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Millersville, PA, United States

Millersville University is a public university located in Millersville, Pennsylvania, United States, offering programs embracing the liberal arts. Founded in 1855 as the first Normal School in Pennsylvania, Millersville University is one of 14 universities within the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. Wikipedia.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 140.24K | Year: 2014

This project will develop curricula for environmental/geoscience disciplines for high-school classrooms. It will teach a systems approach to problem solving through hands-on activities based on local data and issues. This will provide an opportunity for students to act in their communities while engaging in solving problems they find interesting, and require synthesis of prior learning. The Model My Watershed (MMW) v2 app will bring new environmental datasets and geospatial capabilities into the classroom, to provide a cloud-based learning and analysis platform accessible from a web browser on any computer or mobile device, thus overcoming the cost and technical obstacles to integrating Geographic Information System technology in secondary education. It will also integrate new low-cost environmental sensors that allow students to collect and upload their own data and compare them to data visualized on the new MMW v2. This project will transform the ability of teachers throughout the nation to introduce hands-on geospatial analysis activities in the classroom, to explore a wide range of geographic, social, political and environmental concepts and problems beyond the projects specific curricular focus.

The Next Generation Science Standards state that authentic research experiences are necessary to enhance STEM learning. A combination of computational modeling and data collection and analysis will be integrated into this project to address this need. Placing STEM content within a place- and problem-based framework enhances STEM learning. Students, working in groups, will not only design solutions, they will be required to defend them within the application portal through the creation of multimedia products such as videos, articles and web 2.0 presentations. The research plan tests the overall hypothesis that students are much more likely to develop an interest in careers that require systems thinking and/or spatial thinking, such as environmental sciences, if they are provided with problem-based, place-based, hands-on learning experiences using real data, authentic geospatial analysis tools and models, and opportunities to collect their own supporting data. The MMW v2 web app will include a data visualization tool that streams data related to the modeling application. This database will be modified to integrate student data so teachers and students can easily compare their data to data collected by other students and the government and research data. All data will be easily downloadable so that students can increase the use of real data to support the educational exercises. As a complement to the model-based activities, the project partners will design, manufacture, and distribute a low-cost environmental monitoring device, called the Watershed Tracker. This device will allow students to collect real-world data to enhance their understanding of watershed dynamics. Featuring temperature, light, humidity, and soil moisture sensors, the Watershed Tracker will be designed to connect to tablets and smartphones through the audio jack common to all of these devices.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: PHYSICAL & DYNAMIC METEOROLOGY | Award Amount: 387.74K | Year: 2013

This grant is part of a larger effort centered on the Ontario Winter (OW) Lake-effect Systems (LeS) field project, to be conducted December 2013-January 2014. OWLeS will focus on two complementary lines of research, each tracing to a preferred wind regime, characteristic cross-lake fetch and corresponding distinct mesoscale mode of winter storm organization. Activities led by this sub-group will focus on short-fetch events in which prevailing low-level winds are oriented at large angles relative to Lake Ontarios long axis. These investigators will seek to advance process-oriented understanding of atmospheric boundary-layer circulations over adjacent complex land cover, factors controlling the location and downwind persistence/spatial extent of lake-effect circulations and associated bands of heavy snowfall, as well as those precipitation events associated with smaller bodies of water as are found in the Finger Lakes region. Observational assets to be deployed during OWLeS will include the University of Wyoming King Air instrumented aircraft, the CSWR Doppler on Wheels mobile radars, multiple mobile rawinsounding systems, the Millersville University Profiling System, the UAH Mobile Integrated Profiling System, and a variety of other surface measurement systems. The intellectual merit of this sub-groups activities is centered upon determination of (1) how upwind land-surface and atmospheric factors determine the three-dimensional structure of the short-fetch convective LeS PBL that develop over a relatively-warm, open water surface; (2) how organized, initially convective cloud and precipitation structures under short-fetch conditions persist far downstream over land, long after leaving the buoyancy source (i.e., the ice-free waters of Lake Ontario); and (3) factors controlling the development of, and interactions between, complex atmospheric stratifications embodying a internal planetary boundary layer and residual layers resulting from airmass advection over multiple mesoscale bodies of water and intervening land.

