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UB Awards Civic Engagement Research Fellowships

By Rachel Cala

Release Date: September 25, 2012

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The University at Buffalo's UB 2020 Civic Engagement and Public Policy strategic initiative (CEPP) has awarded five new Civic Engagement Research Fellowships for 2012-13 to UB scholars in fields of communications and health sciences, education, law and social work.

CEPP is in its third year supporting community-based research. The fellows are UB researchers who collaborate with community partners to address urgent and challenging concerns of social justice and public policy.

The new fellows, who receive up to $3,500 for their community-based research project, and their research partners, are:

-- Kathleen Kost, associate professor, School of Social Work: "Assessing Readiness for Change Among Village Leaders in Tanzania," with community research partner Immaculate Heart Sisters of Africa (ISHA), Kitenga, Tanzania.

-- Jill Koyama, assistant professor, Department of Educational Leadership and Policy, Graduate School of Education: "Collaboratively Tracing Refugee and Immigrant Newcomer Service Networks," with community research partner Buffalo English Language Learners (BELL) Network.

-- Ophelia Morey, associate librarian, Health Sciences Library, and Helen Wang, assistant professor, Department of Communication, College of Arts and Sciences, and research assistant professor, Department of Community Health and Health Behavior, School of Public Health and Health Professions: "Healthy Moms, Healthy Babies: Developing Information Communication Strategies for Reducing Infant and Maternal Mortality Rates in Buffalo," with community research partner Buffalo Prenatal-Perinatal Network Inc. (BPPN).

-- Tony Szczygiel, professor, UB Law School: "Canopy of Neighbors Public Benefits Screening Project," with community research partner Canopy of Neighbors.

-- X. Christine Wang; associate professor, Department of Learning and Instruction, Graduate School of Education: "iLearning": Technology Enhanced Early Science and Literacy for Diverse Learners," with community research partner PS 39 Martin Luther King Multicultural Institute, Buffalo Public Schools.

"This new class of research fellows adds to the network that is being created to enhance the work of community-based scholarship at the university," said Susan Mangold, professor of law and member of the CEPP Faculty Advisory Committee. "CEPP serves a vital role in developing, identifying and supporting community-based scholarship at UB.

"In meetings with research fellows from former years," said Mangold, "we learned how CEPP can enhance their work by developing resources to assist in all phases of their research from IRB through success in grant writing, publication and disseminating research results broadly. This class of scholars will make important contributions to their fields employing community-based scholarship methods and CEPP looks forward to working with them to further their research."

In addition to the new research fellowships, in November 2011 a second round of 2011-12 fellowships were awarded which include:

-- Filomena M. Critelli, assistant professor, School of Social Work: "Service Needs, Service Access and Improved Service Utilization Strategies for Immigrant and Refugee Domestic Violence Victims: Perspectives of Consumers and Providers," and community research partner Domestic Violence Victims Services Program at the International Institute of Buffalo.

-- Daniel B. Hess, associate professor, Department of Urban and Regional Planning, School of Architecture and Planning: "Older Adults' Vulnerabilities to Extreme Weather in Western New York," and community research partner Erie County Department of Senior Services.

-- David A. Gerber, distinguished professor, Department of History and former director UB Center for Disability Studies, College of Arts and Sciences, and Michael Rembis, assistant professor, Department of History and current director for Center for Disability Studies, College of Arts and Sciences: "An Oral History of the West Seneca Development Center (1961-2011), West Seneca, N.Y.," and community research partner Museum of DisABILITY in Amherst.

Laura Mangan, who coordinates the CEPP initiative, said she is pleased with the success of the research fellowship program including the quality of proposals, the variety of research methods employed and geographic diversity of the research.

"The ever increasing number of proposals we receive," Mangan said, "confirms the considerable interest in community-based research across the disciplines at UB."