As the spring semester nears its end, explore how our faculty are making an impact beyond the classroom through research, community engagement, and scholarly pursuits. Below, we highlight some examples of recently received external funding.

Learning and Literacy Catalysts 

Karen Anderson, professor of education and faculty director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, recently received a Teacher-Scholar Grant from the Educating Character Initiative at the Program for Leadership and Character at Wake Forest University. As one of only seven proposals funded nationwide, her project, Educating the Heart and Mind: Establishing a Data-Driven Approach to Character Development in the Holy Cross Tradition, is designed to strengthen the understanding, integration and education of character in undergraduate institutions. 

Stonehill College recently received a Collegium Catalyst Grant. This award will fund a project examining curricular themes central to the College’s revised General Education program. This work will be overseen Anderson, as well as Rev. Kevin P. Spicer, C.S.C., dean of the Thomas and Donna May School of Arts & Sciences, and Peter Ubertaccio, vice president for academic affairs.

Professor of Chemistry Marilena Hall also was awarded a Collegium Catalyst Grant alongside faculty from five other schools. This group will convene at King’s College in Pennsylvania to discuss their ideas for using Catholic intellectual tradition to support transformational missions at faith-based institutions of higher learning.

Dean of Graduate and Professional Studies Elizabeth Stringer Keefe and Assistant Professor and Director of Graduate Teacher Education Rebekah Louis secured a grant in the amount of $71,337 from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. This award supports tuition for educators from the Randolph, Massachusetts, school district as they complete Stonehill’s Inclusive Education master’s degree and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity graduate certificate programs.

Louis also received another grant from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to participate in an Early Literacy Professional Learning Community. The funds have allowed her to collaborate with other early literacy professionals to refine and adapt coursework and field experiences of Stonehill’s graduate teacher education program to ensure it aligns with criteria developed by the Commonwealth.

Opportunities to Reflect

Professor of Philosophy Anna Lännström received an Integrating Virtue Together award from the Center for Social Concerns at the University of Notre Dame. With faculty from other institutions and disciplines, she will integrate practical virtue development into courses to be taught during the 2024 to 2025 academic year. She plans to redesign her Moral Psychology course, exploring ways that the course might be able to help students develop compassion and honesty. 

Associate Professor of English Amra Brooks was selected to join the March Cohort: Caregiver Residency at The Weddingcake House sponsored by The Dirt Palace, a feminist arts organization that specializes in artist residencies and exhibitions in Providence, Rhode Island. She was in residency in March 2024, at which time she edited her forthcoming memoir and generated new work. 

A Giant LEAP Forward

Guiru (Ruby) Gu, associate professor of physics and director of the photonics program, participated in the Advanced Technology Education initiative funded by the National Science Foundation. As part of this project, Stonehill has teamed up with North Shore Community College to expose students to advance manufacturing careers through an infrared photodetector development and testing project. Students will attend a weeklong summer workshop at the LEAP@Stonehill photonics lab and complete internships at manufacturing companies.

Gu also worked with Cheryl Schnitzer, professor of chemistry and director of the photonics certificate program, to secure tuition support for the Photonics Certificate Program from the Massachusetts Manufacturing Extension Partnership, Inc. 

Associate Professor of Mathematics Leyda Almodόvar Velázquez co-directed an undergraduate research experience at Brown University’s Institute for Computational and Experimental Research in Mathematics. Funded by the National Science Foundation, Graph Theoretical Model of DNA Self-Assembly featured a variety of research projects on the combinatorial and graph theoretical properties of DNA self-assembly. By modeling nanostructures with discrete graphs, efficient DNA self-assembly becomes a mathematical puzzle. Almodόvar Velázquez was part of a team of faculty that guided the development of computational tools which can be used to aid in answering fundamental questions that arise in this field. 

Framing Legacy and Lifework

The United States State Department awarded Anna Ohanyan, Stonehill’s Richard B. Finnegan distinguished professor of international relations, funding through the American Research Institute in South Caucasus to support a project entitled “Decolonizing Democracy: The Imperial Legacies for Democratization in Eurasia.” The faculty member conducted interviews with fifteen researchers in Georgia and Armenia and served as a mentor to students conducting archival research in those locations.

Professor of Communication Anne Mattina was awarded a grant by the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities to support research she conducted during summer 2023. She investigated responses across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to Frederick Douglass’s work as a lecturer for the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society and continued presence in the state. Mattina’s work was later showcased on a website created by the foundation, intended to bring together a multitude of resources focused on Douglass’s life and work. She also presented her work at #DouglassWeek, a collaborative event series that took place in Belfast, Northern Ireland, in April 2024. 

An anonymous foundation granted $32,265.50 to Assistant Professor of Studio Arts Candice Smith Corby. This grant funded the acquisition, framing and installation of art by Marie Anthony, an artist based in the Boston area. These works can now be seen in various locations across campus, including Donahue Hall and the Carole Calo Gallery.