14 faculty members at Eastern Michigan University are first to receive funding from GameAbove Faculty First $2 million gift

The alumni group’s recent donation shows quick results with funding of wide range of initiatives

EMU campus in the spring

YPSILANTI – Eastern Michigan University faculty members will pursue 14 special projects with funding from the GameAbove alumni group, part of an overall gift of $2 million to support faculty development. The initial GameAbove Faculty First awards total $47,950.

These 14 awards represent the first of several funding opportunities made possible by the GameAbove Faculty First initiative announced on Nov. 11.

“It was extremely important for us to engage quickly and effectively with our faculty upon receiving the generous donation from GameAbove,” said Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs Rhonda Longworth. “Fortunately, we had an existing structure within which faculty apply for professional development and research awards. We are thrilled the word is getting out to our faculty and that we are already able to support their efforts, thanks to GameAbove.”

GameAbove is a diverse group of passionate Eastern alumni who desire to give back to the University through supporting campus initiatives focused on research, entrepreneurship, student support and innovation.

The purpose of the Faculty First awards program is to facilitate faculty professional development through activities such as research, curriculum development, community service, and professional travel and training. Faculty can apply to be considered at the GameAbove faculty application site

Since the initial gift in November, GameAbove has donated more than $13 million to academic, student support and athletic programs at Eastern. Complete details about the various gifts can be found on the Eastern Michigan University GameAbove website.

The initial GameAbove Faculty First awards support faculty from the College of Arts and Sciences (six), the College of Health and Human Services (three), the College of Education (three), and the College of Engineering and Technology (two). Faculty members receiving awards include:


Meriam Caboral-Stevens
Meriam Caboral-Stevens

Meriam Caboral-Stevens (School of Nursing): “Physical Health Status of Bangladeshi Men Living in Hamtramck”
Meriam Caboral-Stevens and the EMU CDC REACH team, an element of a recent Centers for Disease Control grant to help Eastern improve health disparities among Asian-Americans across Michigan, will be organizing a community event in spring 2020 to increase awareness of Bangladeshi men in Michigan regarding physical activity and exercise. Questionnaires will be distributed to assess knowledge and awareness of physical activity, and biometric measures, such as blood pressure, will be checked to examine physical health status. This project is a local response to a reported upward trend of cardiovascular disease among Bangladeshi Americans in the New York region.


Howard Cass
Howard Cass


Howard Cass (School of Music and Dance): “Purchase of Software for Theatre and Dance Projects”
Howard Cass will be obtaining up-to-date music software and equipment, “Native Instruments Komplete 12 Ultimate and Vienna Symphonic Library - Standard Library,” which will be utilized to compose, perform, and record original productions at EMU and other venues. These two softwares are primary systems used to create professional film scores and recorded music for theater, and will be a valuable asset for future EMU Theatre productions and special events.


Greenwald, K
Katherine Greenwald

Katherine Greenwald (Department of Biology): “Are Urban Snakes Eating Invasive Species? Using DNA Barcoding for Diet Analysis”. Katherine Greenwald and graduate student Molly Dixon are investigating the diets of two pairs of snakes in Washtenaw County and their important ecological role in controlling invasive species in urban areas. The central goal of this research is to protect biodiversity and the ecosystem services that biodiverse ecosystems provide. Additionally, they hope to inform management of urban wildlife and bring Eastern to the forefront of science and technology with the introduction and application of DNA barcoding. 


Kahn, T
Tareq Khan

Tareq Khan (School of Engineering & Technology): “Internet of Things Connected Smart Mailbox with Automatic Delivery Notification”
Tareq Khan will be developing a novel Internet of Things (IoT) connected smart mailbox, which will send a notification to the owner’s smartphone when mail has arrived. This will help recipients to know when an important letter has been delivered or to avoid unnecessary trips to the mailbox. Additionally, Dr. Khan will be creating a smartphone app to connect to the smart mailbox along with developing a solar charging system. 


Deborah Laurin
Deborah Laurin

Deborah Laurin (Department of Teacher Education): “Anti-bias Curriculum: Project-based Learning Using a Persona Doll Approach with Preservice Early Childhood Educators”
Deborah Laurin will be implementing Persona dolls within ECE 307 “Diverse Children, Families, and Communities” course at EMU. This project will train early childhood education preservice teachers to facilitate conversations with peers on racial and ethnic diversity, illness, hospitalization, special needs, prejudice, etc. This approach promotes psychosocial development of children, encouraging empathy and ethical values. Each Persona Doll will have its own story through its own identity, social class background, family situation, abilities and disabilities, fears and interests. 


