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Institute Scholars' research crosses the globe and disciplines

February 7, 2017

Graduate student collects data
Jungmeen Kim-Spoon and Brooks King-Casas and their research team, including graduate student Nina Lauharatanahirun (right, pictured here) use multimodal brain imaging analyses to study risky health behavior in adolescents. The ISCE Scholars program will further their collection of pilot data and preliminary analysis.

The Virginia Tech Institute for Society, Culture, and Environment (ISCE) has expanded the Summer Scholars program to the ISCE Scholars Program.

This inaugural group of scholars’ research includes cybersecurity, exports, and sibling relationships. Award money will be used in a range of ways, including student support, database access, consultation services, software licenses, and supplies

According to ISCE Director Karen Roberto, the scholars program is designed to support faculty in strengthening the proposals for external funding, the collection of preliminary data, and other proposal development activities.  Many past Summer Scholars have received awards from the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, and other federal, state, and foundation sources.

The 2017 ISCE Scholars and their projects are:

  • Eric Jardine, an assistant professor of political science; France Belanger, R.B. Pamplin Professor of accounting information systems; and David Raymond, deputy director of IT Security Laboratory, will examine Context Matters: How an End User’s Incentives Shape their Online Behavior. This team will investigate how an end user’s context matters for how they behave in the workplace. The goal is to reduce human error (for example, opening a malicious email attachment) to strengthen the cybersecurity of employers.
  • Jungmeen Kim-Spoon, a professor of psychology; Brooks King-Casas, an assistant professor of psychology; Pearl Chiu, an associate professor of psychology; Warren Bickel, a professor and director of the Addiction Recovery Research Center; and Stephen LaConte, an associate professor at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, will research Neurobehavioral Determinants of Adolescent Substance Use and HIV/STD. This interdisciplinary team will use multimodal brain imaging analyses to improve risk reduction to protect adolescents during critical development periods.
  • Mary Marchant and Wei Zhang, a professor of agricultural and applied economics, and her graduate students will study The Impact of Diversifying China’s Global Agri-Food Suppliers on U.S. Exports. This research will determine the impact of U.S. agricultural exports due to China’s diversifying its global suppliers.
  • Shyam Ranganathan, an assistant professor of statistics, and Denise Simmons, an assistant professor in the Myers-Lawson School of Construction, will explore Measuring Academic and Professional Outcomes Gained from the College Experience. This project will identify factors that measure student learning and the quality of education across the dimensions that matter academically and professionally.
  • Carolyn Shivers and Jeff Jackson, both assistant professors of human development, and their students will explore Adolescent Siblings of Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Stress, the Sibling Relationship, and Overall functioning. The project will examine the risk of negative outcomes for siblings of ASD-diagnosed children.
  • Kris Wernstedt, an associate professor of urban affairs and planning, will examine Troubles with Trash: Risk and Decision Making in East Africa. The project will explore the perceived risks and actions of residents whose city’s trash ends up in open spaces and streams.
  • Susan White, an associate professor of psychology, Denis Gracanin, an associate professor of computer science, John Richey, an assistant professor of psychology, Martha Ann Bell, a professor of psychology, Stephen LaConte, an associate professor in VTCRI, and Inyoung Kim, an associate professor of statistics, will study, Improving Emotion Recognition and Social Anxiety with Neurotechnology. The interdisciplinary research team will adapt and test a technology-based intervention to reduce fear and distress in adults with social anxiety disorder.

The ISCE Scholars Program is offered as a 12-month award period designed to provide faculty necessary resources to gather pilot data in preparation for seeking external funds to support their research and scholarship. Applications are due in the Spring semester for awards up to $30,000 annual. See the ISCE website for details.

Written by Katherine Williams.

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