Indiana State University Newsroom

Hews, Morales receive Dreiser Research and Creativity Award

April 25, 2013

Two Indiana State University faculty members have been honored with the 2013 Theodore Dreiser Distinguished Research and Creativity Award.

Diana Hews, professor of biology, and Aaron Michael Morales, associate professor of English and women's studies, received the award during the university's Faculty Recognition Banquet Thursday (April 25). Named for the early 20th century author who grew up in Terre Haute, the Dreiser Award recognizes full-time Indiana State faculty members who have made outstanding contributions to their disciplines.

Hews teaches physiology to undergraduate and graduate students. She has had nearly 50 peer-reviewed articles published in scientific journals and has authored several book chapters. Her research uses an integrative approach to study the physiology, ecology and evolution of animal aggression. Focusing on lizards, Hews is interested in species that differ in aggression and variables between males and females.

Since joining Indiana State's College of Arts and Sciences in 1995, Hews has obtained more than $880,000 in competitive extramural funding for her research, including a major four-year collaborative grant Hews received from the National Science Foundation. The funding allowed Hews to expand her research and form collaborations with researchers who are bringing their expertise to bear on her study system. Hews says she values funding that supports doctoral students as research assistants. Undergraduate researchers are also supported in the Hews lab with the NSF funding.

While at ISU, Hews also was an editor and an editorial board member for several international journals. She served four years as the elected scientific program officer for the Animal Behavior Society, and currently chairs the Division of Animal Behavior in the Society for Comparative and Integrative Biology.

"It is an honor to be selected for the Theodore Dreiser Award by a committee of my peers," Hews said. "As fellow faculty members, the selection committee members understand and recognize the efforts required for scholarship and contributions to knowledge, both of which help define core aspects of being a university professor."

Hews holds a master's degree in zoology from Oregon State University, a doctoral degree in zoology from the University of Texas at Austin, and performed postdoctoral work at Arizona State University funded by an individual National Research Service Award from the National Institutes of Health.

Morales has taught creative writing, contemporary literature, and gender studies courses since 2005. He also teaches literature courses for the university honors program and serves as co-coordinator of the women's studies program. He was received the Caleb Mills Distinguished Teaching Award in 2012.

Morales' creative publications include a chapbook of short fiction titled From Here You Can Almost See the End of the Desert and a novel titled Drowning Tucson. The novel was hailed by Esquire as the "bleakly human debut of the new Bukowski," was selected as a Top Five Fiction Debut by Poets & Writers, and was chosen as a "notable book of 2010" by the Chicago Tribune, Latina magazine, and Southwest Books of the Year. He has recently completed his second novel, Eat Your Children, and is at work on a third novel titled Latrinalia.

Morales has been nominated for three Pushcart Prizes for his short fiction publications and has been a finalist for the Indiana Authors Award, the Dana Award for the Novel, and the Premio Aztlan Award. His creative publications also include 16 works of short fiction, four works of creative nonfiction, two interviews with nationally acclaimed authors, and 13 book reviews, with several publications forthcoming. His work has appeared in numerous literary journals, including Passages North, Superstition Review, BULL: Men's Fiction, and Another Chicago Magazine. He has also authored a composition textbook titled American Mashup: A Popular Culture Reader (Pearson Education), and is at work on two additional textbooks on working class literature and contemporary Latino literature.

Morales has given presentations at the National Latino Writers Conference, the Pima Writers Conference, and the Association of Writers and Writing Programs. He has presented his work at dozens of universities, book festivals and special events around the country, and has co-written and performed in three separate performance art installations in Chicago. He serves as fiction editor of ISU's literary journal, Grasslands Review, and was invited to judge for the Martindale Literary Awards and the Indiana Arts Council's Individual Artist Grants Committee.

"The Theodore Dreiser Award has a rich history of honoring our university's most distinguished scholars and artists. To be included among the ranks of previous recipients is an honor that I do not take lightly," Morales said. "As a writer and an artist who strives to promote and represent the creative arts on our campus and beyond, it is rewarding and humbling to be recognized with the Dreiser Award. I am grateful for this recognition."

Morales holds a Masters in Fine Art in fiction writing from Purdue University.

Photo: - Diana Hews

Photo: - Aaron Michael Morales

Media contact: Dave Taylor, media relations director, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3743 or