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.
Dr. Carolyn Mahan, Professor of Biology
Title: Biodiversity Along Pennsylvania Right-of Ways
Sponsor: Tree Research & Education Endowment Fund
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. Long-term studies conducted on SGL33 and GLR&D sites have shown economic, aesthetic and wildlife habitat benefits associated with integrated vegetation management practices on transmission line rights-of-way. This information is critical to help right-of-way managers implement proper vegetation management practices that meet needs of their industry, the public, and wildlife. Future research will be shaped based on the needs of the utility industry to address conservation issues, new vegetation management techniques, and concerns generated by the public and scientific community. Asplundh, Dow Chemical Company, and First Energy are all funding partners of this long-term ecological research project.
Dr. Christopher Martin, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering
Title: Investigation of Ion Currents in the Oxyfuel Cutting Flame and their Links to Critical Process Parameters
Sponsor: National Science Foundation
Websites: https://sites.psu.edu/cmartin/ion-currents-in-oxyfuel-cutting-flames/ and https://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward?AWD_ID=1900698
Researchers at Penn State Altoona are proud to lead a collaboration with partners at Virginia Tech and IHT Automation GmbH to investigate ion currents in the oxyfuel cutting flame. The team aims to exploit tiny naturally-occurring electrical currents in the flame between cutting torch and steel work piece to form a sophisticated sensor that is invulnerable to damage during this harsh process. Funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation, this three-year project engages undergraduate students at Penn State Altoona to address a critical need for cheaper and more reliable sensing suites to prepare traditional steel-cutting systems for the future of manufacturing.
Dr. Hai Haung, Associate Professor of Rail Transportation Engineering and Dr. Shihui Shen, Professor of Rail Transportation Engineering
Title: Rural Railroad Safety and Workforce Development Center
Sponsor: Federal Railroad Administration
In collaboration with Kansas State University, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, University of Florida, and California State University, Chico, Penn State Altoona is part of the $2.5 million grant from the Federal Railroad Administration to create the Rural Railroad Safety Center. Specifically, our faculty will realize real-time monitoring and assessment for railway bridges, especially for those under-represented rail groups such as short lines and regional service lines located in rural areas, to improve their safety and reliability.
Dr. Lacey Wallace, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice
Title: 2020 Rural Youth Survey - Trends and Developments in the Attitudes and Aspirations of Rural Pennsylvania Youth
Sponsor: Center for Rural Pennsylvania
Residents leaving the Commonwealth, unemployment, and substance abuse challenge rural Pennsylvania communities disproportionately compared to urban populations. Yet, the interplay between youth expectations, aspirations and the fate of rural youth is poorly understood. Significant insight was gained from the 2010 Rural Youth Education Project (RYEP), but many factors have changed since then. This project will build on the RYEP by developing and administering a comparable survey tool that is more relevant to what youth face in 2020. The new survey will expand the scope of the prior data collection by including a brief survey of school administrators as well as more detailed data on peers, delinquency, and substance use. Ultimately, this research will help policy makers address the current needs of Pennsylvania’s rural youth.