Congratulations to UMW External Grant Winners and Applicants!

UMW faculty and staff are continuing to submit external grant and contract proposals and to achieve success. Since January 1, 2015, sixteen applications for external funding have been processed through the Provost’s Office. And seven faculty members and one administrative/professional faculty member have been awarded a total of nine separate grants and/or contracts! (Please note – some of these applications were submitted last year and awards came in this year.) Congratulations to everyone who applied and to those who received awards, with special kudos to the one person who garnered multiple successful awards! To see the list of all successes and applications, keep reading!

To start, topping the list of external funding recipients is Janet Asper (Department of Chemistry) who has received three separate awards. From the Office of Naval Research, Janet received two fellowships: a Summer 2015 Research Fellowship (for $14,000) and a 2015-16 Sabbatical Fellowship (for $27,322). In both cases, Janet will be working at the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Dahlgren Division. Additionally, Janet learned that the federal government intends to exercise Option Year 2 of a contract Janet has with the Naval Surface Warfare Center (worth $13,020) for her project involving Transmission Electron Microscopic (TEM) analysis of Bacillus cereusBacillus subtilis var globigii, and Bacillus anthracis Delta Sterne spores and Synthesis and Characterization of Novel Compounds.

In February, Melanie Szulczewski (Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences) learned that she was selected for a Fulbright award to Poland. Her selection coincides with her sabbatical leave in the spring 2016 semester. Melanie will be teaching at the University of Agriculture in Krakow and also engaging in study to increase her understanding on the environmental consequences of former mining sites. The Fulbright Fellowship covers her travel costs and also provides a stipend for living expenses while she is in Poland.

In March, Mary Kayler (Director of the Center for Teaching Excellence and Innovation) learned that she won a $10,000 grant from Instructure for her project on “M.O.L.I.E. Meets Canvas and the Open Web.” M.O.L.I.E., by the way, stands for Multimedia Online Learning Immersive Environment, an approach designed to “shake up” the pedagogy of online courses. The grant project will develop an interface to bridge Canvas data with custom Word Press modules.

April brought news of two successful applications. George Meadows (College of Education) received a $2,390 grant from the Chesapeake Bay Trust for his project on Engineering Solutions to Environmental Problems: Cleaning Up Oil Spills. The project involved teams of 4th and 5th grade students from three local elementary schools who set about to design, build, and test motorized devices to aid in cleaning oil spills from water surfaces.

Also in April, Melody Denhere (Department of Mathematics) received an award from the Mathematical Association of America as part of the Preparation for Industrial Careers in Mathematical Sciences program, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The award provides support for Melody and a team of at least three undergraduate students. The team chooses and works on one of five problems designed to develop problem solving, teamwork, and communication skills.

Surupa Gupta (Department of Political Science and International Affairs) was notified in May that she was awarded an Asian Studies Fellowship by the East-West Center in Washington, DC. The fellowship award ($13,500) supports her sabbatical year research project on “Indispensable Partners?: US-India Relations and the Domestic Politics of Farm Trade and Intellectual Property Rights.” During the time of her fellowship, she will be in residence at the East-West Center with a primary commitment of preparing an article for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

Two members of the Department of Historic Preservation were awarded external funding support in June. Douglas Sanford received $10,000 from the Walton Development Group to support the archaeological field school and a research project on the Sherwood Forest Property in Stafford County. The funds provide support for student aides and an hourly employee who are working on the project.

Michael Spencer received a two-year $73,995.63 contract from the National Park Service for a project on “Moisture Ingress Investigation and Treatment Plan for the Second Bank of the United States, Independence National Historical Park (Philadelphia, PA).” This agreement comes about through UMW’s involvement as one of the partner universities in the Chesapeake Watershed Cooperative Ecosystem Study Unit; Michael was instrumental in enabling UMW to become a part of this group.

These are terrific accomplishments, and great news for UMW.

Since January 2015, the following persons have submitted grant or contract proposals. (These projects are in addition to some of the ones listed above that were submitted this year and have been funded.) Developing and submitting proposals takes significant time and effort; it’s important that those efforts be recognized.

* Tim O’Donnell (Associate Provost for Academic Engagement and Student Success) submitted a TRIO Student Support Services grant proposal to the U.S. Department of Education in the amount of $219,969.85 (this proposal was developed with the assistance of McAllister & Quinn as a part of the grant writing contract they have with UMW);

* Neil Tibert (Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences) was included as a collaborator on a National Science Foundation grant proposal developed by colleagues at the University of Arkansas to identify “The Influence of the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province and the End Triassic Extinction in Western Pangea”;

* Hai Nguyen (Department of Physics) submitted a proposal to the Jeffress Trust Awards Program in Interdisciplinary Research for $100,000 to conduct research on “Quantitative Efficiency Analysis of An Optically Trapped Upconverting Nanoparticle”;

* Jeff McClurken (Special Assistant to the Provost for Technology, Teaching, and Innovation and Department of History and American Studies) submitted a $248,863 proposal to the National Endowment for the Humanities for a summer institute on “Creating a Humanities Digital Identity” (this proposal was also developed with the assistance of McAllister & Quinn as a part of the grant writing contract they have with UMW);

* Chris Garcia (College of Business) submitted a $75,000 proposal to the National Science Foundation as part of a collaborative project with colleagues from Old Dominion University to investigate “Integrated Humanitarian Emergency Volunteer Planning and Scheduling (iHELP)”;

* Mary Kayler (Center for Teaching Excellence and Innovation) submitted a $5,000 proposal to to support “Building Contemplative Inquiry Across Disciplines”;

* Brian Baker (Center for Economic Development) submitted a three-year proposal for $680,163 to the Small Business Administration as part of their ScaleUP America Initiative designed to offer training workshops and seminars, and provide incubation office space to participants (focusing on women- and veteran-owned small businesses);

* John King (a volunteer in the Department of English, Linguistics, and Communication) with Terry Kennedy (Department of English, Linguistics, and Communication) submitted a $124,572 proposal to the National Endowment for the Humanities for a summer seminar for high school teachers on teaching Paradise Lost;

* Roberta Gentry (College of Education) submitted a $22,995 grant proposal to the Virginia Department of Education for a special education teacher support project as part of the state initiative for providing traineeships for special education personnel;


* Venitta McCall and Courtney Clayton (College of Education), and Debra Hydorn (Department of Mathematics), in collaboration with three public school divisions, submitted a proposal to the Virginia Department of Education for $46,032 to design and implement a Clinical Faculty program to assist pre-service and beginning teachers in making successful transitions into full-time teaching.

Congratulations again to everyone for their individual efforts in developing an application! The competition for external funding is usually fierce. For those individuals who are still waiting to learn if their projects will be funded, we wish them good luck with their applications as they await final decisions from funding entities.

The location of the materials relevant to applying for external grants is available at: Or from the main page at the Provost’s web site, just look for the heading titled “Grants and Research.”

The list of awards at the web page represents all the awards that have been made known to the Provost’s Office through the process for approving external grant and contract applications before they are submitted.  If there’s an awarded project missing from this list, please contact the Office of the Provost.  We’d like to recognize your accomplishments.


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