Research

My research is focused on the synthesis and characterization of functional nano- and micro- structures with novel electronic and photonic properties. The research activities involve the synthesis of inorganic and organic semiconductors, surface chemistry, and nano- and micro-pattern assemblies. Photo-electrochemical techniques are used as characterization tools for fundamental heterogeneous charge transfer and photo-physical processes. In particular, I study how fundamental physical quanta-electrons, photons and phonons – are coupled to each other on the nanometer scale and can be manipulated to serve technological applications. Possible applications are in inorganic/organic semiconductors interfaces (IOI), nano-structured inorganic solar cells, thin solid oxide fuel cells, and hydrogen production.

Curiosity and motivation are not a function of age or academic degrees. I believe that research is the peak of intellectual readiness and that we should involve ready minds. I believe that the true teaching of chemistry should result in students becoming creators – not merely consumers – of knowledge. I have worked with a variety of students on electrochemical applications, and my students have gone on to submit their papers to professional and international journals. I help students not only to reproduce previous research work, but also to link this known research to further creative work. My objective is to help them see the worth of their research via marketable applications in industrial and academic areas.

In my work on transformation of energy, I have studied photo-induced charge transfer processes at modified semiconductor surfaces (thin films, colloidal, or nano-size particles) with structured or molecularly designed interfaces. My primary goal is to attain efficient capturing of free solar energy and its utilization in important applications such as hydrogen production, charge separation, and charge storage. I have published more than 70 articles in scientific journals, and my research has been recognized twice with an IU Kokomo distinguished research award. 

Chair for the Department of Sociology, Associate Professor of Sociology

Phone:
765-455-9428
Email:
wellern@iuk.edu

   

The broad objective of my research agenda is to contribute to the understanding of the differential outcomes that various social determinants have on adolescent health and risk behaviors. To advance this objective, I am working with two different community-based research programs: 1) HOPE mentoring and 2) Overdose Lifeline, Inc.

HOPE (Helping Offenders Prosper through Employment) is a statewide mentoring program in long-term juvenile correctional facilities at the Pendleton, Logansport, and LaPorte Juvenile Correctional Facilities of Indiana. HOPE recruits and trains undergraduate volunteers from multiple disciplines, from universities and colleges across Indiana, to serve as mentors to youth involved with the criminal justice system. Each mentor is matched with an incarcerated youth at the point of intake via referrals from the correctional staff. Mentors provide weekly mentoring throughout the confinement and in the community upon release. I serve as the site coordinator for the Logansport Juvenile Correctional Facility, providing support to both HOPE mentors and correctional staff at this site.

Since 2015, I have been part of the HOPE Leadership Team, which is a subset of colleagues that research incarceration, transition, employment, and social determinants related to youth incarceration in Indiana. During this time, I have assisted in securing more than $35,000 in funding from the IU Women’s Philanthropy Leadership Council, the IUK Women of the Well House, the Indiana Campus Compact, and the IU Global Gateway. Our work has a global presence. In 2018, we went to Norway to promote the expansion of HOPE; recently, we were invited to South Africa to train university and community leaders in the implementation of HOPE. In 2019, we launched the Latin America Institute of Juvenile Delinquency and Prevention with support from the IU Gateway office of Mexico City and in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Costa Rica, the National Autonomous University of Mexico, and local nongovernmental organizations in Mexico City. We have published manuscripts identifying the impact of HOPE mentoring for the incarcerated youth, for the undergraduate mentors, and for the communities in Corrections Today, Journal of Prison Education, and Intervention in School and Clinic.

Overdose Lifeline, Inc. is a statewide Indiana nonprofit dedicated to helping individuals, families, and communities affected by the disease of addiction and substance use disorder through advocacy, education, harm reduction, prevention, resources, and support. I have been working with Overdose Lifeline since 2017 in the implementation of the PreVenture Pilot Program – an evidence-based drug intervention and prevention curriculum – in high schools across seven counties in Indiana. I have secured more than $40,000 in funding to support my work with PreVenture from the IU Women’s Philanthropy Council, the Well House Society, the IUK Applied and Community Research Center, and IUK Grant-In-Aid. In fall 2019, we will be implementing a multi-level intervention program including PreVenture, TAG (teen-advisory groups), and This is Not About Drugs across identified schools in four Indiana counties.