The Virginia Tech Institute for Society, Culture, and Environment funded six projects this year through the Summer Scholars program with a wide range of focus — from emotion socialization in Appalachia to food security and sovereignty in Guatemala.

The Summer Scholars program is an annual research stimulus grant program to provide faculty support for developing interdisciplinary research proposals. Awardees will use their Summer Scholar funding — up to $20,000 — to collect pilot data to strengthen future external proposal applications. Project support includes funding for such items as software, participant incentives, travel, research assistants, transcriptions, stipends, and program materials.

The preliminary research that a Summer Scholar award supports can give researchers a competitive advantage in their proposals, and many past Summer Scholars have gone on to win awards through the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, and other federal and state sources.

The 2016 Summer Scholars and their projects are:

  • Eric Bahel, an assistant professor of economics; Sheryl Ball, an associate professor of economics; Sudipta Sarangi, a professor of economics; and Pearl Chiu and Brooks King-Cases of the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, will explore, “Lying and Cooperative Behavior in Games.” The research team will examine individual characteristics that make people more prone to cooperation and the form of communication most conductive to cooperative behavior.
  • Katie Carmichael, an assistant professor of English; Julie Dunsmore, an associate professor of psychology; Thomas Ollendick, a University Distinguished Professor of psychology; and Emily Satterwhite, an associate professor of religion and culture, will examine, “Parent emotion socialization in Appalachia: Linguistic markers of cultural tension.” This research will investigate the role of parental emotion socialization in alleviating or exacerbating social class inequities among rural Appalachians.
  • Nicholas Copeland, an assistant professor of sociology, will study, “Reassembling Subsistence: The New Politics of Food in Postwar Guatemala.” Copeland will use comparative ethnography to better understand food security programs and food sovereignty movements and their political and economic significance.
  • Deborah Dickerson, an associate professor in the Myers-Lawson School of Construction, and Andrew McCoy, director of the Virginia Center for Housing Research, assistant director of the Myers-Lawson School of Construction, and an associate professor of building construction, will research, “Current Trends and Stakeholder Perceptions of Radon-resistant Home Construction.” This work aims to increase radon-resistant use in the U.S. homebuilding market.
  • Julie Dunsmore, an associate professor of psychology, and Martha Ann Bell, a professor of psychology, will examine, “Child temperament as a moderator of maternal emotion coaching: Implications for pathways leading to behavior problems.” This research will examine the trajectories of change in maternal emotion coaching and investigate child temperament as a moderator.
  • Tabitha James, an associate professor of business information technology, and France Belanger, R.B. Pamplin Professor of Accounting Information Systems, will explore, “Group Information and Interaction Management.” This work will investigate group privacy and will develop guidelines for group information and interaction management.

Abstracts for the projects can be found on the institute's website.

Written by Katie Williams.

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