Geneseo, NY, United States
Geneseo, NY, United States

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Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: ROBERT NOYCE SCHOLARSHIP PGM | Award Amount: 1.20M | Year: 2014

This Robert Noyce Teaching Scholarship Phase I program for STEM teachers of physics will develop, implement, and evaluate strategies to increase the number of highly qualified physics teachers by extending SUNY Geneseos commitment to preparing physics and other STEM teachers and supporting them as they enter the teaching profession. There is a documented national shortage of high school physics teachers who can prepare todays students for opportunities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics and this project will provide a model for ways to address this national need in physics.

This Robert Noyce Teaching Scholarship project includes several components to support and encourage physics and STEM majors interested in teaching physics in underserved high schools after earning their New York State teaching certification. These components include (1) early teaching experiences for physics and STEM undergraduates, such as presenting physics demonstrations in local classrooms; (2) a Physics Teacher Summer Field School and Summer Internships at local science camps to provide first- and second-year undergraduates with valuable teaching experience in STEM fields; (3) mentoring by successful local physics teachers through the NYS Master Teacher Program and Geneseos physics Teacher-in-Residence; (4) Noyce Scholarships to support 35 upper-level undergraduates committed to teaching STEM in high-need school districts, (5) travel to national and regional meetings of professional societies to learn about best practices in science teaching, and (6) induction and mentoring for teachers in the early years of their teaching careers. This Noyce project has four specific objectives, with evaluation metrics tailored to each: increasing the number of physics graduates certified to teach high school physics; improving confidence and physics teaching efficacy of non-physics, STEM majors pursuing secondary certification; increasing the diversity of certified physics teachers drawn from under-represented groups; and providing meaningful early teaching experiences to assist with recruitment and retention of physics teacher candidates and pre-service STEM teachers completing at least ten Build-It, Teach-It, Leave-It demonstrations.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: S-STEM:SCHLR SCI TECH ENG&MATH | Award Amount: 639.14K | Year: 2015

This project at SUNY Geneseo will address the national need for more and better trained geoscientists by increasing recruitment, retention to graduation, and preparation for and placement in careers or geosciences graduate programs and by combining scholarships and academic and career services. Through many student support and enrichment activities, this project will enhance interactions between SUNY Geneseo and academic institutions including SUNY Buffalo and SUNY Binghamton where many new geosciences graduates from the college pursue M.S. or Ph.D. degrees. In addition, connections to regional geosciences industries, including the American Rock Salt Company and Stell Environmental Enterprises, as well as government and academic research programs such as NASA, DOE, and a variety of National Laboratory and Research Experience for Undergraduates programs, will be strengthened through the development of opportunities for student research and internships. Together, these improvements will increase the number and quality of research opportunities for undergraduate geosciences students, increase opportunities for students to participate and present at professional and scholarly conferences, and address the national need to increase the number of geosciences students to fill jobs in oil and gas, environmental service, and mining industries.

The project will target students majoring in geology, geochemistry, and geophysics at SUNY Geneseo and is designed to meet three objectives: (1) increase recruitment and enrollment of academically talented students with financial need by at least 20%, (2) enhance retention and graduation within four years by at least 10%, and (3) increase placement in a geosciences or related science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) career or graduate program by 13%. The project leadership will work with the Office of Admissions and twenty alumni who are geoscience teachers at high schools in western New York to recruit academically talented scholars with financial need to the program. Cohorts of scholars will be brought together by (a) taking the same classes, (b) engaging in supplemental instruction programs, (c) participating in field trips, (d) interacting with graduate students and alumni, and (v) engaging in research and/or internships. The program goals will be accomplished through two primary components: (i) enhanced student support programs, and (ii) experiential learning opportunities. Career placement-related program components will be supplemented with support from the Office of Career Development. The scholarship program will allow SUNY Geneseo to implement and assess support services for geosciences students, including Supplemental Instruction (SI), Workshops with Graduate Students, a Geology Alumni-Student Program, field trips, research experiences, and internships. SI is a proven method to increase retention and graduation rates in many STEM disciplines; however, the effectiveness of SI has not been tested in the geosciences. This program will fill that void and provide insight into best practices and effective measures for promoting retention, graduation, and placement in the geosciences.

