The purpose of the grant is to
“boost minority access to professional education in the critical
workforce shortage areas of nursing and allied health.” The
programs benefiting from the grant included nursing, health
sciences, dietetics, and physical therapy.

The Colleges of Engineering and Technology (EGT) and
Liberal Arts and Sciences have received a $600,000 grant
from the National Science Foundation to support scholarships
for academically talented, financially needy students to
enroll in science, math, and engineering degree programs.
The investigators include Drs. Julie Reyer (principal), Kelly
McConnaughay, Anika Bissahoyo, and Robert Bolla. The program
will provide scholarships and a comprehensive academic,
social, and career planning support system necessary to recruit
and retain these students from underrepresented classes.  A
special focus of the program will be students of color and first-
generation college students.

     The Observer is a Bradley Graduate
      School and Office of Sponsored                                  Are you Networked for Success?
          Programs Publication.
                                                                         Whether you are an employer or
    Written by
    Eric J. Seaman                                                    current or former graduate student…
                                                                      network with Bradley’s Smith Career
    Edited by
    Leslie Betz                                                                    Center online.
    Dr. Anika Bissahoyo
    Dr. Kurt Field
    Laura McGowan

       The Graduate School and Office of Sponsored Programs

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