Five faculty-student research teams earn Challenge Grants

faculty-student meetingStudies of language, lightning, South American social movements, air pollution and wind power will take place thanks to five SUNY Oswego Student-Faculty Collaborative Challenge Grants.

Funded projects will include:

- “Ambient Levels of Persistent and Emerging Air Toxics in Acadia National Park” by junior biochemistry major Colleen Alexander with James Pagano of the chemistry faculty

- “An Investigation of the Phonological and Syntactic Structures of Luo” by junior linguistics and cognitive science major Allegra M. Anka with Jean Ann and Bruce Long Peng of the curriculum and instruction faculty

- “Wind Power Generation at SUNY Oswego” by junior meteorology major Francis Carlevatti with Al Stamm of the earth sciences faculty

- “Lake-Effect Lightning Events: Lake Erie vs. Ontario” by junior meteorology major Ted Letcher with Scott Steiger of the earth sciences faculty

- “Global Feminisms: Ecuador” by junior history and global and international studies major Melanie Schaffer-Cutillo with Lisa Glidden of the political science faculty

All projects provide hands-on research experience expected to result in student presentations at conferences or articles in professional journals.

Alexander and Pagano will collect high-volume ambient air samples at Acadia National Park in Maine, a critical wildlife habitat, over a six-month period. In SUNY Oswego’s Environmental Research Center, they will analyze the samples for polychlorinated biphenyls, polybrominated diphenyl ether and organochlorine pesticides to determine the ambient level of these toxins and investigate their relationship to levels of atmospheric ozone.

Anka, Ann and Peng will examine the grammatical, phonic and syntax structure of Luo, one of two main languages spoken in Kenya, parts of Uganda and northern Tanzania. They will collect and transcribe linguistic data from speakers of the language. Anka will conduct data synthesis and analysis, and study this information using various linguistic theories. They will write and disseminate their findings on this language that has received little scholarly attention.

Carlevatti and Stamm will examine the viability of using wind power to help reduce and ultimately neutralize greenhouse gas emissions on the SUNY Oswego campus. They will research wind-power potential on campus using meteorological records, study locations where generation could take place, explore possible environmental and aesthetic impacts, research available types of wind generators, select best options for Oswego and forecast possible energy production.

Letcher and Steiger will analyze and compare the frequency and intensity of lake-effect lightning events over Lakes Erie and Ontario to support a planned multi-institutional field project on lake-effect snow. They will use existing data to probe how this little-understood phenomenon relates to the intensity of snow bands. The study also will try to determine how many lake-effect thunderstorm events are associated with rain versus snow and if graupel (soft hail) mixes into the precipitation.

Schaffer-Cutillo and Glidden will travel to Ecuador to interview female scholars and activists to bring their stories into the global picture of feminism. Their interviews would represent the first from Ecuador incorporated into the Global Feminisms Project, which looks to document understudied areas of the women’s movement. The stories of movements including education reform and the rights of women, workers and indigenous people will be recorded and preserved in Penfield Library. 

Initiated at SUNY Oswego in 2004, Challenge Grants award up to $2,500 each to projects involving undergraduate collaboration with faculty. The grants are supported in part by a donation from Timothy Murphy, a 1974 Oswego graduate and recently retired executive vice president and chief operating officer of the SUNY Research Foundation.

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PHOTO CAPTION: Ready for challenge—SUNY Oswego student Melanie Shaffer-Cutillo (left), a McNair Scholar majoring in history and global and international studies, and Lisa Glidden of Oswego’s political science faculty will travel to Ecuador under a Student-Faculty Collaborative Challenge Grant. Their project—to interview activists and historians to record the region’s stories into the global picture of the women’s movement—is one of five student-faculty activities funded by the grants this year.

(Posted: Apr 30, 2008)

Tags: research news: faculty student collaborations