Greenville, SC, United States
Greenville, SC, United States

Furman University is a private, coeducational liberal arts college in Travelers Rest, South Carolina, United States, slightly north of Greenville, the city it is normally associated with by campus address and brand identity. Furman is South Carolina's oldest private university. Founded in 1826, Furman enrolls approximately 2,700 undergraduate students on its 750-acre campus. The university was named for Richard Furman of Charleston, SC, a prominent minister and president of the Triennial Convention, the first Baptist convention in America.Furman offers majors and programs in 42 subjects. Most of Furman's 2,700 undergraduates are from the South Atlantic region, but 46 states and 53 foreign countries are represented in its student population. Furman is a member of the Associated Colleges of the South. Wikipedia.

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Beymer-Farris B.A.,Furman University | Bassett T.J.,University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign
Global Environmental Change | Year: 2012

Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD+) is being proclaimed as "a new direction in forest conservation" (Anglesen, 2009: 125). This financial incentives-based climate change mitigation strategy proposed by the UNEP, World Bank, GEF and environmental NGOs seeks to integrate forests into carbon sequestration schemes. Its proponents view REDD+ as part of an adaptive strategy to counter the effects of global climate change. This paper combines the theoretical approaches of market environmentalism and environmental narratives to examine the politics of environmental knowledge that are redefining socio-nature relations in the Rufiji Delta, Tanzania to make mangrove forests amenable to markets. Through a case study of a "REDD-readiness" climate change mitigation and adaptation project, we demonstrate how a shift in resource control and management from local to global actors builds upon narratives of environmental change (forest loss) that have little factual basis in environmental histories. We argue that the proponents of REDD+ (Tanzanian state, aid donors, environmental NGOs) underestimate the agency of forest-reliant communities who have played a major role in the making of the delta landscape and who will certainly resist the injustices they are facing as a result of this shift from community-based resource management to fortress conservation. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

Wagenknecht P.S.,Furman University | Ford P.C.,University of California at Santa Barbara
Coordination Chemistry Reviews | Year: 2011

Transition metal complexes are vital components in a wide range of photooptical applications; these range from targeted drug delivery to devices for the conversion of solar energy to electrical and/or stored chemical energy. Metal centered (MC) ligand field excited states play important roles in the photophysics of those complexes having partially filled d-orbitals. This review offers a broad perspective on key investigations that have characterized the chemistry and physics of MC excited states in d3 and d6 transition metal complexes. It will also illustrate the impact of these excited states on various photooptical applications and highlight efforts to understand, control, and tune these MC excited states in the context of such applications. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.

Stetler C.,Furman University | Miller G.E.,University of British Columbia
Psychosomatic Medicine | Year: 2011

Objectives: To summarize quantitatively the literature comparing hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis function between depressed and nondepressed individuals and to describe the important sources of variability in this literature. These sources include methodological differences between studies, as well as demographic or clinical differences between depressed samples. Methods: The current study used meta-analytic techniques to compare 671 effect sizes (cortisol, adrenocorticotropic hormone, or corticotropin-releasing hormone) across 361 studies, including 18,454 individuals. Results: Although depressed individuals tended to display increased cortisol (d = 0.60; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.54-0.66) and adrenocorticotropic hormone levels (d = 0.28; 95% CI, 0.16-0.41), they did not display elevations in corticotropin-releasing hormone (d = 0.02; 95% CI, -0.47-0.51). The magnitude of the cortisol effect was reduced by almost half (d = 0.33; 95% CI, 0.21-0.45) when analyses were limited to studies that met minimal methodological standards. Gender did not significantly modify any HPA outcome. Studies that included older hospitalized individuals reported significantly greater cortisol differences between depressed and nondepressed groups compared with studies with younger outpatient samples. Important cortisol differences also emerged for atypical, endogenous, melancholic, and psychotic forms of depression. Conclusions: The current study suggests that the degree of HPA hyperactivity can vary considerably across patient groups. Results are consistent with HPA hyperactivity as a link between depression and increased risk for conditions, such as diabetes, dementia, coronary heart disease, and osteoporosis. Such a link is strongest among older inpatients who display melancholic or psychotic features of depression. Copyright © 2011 by the American Psychosomatic Society.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY | Award Amount: 45.95K | Year: 2015

