December 05, 2018

October Colloquia Round-up!

Dr. Doug Bernstein: Department of Biology Research Lecture

SPA Colloquium: October 12, 2018 at 3 pm in Bracken Library 104

Dr. Doug Bernstein is an assistant Professor of Biology at Ball State University.

Many students attended to support Dr. Bernstein.
Bernstein's lecture focused on his research with "Genome editing and RNA modification in the human fungal pathogen Candida Albicans." 

The research Dr. Bernstein  is currently working on in his lab is extremely important. This is because while Candida Albicans is an common pathogenic yeast that is a found within the bacteria of human intestines, its infections can be deadly.

These infections are the most prevalent fungal infection in humans. They are typically just annoying but not deadly in healthy people. But, they are becoming a serious health problem for those with compromised immune systems.


Dr. Bernstein
According to Dr. Bernstein a number of aspects of Candida Albicans biology make it challenging to study, but one way they're getting around the challenges is by using the genome editing technique CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats).

They are using CRISPR, to change the guide sequence so they can target different genes, and see how the cells react.

The goal of the lab is essentially to use genome editing on Candida Albicans to further research on how to cure these often antibiotic resistant infections.

Within Dr. Bernstein's lab they are currently conducting research using the "Galleria mellonella" model, which is testing on moth larvae.

They do this for the following reasons:
  1. They are cheap to get and keep
  2. Easy to manipulate
  3. Less regulations than many other symptoms
  4. Similar innate immune system as mammals
  5. Results are relatively straight forward to interpret 


So far Dr. Bernstein and his researchers have:
  • Identified restriction enzymes whose recognition sites encode for biologically important point mutations.
  • Introduced points mutants into UME6 a key driver of filamentation in Candida Albicans and were able to quickly screen for correct transformants.
  • Found that aUme6 Zn2+ binding domain is important for filamentation and deletion of this domain leads to lower virulence. 

In addition to their research on Candida Albicans, there are many other projects underway in the lab. Contact Dr. Bernstein at to learn more about their latest research.

November 28, 2018

Ball State Professor Studies the Effects of Tech

Congratulations to Dr. Jagdish Khubchandani for getting his research recognized.

Khubchandani, a Ball State University community health education professor, looked at a thousand people around Muncie. 
Jagdish Khubchandani

He found that people are spending more than two hours a day watching TV and using smart phones or other technology. This high gadget use is having unhealthy effects in return.

Khubchandani told Fox 59 news, "It becomes a vicious cycle. The more you sit and use phones and computers the more likely you're gaining weight, and then the more likely you are depressed, you stay lonely and continue to gain weight." 

Check out the full story on Fox 59's website.

October 30, 2018

September Colloquia Round-up!

Dr. Shireen Kanakri: Department of Construction Management & of Interior Design Research Lecture

SPA Colloquium: September 14, 2018 at 3 pm in Bracken Library 104 
Dr. Shireen Kanakri

Dr. Shireen Kanakri is an assistant Professor and the Director of the Health and Environmental Design Research Lab (HEDR) within the College of Architecture and Planning at Ball State University.

The HEDR lab focuses on testing and studying the effects of environmental factors, such as sound, light and color, on children with autism.

The lab is made up of an acoustical room, a test room, and a waiting area.

During the observations, the children get to do their favorite activities, with the exception of electronics. They are allowed to do what they enjoy to avoid creating extra stress do to unfamiliar activities, which would then alter the children's reactions. This helps to keep negative reactions specifically linked to the environmental factors.

When the children are tested their blood pressure and heart rate, as well as the light, sound and color are all measured. 

Faculty and staff listen to Dr. Kanakri
Dr. Kanakri has published her work from the lab, which has lead to HEDR and Ball State being contacted by outside organizations from as far as California asking for help in designing their facilities with considerations for children with autism.

Upcoming studies for the HEDR lab includes determining how textures in the environment effect autistic children, and measuring results from the brain in addition to blood pressure and heart rate.

