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Jackson State University is world-renown for its educators and innovators. The winners of the 2014 Presidential Creative Awards for Faculty and Staff exemplify such a reputation. Their work positions JSU as a global leader in providing a high-quality education, delivering superb services and producing competitive graduates. The Creative Awards program is designed to foster collaboration, innovation and creativity with a special emphasis on socio-cultural, health, behavioral, environmental, economic, educational, policy and technological issues. The projects also engage students in research methodology to develop their critical-thinking and problem-solving skills. The winning projects are enterprising and formidable. They include proposals to stave off and treat breast cancer; provide data regarding tornado risks; examine the benefits of iPad use for nontraditional students and create a digital model of green practices that could be extended to the city of Jackson. All 11 winning projects were exceptional. Congratulations to the 2014 CAFS winners.


A Message from President Carolyn W. Meyers

Assistant Professor Department of Physics, Atmospheric Sciences and Geoscience College of Science, Engineering and Technology “GIS-based Spatial Decision Support System for Tornadoes in Mississippi”

When there’s a tornado risk in Mississippi, emergency responders and decision makers need access to accurate information about the storm’s potential path — and they need it quickly. Dr. Duanjun Lu’s project would provide those stakeholders with key data to make constructive choices related to tornado risks in the state. Lu proposed the development of a GIS-based spatial decision support system for tornadoes that is accessible through the Internet. Tornadoes are nature’s most violent windstorms and are a significant hazard to life and property. Vulnerability assessments are a priority in tornado research. Factors that contribute to vulnerability include housing structure, land cover, population density and storm strength. “Though previous efforts have provided much insight into analyzing individual factors contributing to vulnerability, few studies have been conducted to evaluate the effects when these factors coincide,” Lu says. “This project seeks to provide a more comprehensive view on vulnerability.” Specifically, the project aims to examine the combination of tornado hazards and the Social Vulnerability Index to identify vulnerable locations throughout the state; analyze tornado occurrences to address the risk on any given day and develop a web server to house a tornado database website that can be accessed by anyone with an Internet connection. The project team consists of the principal investigator and two undergraduate students recruited from geographic information systems classes. The PI will be responsible for overseeing, consulting and planning the research project. The students will handle data collection, result analysis and product presentation. The project’s results will be shared with other researchers, government agencies and communities through presentations at local, national and international conferences, workshops and meetings. The project’s results also will become instructional materials for future GIS courses.

JSU creative awards 2013 | 5


Dr. Duanjun Lu

Assistant Professor of Instructional Design and Development School of Lifelong Learning College of Public Service

“Mobile Learning: An Exploratory Study of Nontraditional Students Using iPads in Team Learning”

Nontraditional students need iPads, too. That’s the premise of the research project proposed by Dr. Yu-Chun Kuo, who will explore nontraditional students’ mobile learning experiences utilizing iPads in team learning settings and the impact of instructional support on students’ knowledge levels and critical thinking. The existence of nearly 30.5 million active iPad users in the U.S. illustrates the large potential for the mobile learning market. A recent report from the Pew Research Center indicated that about one-third, 34 percent, of American adults own a tablet computer, almost doubling the 18 percent that owned a tablet a year ago. “Given the continuously growing number of adults owning a tablet, it is imperative for educators in higher education to integrate mobile devices into teaching, especially for nontraditional students,” Kuo says. In 2012, Jackson State University launched its iPad Initiative, providing iPads to all first-time, incoming freshmen to assist in their coursework. “However, nontraditional students in the School of Lifelong Learning may not have received that benefit because many are either transfer students or previously attended JSU,” Kuo says. Kuo’s project will involve 80 to 100 students over two semesters, and iPads will be provided for collaborative team learning. The study aims to increase nontraditional students’ motivation to learn with iPads and improve attitudes toward m-learning; explore the students’ learning experiences with Apple apps in collaborative team learning; and explore the effect of iPad apps and instructor support on students’ learning achievements and the factors affecting student success in mobile learning environments. Kuo says the project will contribute to the current research in M-learning among nontraditional students, particularly within the African-American population. The research will be shared with scholars from other institutions through presentations at local, national and international conferences. It also will be published in journals.