This Major Research Instrumentation award funds the acquisition of geochemical instrumentation at SUNY Geneseo which will augment the analytical capabilities of a department with a proven record of success in undergraduate research, thereby enhancing the education of the next generation of geoscientists. Three faculty in the Department of Geological Sciences have well-established, undergraduate-friendly research programs that will immediately benefit from the expanded analytical capabilities. The instrumentation will provide high-resolution chemical analysis of rock, sediment and water samples to support ongoing research, and will enable new collaborative research in areas such as geomorphology, petrology, anthropology, and ecology. The research that will benefit from the acquisition is (1) providing key insight to the magnitude, timing and pace of climate changes during the last glacial-interglacial transition in the western U.S. (2) establishing a detailed characterization of ground and surface water chemistry in a region that is targeted for high-volume hydraulic fracturing of the Marcellus Shale for extraction of natural gas; and (3) establishing the impacts of slag on soil and water chemistry in western New York State and the Adirondack State Park, important agricultural and recreational regions. Research in these areas includes field and laboratory components carried out by faculty and undergraduates, in keeping with the tradition of cultivating critical thinking and problem-based learning in the Department of Geological Sciences. This instrumentation will be incorporated into classes reaching more than 300 students per year.

Specifically, this award funds the acquisition of an Inductively Coupled Plasma Optical Emission Spectrometer (ICP-OES) to support research in paleoclimatology, hydrogeology, and geochemistry at SUNY Geneseo. For research in paleoclimatology and related fields, the ICP-OES will be used by the Cosmogenic Nuclide Preparation Lab, which prepares samples for measurement of cosmogenic Beryllium-10 inventory of surficial deposits and landforms. For hydrogeologic studies, the ICP-OES will enable new research on water quality in areas of upstate New York targeted for high volume hydraulic fracturing. For geochemical studies, the ICP-OES will be used for measuring the concentrations of metal and rare-earth elements in slag, a byproduct of smelting, and in soils and water in environments affected by the disposal of slag. Additionally, the ICP-OES will augment the analytical capabilities of ongoing research in the Departments of Anthropology, Biology and Chemistry at SUNY Geneseo, and provide opportunities for new research in these departments. Acquisition of the ICP-OES also provides new opportunities for collaborative research between the Department of Geological Sciences and other institutions within and beyond New York State.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: ENERGY,POWER,ADAPTIVE SYS | Award Amount: 181.89K | Year: 2016

Networks are increasingly becoming a powerful tool to model and analyze the properties of naturally occurring and engineered interacting dynamic systems. In a wide range of applications, networked dynamical systems theory provides a coherent framework to model phenomena such as the emergence of highly structured or synchronized global behavior, or to analyze the possibility of altering the natural dynamics in a collection of decentralized interacting dynamic systems. In both natural and man-made systems, the presence of inherent network structures may explain the onset of collective behavior or inhibit the possibility of freely controlling the dynamics of the system. Although such structures are mathematically rare, they appear widely in real-world networks such as yeast protein interactions and human B cell genetic networks, technological networks such as the Western States US power grid, US airports, the Internet, and social networks such as email and academic collaboration networks. From a controls design perspective, it is therefore imperative to fully understand for a networked dynamic system how the local structure of the network affects the ability to control or alter its dynamic behavior and to develop algorithms that avoid undesirable control intervention. The proposed research will provide STEM training for students at a primarily undergraduate institution that serves a predominantly minority population. Moreover, the interdisciplinary nature of the proposed research will involve students from several STEM disciplines such as electrical engineering, applied mathematics, and computer science.

