2016 Strategic Innovation Fund Awardees
Team lead: Dr. Lucas Torres
The Latina/o Well-Being Research Initiative (LWRI) seeks to advance impactful, community-based scholarship about Latina/os living in Milwaukee. A major objective is to bridge and forge academic-community partnerships that serve to reduce health disparities and promote well-being among Latina/os. The work by LWRI addresses several challenges including marked health and academic disparities for Latina/os; limited community resources that focus on scholarship; and a lack of infrastructure for establishing sustainable and mutually beneficial academic-community research collaborations.
The long-term objective of LWRI is to establish a sustainable center or institute that bridges the gap between scholars and community constituents in order to advance scientific knowledge about Latina/o well-being with real-world practicality. The Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) would position LWRI to move towards these longer-term goals by accomplishing critical intermediary steps. As such, the current SIF proposal is focused on two goals: 1) to establish the infrastructure necessary to maintain LWRI, and 2) to develop and advance community-based research regarding Latina/o health and well-being.
Team lead: Dr. Robert Fox
Each year in the U.S., 700,000 children are victims of abuse and neglect, and 1,500 die as a direct result. Sadly, most are younger than 5-years-old. The Behavior Clinic, a joint partnership between Marquette and Penfield Children’s Center since 2003, has developed and tested an innovative treatment program for preventing abuse and neglect in very young children living in poverty.
Our strategy involves going into the homes of central-city children to teach, guide and encourage parents and other caregivers to use effective mental health principles and strategies to reduce significant behavioral and emotional problems in their very young children, before resorting to harsh punishment that may lead to physical abuse and neglect. We carefully evaluated the efficacy of this new early intervention program through rigorous, randomized controlled trials (RCT) conducted in the community with a diverse population of families living below the federal poverty level. In November 2015, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) National Registry of Evidence Based Programs and Practices (NREPP) positively reviewed this cutting-edge program, titled Early Pathways (EP), for effectively addressing serious behavioral problems of at-risk young children. This innovation proposal will develop and test a new EP Training Program for professionals to learn and implement this nationally-recognized program so more at-risk children can realize brighter futures.
Team lead: Benjamin Zellmer
There are two problems on Marquette’s campus that MarquetteMUnchMates aims to resolve. The first is a failure to realize the full potential and effect of the student community on campus. The 2015 Climate Study revealed that 24% of Marquette students (nearly 1 in 4) seriously considered leaving Marquette because they did not feel like they belonged. The second problem is the failure to maximize the use of Guest Swipes on the Meal Plan. Each student on the Meal Plan has fifteen Guest Swipes to use each semester. While some students use the majority of their Guest Swipes, there are also students who do not use most or any of their Guest Swipes.
MarquetteMUnchMates aims to resolve these two problems through one simple program that would provide an opportunity for underclassmen on the Meal Plan to request a meal with a campus engaged upperclassman, faculty member, or Jesuit through an online website and app. This idea reflects the recently added theme of inclusion the University has taken upon itself. The goal of MUnchMates is a campus-wide feeling of inclusion among every person associated with the University from students to faculty and staff to the Jesuits.
Team lead: Dr. Naveen K Bansal
The Statistical Consulting and Training Center (SCTC) would provide complete statistical services and statistical expertise to the students, industrial community, and the researchers of non-statistical fields. Its main purpose will be to broaden the collaboration between the statistical and non-statistical researchers, and to create a statistical hub for private sectors who may seek expert opinion on modern statistical analysis tools.
For the statistical services, the center will work with the clients on design of experiments, perform statistical analyses once the data is collected, and produce reports interpreting the statistical results. In addition, it will conduct lecture series on cutting edge statistical tools for the private sectors and for the students and faculty members of the Marquette University. Benefits of creating the center include increased collaboration between statisticians and non-statisticians, students support for the statistics students, and increased visibility of the Marquette University within the local business community as a place of statistical experts and students recruits. The proposed project supports the university’s strategic goals of research in action and enhancement of organizational effectiveness.
Team lead: Dr. Jay Goldberg
The proposed project will enhance design education at MU by continuing existing and adding new collaborations to create and provide assistive technologies for people with disabilities.
Goal #1: Enhance the design education of MU undergraduate engineering students through 1) problem identification and needs finding activities, 2) interaction with clients, and 3) commercialization activities, through assistive technology projects involving the design and testing of custom devices for people with disabilities.
Goal #2: Disseminate knowledge of these new technologies and make them accessible to people with disabilities, by 1) submitting them to an online database accessible to people with disabilities, and 2) providing resources for commercialization.
