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Summer scholars program promotes team research and proposal development


   

Karen Roberto Karen Roberto

BLACKSBURG, Va., Aug. 6, 2012 – Sixteen Virginia Tech faculty members were awarded resources to advance team research projects this summer, as part of Virginia Tech’s Institute for Society, Culture and Environment’s Summer Scholars Program.  

Teams of faculty members received between $15,000 and $30,000 to tackle interdisciplinary topics-based projects, with the expectation that their efforts will lead to a major externally funded research grant.  Of that group, one team received a summer scholars in-residence award, which means they received funding to spend focused time together as they refine their proposal ideas.

"The intent of the summer scholars in-residence program is for faculty to spend a significant amount of concentrated time together, without the interruptions of classes, professional travel, and vacations," said Karen Roberto, director of the Institute for Society, Culture and Environment, one of Virginia Tech’s seven research institutes. "As a group, they generate and discuss ideas, work through the methodology, and develop a proposal."

The aim of the entire summer scholars program -- both residents and non-residents -- is to provide faculty support for developing proposals in the social sciences, humanities and arts.

"The institute is particularly interested in supporting both relatively new investigators and more experienced investigators whose research or scholarship addresses issues of social and individual transformation directly tied to one of [the institute's] five thematic areas," Roberto said.

The five thematic investment areas are global issues; human development, social, behavioral and public health; rhetoric, representation, and public humanities; social complexity and individual risk; and community arts, built environments, and urban formations. 

2012 Summer Scholar Program recipients are

  • Ralph Buehler, assistant professor of Urban Affairs and Planning in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies, and Margaret Cowell, assistant professor of Urban Affairs and Planning in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies, are researching "Integrating Planning for Sustainable Economic Development and Transport: Lessons from Cities in Transition in Western Europe and the United States."
  • John Burton, professor of instructional design and technology in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, Kerry J. Redican, professor of population health sciences and co-director of the master of public health program in the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, Robert Grisso, professor of biological systems engineering in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and Don Ohanehi, research scientist in mechanical engineering in the College of Engineering, are researching "Training Modules for Farm Workers and Families: Skin Cancer Prevention by Intelligent Self-management of Cumulative Ultraviolet Exposure."
  • Brian Cook, professor and chair of the Center for Public Administration and Policy, in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies, and Michael D. Jones, assistant professor in the Center for Public Administration and Policy, in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies, are researching "The Political Dynamics of Climate Change Policy Design."
  • Julie Dunsmore, associate professor of psychology in the College of Science; Madlyn Frisard, assistant professor of human nutrition, foods, and exercise in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, in collaboration with David Berry, pediatrician at Lewis Gale Hospital, are researching "Obese by Nature or by Practice? Parent and Child Beliefs in Pediatric Weight Loss Intervention."
  • Katrina Powell, associate professor of English in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences and director of Women's and Gender Studies at Virginia Tech, James Hawdon, professor of sociology in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences and director of the Center for Peace Studies and Violence Prevention, and Donald Shoemaker, professor of sociology in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, are researching "Empowerment Programs in Sri Lanka: Measuring Impact across Rehabilitation."
  • Doris Zallen, professor of science and technology in society in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, is researching "Development of a Web-Based Aid to Guide Decisions Regarding Genetic Testing for Predisposition to Alzheimer’s Disease."
  • Yang Zhang, assistant professor of urban affairs and planning in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies, and John Randolph, professor of urban affairs and planning in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies, are researching "Developing a Policy Framework for Community Resilience Building After Disaster."

 2012 Summer Scholars-in-Residence recipients are

  • Jungmeen Kim-Spoon, associate professor of psychology in the College of Science, Brooks King-Casas, assistant professor in the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute and assistant professor of psychology in the College of Science, Warren Bickel, professor in the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute and professor of psychology in the College of Science, and Director of the Addiction Recovery Research Center, Pearl Chiu, assistant professor in the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute and assistant professor of psychology in the College of Science, and Kirby Deater-Deckard, professor of psychology in the College of Science, are researching "Multilevel Predictive Modeling of Risk Decision-making and Substance Use in Adolescence."

Seven Virginia Tech institutes support research and creative scholarship in strategically important areas, drawing upon the university's established strengths. The Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and Research Institute, the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, and the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute focus on national research priorities, including translational health and medical research, national security, and safe infrastructure. The Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science, Fralin Life Science Institute, and the Institute for Society, Culture, and Environment provide organizational and financial support to develop opportunities at the intersection of engineering, science, and medicine; target infectious disease; and advance human development. The Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology promotes creativity, critical thinking, and life-long learning.