4-VA@Mason awards funding for twelve promising investigations

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4-VA@Mason, part of a statewide collective of higher education institutions, recently announced the Collaborative Research Awards for the 2023-2024 academic year with 12 projects spearheaded by Mason faculty and eight with Mason faculty acting as co-PIs.

In addition to Mason, the 4-VA collective includes the College of William and Mary, James Madison University (JMU), Old Dominion University (ODU), University of Virginia (UVA), Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), Virginia Military Institute (VMI), and Virginia Tech (VT). 

“These 4-VA@Mason Collaborative Research Grants are the core of what our state program is all about—providing seed funding to encourage faculty from our eight partner schools to launch novel research efforts and build critical relationships among the institutions,” said Janette Kenner Muir, vice provost of academic affairs and campus coordinator of 4-VA@Mason.

The 4-VA@Mason 2023-24 Collaborative Research Grant winners, with partner schools in parentheses, include:

  • Akerlof, Karen (College of Science) – Bridging Science and Policy in the States: A Study of Emerging Mechanisms to Train Scientists and Engineers (VT)
  • Enfield, Jacob (College of Visual and Performing Arts) – MySQL Murder Mystery (VMI)
  • Furst, Kirin Emlet (College of Engineering and Computing) – The role of the air-water interface in breakthrough of PFAS and phthalate esters during wastewater treatment (VT)
  • Jones, R Christian (College of Science) – Using Taxonomic, Pigment and Molecular Analysis to Characterize Algal Blooms in the Shenandoah River (ODU)
  • Kang, Pilgyu (College of Engineering and Computing) – Machine learning assisted laser manufacturing of alloy nanoparticle graphene hybrid materials for high performance hydrogen sensing (UVA)
  • LaFrance, Michelle (College of Humanities and Social Sciences) – The Virginia Community and Public Writing Collaborative (JMU, VCU, VT, UVA)
  • Lawrence, Heidi (College of Humanities and Social Sciences) – A Rhetorical Approach to Challenges in Blood Donation (VT)
  • Raffegeau, Tiphanie (College of Education and Human Development) – Using Virtual Reality to Study Cognitive and Affective Risk Factors for Falls in Older Adults (ODU)
  • Straus, David (College of Science) – The Role of Diabatic Heating in Determining Atlantic Storm Paths (UVA)
  • Van Aken, Benoit (College of Science) – Protection of RNA by Association with Macromolecules Implications for Wastewater Based Epidemiology (VT)
  • Yu, Yun (College of Science) Nanoscale Visualization of Electrocatalytic Carbon Dioxide Reduction Activity at Cu Nanocatalysts (UVA)
  • Zhu, Ziwei (College of Engineering and Computing) – Towards Consolidated and Dynamic Debiasing for Online Search and Recommendation (VT)

The following Mason faculty received funding as Co-PIs collaborating with other 4-VA institutions in parentheses:

  • Chowdhury, Ahsan (College of Science) – The Commonwealth Proofs Project Collaborative: Promoting Students' Understanding of Logical Implications and their Transformations (VT)
  • Dromgold-Sermen, Michelle (College of Humanities and Social Sciences) – New American Resources: Partnerships and Initiatives at Virginia Higher Education Institutions to Strengthen Virginia's Migration Support (VT)
  • Jing, Hao (College of Science) – Acoustics-enabled Noncontact Manipulation, Patterning, and Assembly of Complex-shaped Micro/nanoparticles for Advance Manufacturing (VT)
  • LaToza, Thomas (College of Engineering and Computing) – Visualizing Code Changes to Understand Students’ Mental Models in Programming Education at Scale (VT)
  • Stone, Victoria (College of Education and Human Development) – Increasing Mental Health Services in K-12 Settings by Helping Provisionally Licensed School Counselors Meet the Requirements for Full Licensure as Professional School Counselors in Virginia (JMU)
  • Stone, Victoria (College of Education and Human Development) – Supporting K-12 Students after Psychiatric Hospitalizations: Piloting Mixed Reality Simulation Training for School Mental Health Professionals (UVA)
  • Van Aken, Benoit (College of Science) – Hyperspectral imaging for the real-time detection of microplastic particles in seafoods (VT)
  • Zhu, Ziwei (College of Engineering and Computing) – Break the Dilemmas between Model Performance and Fairness: A Holistic Solution for Fairness Learning on Graphs (VT)

“We are looking forward to the new discoveries we will find with these 4-VA collaborative projects,” Muir said. “Our faculty, students, and the Commonwealth of Virginia will benefit from these partnerships as the schools approach the work from their own perspectives and strengths, building solid partnerships for future initiatives.”

For more information, visit 4va.gmu.edu or www.facebook.com/4VAMason.