Lisa Dierker, chair and professor of psychology, and David Beveridge, the University Professor of the Sciences and Mathematics, professor of chemistry, received a $174,999 grant from the National Science Foundation. The grant will support an inquiry based, supportive approach to statistical reasoning and applications. The award will be applied Jan. 1, 2010 through Dec. 31, 2012.
Tag Archive for Grants
by David Low •
Documentary filmmaker James Longley ’94 has been awarded the prestigious $500,000 MacArthur grant, along with 23 other recipients. Longley’s low-budget, self-financed films are intimate portraits of people in politically volatile countries in the Middle East. While working on his documentaries, Longley lived among ordinary families and gained access to individuals living in places rarely recorded by Western filmmakers.
Two of Longley’s works, Iraq in Fragments (2006) and Sari’s Mother (2006), were nominated for Academy Awards. Iraq in Fragments chronicles life in war-ravaged Iraq through the eyes of an abandoned young boy on the streets of Baghdad, the collective energy and obsession of Moqtada al-Sadr’s followers, and the agrarian solemnity of Kurdish family farmers. The short film Sari’s Mother deals with a family struggling to navigate the labyrinthine health care system in Iraq.
In 2002, Longley founded Daylight Factory, a production company committed to creating documentary films about international subjects. His current projects focus on Iran, India, and other countries in the region.
Link to James Longley biography on MacArthur Foundation site:
by David Pesci •
5 Questions is a new feature in The Wesleyan Connection that will ask faculty members – surprise! – five questions about their work and activities.
This issue, the questions go to Edward Moran, chair and associate professor of astronomy and director of the Van Vleck Observatory. His primary area of study is black holes. This summer he received a major National Science Foundation (NSF) grant for an extensive study on “intermediate mass” black holes.
Q: Everyone thinks they know, but once and for all: what is a black hole?
EM: Technically, black holes are places where matter has been crushed down to a single point. In other words, blacks hole can have the mass of a star but absolutely no size. They therefore have infinite density and, in their immediate vicinity, an extremely intense gravitational field.
Q: How are black holes created?
EM: We only know how stellar-mass black holes are created, which is from the explosions of very large stars. As for the types of black holes I study, the “supermassive” black holes that are found at the centers of galaxies, how they are created and what their initial masses are remain open questions at this time. I’m trying
NSF Grant Lets Shusterman Study Connections Between Children’s Acquisition of Language, Number Concepts
by Corrina Kerr •
Anna Shusterman, assistant professor of psychology, recently received a five-year, $716,227 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study “The role of language in children’s acquisition of number concepts.” Shusterman will be evaluating 3-to-5-year-old hearing children in her Cognitive Development Laboratory at Wesleyan. She also will be studying deaf and hard-of-hearing children of the same ages who are learning English to try to determine how language delays affect children’s learning of number concepts.
The grant, which begins this year, comes from the National Science Foundation’s Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) program. The program is only available to non-tenured faculty. Researchers may apply a total of three times to the program; Shusterman was awarded the grant on her first application.
“The CAREER Program truly provides NSF’s most prestigious awards in support of junior faculty and demonstrates
by Olivia Drake •
With a boost from National Endowment for the Arts, Angel Gil-Ordóñez’s Washington DC-based orchestra will continue making music for seasons to come.
Gil-Ordóñez, music director of the Wesleyan Orchestra, adjunct professor of music, director of private lessons, chamber music and ensembles, learned that his Post-Classical Ensemble received a $50,000 grant from The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). The award is made possible through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
“We are still jumping for joy,” Gil-Ordóñez says. “It is such an honor, and reassurance that the NEA and the Recovery Act consider that our work must be assured continuity.”
Gil-Ordóñez and artist
by Olivia Drake •
The Etherington Scholarship Program received a grant worth $2,000 from the Liberty Bank Foundation on July 6. The Etherington Scholarships offer outstanding students from Connecticut community colleges a chance to attend Wesleyan.
by David Pesci •
Ann Burke, associate professor of biology, recently received a three-year, $395,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study the development and evolution of the shoulder girdle using transgenic mice, frog and salamander.
The mice will be generated in collaboration with a lab at the University of Michigan and will allow Burke and her associates to turn off Hox genes, which are specific patterning genes, in specific sub populations of the embryonic mesoderm that make the musculoskeletal tissues.
“Comparing the dynamics of gene expression and cell interactions during the formation of the pectoral region in a variety of embryos will help us understand the evolution of these musculoskeletal structures and the dramatic variations among vertebrate lineages associated with adaptations for different locomotor strategies, like swimming, scurrying, crawling and flying,” Burke explains.
The frog and salamander experiments will use transplants of mesoderm between wild type embryos and embryos that have Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) expressed in all their cells, allowing Burke and her associates to fate map mesodermal cell populations.
Fate mapping is determining which cellular structures in the embryo give rise to which adult structures.
“We do this by transplanting the embryonic structure from a labeled embryo (GFP in this case) into the same spot in an unlabeled embryo, and tracing the ‘fate’ of the labeled cells, that is which adult structure they end up in,” Burke says.