JSU creative awards 2013 | 7


Dr. Yu-Chun Kuo

Associate Professor of Biology College of Science, Engineering and Technology

“Vernonia Amygdalina Reduces the Initiation and Progression of Mammary Cancer Stem Cell-Induced Xenografts: A Pilot Study”

Dr. Carolyn Bingham Howard and a team of researchers are digging for more evidence on the impact an African plant has on mammary cancer stem cells (MCSC), which are resistant to most available therapies. At the center of this pilot study is Vernonia amygdalina (VA), a plant originating from Africa. The plant is commonly called bitter leaf because of its taste. VA leaves have been consumed for hundreds of years, either as a vegetable or aqueous extracts for the maintenance of good health. Previous preliminary findings suggest VA shows promise in reducing MCSC-mediated initiation and progression of mammary tumors in a xenograft model. Breast cancer is a complex disease consisting of many heterogeneous cell types. Aggressive triple-negative breast cancers with higher stem cell content are frequently diagnosed in pre-menopausal African-American women who suffer the worst outcomes to chemotherapy, the only treatment option available. “If this study is successful, VA could be recommended as a preventative measure for women at a higher risk for developing breast cancer, as well as become a new treatment for mammary cancer patients,” Howard says. Howard says the project’s ultimate goals include generating preliminary data for full-fledged National Institutes of Health grant applications and finding more effective treatments against the most aggressive forms of breast cancer. Howard’s project is an inter-institutional collaboration with Dr. Shehla Pervin, an assistant professor at Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science in Los Angeles. A Jackson State University undergraduate student will travel to Los Angeles along with Dr. Howard to measure tumor volume on nude mice in Pervin’s lab to evaluate the effect of VA on tumor promotion and progression. “This pilot study will determine the efficacy of VA alone to attenuate the initiation, or VA in combination with low-dose chemotherapeutic regimens to reduce the progression of breast cancer in women,” Pervin says. Both JSU and Drew are NIH-supported Research Centers at Minority Institutions and will utilize the infrastructure of the NIH-funded Data Coordinating Center at JSU to integrate the research findings as prognosticators for developing treatment regimens using VA for patients with breast cancer.

JSU creative awards 2013 | 9


Dr. Carolyn Howard

Assistant Professor Management and Marketing Department College of Business “A Pilot Study: The Personality-Major-Career Project ‘Know Thyself…Chart Thy Future’ ”

When choosing a career, personality should be a consideration. That’s the basis of Dr. Gwendolyn Catchings’ project, which aims to assist freshman, undecided majors in choosing an appropriate major and career path based on personality type. “The objective of the research is to identify the personality type of the students and match their personality type with a college major (and career) in hopes of increasing their retention rate and academic performance,” says Catchings. Research shows personality matching is an essential element for higher grades, persistence in major and on-time graduation. The more compatible the student’s personality type is to the college major, the greater the chances that students will succeed. “Thus, every student should have access to career information and assessment tools that can help them make intelligent decisions about their college major and career choice,” says Catchings. A research group and a control group will be identified from a list of undecided majors. The “Career Key” online personality assessment will be administered to the “research group.” However, data, including personality type and preferred major, will be gathered on both groups. The research could provide valuable assistance to high school and college academic advisors as they help students identify college majors, help JSU increase the graduation rates of students in the study and provide a peer-to-peer support system for future years.

