The faculty and staff of Penn State Altoona seek a variety of external awards from foundations, agencies, and other sponsors to support their research, teaching, creative activities, and service responsibilities.
Listed below are those awards that are currently active, the faculty or staff member responsible, and the source of funding.
Externally Funded Projects
Dr. Peter Shull, Associate Professor of Engineering
Dr. Mark Johnson, Professor of Mathematics
Title: Sustainable Summer Bridges from Campus to Campus: Retention Models for Transitioning Underrepresented Engineering Students
Sponsor: National Science Foundation
Award Period: 1/1/16–12/31/20
The proposed research seeks to accomplish three goals: (1) Increase retention in Engineering among racially underrepresented engineering students by extending three successful summer bridge models and transition programming to four regional campuses in the Pennsylvania State University system, (2) Develop long-term sustainability plans for these programs, and (3) Compare the efficacy of different bridge models. The primary outcome measure is retention in baccalaureate Engineering majors following the Entrance to Major process at the beginning of Year 3. A secondary measure is retention in STEM majors.
Dr. Jungwoo Ryoo, Division Head of Business, Engineering, and Information Sciences & Technology
Title: Building a Big Data Analytics Workforce in iSchools
Sponsor: National Science Foundation
Award Period: 9/1/15–8/31/19
The proposed research seeks There is an increasing demand for skilled personnel in big-data industries, but the existing big-data curricula at the university level focus primarily on students with a strong computational background, ignoring a large segment of students who might otherwise pursue education and training in this vital area. Therefore, this project aims at addressing the national demand for professionals with knowledge in big data and broaden the pool for a potential big-data analytics workforce.
The goal and scope of this project are to develop three innovative learning approaches. These are founded on both group-based and contextualized learning methods, applicable and accessible to students majoring in disciplines outside of computer science but related (i.e., iSchools).
Dr. Carolyn Mahan, Professor of Biology
Title: Biodiversity Along Pennsylvania Right-of Ways
Sponsor: Tree Research & Education Endowment Fund
Performance Date: 7/1/18–4/30/19
The Pennsylvania State Game Lands 33 (SGL33) research project in central Pennsylvania SGL33 is the site of the longest continuous study (~60 years) measuring the effects of herbicides and mechanical vegetation management practices on plant diversity, wildlife habitat, and wildlife use within a right-of-way (ROW). Similar studies have been conducted at a companion site, Green Lane Research and Demonstration Area (GLR&D), in southeastern Pennsylvania since 1987. Both projects provide invaluable information for understanding the response of plants and animals to vegetation management on rights-of-way. For example, the study has found that deer, small mammals, birds, reptiles, and even butterflies – considered a true test of environmental impact – were using the early successional habitat created and maintained by vegetation clearing. In particular, early successional communities of native birds—declining throughout the eastern U.S.--- were thriving in the ROWs. Many bird species that reproduce in the ROW (e.g., eastern towhee [Pipilo erythrophthalmus], field sparrow [Spizella pusilla]) are on the Audubon society’s conservation watchlist. The most recently funded project will examine the effects of ROW management on Hymenopteran (ants, bees, wasps) pollinators, song bird fecundity, and native plant diversity. Asplundh, Dow Chemical Company, and First Energy are all funding partners of this long-term ecological research project. https://sites.psu.edu/transmissionlineecology/
Dr. Johannes Raabe, Assistant Professor in Kinesiology
Title: A Person-Oriented Investigation of Cross-Contextual Motivation: A Mixed-Methods Study with Collegiate Student-Athletes
Sponsor: Association for Applied Sports Psychology
Award Period : 7/1/18–6/30/19
Understanding motivation is one of the most fundamental tasks in the field of sport psychology. Self-determination theory (Ryan & Deci, 2017) holds promise in comprehensively interpreting the antecedents, mediators, and consequences of motivated behavior. While researchers have provided vast empirical evidence for the tenets of self-determination theory there are conceptual nuances that have yet to receive adequate consideration to allow for a complete understanding of motivation.
First, researchers have mainly employed variable-centered perspectives and did not account for the complex developmental processes associated with behavioral regulation. The sport setting is multi-faceted and it is not enough to merely describe relationships between characteristics without considering potential mutual interactions or compensation effects between the variables (Zuber, Zibung, & Conzelmann, 2015). As such, the first purpose of the proposed research is to utilize a holistic, person-oriented approach (Bergman & Magnuson, 1997) to investigate the influence of profiles of need satisfaction on student-athletes’ motivation for sport and academics.
Second, the increasing demands and value associated with academics in college can affect student-athletes’ motivation in their sport (Raabe & Readdy, 2016). This may be due to changing priorities and interests or be an attempt to compensate losses in need fulfillment in a particular life domain (Vallerand, 2000). However, limited research has been conducted to investigate this interplay between athletes’ motivation in different contexts. Thus, the second purpose of the proposed research is to gain insight into the potential cross-contextual motivational influence between sport and academics for student-athletes.
Dr. Leigh Ann Haefner
Title: MTSS STEM Pilot
Sponsor: Lancaster-Lebanon Intermediate Unit 13 (COP: Dept of Ed)
Award Period: 7/1/17–6/30/20
The proposed work seeks to co-design, co-create, co-author, and implement 3-Dimensional STEM professional learning through a coherent, job-embedded, professional learning community model. The primary outcome is to develop tools that encourage equitable access to 3-Dimensional STEM education (K-5) using a Multi-Tiered System of Supports Framework that ensures every child has access to high quality STEM education.