For more information about the HEDR lab please contact Dr. Kanakri at or call 765-285-1470.

Dr. Shaoen Wu: Digital Scholarship Lab Collaboration

SPA Colloquium: September 19, 2018 at noon in the Schwartz Complex
Dr. Shaoen Wu

Dr. Shaoen Wu is an Associate Professor of Computer Science at Ball State University.

This colloquium was hosted in partnership with the Ball State University Digital Scholarship Lab as well as the Computer Science Department.

The lecture provided lunch and was held on two different days to accommodate different course schedules. One presentation was on Wednesday, September 19th at noon and the second was Thursday, September 20th, also at noon.

Dr. Wu discussed his research with Ball State’s new computation capacity, and how faculty from a wide range of disciplines on campus could use this new system. This project was funded by the National Science Foundation, and provides the infrastructure necessary to conduct research on big data.

Co-Director of the DSL: James Connolly
Examples of the abilities of the new computation capacity include being used for large-scale data/text analysis, bioinformatics/cheminformatics, numerical computing, machine learning and deep learning voice recognition research, language translation and accelerated graphics rendering for 3D modeling.

This type of system has been used successfully for voice recognition in Google's machine translation, the Alpha Go game where the machine won the game over humans, and in space exploration where a new planet has been discovered by a machine through deep learning.
Faculty listens to Dr. Wu,
while enjoying lunch

The new infrastructure here at Ball State has 500 terabytes of storage, and only two computation nodes. This system has a lot of power, but does not take up much space. Ball State is the only institution in Indiana to have this new, powerful system.

Dr. Wu stated that, "having this computation capacity will allow for more interdisciplinary research here on campus and across the globe."

If you have any questions regarding how this new system could help your research please contact Dr. Shaoen Wu at

August 20, 2018

Aspire Student Deadlines 2018-2019

Working on a thesis, dissertation or senior project? Planning to present at a conference or exhibition?

Then look to the ASPiRE Internal Grants Program as a funding resource!

The University Research and Creative Arts Committees would like to encourage students to consider applying for an ASPiRE Graduate or Undergraduate student grant. Funds can be utilized to assist in project costs such as travel or supplies. Please note: All student projects require the support of a faculty mentor or advisor.

NEW in 2018: In partnership with the BSU Graduate School we have been able to increase funding thresholds on Graduate Competitions and Graduate Travel, see guidelines for more information.

Graduate Student Competition Deadlines

Supports the discovery of new insights, theories, or application of research to solve problems within the discipline or in society.

October 20 (Winter and Spring projects only)
January 20 (Summer and Fall projects only)

Creative Arts
Supports the creation of original works of creative arts.

October 20 (Winter and Spring projects only)
January 20 (Summer and Fall projects only)

Hollis Fund:
The Joseph W. and Marcella S. Hollis Fund supports research in psychology. Proposals from any department are eligible, as long as the project is psychology based. (Graduate Students only)

October 1   (Fall Round)
April 1        (Spring Round)

Undergraduate Student Competition Deadlines

Supports the discovery of new insights, theories, or application of research to solve problems within the discipline or in society.

November 10 (Winter and Spring projects only)
February 10   (Summer and Fall projects only)

Creative Arts
Supports the creation of original works of creative arts.

November 10 (Winter and Spring projects only)
February 10   (Summer and Fall projects only)

Student Travel Grants Deadlines

For professional presentations of papers and/or posters, performances, etc., at invited meetings, conference, or competitions.

The 15th of the month prior to the travel date

See our website for detailed guidelines and application details
For questions regarding the Aspire Internal Grant Program, please contact the Aspire Program Manager at:

May 03, 2018

NEH Summer Stipends

SPA’s Jackie Davis and Augusta Isley led the last colloquium of the 2017-2018 academic year on  Wednesday, April 11, 2018 in the Atrium. Perry Collins, Ball State's copyright and scholarly communications manager, joined Davis and Isley to give some additional advice and information.

This colloquium focused on specifically on the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).

What is the NEH?

Stan Geidel introduces the speakers.
The NEH is an independent federal agency, which was created in 1965. It is also one of the largest funders of humanities programs in the United States. The NEH supports humanities programs in the following four areas:
  • Preserving and providing access to cultural resources 
  • Education 
  • Research 
  • Public programs

What does the NEH do?
  • Strengthens teaching and learning in the humanities in schools and colleges across the nation
  • Facilitates research and original scholarship 
  • Provides opportunities for lifelong learning 
  • Preserves and provides access to cultural and educational resources
  • Strengthens the institutional base of the humanities 

The NEH is comprised of seven program division and offices and several administrative offices, which are: 
  • Division of Education Programs
  • Division of Research Programs
  • Office of Digital Humanities 
  • Division of Preservation and Access
  • Division of Public Programs
  • Federal/State Partnerships
  • Office of Challenge Grants
These different divisions offer opportunities ranging from summer seminars and institutes, to summer stipends, to fellowships that can be applied for.

Summer Stipends and Internal Competition

Augusta Isley presents.
  • NEH limits the number of applications per institution to 2
  • BSU holds an internal competition in August- one month prior to the federal deadline
  • Applications are given feedback and submitted via by the PI
  • Guidelines for internal are the same as the NEH
  • Provost endorsement is required 
  • Updated guidelines are posted 60 days before deadline, but they do not change much from year to year
The Ball State application deadline is August 24, 2018, while the deadline for final submission to the NEH is September 26 (for projects beginning in May 2019). 

NEH Review Process

Perry Collins wraps up the lecture.
Once your application is submitted it follows this review process: 
  1. Peer Review Panels: Invited scholars and experts review applications and identify exemplary proposals
  2. NEH Staff Recommendations
  3. National Council for the Humanities 
  4. Chairman: funding decisions based on recommendations of panelists, staff, and council
Applications are evaluated based on:
  1. Intellectual quality of the project
  2. Significant humanities topics and texts
  3. Potential for significant results/impact

For help with developing your proposal please reach out to the proposal manager for your department, which can be found on our website.

Feel free to contact Jackie Davis at, Augusta Isley at, or Perry Collins at with additional questions.

Finally, be sure to connect with the NEH on social media, they can be found on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat with @NEHGOV.

April 30, 2018

The Fulbright Experience

SPA’s Director, Justin Miller, led the first April colloquium on Friday, April 6, 2018 in Bracken Library.

This colloquium was Miller's annual informational lecture about the Fulbright Scholar Program, as Miller is an ambassador for the Fulbright program.

There are three types of Fulbright U.S. Scholar Programs: the Core Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program, International Education Administrator Seminars, and Collaborative Research. But, here at Ball State we focus on the Core Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program, as 90 percent of U.S. Scholars are within this program.

The Core Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program Fast Facts
Stan Geidel introduces Miller.

  • Supports teaching and/or research for three to 12 months
  • Programs active in +125 countries 
  • For faculty, administrators and professionals
  • Open to all disciplines
  • Apply to specific award with proposed project
  • Application  deadline: August 1
  • Variety of host institutions

Eligibility for U.S. Scholar Programs:

  • U.S. citizenship
  • Degree as required by award
    • Ph.D. or other terminal degree may be required
    • Many awards are open to applicants with a Masters and professional or academic experience
  • Open to professionals and artists outside academia with recognized standing and substantial accomplishments
  • Teaching experience as required by award
  • New policies on previous Fulbright Scholar grants and waiting periods between grants

Selecting the Right Award:

Justin Miller presents.
  • Match your expertise, experience and proposal to the award description
  • Regional experience and language ability
  • Discipline preferences listed in the award
  • Relevance of the project to the country; why will host country benefit from your project?
  • Career level -early career, postdoctoral, mid-level, Distinguished Chair

Application Components:

  • Application Form
  • Project Statement
  • Curriculum Vitae or Resume
  • Letters of ReferenceAdditional components, depending on award
    • Course Outlines or Syllabi (for teaching awards)
    • Select Bibliography (for research awards)
    • Language Proficiency Report
    • Letter of Invitation
    • Supplemental materials for applicants in the Arts, Architecture, Writing and Journalism

We encourage those who are interested in applying to take advantage of the entire Fulbright program guide, which is located on our website and offers more details on the Fulbright program. 

If you have any further questions feel free to reach out to Justin Miller at

April 26, 2018

NIH AREA Grants and More!

SPA’s Jackie Davis and Maria Bumbalough led the last March colloquium on Friday, March 30, 2018 in Bracken Library.

This colloquium focused on teaching the audience all about the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

What's the NIH?

Stan Geidel introduces the speakers.

The NIH is one of the units under the US Department of Health & Human Services. There overall mission “is to seek fundamental knowledge about the nature and behavior of living systems and the application of that knowledge to enhance health, lengthen life, and reduce illness and disability.”

The NIH's 2016 annual budget was $32.31 billion, which means they have a lot of funding opportunities.

The NIH is comprised of 27 different Institutes & Centers (IC), all reporting to the Office of the Director (OD). Of the 27 ICs, three do not have funding authority, but the other 24 ICs each have their own:
  • Mission
  • Priorities
  • Budget
  • Funding Strategy
  • Pay-lines

Just like all sponsors and funding programs, you must find a good match for your project and research agenda, and it must fit into THEIR mission, priorities, program, and budget. 

Submitting to the NIH

Every proposal submitted to NIH must include a project summary/abstract, which is a statement of how the specific aims and objectives of the proposal are relevant to the mission of the agency. This statement should be a succinct and accurate description of the proposed project that is understandable to the scientifically literate reader, and consist of about 30 lines of text.

The NIH offers the following funding mechanisms:
  • Research Grants (R series)
  • Career Development Awards (K series)
  • Research Training & Fellowships (T & F series)
  • Program Project/Center Grants (P series)
  • Resource Grants (various series)
  • Trans-NIH Programs
  • Common Fund Programs

Tips to Consider

Davis and Bumbalough.
  • Pay close attention to the Application Review Information in the FOA, which describes both scored and additional review criteria including:
    • Rigor & Reproducibility
    • Significance, Investigator(s), and Environment
    • Protections for Human Subjects, Inclusion of Women Minorities, & Children, Etc.
  • Talk to the Program Officer - they can help identify the right type of grant program or funding opportunity for your research.
  • Biosketch Personal Statement - Tell your story not the project’s story – why are you particularly suited to conduct the research.

Peer Review
  • NIH’s two-tiered Peer Review process is intended to promote evaluation that strives to be fair, equitable, timely, and free of bias.
  • First level - Scientific Review Group (SRG) - primarily non-federal scientists who have expertise in relevant scientific disciplines and current research areas.
  • Second level - IC National Advisory Councils - both scientific and public representatives chosen for their expertise, interest, or activity in matters related to health and disease.
  • NIH Center for Scientific Review has a variety of Peer Review Resources for Applicants including the video NIH Peer Review Revealed.

Working with SPA
  • Inform your Proposal Manager - EARLY
  • Spend time on the NIH Website
  • Inform your Department Chair & Dean’s Office
  • Attend NIH Webinars, Seminars
  • Develop a timeline and a plan
  • It takes MONTHS, not WEEKS to develop an NIH proposal

SPA Can Help You
  • Talk through your proposal ideas, significance & impact
  • Contact your Program Officer 
  • Solidify collaborations
  • Have colleagues review your narrative 

For any questions about the NIH feel free to reach out to Jackie Davis at or Maria Bumbalough at  

April 23, 2018

2018 Student Symposium Winners

The 2018 Student Symposium

On Tuesday, April 17, 2018 Sponsored Projects Administration hosted the 2018 Student Symposium
at Ball State University.