Burke also received a two-year $100,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to use the same amphibian systems (salamander and frog) to develop a model system for understanding body wall defects in humans.
The grants will provide funds for a team of researchers at Wesleyan working with Professor Burke on these projects, including a postdoctoral fellow, graduate students and undergraduates.
“Receiving these two new federal grants, plus a grant from the Eppley foundation earlier this year, is a remarkable accomplishment in any year, but particularly this year as funding levels have dropped precipitously,” says Jan Naegele, professor of biology, professor of neuroscience and behavior.
by David Pesci •
Ann Burke, associate professor of biology, received a three-year, $395,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study the development and evolution of the shoulder girdle using transgenic mice, frog and salamander. She also received a two-year $100,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to use the same amphibian systems (salamander and frog) to develop a model system for understanding body wall defects in humans.The grants will provide funds for a team of researchers at Wesleyan working with Burke on these projects, including a postdoctoral fellow, graduate students and undergraduates.
by Olivia Drake •
Lisa Dierker, associate professor of psychology, and Jennifer Rose, research associate professor of psychology, received a grant worth $521,938 from the National Institute of Health/National Institute on Drug Abuse on May 14. The grant was issued under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
Dierker and Rose are researching “Individual Differences in Smoking Exposure and Nicotine Dependence Sensitivity.” The grant will be applied over two years.
by Corrina Kerr •
Before the internationally-known social network site Facebook existed, there was Social Psychology Network (SPN), founded at Wesleyan in 1996 by professor of psychology Scott Plous. Three years after launching his site, Plous received a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to enhance SPN. Now NSF is providing a new $700,000 grant to help Plous transform the site into a full featured social networking service for visitors and its approximately 2,000 members across the world.
The primary users of SPN are researchers, educators, students, and others interested in psychology. According to the site’s usage page, more than 10,000 people from over 100 countries visit the Social Psychology Network in a typical 24-hour period. All told, SPN’s pages have been visited more than 160 million times over the past decade.
The new NSF grant provides support for Plous to hire a social networking specialist to add more Web 2.0 functionality. Currently, the site is operated by a small team consisting of Plous, executive director; David Jensenius, system administrator; Mike Lestik, web designer; Jen Spiller, senior web editor; R.J. Herrick, web programmer; and a few student assistants.
Plous says that the grant will allow SPN to bring the latest web-based networking technologies to the social psychology community. When this work is completed, users will be able to link their profiles to “colleagues” (similar to “friends” in Facebook) and establish mini-networks based on shared research interests, career level, geographic location or other attributes. Users will also be able to track each other’s publications, subscribe to profiles, and be notified of new content.
These features build on interactive and subscription-based services that Social Psychology Network has already developed. For example, SPN offers RSS feeds, Twitter updates, and a Google “mash-up” in which the global network of SPN profiles can be searched geographically. The Network’s searchable directory also includes nearly 700 Media Contacts willing to talk with reporters about behavioral science topics, and over 450 SPN Mentors offering free career assistance to students from underrepresented groups.
“Scott Plous’ continued success at securing significant financial support is a strong endorsement of his efforts to support the global dissemination of knowledge and facilitate communication among scholars worldwide,” says Ruth Striegel-Moore, professor and chair of psychology.
“Credit is also due to Information Technology Services and the Administration for their early support in the development of Social Psychology Network. And, of course, SPN thrives thanks to Plous’ vision, creativity, and boundless energy,” Striegel-Moore says.
by Olivia Drake •
Scott Plous, professor of psychology, received a $700,000 grant from the National Science Foundation for the Social Psychology Network. Plous founded the web-based presence in 1996.
The grant will be used to transform the site into a full featured social networking service for visitors and its approximately 2,000 members across the world. For more information read the accompanying article in The Wesleyan Connection.
by Olivia Drake •
Born and raised in Africa’s largest slum, Kennedy Odede ’12 witnessed abuse, rape, domestic violence and general mistreatment of school-aged girls in his community. His own sister, at age 17, gave birth to a baby recently as a result of rape.
Sadly, this is the norm. Without access to education, many of the girls are forced into commercial sex work at early ages. The Kenyan Government views the slum, named Kibera, as an illegal settlement and therefore does not provide any services or government-funded schools.
“Girls in my community lose their hope of ever attaining an education and ever leaving the slum,” Odede explains.
As 2009 Davis Projects for Peace grant recipients, Odede and his project partner Jessica Posner ’09 hope to make a difference in these girls’ lives by constructing the slum’s first all-girls school called the Kibera School for Girls. Project for Peace awards, worth $10,000, are designed to encourage and support today’s motivated youth to create and tryout their own ideas for building peace.
The school will offer 105 girls in grades K through six a high-quality formal education based on Montessori school teachings, as well as daily nourishment, self-empowerment, and a refuge from the pressures of the slum. By preparing students for higher education and skilled jobs, Posner says the school will keep the girls out of prostitution and offer them a potential path out of the slum.
“Our hope is that after they leave the school, they will be academically qualified for scholarships at prestigious government boarding schools, and can eventually attend college,” Posner says.