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Blacksburg, VA, United States

Virginia State University is a historically black land-grant university located north of the Appomattox River in Ettrick, Chesterfield County, near Petersburg, Virginia. Founded on March 6, 1882 , Virginia State developed as the United States's first fully state-supported four-year institution of higher learning for black Americans. The university is a member school of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. Wikipedia.

Xie Z.,Virginia State University
Journal of Mathematical Analysis and Applications | Year: 2012

In this paper, we study a strongly coupled reaction-diffusion system describing three interacting species in a food chain model, where the third species preys on the second one and simultaneously the second species preys on the first one. We first show that the unique positive equilibrium solution is globally asymptotically stable for the corresponding ODE system. The positive equilibrium solution remains linearly stable for the reaction-diffusion system without cross-diffusion, hence it does not belong to the classical Turing instability scheme. We further proved that the positive equilibrium solution is globally asymptotically stable for the reaction-diffusion system without cross-diffusion by constructing a Lyapunov function. But it becomes linearly unstable only when cross-diffusion also plays a role in the reaction-diffusion system, hence the instability is driven solely from the effect of cross-diffusion. Our results also exhibit some interesting combining effects of cross-diffusion, intra-species competitions and inter-species interactions. © 2011 Elsevier Inc.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: HIST BLACK COLLEGES AND UNIV | Award Amount: 417.10K | Year: 2012

The Virginia State University HBCU-UP Broadening Participation Research in STEM education project is entitled Reducing Stereotype Threat by Enhancing Emotional Regulation: A Role for Mindful Awareness Practice for STEM Majors. The proposed study is designed to test the efficacy of a meditative intervention, a meta-cognitive intervention, and a media based intervention on test anxiety based on prior research showing a positive correlation with academic improvement. The goal is to study mechanisms to reduce stereotype threat in mathematics courses using meditative or meta-cognitive practices. The study aims to: 1) Implement and assess the degree to which a meditative intervention (Autogenic Training) attenuates math anxiety and other STEM related test anxiety by reducing stereotype threat;
2) Implement and assess the degree to which a meta-cognitive task (self-reflective journaling) attenuates math anxiety and other STEM related test anxiety by reducing stereotype threat; 3) Implement and assess the degree to which a media based intervention decreases math anxiety and other STEM related test anxiety by increasing test preparedness; and 4) Add to a theoretical model by understanding the mediating and moderating factors of each intervention on the ethnic identity, outcome expectation and academic self-efficacy of STEM students and how these relate math anxiety and other STEM- related test anxiety.

The overarching idea is innovative. The study includes meta-cognition, journal writing, digital media and reflection as elements in the research construct. Because these are familiar in the science education literature, it makes the work easily transferrable and informative to other scholars. There is a solid research base that supports the work, a focus on more than one STEM discipline, a relation to contemporary technology in the implementation and design of the research, and an understanding of the nature and culture of science. The results can potentially benefit all institutions in their effort to increase student retention in STEM discipliens through faculty developmetn and more effective student support systems.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: HIST BLACK COLLEGES AND UNIV | Award Amount: 299.63K | Year: 2016

Research Initiation Awards provide support for junior and mid-career faculty at Historically Black Colleges and Universities who are building new research programs or redirecting and rebuilding existing research programs. It is expected that the award helps to further the faculty members research capability and effectiveness, improves research and teaching at his home institution, and involves undergraduate students in research experiences. The award to Virginia State University has potential broader impact in a number of areas. The goal of the project is to study the existence and uniqueness of solutions of systems of strongly coupled partial differential equations given an appropriate initial configuration and to study the long time behavior of the solutions. The models have wide applications in areas such as aerospace engineering, civil engineering, and environmental sciences. Undergraduate students will gain research experiences and courses in ordinary and partial differential equations will be enhanced.