The existing body of knowledge on the relationship between network structure and the ability to control the dynamics of a multi-agent system has fallen behind in addressing the need to control ever more complex networks in engineering and naturally occurring systems. The objective of this research is to advance our understanding of how the topological structure of a networked multi-agent dynamic system governs the selection of a group of agents to alter the behavior of the overall system and accomplish system-level tasks such as state transfer or regulation. The methods used in the proposed research will blend techniques from mathematical control theory, algebraic graph theory and matrix analysis, and scientific computing. Outcomes of the research will include a catalog of new network structures directly related with the ability to control a given networked dynamic system, and efficient algorithms to detect these structures and their demonstration in real-world technological and biological networks. The expected results will add to the development of a usable theory of the control of networked multi-agent systems. This research will also make new connections with control theory and algebraic graph theory. From a practical standpoint, one of the impacts of this research will be to provide control design engineers and scientists with a broad overview of the controllability profile of a given network and its effect on designing decentralized control protocols.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: Integrative Activities in Phys | Award Amount: 61.62K | Year: 2016

REU Site in Physics and Astronomy: Supporting Undergraduate Research at Geneseo (SURGE)

SURGE provides an exciting ten-week research experience to a cohort of six to eight undergraduates each year at the State University of New York at Geneseo, a nationally recognized center of excellence in physics education. REU students are integrated into small teams of undergraduate researchers working closely with a faculty mentor, who nurtures their experimental, analytical, and communication skills. Students also experience physics in action by visiting regional facilities, where they interact with practicing physicists. Active recruitment at community colleges expands research opportunities for underrepresented students and for those with limited research prospects. Retention of students in physics, especially women and other underrepresented groups, is supported by showing them how physics research addresses societally relevant problems, and also through an online mentoring community that persists after completion of the summer experience.

Students in SURGE deepen their understanding of physics and astronomy through direct application of physics concepts to solve intriguing problems using state-of-the-art instrumentation. They design detection systems for inertial confinement fusion experiments, develop novel materials science techniques, analyze observational data on massive stars and on nearby open clusters, employ scanning probe microscopy, engineer automated positioning systems, and measure the optical properties of atmospheric aerosols. SURGE also expands knowledge about the impact of undergraduate research experiences, based on nationally normed assessments, independent evaluations, and post-experience assessment surveys.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: MAJOR RESEARCH INSTRUMENTATION | Award Amount: 38.12K | Year: 2016

An award is made to the State University of New York at Geneseo to acquire a UVP BioSpectrum 815 imaging system. This advanced imaging system will accelerate research in the areas of Biology, Biochemistry and Chemistry through its increased sensitivity for data collection and will allow for expanded data acquisition in the areas of immunology and cytochrome biology, the biologics of iron-containing compounds bonded to a protein. It will capture and analyze high resolution images of protein and DNA gels that are labeled with UV fluorescent, or color reagent tags. In addition it will allow for examination of tagged nucleic acid and protein targets on the same gel and will also image laboratory-grown bacterial and eukaryotic colonies. More than 30 undergraduates per year will use the imager in faculty-led research projects and more than 200 undergraduates per year will utilize the imager in their laboratory classwork in the areas of ecology, genetics, molecular and cellular biology, immunology, chemistry, biochemistry, neurobiology and environmental sciences.

The UVP BioSpectrum 815 Imaging System will be immediately incorporated into a number of ongoing projects including: (1) studies of the effects of ultrapotent steroid use on vulvar carcinogenesis that will shed light on the mechanisms involved in altering key transcription factors; (2) investigations into nucleic acid methylation in Trypanosoma brucei that will address a lack of knowledge on the full repertoire of DNA bases in organisms; (3) investigation into the molecular and genetic mechanisms controlling the growth and development of the retina, which is leading to an understanding of gene mutations associated with developmental defects of the retina; (4) investigation of the transcriptional and translational regulation of a major meiotic transcription factor as applied to growth of filamentous fungi; (5) investigations into the biogenesis and function of c-type cytochromes, furthering knowledge on the synthesis of iron-, or heme-containing proteins; and (6) studies into the interaction of therapeutically small molecules with their nucleic acid targets, which will lead to an improved understanding of molecular interactions. It is expected that additional investigators in the Biology and Chemistry Departments as well as at least one in the Psychology Department at SUNY Geneseo will utilize the instrument. The instrument will be immediately incorporated into several laboratory courses that are taught by both the Biology and Chemistry Departments.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: LAW AND SOCIAL SCIENCES | Award Amount: 33.03K | Year: 2014