Goal #3: Design and plan for a new Center for Assistive Technologies that will expand and formalize the activities described in the proposed project to include production capabilities.
Team lead: Kevyn Schwab
A Sanctuary for MUsic aims to establish a space where student musicians at Marquette can practice their art. The Sanctuary will allow the student organization MUsic to fulfill its mission of facilitating the networking and collaboration of Marquette student musicians. The Sanctuary will be an environment in which student musicians may thrive, providing essential resources for creating and sharing music – something which has yet to be established at Marquette. Student musicians are an underrepresented and unaccommodated group, and A Sanctuary for MUsic would change that.
Team lead: Dr. Rosemary A. Stuart
The MU4Gold Scholars program seeks to brand research excellence as a cultural expectation of a Marquette undergraduate experience. Marquette’s integrated research and teaching missions afford our undergraduates access to transformative educational opportunities and are critical for future career paths. This notable feature of a Marquette education is not sufficiently promoted in our current enrollment strategies. We propose to establish a MU4Gold Scholars program to enhance the recruitment and yield of academically superior high school applicants. This pilot program represents a step towards increasing opportunities for and the visibility of strong undergraduate research on campus.
We also aim to develop a model to systematize undergraduate research from the Freshman year onwards. This competitive 3-year pilot program will provide research scholarships to a cohort of students and guaranteed access for them to faculty mentored research projects as paid research assistants, starting in their Freshman year. This pilot program seeks also to promote student awareness and engagement in national and international prestigious fellowship and scholarship opportunities and to identify and cultivate student candidates for these fellowships. The MU4Gold Scholars program will guide students through the application processes for prestigious fellowships, off-campus summer research programs and graduate school. Workshops and courses designed to enhance students' preparedness and success will be developed with the Writing Center, which will be open to other interested students on campus as well. A close synergy between the student cohorts of the Honors Program, the McNair/EOP programs and the Office of International Education will be fostered.
An overarching goal of this program will be to foster a culture of student research and scholarship at Marquette consistent with Marquette’s strategic plan Beyond Boundaries and specifically the themes of Pursuit of Academic Excellence for Human Well-being and Research in Action.
Team lead: Dr. Louise Cainkar
Each Spring semester up to 8 Marquette students will participate in a high impact 6 day interfaith service and learning trip to Dearborn and Hamtramck, Michigan, home to the largest concentrations of Muslims and mosques in the U.S. In this transformative community engagement project, students will learn about the significant religious, social, cultural, economic, architectural, and political contributions of Muslims to these Detroit area communities by visiting a range of mosques [old and new, Sunni and Shi’a], meeting with scholars, religious leaders, activists, and elected officials, and completing a day of service in partnership with a local Muslim organization [Michigan Muslim Community Council or the Dream of Detroit Project].
Through these encounters students will learn about Islam, American Muslim history, and Muslim community experiences of acceptance and resistance; they will discuss contested issues like mosque construction/expansion and Syrian refugees with persons affected by these challenges, and directly experience the diversity of Muslims through personal contact and varied cuisines brought to the area from the Arab World and South Asia. Personal transformation will be enhanced by nightly guided Ignatian reflection sessions led by Dr. Cainkar. To foster broader learning, a more inclusive environment, and to counter Islamophobia, upon return students will convey their knowledge and experiences at an intra-university forum sponsored by the Center for Peacemaking and the Center for Intercultural Engagement and at a venue in the Milwaukee Muslim community. Going forward, students will be encouraged to take active roles in countering Islamophobia wherever it occurs, at the university, in Milwaukee, and in their life’s destinations. The immersion trip will be organized and led by Dr. Louise Cainkar of the Department of Social and Cultural Sciences, an expert on American Muslims, and president of the Arab American Studies Association.
Team lead: Drew Dumaine
"Engendering Dignity in Philosophy (EDIP) is a classroom based program that empowers women of varied and seemingly disparate backgrounds through critical thinking and intellectual collaboration. It provides Marquette professors, graduate students, and undergraduate students the opportunity to teach and study with women in local prisons, domestic violence resource centers, and other populations that have little exposure to each-other in order to strengthen community bonds and develop shared understandings and solutions to issues of social justice.
At present, we are running a HOPR course entitled ‘Gender and Narratives of Freedom’ that brings together MU undergraduates and women from the Milwaukee Women’s Correctional Center (MWCC) to explore social justice through the lens of gender and freedom. The course has already proven such immeasurable benefit to all involved stakeholders--faculty, graduate, undergraduate students, and MWCC women--that we are seeking to make it (and other courses like it) a regular part of the Marquette honors curriculum. Given the innovative nature and methodology of the program and its potential to advance Marquette’s involvement in community development and social justice, we request support from Marquette’s Innovation Fund."