The goal of the project is to study the control, optimization and stability analysis centered on physically significant systems composed of dynamical interactive inhomogeneous structures, whose behavior is governed by nonlinear systems of coupled partial differential equations (PDEs). The two PDE-components act on separate and adjacent media. Two specific models under consideration are: (1) Fluid-structure interaction (FSI), where the model consists of the Navier Stokes equation coupled on the interface with dynamic elasticity; and (2) Structure acoustic interaction (SAI), in an acoustic chamber with an elastic or thermoelastic shell as a flexible wall. The SAI model consists of hybrid coupling between an acoustic wave equation and a shell equation which is possibly nonlinear. Control theoretic issues to be studied are: (a) stabilization, particularly stabilization of unstable equilibria in FSI and stabilization of SAI subject to weak dissipation; and (b) well-posedness, particularly seeking suitable feedback control such that the solution to FSI with moving interface is well-posed. Both models could be generalized to other structures where the developed mathematical technology could be applied to other coupled systems.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: HIST BLACK COLLEGES AND UNIV | Award Amount: 400.00K | Year: 2015

The Historically Black Colleges and Universities Undergraduate Program (HBCU-UP) through Targeted Infusion Projects supports the development, implementation, and study of evidence-based innovative models and approaches for improving the preparation and success of HBCU undergraduate students so that they may pursue STEM graduate programs and/or careers. The project at Virginia State University (VSU) seeks to develop, implement and test the impact of a series of Algebra Project pedagogical techniques and content material in College Algebra and pre-Calculus courses, as well as cognitive training techniques that have been piloted in previous studies at VSU. The project aims to address the problem of the failure rate in College Algebra courses at the institution, which is at about 40%. Failing these courses prevents students from taking Calculus, which is the prerequisite mathematics sequence for students majoring in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines. The project is guided by an on-going evaluation.

This project will assess the efficacy of implementing a conceptual architecture for college mathematics developed by the Algebra Project which is accessible to students at the level of College Algebra and pre-Calculus, and which has the potential to deepen and strengthen
students understanding of the course content and provide a solid conceptual and procedural foundation for the future study of Calculus. At the same time, the project will study the impact on cognitive training of working memory associated with STEM success. The research design for the project will be quasi-experimental, with three College Algebra and one pre-Calculus classes randomly assigned to the treatment condition, and four classes randomly assigned to the control condition. Dependent measures include course grades, standardized assessment of mathematics ability, attitudinal change, level of motivation and engagement, and semester grade point average. Initial data will be analyzed with a factorial multivariate analysis of covariance. The impact of the cognitive and psychosocial variables on mathematics performance will be analyzed using structural equation modeling. This is the first study of the impact of the Algebra Project pedagogy at the college level. Results from the study will be broadly disseminated to other institutions of higher education, particularly those that have students entering college, but not prepared to take Calculus.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: ROBERT NOYCE SCHOLARSHIP PGM | Award Amount: 1.45M | Year: 2012

Partners for this Track 1 project to produce 41 high school mathematics teachers include Virginia State University (VSU) as the lead institution, three community colleges (John Tyler and J. Sargeant Reynolds Community Colleges and Richard Bland Junior College) and two school districts (Petersburg and Chesterfield County Public Schools). Their overall goal is to recruit, prepare and sustain teachers, from underserved populations, who are capable of creating professional, positive, research-informed, STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) responsive, technologically-intensive and effective mathematics learning environments for all students.

The Scholars are being recruited from three specific populations: (1) VSUs current STEM majors, (2) students pursuing certificates or degrees in STEM-related disciplines at the partnering two-year community colleges, and (3) juniors and seniors at local high schools. As a recruiting tool, summer internships are being offered to 100 freshman and sophomore students from both VSU and the cooperating community colleges. The internship includes, among other activities: (1) a three credit mathematics course; (2) reinforcement of mathematics skills; (3) introduction to web technology; and (4) an overview of STEM careers. The program for the scholars emphasizes community building and includes: (1) faculty and peer mentoring; (2) preparation for all requirements of secondary licensure, including the Praxis; (3) resume writing and interviewing skills; (4) an introduction to useful technology and grant writing; (5) participation in professional organizations and meetings; and (6) team building. Support for the Scholars during their first three years of teaching, includes: (1) a Mentor /Scholar Teacher Professional Community comprised of new teachers, mentors and faculty at VSU and the partnering community colleges designed to provide individual, group, and internet housed contact among the participants; (2) summer mini-workshops involving current and past Scholars, exemplary mathematics high school teachers, and VSU and partnering community college faculty that focus on effective pedagogy, problem solving, diversity preparation, technology, and classroom management; and (3) a funded one credit-hour hybrid course.

Intellectual Merit: Information from the research-based evaluation of the project will be widely disseminated through contacts in the state and through presentations at professional organizations.

Broader Impact: The nature of the student population at the institutions involved and the emphasis of the program on service at underserved schools insures creation of a diverse effective set of secondary mathematics teachers throughout the schools served by this project.

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