Wealth is a critical determinant of well-being. Understanding how people gain access to wealth is therefore critically important in efforts to eradicate poverty and promote well-being. Research among marginalized populations within the United States suggests that restricted access to material wealth and formal education results in risk pooling by sharing limited resources through kin and friendship networks. But those same networks may also restrict individual access to material wealth and thereby inhibit economic mobility. Understanding how social networks either buffer against risk or impede access to the forms of wealth most closely associated with well-being is necessary for policy makers and social scientists who wish to understand the causes and consequences of poverty and associated social problems. Therefore, the research supported by this award will investigate the relationship between economic development and a range of wealth types, including material wealth, health, education, and social networks.

The research will be undertaken by Dr. Siobhan Mattison (University of New Mexico), Dr. Tami Blumenfield Kedar (Furman University), and Dr. Mary Shenk (University of Missouri). To understand how various forms of wealth interact with each other and with health to affect well-being, the team has designed a comparative study in two societies where access to material wealth, education, and healthcare is rapidly changing and altering local social networks. The study populations comprise two small-scale agricultural populations, the Mosuo of Southwest China and the villagers of Matlab, a rural district in Bangladesh. In both places, formerly subsistence-based populations are rapidly becoming integrated with regional, national, and international markets in labor and goods. This provides a natural experiment that allows them explore how recent and ongoing shifts in labor and educational opportunities, family systems, and demographic processes affect wealth and well-being. The researchers will conduct demographic and social network surveys to collect economic and social information, take anthropometric measures to assess health, and conduct focus groups, in-depth interviews, and short video interviews to examine local interpretations of wealth and well-being. The comparative approach employed by the study will allow an understanding of how different social norms and institutions act to either help or limit access to changing forms of wealth. Findings will also show whether these norms are protective or harmful with respect to well-being in different socio-economic contexts. The results of this study will provide a detailed understanding of how individual-level and larger-level social constraints affect the distribution of wealth and well-being in economies undergoing economic development, thus providing a useful model for understanding the opportunities and challenges affecting people struggling to thrive in the United States and around the world. The project is jointly funded by the Cultural Anthropology Program, the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR), and the Office of International Science and Engineering.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 300.00K | Year: 2014

In this project funded by the Chemical Synthesis Program of the Chemistry Division, Professor Paul Wagenknecht of the Department of Chemistry at Furman University will develop new classes of transition metal alkynyl complexes with interesting optoelectronic properties. The goal of this research is to exploit the characteristics of these transition metal alkynyl complexes for the development of optoelectronic devices, namely near-infrared luminescent sensors, organic light emitting diodes, and systems for the conversion of solar energy into stored chemical energy or electricity (e.g. dye-sensitized solar cells). In addition, this project will provide excellent training of undergraduate, masters, and postdoctoral students in the area of device chemistry.

Transition metal alkynyl complexes display a rich array of photophysical properties where substituted alkynyl ligands can be used both for the tuning of excited states and as conduits for electron- and energy-transfer. The proposed syntheses include modifications designed to probe the relationship between excited state photophysics and molecular architecture. In this project, three classes of new transition metal alkynyl complexes will be prepared to answer the following questions: 1) Can alkynyl-diimine ligands be used to facilitate Cr(III) sensitization of near-infrared lanthanide emission and how is the rate of the Cr to Ln energy transfer affected by the molecular architecture? 2) How does the inclusion of the high field strength trifluoropropynyl ligand impact the excited states of emissive complexes of interest for organic light emitting diodes? 3) Can the redox properties of the Fe(II) to Ti(IV) metal-to-metal charge-transfer excited state in alkynyl bridged Ti(IV)-Fe(II) assemblies be controlled and exploited for the conversion of solar energy into stored chemical energy?