Andrew Mansfield
Andrew Mansfield

Andrew Mansfield (School of Engineering & Technology): “Developing a Batch Reactor to Investigate Supercritical Chemistry for Biomass-to-Energy”
Andrew Mansfield and his team of graduate and undergraduate students will be designing and constructing a constant volume Batch Reactor facility. They will use this facility to rapidly heat reactants to supercritical conditions and then cool. Once cooled, they will analyze the gas chromatography and mass spectrometry systems.


Christina Marsack-Topolewski
Christina Marsack-Topolewski

Christina Marsack-Topolewski (School of Social Work): “Social Media Use among Caregivers of Individuals with IDDs and Dementia”
Christina Marsack-Topolewski will be conducting a qualitative analysis of data shared on social media platforms by family caregivers of aging adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDDs). Specifically, she will look at how family caregivers utilize internet-based resources to support themselves when dealing with the challenges, lived experiences, and support needs of being a caregiver to individuals with IDDs and Dementia. 


Michael McVey
Michael McVey

Michael McVey (Department of Teacher Education): “OTIS- Online Teaching Institute for Summer (A Pilot Program)”
Michael McVey and colleagues William Jones, Peggy Liggit and Tana Bridge have developed the concept of OTIS, Online Teaching Institute for Summer, to improve online teaching and online course structure. The goal for the project is to establish faculty eLearning Fellows trained in best practices in hopes of improving overall online teaching at Eastern. 


John Palladino
John Palladino

John Palladino (Department of Special Education): “An Ethical Analysis of the European Agency for Special Needs and Inclusive Education: Insights for the United States”
John Palladino will observe and interview special education programs, teachers, and administrators in Europe who have recently implemented the “European Agency for Special Needs and Inclusive Education” collaborative platform. He will incorporate those new insights into his teaching within EMU’s specialist of special education administration program. 


Laura Pawuk
Laura Pawuk

Laura Pawuk (School of Music and Dance): “Welcoming Concerts: Examining Patron Satisfaction and Best Practices”
Laura Pawuk will be collaborating with the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra to design and implement supportive and enriching concert experiences for members of the neurodiverse community of Southeast Michigan. The research will involve rating their satisfaction levels of the Welcoming Concerts events and then determine best practices to enhance concert experiences for neurodiverse patrons and family members. The findings will be presented at The International Conference of the Arts in Society in June.


Gary Pederson
Gary Pederson

Gary Pedersen (School of Music and Dance): “Invited Lecture- Recital: The Victory Vertical Project at Music Teachers National Conference”
Gary Pedersen will be traveling to the Music Teachers National Conference in Chicago to present his 60-minute concert presentation, “The Victory Vertical Project,” which discusses special World War II vertical pianos. Professor Pedersen’s project ranked highly among 500 proposals submitted for the conference. 
 


Kennedy Saldanha (School of Social Work): “Capturing Civil Rights History through a Visit to the Civil Rights Trail in Alabama”
Kennedy Saldanha will be traveling to the U.S. Civil Rights Trail in Alabama in Summer 2020 to visit, experience, and gather materials related to important landmarks on the trail to enrich his future undergraduate course content. 
 


Hannah Seidel
Hannah Seidel

Hannah Seidel (Department of Biology): “Using Nanopore DNA Sequencing to Investigate the Genetics of Snake Pigmentation”
Hannah Seidel will be obtaining lab equipment and supplies for the Ball Python Genetics Project that investigates the genetics of pigmentation in ball pythons. Goals of this project include incorporating “nanopore DNA sequencing” technology to sequences and identifying the genes and mutations responsible for color variants in ball pythons.


Bonnie Wylo
Bonnie Wylo

Bonnie Wylo (Department of Physics and Astronomy): “Development of Online Capstone Course for the Science Literacy Programs”
Bonnie Wylo will be developing an online capstone course curriculum for the Science Literacy programs that will be uploaded into a Canvas shell for Fall 2020 or Winter 2021. This course will encompass reading, writing and discussions focused on what it means to be scientifically literate in today’s society and how a solid background in scientific principles, critical thinking, and problem-solving enhances one’s understanding of principles outside of your career field.


About Eastern Michigan University

Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest public university in Michigan. It currently serves nearly 18,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University's Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Engineering and Technology; Health and Human Services; and, its graduate school. EMU is regularly recognized by national publications for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University's website.

February 13, 2020

Written by:
Geoff Larcom

Contact:
Geoff Larcom
glarcom@emich.edu
734.487.4401