Team lead: Dr. Abir K. Bekhet
Abusive relationships (AR) are highly prevalent in our society. Statistics show that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men will be in AR in their lifetime. According to the CDC, the highest risk group for this violence are those aged 18-24 years old 1, 2 57% of college students reported having difficulty in identifying relationship violence, while 58% reported not knowing what to do to help someone who is dealing with AR1. This current research is an initial step “pilot testing” with a limited number of students to test the effectiveness of the “escalation” workshop in raising the college students’ awareness regarding the warning signs of AR. The long term goal is to refine the workshop, if needed, to reach and impact all students at Marquette and beyond.
Team lead: Dr. Michael R. Schläppi
Funds are requested to build and maintain experimental rice paddies at the Fondy Food Center (FCC) farm that will serve as a model for establishing sustainable rice cultivation businesses in the Milwaukee area. The paddies will serve two purposes: to allow continuous undergraduate student centric research to identify rice varieties best suitable for cultivation in a cold climate; and to serve as a resource for commercial rice farming to generate revenues through rice sales and equipment leasing and workshop programs that will be continuously reinvested into student research and training.
During the three years of grant duration, we will build two sophisticated half-acre paddies on FCC farm land that can generate up to 8,000 lb of paddy rice, purchase planting, harvesting, threshing, and hulling equipment, and develop interdisciplinary research opportunities for student interns. After three years, we will produce and sell rice on a regular basis, offer training workshops to prospective rice farmers, and lease our equipment to those farmers to cover costs for repair and maintenance as part of our business model.
Team lead: Ryan Daulton
Our proposal calls for the development of a campus mobile application that responds to student locations using a beacon network we place throughout the university grounds. Students will voluntarily grant the app access to their movements while in university buildings, and we will interact with students using beacons and (potentially) WiFi access points. Imagine yourself occupying a table in the library, then sharing your location with our application. If the student body collectively shares enough of their locations, we will begin to develop a network of occupancy awareness and real-time collaboration possibilities. Letting our application understand your location allows the university or associated organizations to push real-time, location aware notifications to enrich the campus experience. Our proposal is specifically geared towards developing a proof-of-concept in both the Kohler Center for Entrepreneurship and the Wakerly Media Lab for Innovation and Creativity in order to test feasibility and desirability for campus-wide deployment.
Team lead: James Brust
Deploy a Milwaukee-centric, online self-publishing platform to enable community members from all segments of the city to share and showcase well-produced stories that highlight the variety of personality and experiences throughout the Marquette and Greater Milwaukee communities. By providing such a platform, community members and students have an opportunity to see, hear and tell stories that range beyond their normal experiences from members of a shared community in an online environment where they interact as peers. This form of community engagement allows students to escape the “Marquette bubble” and community members to “have a seat at the table” to share stories that may not be newsworthy, but their personal significance connects individuals through universal experiences and the art of storytelling.
Team lead: Dr. Karen Slattery
This project explores the social cost of demolishing parts of Milwaukee’s African-American neighborhood, now referred to as “Bronzeville,” in the mid-20th century for purposes of urban renewal and freeway construction. The project consists of a documentary film based, in part, on two original studies now underway. The target audience will be citizens of Milwaukee, including middle- and high school students, as well as Marquette University students.
The documentary follows the development of a play, commissioned by Milwaukee’s First Stage theater company, which is scheduled to debut in 2017. The film will capture the writing and production of the play, which, in turn, serves as the impetus for the documentary’s examination of the neighborhood’s history and an exploration the idea of community. The documentary gives voice to some of the city’s older African Americans who lived in Bronzeville in its heyday and affords them the opportunity to tell their story.
The documentary is grounded in original scholarship and advances my research trajectory in an innovative way (more on that below). The first related study involves oral histories of African Americans who grew up in Bronzeville, while the second involves a textual analysis of news coverage to identify the narrative told by politicians and the press about the need to get rid of ”urban blight” and to construct a network of freeways. An effort will also be made to identify the counter narrative, if there was one, about the destruction of the social fabric created by African-Americans in a city where segregation was enforced by racial covenants, redlining and “steering” of African Americans into the near north side of Milwaukee.