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: S-STEM:SCHLR SCI TECH ENG&MATH | Award Amount: 600.00K | Year: 2012

Furman University is directing a science-based scholarship program through the NSF S-STEM funding mechanism providing 15-21 financial aid awards of up to $40,000/student over a period of five years. The need for such a science-focused initiative targeting South Carolina students from underrepresented minority (URM) groups is acute, as enrollment of African-American students in public K-12 schools approaches 40%, but the annual number of Ph.D. awards in STEM fields within this group is historically less than 5%. In this context, Furman has an outstanding record of matriculating undergraduates from all backgrounds into STEM-based graduate programs, and the SOAR (Science Opportunities, Activities and Resources) Scholars initiative provides critical support for students for whom the cost of attendance would be a hardship. A primary goal of this award is thus establishing Furman as a financially accessible option to a larger fraction of talented students, particularly those from regional underserved and/or URM populations. Furmans S-STEM SOAR Scholars are students expressing intent to major in Chemistry or Biology, recruited and selected based on financial need, demonstrated academic merit, and outcomes from on-campus interviews. SOAR Scholars are benefitting from a host of program activities including a mandatory pre-college bridge experience offered immediately prior to the freshman year, weekly interdisciplinary seminars, opportunities for science-based community outreach through established programs directed at disadvantaged populations, and guaranteed placement into (optional) on-campus paid summer research experiences. Additional supporting mechanisms aimed at sustaining high rates of retention and graduation among SOAR Scholars include peer mentoring programs, regular meetings with permanently assigned secondary advisors, free on-campus tutoring and the active participation of Furmans Office of Multicultural Affairs.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: MAJOR RESEARCH INSTRUMENTATION | Award Amount: 225.00K | Year: 2016

With this award Professor George Shields from Bucknell University and colleagues Marc Zimmer (Connecticut College), Carol Parish (University of Richmond) and Maria Gomez (Mount Holyoke College) have acquired a computer cluster to be shared by a large consortium of primarily undergraduate universities and colleges referred to as MERCURY (Molecular Education and Research Consortium in Undergraduate computational ChemistRY). The cluster is used in computational chemistry research projects. These projects employ theoretical chemistry programs and algorithms or processes using principles from quantum mechanics or molecular mechanics (often called molecular dynamics simulations). The computations are used to predict and understand a wide range of properties of molecules such as their acidity, chemical reaction mechanisms such as those that lead to the production of tropospheric ozone and hydroxyl radicals, biochemistry questions such as the binding of small molecules to proteins and even the study of environmental problems such as the chemistry of steroids that are common contaminants in surface and wastewater. The consortium involves 27 computational chemists from 24 primarily undergraduate institutions. The acquisition has a broad impact on the training of undergraduate research students who are incorporated into the workforce or those who attend graduate and professional schools.

The proposal is aimed at enhancing research in areas such as those described above. Further examples include: (a) studies of defect conduction paths with applications to fuel cells, (b) understanding the molecular behavior of model compounds such as polyradicals, and elucidating biomolecular dynamics and bond making and breaking reactions, (c) computations to understand the photophysics of light-producing and light-detecting proteins, (d) studies of the conformations of small peptides and other important areas.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 92.01K | Year: 2014

