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TAMUT – News


A&M-Texarkana Adjunct Faculty Member Receives Second National Science Foundation Fellowship for STEM Guitar Building.

TEXARKANA, Texas – Texas A&M University-Texarkana Adjunct Professor of Speech Tom Morrissey has received his second National Science Foundation fellowship since 2014. Morrissey, who spent 37 years teaching photography at the Community College of Rhode Island, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the Rhode Island School of Design has been playing the guitar since he was 16 years old. While in Rhode Island he began to study the art of guitar making with a local guitar builder, also known as a luthier.

Morrissey received his first NSF Fellowship for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Guitar Building in 2014, and received another fellowship for 2019. In June, he will travel to Houston, TX, with other luthiers to learn more about the science of guitar making and how it can relate to teaching STEM principals. The National Science foundation identifies 12 core STEM activities or lessons that are taught in guitar building, from the geometry of guitar bodies and fret spacing calculation to the physics of sound waves and guitar electronics.

Morrissey builds high-quality guitars in several styles under the brand name Veteran Guitar. A 17-year veteran and former helicopter pilot in Vietnam, he is in the process of rolling out a program where veterans gather for workshops where they can talk, learn a new skill, and even heal together while learning the art of guitar building.

To learn more about Morrissey and his guitars visit his website, To learn more about the National Science Foundation’s STEM Guitar program and institutes, visit


A&M-Texarkana Professor Wins Award for Published Work.

TEXARKANA, Texas – Texas A&M University-Texarkana Assistant Professor of Psychology Dr. Dana Leighton recently won a $1000 Preregistration Challenge prize from the Center for Open Science for publication of a recent article entitled “Political Extremity, Social Media Use, Social Support, and Well-being for Emerging Adults During the 2016 Presidential Election Campaign” in the journal Emerging Adulthood.

The prize, supported by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, was designed to help encourage the preregistration of scholarly research. The process of preregistration helps separate hypothesis-generating analysis from hypothesis-testing research and can aid in the quality and transparency of the study itself, according to the Center for Open Science. Dr. Leighton was the only professor from the 11 universities in the Texas A&M University System to receive the award.

Dr. Leighton’s research focused on how political extremity, social media use, and social support affected the overall well-being of adults between the ages of 18 and 29. The following is a brief synopsis of the research, taken from the published work:

The 2016 U.S. presidential election was marked by hostile political discourse, often on social media, where users were exposed to divergent, and potentially distressing civic discourse. This research explores the effects of this election on the well-being of emerging adults who receive the majority of their news via social media. Using data from the Emerging Adulthood Measured at Multiple Institutions 2 Study, we expected more significant social media use to be associated with higher perceived stress, and lower well-being, among emerging adults who are more politically extreme, and expected these relationships would be moderated by social support and social media use. Our preregistered analysis did not support our hypotheses. Although there were some effects of extremity on stress and well-being, overall the direction of the results was inconsistent, and neither social media use nor social support was found to moderate the effects of extremity on stress and well-being.

The full article published by Dr. Leighton can be found at the following link: More information about the preregistration of research is available from the Center for Open Science on the organization’s website: