March 31, 2011

West Nile Fever Virus Surveillance Cooperative Program

“Most of the interns that we’ve had working with us have made a point of telling us how much they enjoyed working in the program, and that’s a good sign.”
–Michael Sinsko, Retired Senior Medical Entomologist, Indiana State Department of Health

While many students who participate in summer internships experience 10 weeks of scholarly pursuit indoors, others choose to experience the great outdoors. As members of the West Nile Fever Virus Surveillance Cooperative Program, students are spread across the state of Indiana setting up mosquito traps to assist the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) in collecting and identifying mosquitoes that may potentially harbor the West Nile Virus.

Melody Bernot
Robert Pinger
Initially led by Dr. Robert Pinger, retired Director of Ball State’s Public Health Entomology Laboratory and Professor of Physiology and Health Science, the program is now under the direct leadership of Dr. Melody Bernot, Associate Professor of Biology. Under her guidance, the program continues to provide an immersive internship opportunity for students while providing the citizens of Indiana an early warning system of any impending West Nile outbreaks.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has been the primary source of funding over the last decade and has channeled these funds through the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) to support field and laboratory surveillance activities. Prior to entering the field, students receive special training from medical entomologists and are assigned five territories to monitor within the state. Their primary duties include going out at dusk to set up light traps that attract the mosquitoes and coming back the following morning to collect any specimens received. Then, using a microscope, they identify the genus and species of the mosquitoes and record this data.

Once completed with this task, the mosquitoes are delivered to ISDH where scientists run further tests on them. If any strains of the West Nile Virus are found, public health warnings are issued for those counties where infected mosquitoes were located. “It’s a really cool opportunity,” said Bernot. “The students are well paid, and this gives them a great opportunity to work with the state as well as provide that really needed data in terms of surveillance for West Nile.”

Click to Enlarge
In addition to Ball State students, the program recruits students from other colleges and universities across Indiana to assist with the collection of mosquitoes. This collaboration enables students to cover more territory and sample more counties. Molly Clark, wildlife major and senior at Purdue University, is a veteran of the West Nile program and has spent the last three summers working as an intern. For her, this was the ideal chance to grow professionally as she notes “It’s a job with a lot of sampling and identifying, and I thought that would be a very beneficial opportunity for my future career.”

With the help of determined and dependable students, the West Nile Fever Virus Surveillance Cooperative Program continues to experience success and growth. “2010 was a big year for us,” Bernot said, referencing the more than 300 pools of mosquitoes that last year’s interns were able to locate in 54 counties.

The program’s website reports that in 2007, Indiana recorded 24 human cases of West Nile Fever. In 2008, there were only four human cases, and three cases in 2009; however, the virus was detected in mosquitoes from 41 counties in 2008 and 37 counties in 2009. In all of these cases, it was the internship program that was responsible for the findings.

“It was pretty cool to be involved in something so big,” said Jeremy Kinder, a first-year graduate student in the Department of Biology at Ball State. “It would come out on the news about surveillance of West Nile, and it was terrific being an integral part of that.”

If you are interested in becoming an intern with the West Nile Fever Virus Surveillance Cooperative Program or interested in learning more about the project, visit or contact Dr. Melody Bernot.

March 25, 2011

2011 Cardinal Fellows Program: Deadline April 29

The Cardinal Fellows Program is designed to increase the number of large federal-level proposals submitted by Ball State University on an annual basis. Awards include a course buy-out for fall or spring semester 2011-12. Following submission of the proposal, Cardinal Fellows receive 1.5 times the amount of SUBMIT funds for extramural-related expenses, in addition to the standard 5% recovered indirect cost distribution to PI.

Eligibility limited to Tenured and Tenure-Track Faculty, Contract Faculty, and Professional Staff.

2011-12 deadline is Friday, April 29, 2011
Award announcement: Friday, May 6, 2011

Program guidelines may be found at Cardinal Fellows Program.

Questions may be directed to your department or unit's Proposal Manager.

March 23, 2011

NEH ODH: Digging into Data 2.0: June 16, 2011

The National Endowment for the Humanities Office of Digital Humanities has announced the second round of competition for its Digging into Data Challenge, which calls for cutting-edge humanities and social science research driven by advanced computation and data analysis. Applications are due by June 16, 2011.

Interested BSU Researchers, please contact your unit or department's Proposal Manager.

Teams of researchers are asked to consider how advanced computation can be used to change the nature of humanities and social science research methods and how advanced computation and data analysis techniques might help researchers ask new questions about the world.

Eligibility is open to groups of researchers in the information, library, archival, and computational sciences as well as the humanities and the social sciences. Each proposed project must include collaboration among two to four national teams, with each team representing one of the competition's participating countries (Canada, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the U.S.). If multiple institutions from the same country are participating in a team, they must work together and designate one of the institutions as the team lead. Teams can only receive grants from a funder from their own country. For U.S. teams, awards will range from $25,000 to $125,000, or up to $175,000 if the team consists of two or more institutions.
The first Digging into Data competition, held in 2009, was so popular that funding was available for just eight percent of the 90 teams that applied. This round will be underwritten by four new sponsors, for a total of eight organizations contributing funding: NEH, the Institution of Museum and Library Services, and National Science Foundation in the U.S.; the Arts and Humanities Research Council, Economic and Social Research Council, and Joint Information Systems Committee in the United Kingdom; the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research; and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) Comprehensive Program: May 23, 2011

The U.S. Department of Education has announced the 2011 competition for the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) Comprehensive Program. FIPSE supports and disseminates innovative reform projects that promise to be models for improving the quality of postsecondary education and increasing student access.

Awards are made in a number of areas including: postsecondary education access; retention and completion; student preparation for college; cost-effectiveness; and curricula reform. Deadline for applications is May 23, 2011.

What makes a successful FIPSE Comprehensive Project?
  • Innovative in goal, method, scope, target population, cost, or efficiency.
  • Possess clear and specific goals that relate to student learning, faculty development, or institutional change.
  • Articulate specific objectives that can be assessed for success, partial success, or failure in a manner that an educated non-specialist would find convincing.
  • A successful application should have a clear statement about how the proposed project is expected to impact the campus and/or the field five years after it has been completed.
  • Projects, if demonstrated to be successful, have game-changing implications for how some aspect of postsecondary education is done on a regional or a national level.
The Comprehensive Program is the central grant competition of the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE). The competition is designed to support innovative reform projects that hold promise as models for the resolution of important issues and problems in postsecondary education.

Click here to view a map showing current projects for all FIPSE competitive grant programs, including the Comprehensive Program.

Interested? Ball State faculty or staff interested in pursuing this opportunity, please contact your department or unit's Proposal Manager as soon as possible.

March 18, 2011

John W. Fisher Faculty Research Fellowship: April 8

The John W. Fisher Faculty Research Fellowship Committee invites proposals to fund research in American Business or American Politics, broadly defined. These fellowships are available to any tenured, or tenure-line, faculty member. Each fellowship carries a stipend of $3,000.00, used at the discretion of the recipient between July 1, 2011 and June 30, 2012. Recipients will provide a report of the results from their funded research.

The proposals will be evaluated by the Fisher Research Fellowship Selection Committee: Michael Maggiotto, Dean, College of Sciences and Humanities; Rajib Sanyal, Dean, Miller College of Business; Mr. David Bahlmann, President, Ball State University Foundation; and Anca Cotet Assistant Professor, Department of Economics. As this year’s committee chair, I invite proposals from interested faculty members.

The intent of the Fisher Fellowships is to provide support to scholars who have research projects in advanced stages. Thus, a major criterion in the evaluation of a proposal is the extent to which a researcher will use the Fisher Fellowship to bring his or her project to completion. Previous recipients of a Fisher Fellowship must wait two academic years before submitting another proposal to the competition. Faculty in the Miller College of Business who are receiving New Faculty Summer Stipends are not eligible to apply for the Fisher Fellowship.

An application form is attached and should be electronically submitted to your Department Chair with your application materials. After review and approval, the Chair will electronically forward your materials to Susan Miller, Secretary to the Dean, College of Sciences and Humanities. The form may also be obtained on-line: Click Here for Application

The deadline for the receipt of proposal is 5:00 pm, Friday, April 8, 2011. If you have questions, please contact Susan Miller. Thank you for your interest and cooperation.

March 15, 2011

From GrantWeek: NIH How-To: Revision, Resubmission, and Review

As part of its resources defining the full life cycle of a grant, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has provided detailed guidance on how to revise and resubmit an application that is declined for funding. This interactive website provides some common-sense advice ("Competition is tough, and it is very common not to succeed at the first attempt") and, more importantly, allows applicants to work their way through a flow chart describing how to determine whether a resubmission is warranted and permitted, lodge a formal appeal, start over with a new application, or search for funding outside NIH.

Investigators who have applied to NIH and had their proposals declined or who plan to submit their first NIH application can gather practical intelligence from the flowchart itself and from the seeds of insight scattered throughout:

  • What a Summary Statement Means (Here it's noted that, due in part to today's shorter summary statements, "you can correct all the problems in the summary statement and still not get a fundable score when you reapply.")
  • How to Assess the Severity of Application Problems ("Faint praise can be a worse sign than abundant criticism. You should be concerned if reviewers had no major criticisms of your application, but it got an unfundable score.")
  • How to Time a Resubmission (If your program officer attended the review meeting and told you that the discussion was favorable except for some fixable problems, it might advisable to start work on the revision even before receiving the summary statement.)
  • Can a Resubmission Hurt You? (The answer is yes; still, "during fiscal years 1996 to 2006, more than 80 percent of resubmissions got better scores, and less than five percent got significantly worse scores.")
  • Should You Appeal a Negative Funding Decision? ("Even if you win, you will have to resubmit the application, unchanged, for the next review cycle."
  • When to Look for Funding outside NIH (Consider National Health Council Health Research Funding for applications that were reviewed but not funded by NIH.)

In other NIH applicant review news, the Center for Scientific Review (CSR) has launched a new website to keep researchers up-to-date on realignment and reorganization of the study sections and integrated review groups that evaluate NIH proposals. CSR uses a comprehensive, biannual process to assess and adjust review groups to keep them current with changes in scientific disciplines. With the new website, these efforts of CSR staff, reviewers, and academic and scientific stakeholders will operate with more transparency. See the new study section guidelines and the January 2011 issue of NIH Peer Review Notes for additional information.

Cowan students Chase Charlie After School

Students at Cowan Elementary School in Delaware County, Indiana are part of an after-school running program called "Chase Charlie" led by Ball State University.

BSU received a $1,000 grant  from UnitedHealth HEROES Youth Service America that supports development of specific programs to combat childhood obesity and encourage healthy lifestyles in communities.

A similar program, funded by ING, was started in 2009 at Burris Laboratory School.

The Cowan program, which will end in April, is offered twice a week. P.E. teacher Jill Brand and BSU students lead the activities, which include running and many other activities, including dodgeball, Steal the Flag and something called "Not In My Backyard".

Read the full article at The Star

For more information on the Annual Chase Charlie races at Ball State University, visit

March 04, 2011

Environmental Education Regional Grants Program for 2011

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is accepting grant applications for $1.9 million in funding for environmental education projects and programs. The purpose of the grants is to promote environmental stewardship and help develop knowledgeable and responsible students, teachers and citizens. EPA expects to award at least 20 grants nationwide ranging from a minimum of $15,000 to a maximum of $100,000 and will accept applications until May 2, 2011.

The grants provide financial support for innovative projects that design, demonstrate, and/or disseminate environmental education practices, methods, or techniques. Projects should involve environmental education activities that go beyond disseminating information.

EPA will be hosting two conference calls for potential applicants interested in additional information about the application process. The conference calls will take place on March 21, 2011 at 11 a.m. EDT and April 6 at 2 p.m. EDT.

More information on eligibility and application materials can be found on their website.

Interested Ball State parties may contact Justin Miller, Proposal Manager in the Sponsored Programs Office. 

March 03, 2011

Recap of the 2011 CCIM Student Kaleidoscope Symposium

This year’s CCIM Student Kaleidoscope Symposium was an immersive experience filled with the work of some of Ball State’s best and brightest student researchers. Held in the Letterman Building Lobby on February 24, the symposium highlighted the work of undergraduate and graduate students from the College of Communication, Information, and Media whose research focused on diverse ideas, cultures, and perspectives from both a national and international perspective.

In attendance were 17 presentation groups that each had a unique and creative twist in showcasing their work. In addition to visual displays, participants gave informal verbal descriptions of their research to numerous students, faculty, and staff who were also in attendance.

Three judges were present at the event and evaluated each presentation. This year’s judges were John Emert, Associate Dean of the Honors College; Patricia Lovett, Director of for the Multicultural Center; and Willow King Locke, Assistant Director of the Career Center. Criteria for judging included students’ ability to tie their research into the overall theme of diversity, the visual display of their work, and oral presentation of their data. Winning recipients were rewarded with a small cash prize.

Below is a full list of this year’s student projects. Winning presentations are indicated in parenthesis.
  1. Daniel Cooper, Sarah Brannan, Kevin Grazioli, Jack Meyer, and Jeffery Holiday: "Ball State Goes to China" (winner)
  2. Tayln Cox: "Japanese Religions: A Journey in Real and Virtual Worlds" (winner)
  3. Paula Truex: "Falling Whistles" (winner)
  4. Amy Yount & Megan Burkett: "Cross-Cultural Classroom" (winner)
  5. Kait Buck, Allison Mast, Meagan Sigman, Ben Cronk, and Jordan Dimit: "Powering Innovation and Creativity through Diversity"
  6. Lisa Cappa: "Culture Clash"
  7. Ebony Chappel: "Personalization"
  8. Jessica Choquette: "The Dismissal of Juarez Femicides: Media Framing Analysis"
  9. Joe Clemons, Ebony Chappel, Brad Gray, and Krystal Highbaugh: "Fire Burning, Higher Learning: The Unexamined Story of the Black Student at Ball State University"
  10. Seth Davis: “It’s (Queer) Barbie Bitch!: The Evolution of Nicki Minaj"
  11. Kenzie Grob: "Building Tomorrow at Ball State University"
  12. Brandon Loshe: "Multicultural Center"
  13. Eric Marty & Taylor Ellis: "Finding Common Ground"
  14. Amberly Pressler: "Beyond Hunger: Starving Minds of Central America"
  15. Seth Tanner: "Black Man Can’t Shoot—The Malik Perry Story"
  16. Ben Wagner, Kyle Binder, & Jarrod Jones: "Basketball Beyond Borders"
  17. Lucia Bustabad Lagoa: "Innovation of Modern Languages and Classics Department"


To see more student interviews, visit our SPO YouTube Channel.

March 02, 2011

From NIH Extramural Research: More Information for Understanding Impact Scores

The recent “Enhancing Peer Review” self-study process at NIH led to, among other things, the introduction of bulleted critiques and overall impact scores. A recurring theme in feedback to the agency was the desire for more information about the impact scores.

In light of this, reviewers have been asked to write a paragraph summarizing the factors that informed their overall impact score to supplement the bulleted critiques. This paragraph is included in the summary statements.

Another new initiative is a continuous review of the peer review process. You can see a report on the first round of surveys on the OER website.

For more information about NIH Extramural Research, please visit their Extramural Nexus page.

View all NIH-related posts from Research Newsletter