Hand holding camera lens up to sky

New Lenses

Inspiration & exchange across the disciplines

For the last two years, many of us have deeply missed the good company of our colleagues. This new series—a joint initiative of the UI College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies, the Office of the Vice President for Research, and the Stanley Museum of Art—aims to re-inspire and reconnect us.

For each gathering in the Wide Lens series, researchers, scholars, and artists from across the university will briefly present their work on a shared topic of interest (pecha kucha–style). Then, we'll open the floor to questions and conviviality over hors d'oeuvres and drinks at the ever-inspiring Stanley Museum of Art.

Wide Lens is sponsored by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies, the Office of the Vice President for Research, and the Stanley Museum of Art. These events are free and open to all.

Join us for our inaugural event:

Wide Lens: WATER

Thursday, December 1, 2022
4:00–5:30 p.m.
Stanley Museum of Art

Does your inspirational well run dry at semester’s end? Join us for a flood of ideas about water. In this first of several pecha kucha gatherings, we invite you to an afternoon of rapid-fire research stories that look at water from fascinatingly different angles, then to connect with colleagues from across the University over food and drink in the beautiful, new Stanley Museum of Art.

Free and open to all; no RSVP necessary.

20 slides per presenter, 20 seconds per slide

  1. Jean-François Charles, Music, CLAS — Sounding Water
  2. Rob Rouphail, History, CLAS — The Black Water of the Indian Ocean
  3. Samantha Zuhlke, Planning and Public Affairs, Graduate College — Citizen-Consumers, Drinking Water, and Public Distrust 
  4. Terry Conrad, Art and Art History, CLAS — Ocean as Printshop
  5. Michelle Scherer, Civil & Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering — Get the Lead Out of Iowans’ Drinking Water!

Moderator — David Cwiertny, Civil and Environmental Engineering and Center for Health Effects of Environmental Contamination, College of Engineering and CLAS

Ruthless Timekeeper — Teresa Mangum, Obermann Center for Advanced Studies, Office of the Vice President for Research

Additional Hosts — Roland Racevskis, Associate Dean for the Arts and Humanities, CLAS; Kristy Nabhan-Warren, Associate Vice President for Research in the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences

About the presenters & moderator:

Jean-François Charles

Jean-François Charles


Jean-François Charles creates at the crossroads of music and technology; for instance, his recent album Jamshid Jam (with Ramin Roshandel) is a collision of classical Persian music with live electronic sampling and remixing. When he arrived at the University of Iowa, Jean-François Charles met with Scientific Glassblower Benjamin Revis. This led to the creation of Aqua ignis, a concerto for double bass where the orchestra is made of glass, from Rijke tubes to a unique Bernard Gitton-inspired Water Clock.

Terry Conrad

Terry Conrad


Terry Conrad is a 2017 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow in Drawing, Printmaking, and Book Arts. He was the 2015-16 Grant Wood Fellow in Printmaking and in 2017 he took a position as an Assistant Professor in Printmaking at the University of Iowa. 

Two-person and solo exhibitions have been at the New Art Center (Newton, MA), Good Weather Gallery (North Little Rock, AR) and Vox Populi (Philadelphia, PA). Terry has also been in group exhibitions nationally and internationally. He has been awarded residencies at Frans Masereel Centrum (Belgium), Penland School of Craft (North Carolina) and the Vermont Studio Center. Terry is interested in the community and social aspects of printmaking. In 2014, he was awarded a SPAF/NYSCA grant to develop the Adirondack Forum, a collapsible venue made of old printing blocks and other found wood that functioned as a meeting place, performance space, and classroom. 

Robert Rouphail

Rob Rouphail


Rob Rouphail is an assistant professor of environmental history. As an environmental historian of the Indian Ocean, water lies at the heart of Rob’s research. He examines how the ocean’s waters produce cyclonic storms, how the rains that come with those storms reshaped the agricultural landscapes of the Indian Ocean, and how the destruction they brought compelled communities to reimagine the role of the ocean in communal histories of exile and diaspora across the waters of the Indian Ocean.

Michelle Scherer

Michelle Scherer


Michelle Scherer is University of Iowa Distinguished Chair and Professor in the College of Engineering. Her research considers environmental geochemistry, in particular redox-reactions at mineral-water interfaces. She is involved with a University of Iowa project to monitor the levels of lead in Iowan drinking water, which is known to impact children's physical and mental capacity. While the Flint water crisis occurred due to city-wide changes in water sources and poor control of corrosion, Iowan homes often have sources of lead in their own plumbing, and need lead monitoring at the tap.

In 2009, she was awarded the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors Distinguished Service Award, and in 2014, she joined the United States Environmental Protection Agency Advisory Board.

Samantha Zuhlke

Samantha Zuhlke


Samantha Zuhlke is an Assistant Professor in the School of Planning and Public Affairs. Her research and teaching center on public policy, public administration, and environmental politics. Sam's current research agenda investigates how political forces like social construction and policy feedback shape the U.S. nonprofit sector through partisanship and political competition. More broadly, she is interested in the intersection of geography and political science, including environmental politics, environmental justice, and developing new methods of spatial analysis. Prior to receiving her Ph.D. from Texas A&M University, Sam worked at the National Geographic Society from 2010-2016, producing K-12 classroom materials to support geography education.

David Cwiertny

David Cwiertny


David Cwiertny is the William D. Ashton Professor in Civil & Environmental Engineering, and he also directs the Center for Health Effects of Environmental Contamination. David’s research focuses on how pollutants behave in the environment, the harms they cause to people and ecosystems, and the development of tools to clean water for public health protection.