The College of Arts and Sciences Student and Faculty Excellence (SAFE) fund provides resources that can be used to transform the undergraduate and graduate experience and support faculty teaching, research and engagement. The grant has two funding cycles each year for the fall and spring semesters. In this cycle, 21 recipients – 10 students and 11 faculty members – received a total of $11,550 in funding to spend in 2021.
The student winners for the Fall 2020 SAFE awards are Kimberlin Walton, Myfawny Hull, Katherine Quinn, Lauren Morris, Andrew Taylor, Sydney Rivera, Austin Murphy, Robert Barnes, Henry Kolesar and Matthew Allen.
The faculty winners for the Fall 2020 SAFE awards are Dr. Twila Wingrove, Dr. Kim Hall, Dr. Savannah Paige Murray, Dr. Leon Lewis, Dr. Alice Wright, Dr. Micheal Opata, Dr. Cece Conway, Dr. James Denniston, Dr. Francois Amet and Dr. Jon Davenport.
See details on each recipient's objective below and read more CAS SAFE grant news and project spotlights at: https://cas.appstate.edu/news/category/22.
Helton Faculty Excellence
The Billy and Del Hunt Helton Faculty Excellence Fund for the College of Arts and Sciences awards specific support to faculty and students through unrestricted funds that can cover a wider range of travel, research and other high-impact activities. This year’s recipient is Dr. Ellen Lamont, Department of Sociology, for use in interview stipends for a proposal titled “Remaking Relationships: Appalachian Families in Flux.”
Lamont’s project will benefit the undergraduate student experience in three ways.
First, with support from a URA grant, Lamont will hire a research assistant to help code data. This will provide a student with valuable research experience they can leverage when applying to graduate school or for jobs.
Second, she will present this work to students as part of a university lecture series.
Third, the completed work will make a good addition to sociology courses on gender, families, economic inequality and Appalachian communities in the department, which will help students better understand and engage with the local community, one of the university's strategic goals for creating a transformative undergraduate experience.
Student SAFE Grant Recipient Projects
Kimberlin Walton, a graduate student in Psychology was awarded a SAFE Grant for equipment and supplies needed in order to conduct research on a project titled “Juror Perceptions of Victim Credibility in Cases of Intimate Partner Rape” with faculty mentor, Dr. Denise Martz, Department of Psychology. Results from this study will inform whether certain biases can affect mock jurors' perceptions of a victim's credibility.
Myfawny Hull, senior, English major was awarded a SAFE Grant to travel domestically to conduct research for a young adult novel titled “The Tsalagi in Me: A Field Research Project to write Native American Fiction” with faculty mentor Dr. Leslie Cook, Department of English. The story is fantasy fiction and will explore native community issues.
Katherine Quinn, a graduate student in Psychology is using a SAFE Grant for their project titled “The Making of a Vegetarian: Understanding the Association Between Parenting Practices and Upkeep of a Vegetarian Diet Beyond The Childhood Home” with faculty member Dr. Amy Galloway, Department of Psychology. The project is based on understanding the ways in which feeding practices can produce longevity for dietary practices that can provide guidance on feeding children a vegetarian diet for caregivers and practitioners.
Lauren Morris, senior, Psychology major will use a SAFE Grant for a study titled “The Influence of Face Masks on the Perception of Black and White Men” with faculty member Dr. Doris Bazzini, Department of Psychology. The project provides information on how the type of face masks that individuals wear has an impact on how they are perceived by people of the same race and or a different race from their own.
Andrew Taylor, a graduate student in Psychology will use grant funding to support a study titled “Need for Cognition and Need for Closure: Two Potential Moderators of Systematic Blame Updating” with Dr. Andrew Monroe, Department of Psychology. The hypotheses of this study could provide a bridge between two theoretical perspectives and inform the field of psychology about the nature of blame.
Sydney Rivera, senior, Psychology major will use the funding for a project titled “Don’t Get Your Hopes Up: The Influence of Advice to Decrease Expectations on Disappointment Following A Negative Outcome” with faculty member Andrew Smith, Department of Psychology. This project will be for Rivera’s honors thesis, and the results of the research will be presented at a local research conference.