Soil degradation is a major global environmental problem. Agroecological methods such as no-till farming and intensive grazing have potential to restore soil fertility, reduce the environmental impacts of agriculture, and restore soil function as a sink for carbon. Degraded pasture land, one of the most prevalent land covers on Earth and common in the South Carolina Piedmont, presents significant potential for increased agricultural productivity and carbon sequestration. This Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) award funds analytical equipment that will be used to collect soil carbon data which will increase understanding of current and future soil quality, and its relationship to land uses such as pasture and urban lawns, in the South Carolina Piedmont. Better understanding of the properties of Piedmont soils may lead to improved soil management, which in turn can influence watershed hydrology and water quality in the region. A major objective of instrumentation acquisition is to train undergraduates to use research grade instruments and to interpret the data, preparing them for both employment and graduate education. Students using this instrument will conduct research in soil biogeochemistry, and results will directly benefit local farmers working to mitigate soil degradation. Students will benefit from interaction with farmers, gaining understanding of the importance of agroecosystems to society. In addition to involving undergraduate students (who are predominantly female) from Furman University, the researchers will involve high school students through research and education programs already in place. Also, Furmans membership in two consortia of southeastern liberal arts colleges provides the opportunity to involve undergraduates from several Historically Black Colleges. This project is jointly funded by the MRI program and the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR).
Specifically, this award funds the acquisition of a LECO TruMac Series CN Macro Determinator to analyze the carbon and nitrogen content of soils and sediments. This instrument will expand the research activities associated with the River Basins Research Initiative at Furman University to include studies of terrestrial, as well as aquatic, biogeochemistry. Initially, the instrument will be used to analyze soil samples from soil cores collected from farms in the South Carolina Piedmont. The primary objective of this research is to understand how intensive grazing and no-till planting improve soil organic carbon (SOC) and soil organic nitrogen (SON). One of the farms began intensive grazing in 2012, and changes in SOC and SON at different depths will be tracked over the next 10 years or more. A secondary objective is to quantify the potential for pasture soils to serve as carbon sinks.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: UNDERGRADUATE PROGRAMS IN CHEM | Award Amount: 337.91K | Year: 2015

At this REU Sites called A Research Incubator REU Site in Chemistry at Furman University funded by the Chemistry Division at the National Science Foundation, Professors Karen L. Buchmueller and colleagues at Furman University will provide research opportunities for ten students for ten weeks. The Site will involve three visiting teams, each consisting of a faculty mentor and two students who will come to Furman each summer to conduct research. Four Furman teams, each consisting of a faculty mentor and one student, will join them. Research topics may be developed independently by the visiting teams, or in collaboration with one of the Furman teams. Early in the summer, a customizable workshop schedule will provide safety and ethics training, career advising and hands-on experience with key analytical instrumentation. Social and outreach activities will complement focused laboratory research to encourage the intellectual development of young scientists. Additional mentor-focused development activities will help to advance long-term sustainable research programs at the partner institutions.

This REU Site will serve as a research incubator, resulting in beneficial impacts well beyond the host institutions summer program and the participation of the immediate undergraduate. This will be accomplished by hosting faculty/student teams from partner institutions or schools where internal research activities are limited or non-existent. Potential partners will include 2-year institutions and institutions with diverse student populations. The approach will encourage continued faculty/student research activity after the formal summer program, while simultaneously providing an outstanding experience for those students directly involved in the program.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 199.20K | Year: 2012

In this project funded by the Chemical Synthesis program of the Chemistry Division, Professor Brian C. Goess of the Department of Chemistry at Furman University will develop syntheses of new members of the sesquiterpene furanosteroid family of natural products. These molecules, which include wortmannin, have attracted significant attention for their ability to inhibit the phosphatidylinositol-3-kinases (PI3K), enzymes known to play a critical role in cell growth and differentiation. Syntheses of six new members of this family of natural products, none of which have been previously synthesized, will be developed. Additionally, modifications to the synthesis routes will generate analogs suitable for use in assays to determine the biological activities of these new natural products.

These new natural products are isolated in only minute quantities from their natural sources. Given their important biological activities and their potential as chemotherapeutics, chemical synthesis of each of these molecules is necessary. This work will also enable more efficient methods for the preparation of this entire family of molecules, including those that exist but have not yet been isolated from natural sources. This project could have significant impacts on pharmaceutical industries and general biological studies. This project will also serve as the training ground for undergraduate chemists, many of which will attend graduate schools in chemistry, where the skills they develop on this project will be extensively utilized.

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