Team lead: Dr. Kevin A. Tate
Marquette’s Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), a national leader in serving first generation, low-income college students (FGLICS), is positioned to become the national authority on practices that best support FGLICS success before, during, and beyond college. In partnership with Marquette’s College of Education, our proposal seeks to establish the Center for Access and Equity in Higher Education (CAEHE). The CAEHE will generate and share knowledge locally and nationally about practices which support success for FGLICS. We will develop and investigate innovative practices, and build partnerships with sister organizations around the nation to build a robust research base for serving FGLICS in and beyond college. The CAEHE will build on the long tradition of EOP in setting the national standards of practice in serving this marginalized population, while also setting new high-water marks for equity and access in higher education.
Team lead: Susan Longhenry
Working with internationally renowned artist Mary Miss, and based in previously awarded space in Marquette University’s Global Water Center, the project team will implement an innovative city-wide public art project titled WATERMARKS: An Atlas of Water and the City of Milwaukee. Developed in collaboration with Marquette University and Milwaukee community stakeholders, WATERMARKS will make the intricately woven web of our reliance on water visible by mapping Milwaukee’s water story at the scale of the city.
Beginning in the Inner Harbor, specific locations in the "atlas" will be identified by a series of “map pins” that range in scale from a 300’ industrial stack to a repurposed utility pole. Marquette University’s Haggerty Museum of Art will serve as the institutional home of this interdisciplinary community-based art project, which will raise water literacy through collaborative programs and projects activated by arts/science/engineer/citizen teams from multiple universities, water-related industries, and governmental organizations.
Team lead: Dr. Pinfen Yang
Fluorescence microscopy is a powerful tool for medical diagnosis and research. Typically, it is used to visualize molecules that are tagged to light-emitting labels. Despite broad applications and remarkable breakthroughs, it remains challenging to convert labels’ light intensity into the molecule number, a often desirable matrix. We envision that a fluorescent standard imaged together with objects of interest will make quantification much easier, akin to the standards routinely used in biochemical analyses. Taking advantage of a ruler-like structure in flagella, we have created a prototype standard that contains a precise number of fluorescent molecules per unit length and demonstrated its utility as fluorescence standards. This project seeks supports for students to create and market a suite of similar standards for diverse applications. Participants will gain a wide range of experiences, including biotechnology, research and development, patent application and commercialization.
Team lead: Dr. Doug Lobner
There is great promise in the use of stem cells for the treatment of multiple diseases. However, the use of human embryonic stem cells has considerable ethical concerns. A population of adult stem cells has recently been purified from human dental pulp that have attractive properties. The proposed studies involve the use of these cells and involve a collaboration between Dr. Doug Lobner in Biomedical Sciences and Dr. Lobat Tayebi in the Dental School. Dr. Lobner has expertise in the isolation, culturing, and derivatization of dental pulp stem cells. Dr. Lobat Tayebi is an expert in the generation and use of biomaterials, particularly through the use of 3D printing. Using 3D printing to generate biomaterials is also an exciting and developing field for medical and dental applications. Of particular interest is the combined use of 3D printing and stem cells to generate new tissue, or potentially one day entire new organs.
The two investigators have complimentary experience and expertise. Dr. Lobner has already been culturing and studying human dental pulp stem cells and Dr. Tayebi has biomaterial applications that require the use of stem cells. The goal of this proposal is not only to perform specific joint experiments, but also begin a collaboration that will lead to extramural grant proposals and build core expertise and facilities for the study of adult stem cells and 3D printing as a resource for other faculty at Marquette University. Other benefits of the studies involve the potential commercialization of the technology developed and the involvement of large numbers of students in cutting edge research.
Team lead: Dr. Fabien Josse
This project will further the strategic goal of Research in Action even as it increases Marquette University’s involvement with the Global Water Center. A smart chemical sensor system will be developed for on-site detection of low-concentration contaminants (“micropollutants”) in wastewater and public waterways. The project will target specific pollutants of concern for human health and the environment, e.g., the widely used antibiotics triclocarban and triclosan. The full list of target pollutants will be determined in close collaboration with the Water Quality Center at Marquette U. This project will leverage our existing sensor platform, developed with the support of Chevron Corp., which has shown excellent performance in direct detection of benzene and other similar low-level water contaminants. Using novel sensor coatings and advanced signal processing, the smart sensor system will be designed and optimized for the concurrent detection of multiple micropollutants of interest. Industrial partners involved with the Global Water Center will be sought for further development and commercialization of this system.
