Rissa Fleenor and Ashley Wichern

Bulls Notebook: USFSM students to present research at conference

By: Rich Shopes

Posted: June 02, 2017

SARASOTA, Fla. (June 2, 2017) – Two USF Sarasota-Manatee students have been asked to present their research at the American Society of Criminology’s annual conference in Philadelphia.

Ashley Wichern and Rissa Fleenor, students of criminologist Dr. Murat Haner, were asked to attend the Nov. 15-18 conference after submitting an application this past spring. Their research details the motivations of people outside the Mideast to travel to the region to join ISIS and other terrorist organizations.

Bulls Notebook: USFSM students to present research at conference

Dr. Murat Haner

The two based their research on studies by Dr. Haner and other academics who interviewed foreign fighters arrested sneaking across the Turkish border. The students then documented their findings on a large poster entitled, “The Phenomenon of Foreign Fighting Revisited: Have Motivations for Foreign Fighters Changed?”

“Ashley and Rissa are the first students within their major to present at this highly prestigious conference,” said Dr. Haner. “To date, even our graduate students have not been selected to present at this conference, but Ashely and Rissa, despite being undergraduates, were able to achieve this success. I am very proud of them.”

The ASC conference is the most prestigious conference within the criminology field. The annual event attracts hundreds of academics, students and law enforcement officers worldwide.

“I’m very excited about going,” said Wichern, 21, who will enter her senior year this fall. “It’s something that will help me learn, and it’s interesting in general to meet people who are also doing research and to see their research. Research is very interesting to me. I’m excited to see everyone else’s presentations.”

Wichern and Fleenor spent several months on the study. Their work yielded several reasons for why foreign fighters join ISIS and other terrorist groups.

One key motivator for many was peer pressure emanating from their religious communities, but for others the promise of jobs, housing and education opportunities proved an overriding factor. Still other fighters talked about adding meaning or purpose to their lives.

“Prior to this, I had never thought about terrorism that much or discussed much about it with my peers,” said Fleenor, 20, who graduated this spring and plans to start graduate school in criminal justice at USFSM this fall. “It’s definitely been eye-opening.”

The two students won’t travel to Philadelphia alone. They’ll be accompanied by Dr. Haner, fellow USFSM criminologist Dr. Jessica Grosholz and four students from USFSM’s Criminology Club.

USFSM to screen rowing documentary

The USF Women’s Rowing Steering Committee and the Bradenton Area Sports Commission will screen a documentary, “Dare to Be,” which focuses on rowing and how it empowers the human spirit.

This uplifting film follows a group of women rowers from novices to seasoned veterans training for the Olympics. The screening is free and open to the public.

The 91-minute film will be shown 7 p.m. Friday, June 9, at USF Sarasota-Manatee’s Selby Auditorium, 8350 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota.

Afterward, director Adam Reist will conduct a Q&A session with audience members.

For more information or to reserve a ticket, visit http://www.usfsm.edu/Daretobefilming.

USFSM professor presents research at South Korean conference

Bulls Notebook: USFSM students to present research at conference

Dr. Faizan Ali

Kudos to Dr. Faizan Ali who served as keynote speaker at last month’s Academy of Global Hospitality & Tourism Conference in Cheongju, South Korea, 50 miles south of Seoul.

An assistant professor in USFSM’s College of Hospitality & Tourism Leadership, Dr. Ali spoke on the “Usage of Partial Least Squares-Structural Equation Modeling in Hospitality and Tourism Research.”

He also presented a paper at the conference entitled, “Cruise Travelers’ Experience as an Antecedent of Well-Being Perceptions,” which was named Outstanding Paper from among 75 international submissions.

The May 26-28 conference was organized by the Korean Hospitality and Tourism Academe.

Earlier in May, Dr. Ali was elected as director of research to the Southeast, Central & South American Federation, under the International Council on Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Education.

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