The event was held on the second floor of the L.A. Pittenger Student Center.

A poster session took place in the ballroom, while paper presentations took place in the Pineshelf Room, Music Lounge, and Cardinal Hall C.

At the end of the afternoon everyone adjourned to Cardinal Hall B for the Keynote Address by Jessi Ghezzi, Assistant Professor of Natural Resources and Environmental Management, and the presentation of awards.

Congratulations to our 2018 Student Symposium Winners!

Kerstyn Hall – Kinesiology
A Novel Approach of Performing Gait Analysis Using Radar Technology
Mentor: Henry Wang – College of Health

Malachi Henry – Speech Pathology and Audiology
Sequential Production Abilities with Multiple-Symbol Utterances: Implications for Redesigning Speech Generated Devices (SGDs) for Children
Mentor: Barry Wagner – College of Health

Marcy Simpson – Nutrition and Health Sciences
The Effect of Medical Mistrust on the Efficacy of Prostate exams among Black American Men
Mentor: Jean Marie Place – College of Health

Betsy Kemp – Biology
Assessing the role of trophic interactions on peatland biofilm development under varied nutrient availability
Mentor: Kevin Wyatt – College of Sciences and Humanities

Deborah Mattson – Landscape Architecture
A Piece of the Limberlost
Mentor: Susan Tomizawa – College of Architecture and Planning

Jason Avedesian – Kinesiology
Biomechanical Analysis of Unilateral Landings in Female Volleyball Players after a Dynamic and Combined Dynamic-Static Warm-Up
Mentor: Clark Dickin – College of Health

Avery Kirschbaum – Biology
A Potentially General Role for a Conserved Protease in Translocon-Associated Quality Control
Mentor: Eric VJ Rubenstein – College of Sciences and Humanities

Anamarie Booher – Nutrition and Health Sciences
The Impact of Perceived Barriers to Accessing Prescription Birth Control Among Female College Students: A Qualitative Study
Mentor: Jean Marie Place – College of Health

See you next year! 

Be sure to follow our Facebook page, and watch for registration materials in February 2019. 

Ball State Professor's Parental Leave Study is a Success!

Richard Petts
The Sponsored Projects Administration would like to extend our congratulations to Ball State's sociology professor, Dr. Richard Petts, for getting his research covered by Bloomberg News!

Petts' research looked at parental leave for fathers. His study yielded that many dads say they support paid leave for fathers to care for newborn children, but it seems the vast majority of men don’t take more than a week off.

Check out the Bloomberg article to learn more about the study.

Petts was also featured in SPA's Research Magazine this past fall, the full issue can be found here.

Congratulations once again to Dr. Petts!

April 16, 2018

Student Symposium Schedule

Student Symposium

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

L.A. Pittenger Student Center, 2nd Floor

1:00 — 4:30 p.m.

Full Schedule

1:00 – 3:30  Student Poster Displays 
             Ballroom, 2nd Floor 

1:00 – 3:40  Moderated Paper Presentations   
             See next page for locations an d times. 

3:45 – 4:30  Welcome Remarks  
             Justin Miller, Director Sponsored Projects Administration    
             Keynote Address               
             Jessi Ghezzi, Assistant Professor of Natural Resources 
             and Environmental Management        
             Presentation of Student Awards   
             Sue McDowell, Associate Vice President for Research 
             and Professor of Biology

 4:30—5:30  Clean-up of Projects 
             *Award winners: keep posters up for photos with them. 