Broader impacts of OWLeS will include improved physical understanding and model-based representations of conditions that impact populations and associated major transportation corridors along the shores of the Great Lakes region, as well as extensive opportunities for enhanced classroom and hands-on field project based educational opportunities for a large number of students who will be actively engaged in field campaign planning, instrument preparation, data collection and analysis. Outreach efforts will extend to K-12 students and college students enrolled at nearby institutes of higher learning.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: PHYSICAL & DYNAMIC METEOROLOGY | Award Amount: 289.98K | Year: 2014

The Plains Elevated Convection at Night (PECAN) field campaign is planned for the Summer of 2015 in the central Great Plains. The scientific focus of PECAN is nocturnal convection, with four separate research topics to be addressed: 1) Nocturnal convection initiation and early evolution of mesoscale convective clusters; 2) Bore and other wave-like disturbances; 3) Dynamics and microphysics of nocturnal mesoscale convective systems; 4) Prediction of nocturnal convection initiation and evolution. The observational campaign plan calls for three research aircraft, seven mobile Doppler radars, and multiple sounding systems. A main part of the experimental design is the inclusion of fixed and mobile PECAN Integrated Sounding Array (PISA) units which consists of a variety of profiling instruments. The broader societal impact of PECAN is to improve forecasts of these nocturnal events for hydrology, energy, agriculture and public safety purposes.

Given PECANs four research foci, it is clear that quantification of the nocturnal stable boundary layer (NSBL) structure is mission critical. This project is unique due to its focus on the NSBL using a suite of in situ measurements, a valuable addition to PECANs remote sensing capabilities, especially in data validation and calibration. The instrument package deployed with this project includes tethered balloon based mean and flux systems, flux towers, SODARs, a 915 MHz wind profiler, a LIDAR, a laser ceilometer, a rawinsonde system, and three near-surface flux/profiling systems. Given the spatial separation of the two sites, this research team is ideally positioned to make coordinated and detailed measurements of the characteristics of the NSBL in different locations relative to the moving Mesoscale Convective Systems and their associated NSBL disturbances (density currents and bores).

The broader impacts of this project mirror those of PECAN; that is, the advancement of our knowledge base and improvement of forecasts of critical weather phenomena. In addition, unique of this project is the planned involvement of many undergraduate students in the research. This project will thus provide extensive opportunities for undergraduate students to participate in cutting-edge research and research training, from project planning and data collection in the field to coauthoring peer-reviewed publications.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: Materials Eng. & Processing | Award Amount: 291.18K | Year: 2014

Nanomaterials are advanced materials which have at least one dimension below 100 nanometers, or about one one-thousandth the width of a human hair. The most widely studied nanomaterials are based on carbon, as these materials have the potential to transform society by allowing stronger, lighter structures, more efficient computing and advanced medical applications. The drawback is that they often require specialized processing which is difficult to scale up economically. A critical transition must be made to convert their theoretical potential into real-world performance. This award enables fundamental research into a new process which efficiently produces bulk components made entirely of carbon nanofibers. This highly versatile material has the potential to broadly impact society and the economy by enabling applications in transportation, energy, environmental and medical disciplines. This research will use multi-scale analysis to understand how the fibers form (nanoscale), how they interact (microscale) and how they behave collectively as a bulk component (macroscale). Such diverse topics require a multi-disciplinary approach to holistically unite nanoscale materials science, chemical engineering and advanced manufacturing. The project will engage these diverse groups at the professional and educational levels and demonstrate the importance of preparing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) students for a multi-disciplinary workplace.

