Institutional Awards

The Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds. $20,000.  (Julie Vastine/ALLARM)  “Shale-Gas Monitoring Data Portal” This grant will enable ALLARM to work with CitSci.org to support the development of a shale-gas monitoring data portal that will help volunteer monitors who are collecting and analyzing water quality data in small streams throughout Pennsylvania’s shale gas basins compile, interpret, and share their results. The goal of the proposed data portal is to motivate volunteers to continue monitoring and make it possible for volunteers to easily manage, visualize, communicate, and share data.

The Donald B. and Dorothy L. Stabler Foundation. $520,000.  This grant supplements our existing Donald B. and Dorothy L. Stabler Endowed Scholarship Fund to provide additional tuition assistance to worthy students to support their pursuit of a Dickinson College undergraduate education.  

Max Kade Foundation. $12,000. This grant will support a Max Kade German Writer-in-Residence at Dickinson College during the spring semester of 2015. Austrian writer Thomas Glavinic will be coming to Dickinson in the spring 2015 semester.  Prof. Kamaal Haque will be teaching a senior seminar for German majors during this time, which is a capstone experience of German studies at Dickinson. The topic of the senior seminar will be “Mountains in German Culture,” which Glavinic’s own work addresses. In addition, Prof. Sarah McGaughey had her students read one of Glavinic’s works in her Contemporary German Literature course this fall, so several students will have already read Glavinic’s works before he steps on campus. We are hopeful that he will be able to make visits to several other courses, including Exploring German Cultures (German 210) and our 200-level intermediate German courses. Finally, we look forward to having him deliver one public reading from his literary works, for which we will advertise widely on campus and among area colleges in Pennsylvania. The Department of German also will help him organize a reading tour at various colleges and universities on the East Coast if he desires.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, $353,100. Julie Vastine, ALLARM. The Alliance for Aquatic Resource Monitoring (ALLARM) housed out of Dickinson College in Carlisle, PA is partnering been with the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay (ACB) on their project funded by the U.S. EPA titled "Integration of Citizen-based Monitoring and Nontraditional Monitoring Partners into the Chesapeake Bay Program Partnership". ALLARM role in this project is to help develop monitoring protocols, create quality assurance project plans, develop monitoring training tools from chemical monitoring to data interpretation workshops, and identify and coordinate volunteer monitors and watershed associations in Pennsylvania and southern tier of New York.

U.S. Department of State FY14 U.S.-Russia Peer-to-Peer Dialogue Program, $76,573. (Alyssa DeBlasio, Elena Duzs, Russian Department).  Dickinson College and the Russian State University for the Humanities (RSUH) propose a two-way scholar exchange with the primary goal of exchanging best practices in liberal arts teaching, both in-person and virtually. The exchange has three parts: A) two Dickinson professors will spend a semester at RSUH holding workshops and helping to develop new English-language seminar-style courses; B) a n RSUH Jr. Scholars will spend a semester at Dickinson on teaching internships where they will bring Russian pedagogy to Dickinson and gain invaluable teaching experience in the American classroom; and C) a RSUH professor will spend a semester at Dickinson, exposing the broader student body to excellence in Russian pedagogy. A two-way scholar exchange will place faculty and students from Russia and the US in consistent dialogue with their peers—face-to-face at first, and then through Skype and blogging. This exchange will deepen the already established partnership between the two institutions as they work together towards their mutual commitment to the liberal arts model, which prepares students for life-long service to the community as global citizens.

Partnership for Better Health – Mini Grant. $1,800. (Joyce Bylander, Student Development) “CONNECT/CALC Collaboration” The CONNECT/CALC Collaboration between Dickinson College and Carlisle Arts Learning Center is a unique 4 week summer program that is targeted at enriching the lives of up to 24 at-risk teens. The program will operate June 30-July 25 and each week will have a thematic emphasis, including: Natural Art & Healthy Living; Seeing Our Lives Through the Lens & Through Creative Writing; Architecture/Sculpture Week: Building Art & Building Ourselves; and Curating & Exhibiting: For Today and For the Future. Funding provided in part by the Partnership for Better Health.