Student Symposium Paper Schedule

1:00 – 2:15  Diversity                       
         Music Lounge

 History and Language
 Cardinal Hall C

Education, Memory and Practice
                     Pineshelf Room

2:25 – 3:40  Biology and Chemistry
                     Music Lounge

                     Matters of the Mind
                     Cardinal Hall C

                     Storytelling, Competition and Creation

Pineshelf Room

Paper Presenters by Category

Diversity | Moderator: Tya Arthur
1:00 – 2:15 Music Lounge

Bin Zhang
Educational Studies
Living in the Shadows—Gaysian and Lesian with Triple Exclusions
Faculty Mentor: Gilbert Park
Teachers College

Rachel Harvey
Computer Science
An Exploration in Computer Science Diversity
Faculty Mentor: David Largent
College of Sciences and Humanities

History and Language 
| Moderator: Sarah Lee
1:00 – 2:15 Cardinal Hall C

Alexandra Billhartz
Adapting Historical Operas for Greater Audience Appeal: Guidelines from a Broad-Ranging Review of Literature
Faculty Mentor: Jon Truitt
College of Fine Arts

Raphael Kodjoe
Feminism and the Obsolescence of Genedered Items in Englisg – A Corpus and Cross-Generational Study of Words Usage and Frequency
Faculty Mentor: Mary Lou Vercellotti
College of Sciences and Humanities

1:00 – 2:15 Pineshelf Room
Anna Allen & Shelby Smith
Mild Traumatic Brain Injury, Working Memory, and Theta Synchronization
Faculty Mentor: Stephanie Simon-Dack
College of Sciences and Humanities

Rosalinda Ortiz
Educational Studies
The Reality of Dual Credit: Student Perspectives on College Readiness
Faculty Mentor: Amanda Latz
Teachers College

Gilmar Cavalcante da Silva
Self-Regulation: Efficient Practice and Results Among College Students
Faculty Mentor: Stephen Campbell
College of Fine Arts 

Biology and Chemistry | Moderators: Antonio Cancio and Maria Bumbalough
2:25 – 3:30 Music Lounge
Bryce Buchanan
Effects of Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress and Kar2 Overexpression on Hrd1-Mediated Protein Quality Control
Faculty Mentor: Eric VJ Rubenstein
College of Sciences and Humanities

Ethan Pickerill
Investigation of Pseudouridine Synthase 7 Function in Pathogenic Yeast Candida Albicans
Faculty Mentor: Douglas Bernstein
College of Sciences and Humanities

Kirsten Vacura
Exercising the Nuclear Option: Biological Assessment of Invasive Lionfish Control via Gene Drive Technology
Faculty Mentor: Paul Venturelli
College of Sciences and Humanities

Brandon Watson & Olivia Grounds
Halogen to Hydrogen Bonding Switch in Complexes of Iodo-, Bromo-, and Chloroform with Anionic And Neutral Nucleophiles
Faculty Mentor: Sergiy Rosokha
College of Sciences and Humanities

Matters of the Mind Moderator: Augusta Isley
2:25 – 3:30 Cardinal Hall C

Kierstin Riels
Stress Responses to Visual Threat
Faculty Mentor: Stephanie Simon-Dack
College of Sciences and Humanities
Jessica Gundlach, Adrianna Caballero, Megan Slagel & Korey Smith
A Reliability and Validity Analysis of the Shortened Ruminative Response Scale (RRS)
Faculty Mentor: Stephanie Simon-Dack
College of Sciences and Humanities

Samantha Bowser
Predictors of Anxiety: Perfectionism, Enjoyment of Exercise, and Fitness Level
Faculty Mentor: Thomas Holtgraves
College of Sciences and Humanities

Storytelling, Competition and Creation | Moderator: Brenda Yates-Habich
2:25 – 3:30 Pineshelf Room
Rebecca Kurtz
Mathematical Sciences
Reality Competition Shows: Are You In or Are You Out?
Faculty Mentor: Rebecca Pierce
College of Sciences and Humanities

Zachary Kizer
Communication Studies
Two Plus Two Equals Fish: A Fantasy Theme Analysis of Creation Science
Faculty Mentor: Kristin McCauliff
College of Communication, Information, and Media

Jules Patalita
Auteur Theory in Video Games
Faculty Mentor: Ashley Donnelly
College of Communication, Information, and Media

Thomas Pensinger
Melville, Bartleby, and Depression
Faculty Mentor: Ben Bascom
College of Sciences and Humanities