Eastern Michigan University identifies fall 2023 Brickley Endowment award recipients

Faculty winners to embark on a range of professional development activities

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YPSILANTI – Eastern Michigan University’s Brickley Endowment award recipients are helping to develop solutions to real-world issues, such as twisting body motion detection, interdisciplinary understandings of social change and the Civil Rights movement, understanding the links between human behavior and the brain, and how science can inform the future.

Tony and Lois Evans established the James H. Brickley Endowment for Faculty Professional Development and Innovation awards in 2016. The purpose is to facilitate faculty professional development and innovation through a broad range of activities, including research and scholarly/creative work, curriculum development, community service, professional travel and training. 

Lois Evans is a retired mathematics teacher. Tony Evans served in several administrative positions at Eastern from 1975 to 1982, including executive vice president, interim president, provost, and vice president for academic affairs. He worked with former President James H. Brickley from 1974–1978, for whom the endowment is named. 

The 2023 award cycle funded five projects totaling $80,540. Nine faculty will be supported, representing five colleges: three faculty members from the College of Education, three faculty members from the College of Arts and Sciences, two faculty members from the College of Health and Human Services, and one faculty member from the GameAbove College of Engineering and Technology.

Eastern Michigan University’s EMU’s Board of Regents approved the awards at its regular meeting on Thursday, Dec. 7, 2023. The award winners, topics, and award totals are listed below:

Riu Chen

Rui Chen, School of Engineering (GameAbove College of Engineering and Technology)

“Twisting Effects on Printed Flexible Capacitors: Sensitivity and Feasibility in Body Motion Detection.” $8,920. In her research, Chen notes that wearable sensors have significantly improved the monitoring of a wide range of body motions, from linear to angular motions and pressure detection. Yet, there has been limited exploration into twisting body motion detection, such as wrist twisting detection. Chen will design, produce, and test flexible capacitor samples. This project will ultimately assess the important potential use of printed flexible capacitors as wearable sensors for twisting body motion detection. Additionally, Chen will mentor EMU students in developing and presenting this research at professional conferences.

Elizabeth Neilson

Elizabeth Neilson, Department of Psychology (College  of Arts and Sciences)

“Developing a Substance Use Training Program for Graduate Students in  Clinical Psychology: A ʻTrain-the-Trainerʼ Model.” $6,400.  Dr. Neilson notes that substance misuse and substance use disorders (SUDs) are a pervasive problem,  where 16.5% of people aged 12 and older meet the criteria for a substance use disorder. Despite this, most mental health professionals do not receive any formal substance use training. To overcome the dearth of psychology providers trained in evidence-based intervention for SUD, this project employs a “train-the-trainer”  model in which Dr. Neilson, a faculty member in the Department of Psychology, will receive training to become a MINT-certified MI trainer and establish a training program to train EMU psychology graduate students in MI for SUD. As the Director of the EMU Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CHBC), in which all clinical psychology doctoral students are trained in therapy and in which she currently serves as a clinical supervisor, she will build upon the existing infrastructure to achieve expertise as a MINT certified trainer, to train and supervise EMU psychology students in MI with substance use clients, and to build training partnerships between the EMU Department of Psychology and other EMU Departments and expand MI training to these departments. 

Ken Saldanha

Ken Saldanha, School of Social Work (College of Health and Human Services)

Matthew Cook

Matthew Cook, Department of Geography & Geology (College of Arts and Sciences)

“Interdisciplinary Understandings of Social Change: Keeping the Civil Rights Conversations in the Curriculum and Reviving a Study Program to Alabama.” $17,220. This Brickley Award will create an essential collaboration between the School of Social Work and the Department of Geography and Geology to enhance professional development, expertise, and Civil Rights teaching resources. Saldanha and Cook will travel to Alabama and visit and attend public tours at specific historic sites such as the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, 16th Street Baptist Church, National Memorial for Peace and Justice and the Legacy Museum, and the first White House of the Confederacy in Montgomery, and other key sites such as local barbershops, churches, bars, and restaurants. Additionally, they will lead a group of 10-12 Eastern faculty, adjuncts, and students on a five-day professional development seminar in Alabama during the 2025 winter break. As such, this Brickley project will continue to build resources to teach students Civil Rights history and salient stories that should never be forgotten and support the development of a travel study course to museums and historic sites associated with the Civil Rights Movement.

Naomi Hashimoto

Naomi Hashimoto, Department of Special Education and Communication Sciences and Disorders (College of Education)

Renee Lajiness-O'Neill

Renee Lajiness-O’Neill, Department of Psychology (College of Arts and Sciences)

Jin Bo

Jin Bo, Department of Psychology (College of Arts and Sciences)

“Developing Interdisciplinary Expertise in Brain Imaging.” $24,000. This team of three is working on understanding the links between human behavior and the brain. To do so, they were awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to research electroencephalography (EEG). This technique allows scientists to image electrical brain activity while a person carries out a variety of behaviors. To expand on the work supported by the NSF grant, the Brickley Award will be used to broaden existing knowledge of EEG techniques and EEG data processing and develop EEG data analytical methods. Another goal will be to expand knowledge of EEG techniques to a broad range of students. Experience with EEG technology will undoubtedly increase students’ marketability in neuroscience careers and beyond. A final goal is to enhance community outreach efforts within and beyond the EMU community. Through a series of Open Houses, we will recruit students, particularly those from minoritized groups in STEM fields, to join the B.R.A.I.N. lab.

Ruth Ann Armitage

Ruth Ann Armitage, Department of Chemistry (College of Arts and Sciences)

Steven LoDuca

Steven LoDuca, Department of Geography & Geology (College of Arts and Sciences) 

“Establishing and Supporting the EMU Collaboratory for the Science of the Past to Facilitate Interdisciplinary Research Across the Social and Physical Sciences and Humanities.” $24,000. Armitage and LoDuca aim to establish and support the initial phases of the EMU Collaboratory for the Science of the Past. This interdisciplinary laboratory will bring together faculty and students from chemistry, geology, archaeology, historic preservation and beyond to enhance and encourage collaborative research and education on how science enables the study of the past and how such studies can inform the future. This collaborative seeks to attract students to EMU for formal and short-course opportunities that will improve their employability with in-depth, hands-on instrumental analysis experience. As a center for teaching and research, the participants in the Collaboratory will seek external funding from the National Science Foundation and elsewhere to expand opportunities, complete existing research projects and develop new interdisciplinary educational and scholarly activities.

About Eastern Michigan University
Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest public university in Michigan. It currently serves more than 14,000 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. National publications regularly recognize EMU for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. Visit the University’s rankings and points of pride websites to learn more. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University's website. To stay up to date on University news, activities and announcements, visit EMU Today.

December 07, 2023

Written by:
Melissa Thrasher

Media Contact:
Melissa Thrasher