Montclair State University Faculty Grants Top $500,000

December 20, 2010—Nine Montclair State University faculty members have been awarded $546,839 in grants and a fellowship this fall.       

The largest grant of $260,000 was awarded by the New Jersey Commission on National and Community Service to Bryan Murdock, Director for Service Learning and Community Engagement in the Research Academy of University Learning, and Bill Thomas, Director of the School of Conservation, for an Environment, Education and Community Outreach (EECO) Americorps project.
“We are very excited about the EECO project.  It’s a great opportunity for Montclair State students and alumni to participate in,” said Murdock.  “At its heart, the EECO Americorps project is aimed at assisting public schools, community- and faith-based organizations, non-profits, and other civic organizations affected by the economic downturn and the state’s economic crisis.”   

The $260,000 is for the first year of a three-year grant and will be used to recruit and hire Americorps members, volunteers supported by stipends who will perform their service work on campus, or be placed with Montclair State’s community partners such as schools, the YMCA, and the United Way.  The grant money will engage University resources in three areas—education, environmental conservation, and community development.

The project is a collaboration among Montclair State University’s New Jersey School of Conservation, the Service Learning and Community Engagement Program, and the Center for Student Involvement.

Lisa Lieberman, assistant professor in the Department of Health and Nutrition Sciences in the College of Education and Human Services, received $132,940 from Inwood House in New York, a leader and innovator in teen pregnancy prevention and care.  Lieberman will evaluate the efficacy of Inwood House’s Continuum of Care for Pregnant and Parenting Teens.

The award represents the first year of a five-year $670,344 sub-award to Montclair State.  The sub-award is part of a larger grant that Inwood House received from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services through its Adolescent Family Life Program, which will enable Inwood House to provide a wide range of prenatal and post-delivery services to 500 pregnant teens and to test the impact of those services on the health and well-being of the teen mothers and their babies.

Jennifer Brown Urban, an assistant professor in the Department of Family and Child Studies in the College of Education and Human Services, received supplemental funding of $60,478 from a National Science Foundation grant to Cornell University.   

Urban serves as a co-principal investigator for the project, which explores how effective evaluation systems are developed both generally and for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) programs specifically.  The supplemental funding will be used to hire an undergraduate student to work on the project for three years.  

Four faculty members in the College of Science and Mathematics were the recipients of awards:

The National Science Foundation awarded Kirk Barrett, Director of the Passaic River Institute, $30,943 for the first year of a four-year Research Experience for Undergraduates grant titled “Transdisciplinary Environmental Science Research on Forest Lakes in Northwest New Jersey.”

The grant provides 10 students with an eight-week summer educational experience through participation in hands-on field research in environmental sciences.  The students will reside and conduct their research at Montclair State’s field campus in northwestern New Jersey. 

Jing Peng, associate professor in the Department of Computer Science, received a $29,040 grant from Syracuse University funded by the Department of the Air Force for a research project titled “Closed-Loop Learning Integrated Robust Information Fusion.”  The goal of the project is to prove mathematically that a computer algorithm for combining information from multiple sources in order to draw an inference about a particular event is optimal.  The project will also apply the algorithm to wide area image data for tracking a moving vehicle in an urban setting.

A $15,700 grant for the first year of a three-year National Science Foundation grant to by Rutgers University was given to Evan Fuller, assistant professor in the Department of Mathematical Sciences, for a project that investigates the prevalence of different proving strategies used by undergraduate math majors.  The project, titled “Proving Styles in University Mathematics,” will also look at how the strategies correlate with intelligence or academic success as measured by SAT scores and grades.

Meiyin Wu, associate professor of Biology and Molecular Biology, was given $14,138 for the first year of a three-year grant from the National Science Foundation for a project that will assess the greenhouse gas fluxes of two distinct urban temperate wetland ecosystems.  A collaborative effort among Montclair State, Rutgers University and Ohio State University, the project also involves training two undergraduate students in global climate change science.

David Galef, professor of English, in the College of Humanities and Social Science, has been awarded a three-week, year-end fellowship at the Virginia Center for Creative Arts.  Galef plans to use the artist’s residency, the value of which is $3,600, to work on his fourth novel.