One of social sciences greatest theoretical puzzles is What factors lead individuals to join together collectively to protect a public good, when all face temptations to free-ride, shirk, or otherwise act opportunistically? We examine this question in a study of poor, rural, indigenous communities to understand how they overcome socioeconomic and geographic barriers to launch new forms of social movements relying on Western science and international collaboration. In contrast to arguments that environmental issues concern only the relatively affluent, we argue that immediate threats to community livelihoods may provide material incentives for poor communities to come together to mitigate environmental impacts.

The project evaluates determinants of collective action at the individual, community, and transnational levels using survey research, interviews, and archival research . Understanding changes in indigenous movement strategies - from confrontation to cooperation with government authorities and scientists - should help communities and policymakers better cope with environmental threats. The project will also help us understand how indigenous leaders draw attention to scarcities they face, while using the climate change frame to help pressure international organizations and governments regarding one of the most vital issues of our time. Indeed, this project explains how small and apparently powerless groups largely outside of the Western system of justice can leverage judicial institutions to challenge powerful global energy interests. Finally, the project will train graduate students, help scientists launch a social science component to environmental studies, and disseminate findings among academics and practitioners.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: TECTONICS | Award Amount: 48.00K | Year: 2012

The goal of this project is to take advantage of the exceptional exposures of shallow crustal igneous intrusions in the Henry Mountains of southern Utah to study in detail the spatial and temporal growth of plutons constructed from multiple magma pulses. Because the intrusions were emplaced during a tectonic lull, they are largely free of complicating tectonic structures and specific variables related to magma emplacement can be evaluated, some that is difficult to in many other geologic settings. Each of the five separate intrusive centers in the Henry Mountains preserves a different stage of the evolution of a shallowly constructed igneous system, ranging from a small-total-volume body comprised mostly of dikes to a fully mature body comprised of dozens of relatively large intrusions. This project is focusing on detailed studies of three of these intrusive centers: one each at an early, moderate, and advanced stage of development. Using data field, geochemical, geochronogical, and paleomagnetic data from these intrusive centers, a general construction model for a shallow igneous complex is being constructed. Synthesis of the data and construction of models for data emplacement are being facilitated by the integration of data into geographic information system. Ultimately, a series of fully 3-D models for each intrusive center will be created using constraints from the collected data to study growth of the composite intrusions in space and time. This research will advance our understanding of how igneous intrusions grow in the shallow crust. These intrusions are important for many reasons, including that they feed volcanic eruptions, they serve as heat reservoirs for geothermal fields, and that fluids associated with the intrusions are an important souce of economic mineral deposits. This project is specifically designed to further our knowledge of: (1) the geometries of the plumbing system in shallow igneous systems, (2) how these systems evolve as magma pulses intrude sequentially, (3) magma intrusion rates and their variability in space and time, and (4) the manifestation of magma pulses at different spatial and temporal scales structurally, geochemically, etc. The project is a collaborative effort between researchers at Eastern Carolina University, SUNY College at Geneseo, and Central Michigan University. In addition to the scientific goals of the project, the research is providing for the training of graduate and undergraduate students in STEM disciplines at all three institutions and results of the study will be used for the development of resources for teaching, research, and outreach.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 89.47K | Year: 2010