JSU creative awards 2013 | 11


Dr. Gwendolyn Catchings

Professor in the Department of Technology College of Science, Engineering and Technology “Development of a Remote Laboratory”

In distance-learning environments, any traditional lecture course can be taught online. However, Dr. HuiRu Shih says physical laboratory exercises are the most critical gap in distance-learning education today. Educators are increasingly searching for ways to provide more interactive learning experiences for students in engineering and technology programs in an efficient, flexible and cost-effective manner. The solution, says Shih, is a remote lab. Students can control lab equipment in the remote site and conduct actual experiments through a computer network. Under Shih’s proposal, the electronics lab in JSU’s Department of Technology would be made network accessible, including installation of equipment and courseware. Computers in the remote lab would be connected to instruments. When students log in to the system over the network, they would be able to control both the computer and the equipment. A pilot test will be conducted in fall 2014 in one electronic course. Several experiments will be developed and designated as “distance experiments.” Students will be asked to provide feedback on the remote labs through a survey. Giving distance-learning students access to lab equipment can lead to an increase in the number of courses that can be offered, says Shih. It also would provide research training for students and improve the quality of education for distance learners. Findings from the project will be published.

JSU creative awards 2013 | 13


Dr. HuiRu Shih

Associate Professor Department of Computer Science College of Science, Engineering and Technology “Design and Development of a Local Spectrum Knowledge-Based Minimal Channel Switch Routing Protocol for Cognitive Radio Ad Hoc Networks”

If you’ve ever gotten a “no service” message on your smartphone while traveling, Dr. Natarajan Meghanathan’s project may be of interest to you. Wireless devices operate on a specific frequency, also called a channel or spectrum, typically owned by the wireless service provider for the device. Licensed or primary users own the frequencies, but unlicensed, or secondary, users sometimes access the channels when the channels are available. “Licensed users are not using the frequencies all the time. To make it efficient, we’d like to make it accessible to several other users,” says Meghanathan. “We want to come up with a strategy to get them better service even though they’re not licensed.” The proliferation of wireless devices has congested the widely used 900 MHz and 2.4 GHz Industrial, Scientific and Medical radio bands. To alleviate the problem of spectrum scarcity, the Federal Communications Commission recently approved the use of unlicensed devices in the licensed bands. To realize the above strategy, wireless devices need to be equipped with a cognitive radio, a softwaredefined radio that can dynamically change its transmission parameters based on the available channels in the wireless spectrum of its operating environment. Cognitive radios can access temporarily unused spectrum. If the primary user resumes usage, the cognitive radio enables the secondary user to move seamlessly to another spectrum hole. Meghanathan says the problem is that switching from channel to channel leads to slower and degraded service for the secondary users. “We want to come up with a protocol to minimize switching,” he says. The project involves designing and developing a local spectrum knowledge-based distributed routing protocol for cognitive radio ad hoc networks (CRAHNs). The objectives are to determine multi-hop routes using a minimal number of channel switches and to develop a series of lecture modules on CRAHNs.

JSU creative awards 2013 | 15


Dr. Natarajan Meghanathan

Marlin King

Station Manager JSU-TV University Communications

Assistant Director of Projects and Construction Management Department of Facilities and Construction Management

Heather Wilcox

Dr. Mukesh Kumar

Neighborhood Development Assistant Center for University-Based Development

Interim Program Director Urban and Regional Planning Programs College of Public Service

“Jackson State University Campus Rain Works Challenge”

A team of Jackson State University faculty and staff believes the campus could be a model for the entire city when it comes to going green. They’ll create a digital simulation of JSU’s “Green Corridor,” a proposed site surrounded by the Metro Parkway, the School of Engineering Building and the Lee E. Williams Athletics and Assembly Center. The School of Engineering building is one of the greenest structures on campus. The building has light sensors, and rainwater is used for its irrigation system. The building was Mississippi’s first state-funded construction to be designated as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certified project. Yet, the building is surrounded by crumbling infrastructure and broken storm water drainage systems that are prevalent throughout Jackson. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has entered into a consent decree with the city, requiring Jackson to fix the systems by 2030. “JSU is positioned to be at the forefront of innovation for creative and environmentally sound solutions to the problems,” said Mukesh Kumar, interim director of Urban and Regional Planning Programs. “It is our desire to expand upon the current green technologies in the School of Engineering building and create an educational venue that significantly enhances the surroundings.” A thought-provoking, educational video will convey the impact of the Green Corridor, which will feature a rain garden, convertible parking lots and an outdoor green classroom. The video will demonstrate how rainwater can be collected and used for irrigation and other green features. It also will show the measurement of impervious area, air quality and water quality.