Faculty Awards

Spencer Foundation – Small Research Grant. $49,998. (Amy Steinbugler, Sociology) “Parents’ School & Neighborhood Ties: Network Advantages in the Era of School Choice.” Schools are key organizational contexts through which parents can develop relationships with other parents. Parent-teacher associations, fundraising committees, and booster clubs provide structures for parents to interact frequently, durably, and in a focused manner on behalf of their children. Numerous studies identify the consequences of these connections for parents and their children, from channeling information and advice, to providing emotional support, to encouraging involvement (Cochran & Niego, 2002; Dika & Singh, 2002; Horvat et al., 2003). There is also important research to suggest that neighborhoods are vital components of personal networks (Campbell and Lee 1992), especially for parents. Grannis (2009) demonstrates that households with children are far more involved in neighborhood life than those without children. For roughly 70% of Americans whose children attend designated (as opposed to chosen) public schools, neighborhoods and schools form overlapping parent networks (NCES 2009). But the organizational context through which schools serve and connect parents is changing. The rise of school choice has meant that parents’ school-based and neighborhood communities are less likely to overlap. The consequences of this shifting educational terrain for parents’ networks are unclear. In this social network study of 70 urban parents, we examine the school and neighborhood-based networks of two groups of parents: “locals” who live within the school neighborhood, and “non-locals” who live outside of the school neighborhood. We examine three key research questions: 1) How do the school and neighborhood networks of local and non-local parents differ? 2) What kind of resources are exchanged across these networks? 3) What kinds of network advantages and disadvantages does each group experience? 

American Chemical Society - Division of Chemical Education - Dorothy and Moses Passer Education Grant. $1,000. (Sarah St. Angelo, Chemistry) This grant will support travel to an IONiC VIPEr workshop on inorganic catalysis to be held at the University of Washington during the summer of 2015. This week-long workshop combines teaching and research activities related to the field of inorganic catalysis.

Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources – South Mountain Partnership. $10,000. (Kristin Strock, Environmental Studies and Environmental Science) “Protecting and Managing Laurel Lake in the Face of Environmental Change” This project aims to better understand the physical and chemical properties of Laurel Lake in Pine Grove Furnace State Park. During the last century, summer water temperatures of over 100 large lakes around the world have increased. This observed temperature change has the potential to complicate lake management as it greatly influences aquatic habitat quality. Currently, little is known about how lakes and reservoirs in Pennsylvania have changed over time and how seasonal variability in lake temperature may affect important recreational components like fish habitat. By deploying a small sensor buoy on Laurel Lake, the lake’s managers will be given high resolution temperature and oxygen data outlining the conditions of the lake in various habitat zones (warm, mixed, surface waters and cool, deeper waters). High frequency sensor data will be supplemented by bi-weekly monitoring of lake chemistry (pH, conductivity, and concentrations of nitrogen and phosphorus) and the biological communities in the lake (including algae and zooplankton). This approach will better inform lake management through the integration of: 1) an expanded knowledge base that links lake water quality to various environmental factors and seasonal changes in weather, and 2) enhanced communication of the effects of environmental change on this valuable resource to the public.

Center for Rural Pennsylvania, $23,129. (David Sarcone, Health Studies). “Exploring Health Care Alliances in Rural Pennsylvania” is Dickinson’s portion of a $50,000 collaborative research grant with Shippensburg University. This research will examine the formation of health care alliances; their effect on rural community health care capacity: and, the potential of these alliances to better meet the needs of rural communities, while remaining aware and respectful of traditional methods of health care provision valued by the residents of these communities.

Botstiber Institute for Austrian-American Studies 2014-2015 Grants. $2,500. (Edward Muston, German) “Serbia by Way of the U.S.A.: Using Handke’s Imaginary America as a Guide for his Controversial Travel in the Former Yugoslavia.” The Botstiber Institute for Austrian-American Studies (BIAAS) funds projects aimed at promoting an understanding of the historic relationship between the United States and Austria in the fields of history, politics, economics, law and cultural studies. Grants provide support for related lectures, seminars, workshops, conferences, and documentaries.