Mountain glaciers were numerous in the Rocky Mountains of western North America during the last Pleistocene glaciation, and the geologic record of these glaciers provides dramatic evidence of climatic changes during and following the Last Glacial Maximum. This research will build upon and augment the Pleistocene mountain glacial chronologies in the U.S. Rocky Mountain region, and use these chronologies to model past climate changes. The project uses both field and analytical methods to address two broad objectives: (1) to determine the changes from modern climate that would be necessary to sustain Rocky Mountain glaciers at their last Pleistocene maximum extents, along a transect from northern Montana to south-central New Mexico, and (2) to determine the timing and rate of subsequent ice recession, and the magnitudes and rates of climate change necessary to drive that recession. The first objective involves additional glacial mapping and chronology in eight study areas, making use of cosmogenic beryllium-10 surface-exposure dating to constrain the timing and extent of glaciers during Last Glacial Maximum. A numerical model of glacier mass balance and ice flow will allow determination of the character and magnitudes of climatic change sufficient to produce the observed glacial extents. The second objective involves additional surface-exposure dating in four of the eight study areas to constrain the timing and rates of ice recession following its maximum stand, and to allow modeling of the climate changes that caused the recession. The results of this research will include a regional synthesis of glacier-climate reconstructions for the last Pleistocene glaciation and the subsequent deglaciation, an assessment of the climatic significance of the apparent variability in the timing of the Last Glacial Maximum, and an improvement in the chronology of mountain glacier movements.

This application of high-resolution glacier modeling and cosmogenic-radionuclide dating methods will provide insight into the history of climate change in the Rocky Mountain region. The time interval of interest is the Last Glacial Maximum (the interval of maximum global ice volume) and the subsequent transition to the present warm period, the latter occurring over approximately 6000 years. This transition was an interval of major global warming, during which substantial changes in atmospheric circulation occurred in the western United States in response to shrinking ice sheets, increased incoming solar radiation, and rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. Such changes in airflow undoubtedly brought about changes in regional precipitation patterns, as is suggested by paleoclimate models. The results of this research will assess the accuracy of such models in representing precipitation patterns of the past, and may also provide insight into the accuracy of model predictions of future precipitation changes in the Rocky Mountains region, an area where demand for limited water resources continues to grow.

COLLABORATIVE RESEARCH: Testing hypotheses for Late Devonian biotic and climatic events via high-precision CA-TIMS U-Pb zircon dating and quantitative correlation tools

Mark Schmitz, EAR-1124488
Boise State University

D. Jeffrey Over, EAR-1124275
SUNY Geneseo

The Late Devonian period hosts a series of global biological extinction events of such magnitude as to be counted among the major mass extinctions of the Phanerozoic. Yet no consensus has yet been reached regarding the causative mechanisms of extinction and associated changes in marine sedimentation, biogeochemical cycling, sea level and climate. Testing of competing hypotheses for Late Devonian extinctions?which include sea-level fluctuations and regression, climatic cooling, ocean anoxia, bolide impact, and/or massive volcanism?is currently hampered by a lack of sufficient temporal resolution in paleobiological, tectonic and proxy climate records.
In this study, a multi-disciplinary research team of paleontologists, biostratigraphers and isotope geochemists will combine high-precision U-Pb zircon geochronology on interstratified volcanic ash beds in key stratigraphic successions with quantitative biostratigraphy applied to a global Late Devonian multi-taxa database compiled from the literature and new high-resolution sampling. The U-Pb geochronology will utilize the chemical abrasion and EARTHTIME quadruple spike isotope dilution methods to measure ca 0.1 Ma resolution ages, which will calibrate the construction of the first highly resolved composite standard for the Late Devonian via constrained optimization. With this high resolution age model the research team will interrogate several fundamental questions relating to the abruptness of the late Devonian biotic events, their global synchrony, and process drivers. Specific hypotheses to be addressed include the synchrony and causality between extraterrestrial impacts or massive volcanism and biotic crises, whether the rates of associated eustatic rise and fall and fluctuations in proxy records of carbon cycling and temperature are consistent with Milankovich-band orbital forcing, and if feedbacks between climate, glacioeustasy, ocean anoxia, and the carbon cycle caused the Late Devonian biotic crises.
This research will impact STEM human resource development via participation of undergraduate students in a multi-disciplinary international science team; develop international scientific collaborations; support the science mission of the EARTHTIME geochronology initiative, and its associated inreach and outreach programs; provide fundamentally improved chronologies for numerous other Paleozoic climate studies; and improve our understanding of deep time climate state transitions potentially analogous to those leading to our current icehouse. The scientific process and content of the proposed research will be captured by a parallel NSF-funded STEM education initiative developing a series of web-based learning objects to teach the science of geochronology and Earth history.

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