JSU creative awards 2013 | 17


Keith Collins

Assistant Professor of Special Education College of Education and Human Development

Dr. Brandi Newkirk-Turner

Assistant Professor of Communicative Disorders College of Public Service

Dr. Tracy Harris

Associate Professor of Elementary Education College of Education and Human Development “Speech Language Pathology, Elementary and Early Education and Special Education Collaborative Clinical Experience Project: A Research-Based Approach to Providing Collaborative Clinical Experiences That Offer Pre-Service Students Opportunities to Engage in Educating K-12 Students with Speech/Language and Learning Disabilities”

The project is a collaboration of faculty from the College of Education and Human Development and the College of Public Service, and it will examine the role of teacher-preparation programs in clinical experiences. The goal is to provide multidisciplinary learning experiences to undergraduate Communicative Disorders (Speech-Language Pathology), Elementary and Early Childhood Education and Special Education degree candidates to better prepare them to teach K-12 public school students. In the past, general educators, speech-language pathologists and special educators generally worked independent of each other, but new federal laws require general and special educators to collaborate to ensure student success. Now, all public school teachers, both general and special, must be equipped to provide differentiated instruction to K-12 students who have various learning styles and abilities. General education teacher preparation programs typically don’t require courses that strategically focus on teaching students who have learning or speech-language disabilities. The goal of the SES: Clinical Experience Project is to address the critical shortage of highly qualified general and special educators in Mississippi’s public schools. The researchers will collect quantitative survey data from current pre-service students and recent graduates. Qualitative data will be obtained during planned focus groups and weekly assignments. The researchers’ concept of multidisciplinary collaborative learning experiences will be submitted to various journals and publication outlets.

JSU creative awards 2013 | 19


Dr. Glenda Windfield

“The Impact of Skin Color and Hair Texture on Candidate Evaluation”

Dr. B. D’Andra Orey wants to know whether a black, female political candidate’s hair texture and skin color are deciding factors in whether she gets someone’s vote. “Scholars know little, if anything, about whether African-American females’ natural or un-straightened hairstyles influence political cognition and behavior, specifically if hairstyle affects vote choice,” says Orey. “While there has been some research on the impact of colorism on political candidate evaluation, we do not know how colorism impacts African-American attitudes.” As part of the project, subjects will review campaign literature of African-American women candidates in which hairstyle, complexion and campaign issues have been manipulated. An experimental research design will test whether those variables impact candidate evaluation and vote choice. “Both race and gender have shaped power relationships in the U.S., and by studying African-American women, we are able to make connections between the material conditions and social contexts of racialized women’s bodies,” says Orey. The project aims to provide empirical evidence that reveals the biases that African-American voters may have toward candidates with Afrocentric hairstyles and the biases that African-American voters have toward dark-complexioned candidates. The project also will expose undergraduate and graduate students to the research process.

JSU creative awards 2013 | 21


Dr. B. D’Andra Orey

Professor in the Department of Political Science College of Liberal Arts

Assistant Professor in the Department of Elementary and Early Childhood Education College of Education and Human Development “Interdisciplinary Teacher Education Course Lab Approach to Increase Pre-Service Education Teachers’ Graduation Rate at an HBCU”