National Science Foundation – Chemistry of Life Processes. $217,583. (Rebecca Connor, Chemistry) “RUI: Electrophilic Modulation of the Heat Shock Response System.” The proposed research will identify the amino acids within the heat shock transcription factor (Hsf1) modified by electrophilic natural products (such as parthenolide and derivatives) and model electrophilic compounds using liquid-chromatography/mass spectrometry. Once identified, the effect of these modifications on the interaction of Hsf1 with other heat shock proteins will be determined using bio-layer optical interferometry for measurement of binding affinity and electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA). Recombinant Hsf1 containing mutations at the identified modification sites will also be studied using interferometry and EMSA. Some of these mutant proteins will be generated through the introduction of a protein mutation and purification module in my Chem/Bio 342 class (Structure and Function of Biomolecules). The publication of this module represents part of the broader impacts of the grant to the biochemical education literature. The effects of modification by electrophiles on the chaperone ability of heat shock proteins 70 and 90 will also be determined using luciferase re-folding assays. The effect of potential chemotherapeutics as well as endogenously created electrophiles on the heat shock response of human cells has implications with respect to the toxicology of electrophilic compounds.

National Science Foundation, Ocean Acidification program. $248,040. (Tony Pires, Biology). “Ocean Acidification/Collaborative Research/RUI: Effects of Ocean Acidification on Larval Competence, Metamorphosis, and Juvenile Performance in a Planktotrophic Gastropod.” This three-year collaborative project (with Tufts University) will take place on the Dickinson campus during the academic year and at the University of Washington’s Friday Harbor Labs during the summer. The research goals are to understand how ocean acidification, caused by rising atmospheric carbon dioxide, affects the life history of marine organisms. Although there has been much recent work on the effects of acidification on growth and development of marine organisms, there has been little attention to effects on metamorphosis, which is the transition between larval and juvenile life stages in most marine animals. There also has been little attention to “latent effects” of acidification, that is, how exposure to acidified conditions during the larval stage might impact later life history stages.

Partnership for Better Health, Health Markets Analysis Program. $40,000. (David Sarcone, IB&M). Prof. Sarcone, in collaboration with Chad Kimmel of Shippensburg University, will conduct a business market analysis that will generate a clearer understanding of the demand for specific health services in Perry County, including a focus on health services for residents who lack adequate health insurance.

National Science Foundation. $256,855. (John Henson, Biology) “COLLABORATIVE RESEARCH/RUI: G protein regulation of the actin cytoskeleton in the cleavage stage embryo.” Many fundamental aspects of cell architecture and behavior are mediated by a series of structural and motor proteins that comprise the “cytoskeleton.”  Filaments composed of the protein actin are one main element of the cytoskeleton and in conjunction with a large contingent of actin binding proteins and the myosin family motor proteins, they help mediate cell movement, shape change and division. The complex structural organization and regulation of the actin cytoskeleton has been extensively studied in highly motile, polarized and flattened cultured cells. This proposal plans to investigate the regulation and organization of actin in a large and unpolarized spherical cell, the sea urchin first division embryo. This long standing developmental biology experimental model offers some unique advantages including the ability to track actin dynamics in the living cell as well as the availability of specific treatments to interfere with aspects of actin cytoskeletal function. The proposed studies will employ sophisticated microscopic, molecular and pharmacological approaches to investigate the regulation and organization of the actin cytoskeleton underlying the changes that take place at the surface of the sea urchin embryo post fertilization and those that accompany the division of the cell during the process of cytokinesis. (Collaborating institution: New Mexico State University)

University of California at Santa Barbara, Carsey-Wolf Center – Connected Viewing Initiative. $4,625. (Greg Steirer, English and Film Studies) “Beyond Minnows and Whales: Reconstructing Mobile Gaming for the Cross-Platform Franchise.” Though an important aspect of game companies’ product portfolios, most free-to-play mobile games generate little to no revenue from the majority of those who play them, instead depending upon a tiny group of high-spending players, typically referred to as “whales.” Though in theory this leaves a large market of still untapped consumers, experiments over the last few years with microtransaction design and pricing structures have demonstrated the extreme difficulty of translating these non-paying consumers of free-to-play games (“minnows”) into consistent paying customers. This study will employ a mixed-methods research approach, organized around a number of specific case studies in mobile-console connectivity and cross-platform monetization. The deliverable will consist of an overview of consumer responses to different kinds of mobile-console connectivity initiatives as well as an analysis of emerging best practices for the use of mobile in cross-platform franchise management.

Student Awards

Environmental Protection Agency Greater Research Opportunities (EPA-GRO) Program. $50,000. (Zev Greenberg ‘16, Chemistry). The EPA-GRO program encourages promising students to pursue careers in environmentally-related fields and to continue their education beyond the baccalaureate level. The program will help offset two years of college costs, plus provide an internship with EPA in summer 2015.