Seed Grant Recipients

Congratulations 2018 University Provost Seed Grant Recipients!

Retaking America’s Historical Pulse: A National Survey 20 Years Later

Principal Investigator: Peter Burkholder, Ph.D., Professor, Social Sciences and History Department, Becton College

Abstract:  The project proposed is to re-run a modified form of Roy Rosenzweig & David Thelen’s national survey, the results of which were published as The Presence of the Past: Popular Uses of History in American Life (Columbia Univ. Press, 1998). In that study, R&T took the pulse of America’s interest and involvement in history. Among other things, the researchers learned that the general public is fascinated with the past, but mostly only on its own personal terms. The survey also queried respondents on sources for historical information and found the public often trusts resources that are unaligned with those of professionals, thus reinforcing the disconnect between academic and popular history. Nevertheless, history remained a popular choice of undergraduates in the 1990s.

The aim of the proposed phone-based, national survey is to ascertain how perceptions have changed since R&T’s original study. This is all the more important, since the general public now receives information about the past in ways that were only nascent (e.g., websites, 24-hour news channels) or simply did not exist (e.g., social media) in the 1990s. Approaches to teaching the past have likewise changed considerably in the interim, moving from a predominant “coverage” methodology to a growing school of “historical thinking.” Such developments and changes may have had an impact on the American public’s perceptions of the past, but no one has attempted to measure them in over two decades. If the problems alluded to in the preceding paragraph are to be addressed, then hard data are needed.

Development of 3D Printed Nanofilms for Long Lasting Analgesia

Principal Investigator: Hyunah Cho, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Pharmaceutical Sciences, School of Pharmacy

Abstract:  The ultimate goal of our research project is to develop an analgesic eluting bio-absorbable nanofilm that releases an non-opiod  drug providing long-lasting analgesia for maximum pain relief after major surgery while minimizing systemic side effect toxicity.  As a result, we anticipated that the frequency of postoperative opiod use can be significantly reduced.  In the proposed study, for the first step toward this goal, an analgesic eluting bio-absorbable nanofilm will be carefully designed and fabricated using a customizable 3D printing technique.  Its basic physiochemical properties and the blood toxicity will be determined, and based on the results, the construct will be modified accordingly.

Post-Secondary Education and Post-Incarceration: What Matters to Student Success

Principal Investigator: Amy Shlosberg, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Criminology, Social Sciences and History Department, Becton College

Abstract:  The positive relationship between education and post-release success is well established. However, there is a lack of focus on post-secondary education, specifically, after incarceration, and the mechanisms that produce student success among this population.

The proposed research will examine student success among a group of formerly incarcerated college students. No one theoretical perspective is comprehensive enough to account for all the factors that influence student success in post-secondary education. However, a review of the literature reveals several principles of student success that are well supported by higher education scholarship, and firmly grounded in research and theory.

Two key questions that have not been addressed are whether prison education spawns a greater interest in pursuing continuing education once the inmate is released, and what exactly student success means to those reentering society. In order to answer these questions, a series of semi-structured interviews will be conducted with formerly incarcerated individuals enrolled in post-secondary education settings.

Congratulations 2017 University Provost Seed Grant Recipients!

Biological and Behavioral Markers of Treatment Response for Adolescent Depression

Principal Investigator: Eleanor McGlinchey, Ph.D. School of Psychology, University College

Abstract: The goal of this research is to begin to delineate behavioral (sleep) and biological (inflammation) markers affecting treatment efficacy for adolescent depression. This is also the first study to examine whether an evidence-based psychotherapy for adolescent sleep disturbance is an effective and efficient treatment for adolescent depression. This research is aligned with the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Experimental Therapeutics strategy and Research Diagnostic Criteria (RDoC), examining the Arousal and Regulatory Systems (A&RS) domain. A multi-method approach will be used to investigate whether sleep (circadian rhythm stability, sleep continuity, quality) is linked to markers of systemic inflammation (e.g., elevated cortisol and low melatonin [6-SM]), and whether inflammation predicts treatment response.

FORESIGHT: A Multiscale Evidence-Based Approach to Predict Student Performance and Improve Retention in STEM Programs

Principal Investigator: Alevoor (Ravi) Rao, Ph.D., School of Computer Sciences and Engineering, University College

Abstract: A problem of national significance is the proper recruitment, training, and retention of STEM students. We propose an approach that integrates fine-grained data collected from student coursework throughout their studies at a university. Predictive models will be built using machine-learning algorithms and real-time metrics of student performance in courses as well as job placements and career paths followed. A novelty of this approach is to provide continuous personalized feedback to students so they stay engaged with their own growth and development. The visualization of future success is a key component, hence the name FORESIGHT.

Flexural Strengthening of Unbonded RC Beams with the Advanced Carbon Fiber Polymer (CFRP) Composites

Principal Investigator: Fares Jnaid, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Gildart Haase School of Computer Sciences and Engineering, University College

Abstract: This research program aims at examining the effects of loss of bond between reinforcing steel and surrounding concrete on the flexural behavior of reinforced concrete beams. In addition, this study will provide a rehabilitation scheme that restores the strength of deteriorated concrete and avoids the bond mode of failure.

Corrosion is the primary limit state in steel RC beams in severe environments. Corrosion of steel bars causes a decrease in steel bar section, loss of bond, and delamination of concrete cover. Very limited models have been developed for estimating the residual flexural strength of corroded RC beams. These models do not differentiate between the decrease in flexural strength due to loss of steel section, or due to loss of bond between the steel bars and the surrounding concrete.

This study will focus on strengthening of unbonded reinforced concrete beams, damaged by partial corrosion of the steel reinforcing bars or frequent overloads. The advanced carbon fiber reinforced polymer (CFRP) composites will be utilized to increase the flexural load carrying capacity of the beam, and changing the ultimate mode of failure from a bond to a ductile flexural failure. The results of this investigation will result in an improved strengthening design of corroded beams as well as corroded bridge girders.