The direct synthesis of bulk components comprised entirely of carbon nanofibers creates a stand-alone embodiment for the application of nanoscale carbon. Carbon nanofibers are formed during the decomposition of a carbon-containing gas over a suitable catalyst. The catalyst is placed within a constrained environment (a mold), which the nanofibers fill during growth. After sufficient growth, the fibers form a highly entangled, bulk component which is mechanically robust. There are many factors which can alter the properties of the three-dimensional fiber collection, and the objective of this research is to understand the governing factors from fiber formation at the catalyst to fiber interaction in the bulk. An important understanding of fiber growth using low-cost, bulk catalysts will be attained by uniquely controlling composition and microstructure through mechanical alloying. Foundational metrics will be established for this brand-new process in the areas of kinetics, morphology and long-range response of fiber growth to constraint. The bulk properties will also be identified as a function of those structural characteristics. This multi-scale approach is critical to accurately couple processing, properties and performance.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: Cyber-Human Systems (CHS) | Award Amount: 20.00K | Year: 2016

This is funding to support a Doctoral Consortium (workshop) for approximately 9 graduate students from the United States and abroad, along with a panel of distinguished research faculty mentors. The event will take place in conjunction with (and on the first day of) the Ninth International Conference on the Theory and Application of Diagrams (DIAGRAMS 2016), to be held August 7-10, 2016, in Lafayette Hill (Philadelphia), PA. Diagrams are wide-ranging and open-ended representations that include sketches, drawings, charts, pictures, 2D and 3D geometric models, and maps. They are a vital tool in human communication in areas such as art and science, as well as commerce and industry. A better understanding of how effective diagrams can be generated and used has the potential to produce transformative advances in these areas. DIAGRAMS is the only conference series that provides a forum for all aspects of research on the theory and application of diagrams. It is a bi-annual, international and interdisciplinary event whose goals are to present and discuss (a) state-of-the-art research on computational, cognitive and socio-cultural theories, models and techniques of reasoning with diagrammatic representations, and (b) cutting-edge intelligent and interactive information technologies for using diagrammatic representations in supporting human reasoning. Research topics include understanding diagrammatic reasoning in humans, understanding the use of diagrammatic representation for communication, developing techniques for automated diagrammatic reasoning, and designing tools for use of diagrammatic representations. The conference series is overseen by the DIAGRAMS Steering Committee with a rotating membership; more information is available at the conference website http://www.diagrams-conference.org/2016. DIAGRAMS 2016 will significantly increase our understanding of diagrammatic reasoning in humans and machines, and will add momentum to the development of new information technologies for the use of diagrammatic representations in support of human reasoning. The conference will help develop human research capital by enabling interactions between senior and junior researchers and by catalyzing new collaborations. The Doctoral Consortium will increase the exposure and visibility of young graduate student researchers in these areas, and help train them by providing early input from senior researchers in the field in an interactive and constructive environment. The social network among this next generation of researchers, and the relationships with senior researchers, created by the workshop will play a critical role in their enculturation into the profession. Diversity of the selected students is a goal of the organizers, who will be proactive in an effort to ensure that both students and faculty are a diverse group across multiple dimensions including nationality, scientific discipline and gender. To further assure diversity, only one student will be selected from each educational institution, with preference given to students from underrepresented populations.

The primary goal of the DIAGRAMS 2016 Doctoral Consortium is to increase the exposure and visibility of young graduate student researchers in these areas. The workshop will be a research-focused day-long meeting that affords participants an opportunity to present their work and get feedback from established researchers in the field, who will be present to comment on the young researchers presentations in an informal and constructive environment. Each invited participant will have approximately half an hour for presentation of their research, that may include a short demonstration if appropriate, and which will be followed by discussion and critiquing. For some students, this may be their first opportunity to give a research talk outside their home institutions. Therefore, each student will be assigned a mentor (selected from the Program Committee), who will preview the students presentation and offer suggestions for improvement as well as provide sample questions that may arise during the discussion. The Doctoral Consortium is open for attendance to all conference registrants, and summaries of the student presentations will be available on the conference website.

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