Austin Murphy, senior, Physics and Astronomy major was awarded funding to purchase an automated optical tweezer apparatus with faculty member Dr. Brooke Hester, Department of Physics and Astronomy. Murphy and his peers will observe how cells react to forces applied by a bead trapped in the beam of the optical tweezers.
Robert Barnes, a graduate student in Physics and Astronomy was awarded a SAFE grant to purchase a new set of mirrors for a new optical tweezer apparatus with faculty member Dr. Brooke Hester, Department of Physics and Astronomy. Acquiring these mirrors will assist both Barnes and the research group, as they will not have to share a single experimental space which will increase data accuracy and decrease setup time.
Henry Kolesar, senior, Physics and Astronomy major was awarded SAFE funding to purchase new mounts for the advanced particle detectors with faculty member Dr. Brooke Hester, Department of Physics and Astronomy. The new mounts could help in determining what DmoA and DmoB are, two proteins that have not been fully characterized, which could help global cooling.
Matthew Allen, senior, Sustainable Technology and the Built Environment and Physics and Astronomy major was awarded a SAFE grant to purchase equipment for “Next Generation Handheld Sunphotometer for Citizen Science Measurements in the U.S. and Sub-Saharan Africa” with Dr. James Sherman, Department of Physics and Astronomy.
Allen began work under former M.S. Physics student Caleb Worthy to construct the previous-generation instrument, but this was halted by COVID and Caleb’s subsequent graduation. Construction of the next-generation sunphotometer is necessary to correct the previous issues and will continue their work to support the measurements and improve our knowledge of air quality in regions of the world that have few or no research-grade instruments.
Faculty SAFE Grant Recipient Projects
Dr. Twila Wingrove, Department of Psychology, is using SAFE grant funding to pay research participants for a project titled “Gendered Perceptions of Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners.”
Dr. Kim Hall, Department of Philosophy and Religion, is using SAFE grant funding to index an Oxford handbook titled “Oxford Handbook of Feminist Philosphy.”
Savannah Paige Murray, Department of English, will use a SAFE grant for audio and video equipment for a project titled “Grassroots Environmental Activism in Appalachia Oral History and Cultural Rhetoric Project.”
Dr. Leon Lewis, Department of English, is using SAFE grant funding to acquire movies and texts
for a project titled “African-American FIlm and Culture: Historical Contexts and Contemporary Reconstructions.”
Dr. Alice Wright, Department of Anthropology, will use her SAFE grant to purchase sifting screens for her project “Archaeological Equipment for Spring Field School.”
Dr. Micheal Opata, Department of Biology, was awarded a SAFE grant to use for assay kits and other equipment for the project “Plasmodium chabaudi Infection Exacerbates the Effects of Malnutrition in the Gut Mucosa.”
Dr. Cece Conway, Department of English, was awarded the SAFE grant to cover artist fees for a project with traditional musicians.
Dr. James Denniston, Department of Psychology, will use his SAFE grant for a software license for a proposal titled “Associative Structure of Higher-Order Conditioning.”
Dr. Francois Amet, Department of Physics and Astronomy is using a SAFE grant to purchase equipment for a project on “Development of interacting superconducting circuits.”
Dr. Jon Davenport, Department of Biology will use SAFE grant funding for publication costs in The Wildlife Society Bulletin for his project titled “Size Matters: The Influence of Trap and Mesh Size on Turtle Captures.”
About The SAFE Fund
Initially endowed by Hughlene and Bill Frank, the College of Arts and Sciences Student and Faculty Excellence (SAFE) Fund provides resources that can be used to support undergraduate, graduate and faculty experiences. The SAFE Fund provides funding for college priorities and opportunities that arise throughout the year. These unrestricted funds support student and faculty travel, publication support for faculty and student research opportunities. Learn more at: https://cas.appstate.edu/students/student-and-faculty-excellence-safe-fund.
The Billy and Del Hunt Helton Faculty Excellence Fund
Del Hunt Helton, a 1979 Appalachian State University alumna and her husband Billy, have been making expendable gifts for many years to support faculty in Appalachian’s College of Arts and Sciences for travel, research, technology and other resources essential to scholarship and classroom teaching. The Billy and Del Hunt Helton Faculty Excellence Fund for the College of Arts and Sciences is funded by a provision in the Helton’s estate plan to create an endowment with initial annual distributions of at least $10,000 for College faculty support.