Research Communications

Student Enhancement Award offers more than $100,000 for research and creative work 

June 16, 2010

By Bridget Peterlin

With childhood obesity on the rise in the United States, Ohio University graduate student Jana Hovland is exploring how digital short stories might help young students make healthier food choices.

Hovland was one of 20 students to receive an Ohio University Student Enhancement Award (SEA) this spring. The $5,991 grant covered the costs to animate the stories, which were based on research with kindergarten through second-grade students in Athens County.

“My hope is that this pilot study will lead to the dissemination of the videos to additional schools, to further research on the impact of digital stories in more diverse populations, and potentially to additional grant funding to continue studying this concept,” said Hovland, whose faculty mentor is Teresa Franklin, educational studies.

Ohio University’s Council for Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity granted $100,151 to 19 proposals this year. The Student Enhancement Awards, funded by the Vice President for Research, support the research and creative activity of undergraduate, graduate and medical students.

Recipients of the awards will use the grants to fund a variety of projects, ranging from the role of dance in women’s lives in Ghana to a study on the history of relations between the United States and Chile. 

Undergraduate student John McGinty received $5,000 for his research, which examines how the formation of new blood vessels relates to the growth and function of tumors.  His faculty mentor is Fabian Benencia, College of Osteopathic Medicine.

“The SEA is a great support for interesting, yet expensive projects which may otherwise have gone unfunded,” McGinty said. “The award has stimulated my independent research and allowed me to develop grant-writing skills that will inevitably help me down the road.”

Michael Knutson, an undergraduate student in recreational and sports sciences, received $5,580 for his research, which explores the effects of simple sugars, such as pancakes with syrup, on high blood sugar after a second meal. His faculty mentor is Michael Kushnick, recreation and sports sciences. 

“The SEA will provide me with both short- and long-term benefits,” Knutson said. “In the short-term, it will allow me to expand my project, which otherwise would have been done on a shoestring budget.”

The other recipients are:
Adel Jing Wang, “The Making and Unmaking of Freedom: Sound Art in Contemporary China.” Mentor: Marina Peterson, interdisciplinary arts

Jared Bibler, “The Ideological Formation of the Revolutionary Organization of the People in Arms.” Mentor: Patrick Barr-Melej, history

Amy Borchardt, “The Effects of Meditation on Physiological Parameters: An Examination of the Relaxation Response and Yoga Nidra-Integrative Restoration.” Mentor: Stephen Patterson, psychology

Matthew Lattanzio, “Isotopes, Fitness and Fire: Quantifying the Life History and Demographic Responses of Reptile Communities to Prescribed Fire in Arizona.” Mentor: Don Miles, biological sciences

Damiano Cinque, “The Decapitated Chicken.” Mentor: Steven Ross, film

Kaiyu Shen, “Genome Analysis of Gravitropic Signal Transduction in Arabidopsis.” Mentor: Sarah Wyatt, environmental and plant biology

Sebastian Torres, “U.S.-Chilean Relations: 1964-1973.” Mentor: Patrick Barr-Melej, history

Jason Halbleib, “The Tulip Brothers Public Presentation.” Mentor: Charles Smith, theater

Victor Blue, “Counterinsurgency in Afghanistan.” Mentor: Terry Eiler, visual communication

Stephanie Dumais, “National Collegiate Wind Ensemble.” Mentor: Alison Sincoff, music

Danilo Cortes, “Forbidden.” Mentor: Thomas Hayes, film

Joseph Morris and Alex Anderson, “Novel Ultraviolet Germicidal Light Engine for Water Disinfection.” Mentors: Guy Riefler, Jeffrey Giesey and Wojciech Jadwisienczak, Russ College of Engineering and Technology

Mike Jorgenson, “Muscle Variation in the Pelvic System across Locomotor Modes in
Frogs.” Mentor: Stephen Reilly, biological sciences

Samantha Levy, “Stop Animation Short Film.” Mentor: Frederick Lewis, media arts and studies

Jennifer Petrie, “The Role of Dance in Ghanaian Women's Lives.” Mentor: Nicholas Creary, history

Clint Riddell, “A Morphophysiological Analysis of Afferent Variation within the Turtle Utricle.” Mentors: Ellengene Peterson and Michael Rowe, biological sciences

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