The research project lab is designed to improve passing rates on the certification tests and improve graduation preparation for education majors. Historically Black Colleges and Universities are credited with producing more than half of all AfricanAmerican teachers in the country. The decrease in the number of minority teachers has reached an alarming rate. “Teacher education leaders are looking at many factors that prompt students to change majors, such as the increase in the requirements to pass completion tests or the rigor of the curriculum for licensure,” says Kincaid. “A substantial number of students are not meeting the teacher education requirements in a timely manner. These students are changing their majors to nonteaching degree programs.” The objectives of Kincaid’s project are to identify the patterns of students’ strengths and weaknesses, improve passing rates and develop curriculum that successfully integrates teacher-preparation skills,” says Kincaid. The project also aims to increase faculty and student presentations and publications. The lab will work in conjunction with the Communicative Arts course that is a prerequisite for incoming teacher education majors. The course lab will be taught in an interdisciplinary setting by JSU faculty and K-12 school teachers. The participants will be 25 to 30 students. The course is taught both fall and spring. Students will be required to take a lab that will integrate this experience with a formal teacher certification program that will enable participants to coordinate experiences in the lab, other colleges and education classes, and K-12 classrooms. Participants will be exposed to all competencies required to receive a license to teach upon graduating. The results from the study will be used to seek further funding through grant writing.

JSU creative awards 2013 | 23


Dr. Evornia Kincaid

“Development of Molecular Sensors for Environmentally Relevant Anions”

Dr. Alamgir Hossain’s project seeks to improve the environment by ridding it of some negatively charged ions, or anions, which cause adverse effects in nature and in human health. Anion binding is a new area of chemical research that has become an important aspect in supramolecular chemistry because of the critical roles played by anions in many environmental, chemical and biological processes. There are several anions that have adverse effects on both the environment and health. For instance, perchlorate is a by-product of the nuclear fuel cycle and has been shown to cause damage to the thyroid gland. Chloride, sulfate and arsenate are known contaminants in water and soil and are associated with several health-related problems. Hossain’s research will focus on the development of new molecular sensors for selective binding and recognition of environmentally important anionic species. His students will prepare molecular sensors to detect poisonous anions and remove them from the environment. “This project will provide a deeper understanding of factors responsible for selective anion sensing at the molecular level,” says Hossain. “One undergraduate student directly involved in this project will be given broad-based training in synthetic and instrumental chemistry and will be provided an opportunity to experience firsthand the relationship between a theory and an experiment.” The project’s results will be shared through presentations at scientific meetings and in publications in peer-reviewed journals.

JSU creative awards 2013 | 25


Dr. Alamgir Hossain

Associate Professor of Chemistry College of Science, Engineering and Technology

About Jackson State University Jackson State University, founded in 1877, is a historically black, high-research activity university located in Jackson, the capital of Mississippi. Jackson State’s nurturing academic environment challenges individuals to change lives through teaching, research and service. Officially designated as Mississippi’s Urban University, Jackson State continues to enhance the state, nation and world through comprehensive economic development, health-care, technological and educational initiatives. The only public university in the metropolitan area, Jackson State is located next to downtown, with six locations throughout the metro area.

Dr. Carolyn W. Meyers, President Dr. James C. Renick, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Marcus A. Chanay, Vice President for Student Life Dr. Deborah F. Dent, Vice President for Information Management Dr. Vivian L. Fuller, Director of Athletics David W. Hoard, Vice President for Institutional Advancement Dr. William E. McHenry, Executive Director of the Mississippi e-Center @ JSU Dr. Loretta A. Moore, Interim Vice President for Research and Federal Relations Matthew Taylor, Interim General Counsel Michael Thomas, Vice President for Business and Finance

Council Of Deans Dr. Richard A. Al贸, College of Science, Engineering and Technology Dr. Ricardo A. Brown, College of Public Service Dr. Melissa L. Druckery, Library and Information Resources Dr. Dorris R. Robinson-Gardner, Graduate Studies Dr. Evelyn J. Leggette, Undergraduate Studies Dr. Lawrence T. Potter Jr., College of Liberal Arts Dr. Daniel Watkins, College of Education and Human Development


Jackson State University Executive Cabinet



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2014 Presidential Creative Awards  
2014 Presidential Creative Awards