Team lead: Dr. Norah Johnson
At present, there is no application (app) based medical procedure preparation strategy in place nationwide for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The present project involves retrospectively tracking the clinical/hospital use and of our already developed iPad app intended to help persons with ASD safely complete medical imaging. The iPad application delivers a social script of pictures and words that foreshadow a novel experience and help the person know what to expect and how to react during a procedure. We already tested the iPad application with 32 parent/child dyads and found that it was associated with lowered parent and child anxiety, shortened procedure length, and reduction in the number of challenging child behaviors (published in Journal of Pediatric Nursing & Journal of Radiology Nursing). With the established feasibility and efficacy, the app is now available for download at the Marquette Apple Store (individual apps for x-ray, nuclear medicine, MRI, CAT scan).
With innovation funds I would like to evaluate the app further to see if clinicians at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin are using the four versions of the app. Future plans would involve: (1) combining the applications into a single app that is available for iPhone and iPad, (2) adding new health care procedure preparations to the app and (3) marketing it to health care systems nationwide. To summarize, the actual app use, fidelity of use, and potential barriers to use is unknown. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the use, fidelity of use, and barriers to use of the app. The app is being considered for a patent by Marquette University Office of Innovation at this time given the lack of such an app in the marketplace at this time.
Team lead: Dr. SuJean Choi
Whether the focus is cancer or schizophrenia, treating disease requires understanding pathology at the cellular level. Toward this goal, we seek to establish a next-generation cell-sorting facility that will feature technology that better enables the isolation of cells from a complex environment (e.g., large tissue sample). Current efforts to identify the molecular causes of human disease often involve the processing of heterogeneous tissue samples in which many of the cells are healthy. The presence of healthy cells obscures the detection of pathological events that may be present in only a percentage of cells in a sample.
The cell-sorting facility will address this obstacle by permitting the isolation of cells of interest, as described below. By enabling MU scientists to utilize a vastly more sensitive approach to study disease and unmask novel therapeutic targets, the goal is that the Center will be an important step towards maximizing both the revenue potential of existing research programs (i.e., by increasing extramural grant funding and tech-transfer opportunities) and the potential societal impact of ongoing research activities (i.e., the identification of novel causes of human disease leading to highly innovative treatment approaches).
Team lead: Nicholas La Joie
The Virtual Classroom project aims to leverage new technologies in 3D VR video by building a live streaming 3D VR application for smart phones and connecting students to the virtual classroom using a 360 degree camera that would act as a "virtual reality web cam", sending fully explorable live video from the remote classroom to the students on the far end using mobile streaming 3D VR software.
Team lead: Karlie Hornberger
There is a “STEM Gap” in the US: far too few women and students of color are pursuing engineering. Even more troubling is the number of underrepresented students who declare STEM degrees and don’t finish. Marquette students will be the exception to this retention challenge. We propose deploying members of the MU Society of Women Engineers (SWE) as unique “near peer” mentors to middle school students, serving the dual purpose of guiding younger students to STEM fields and affirming the public identity of SWE members as engineers, giving them the confidence to finish their degree. Our cutting edge “Mentor in the Field” model is a gamechanging innovation that reaches out to all students, building the newest generation of diverse engineers and retaining those in training. Marquette’s location in a hub of water and energy innovation and a partnership with STEMhero, a local social enterprise that works with middle schools & water/energy providers across the US, will help scale this pilot.
Team lead: Mary Sue Callan-Farley
This initiative will increase interfaith awareness and convergence on campus to promote transformative relationships among members of campus and with city communities. Four students and two university advisors will attend the Interfaith Youth Core Leadership Institute on August 2016 in Chicago to explore models of university interfaith dialogue and strategies to develop interfaith leadership. During the institute Marquette participants will envision and design three components of a plan for interfaith action in the 2016-2017 academic year: Interfaith Day of Service; Interfaith Retreat; a process to recruit an interfaith leadership team. These efforts will strengthen interfaith understanding and cooperation and generate a student led interfaith group that will support interfaith work currently taking place on campus. This group will also help to build relationships through service and programming with local religious and interfaith institutions.
Team lead: Dr. Robert Scheidt
Sport-related concussion causes deficits of memory and attention that can impair motor learning and lead to persistent cognitive and sensorimotor performance deficits. Despite sparse supporting evidence, physical and cognitive rest remains the cornerstone of concussion management. This 3-year project seeks to understand how deficits of memory and attention resolve during recovery from concussion. We will test how different amounts of rest and low-risk activity influence the rate of recovery using standard neuropsychological and balance tests in addition to novel lab-based procedures that quantify how memories from past actions combine to guide future motor performance. This multi-institutional and cross-campus collaborative project is a first step toward optimizing the therapeutic application of rest and low-risk activity, one that minimizes persistent performance deficits and maximizes the rate and extent of recovery. This project advances the mission of Marquette University by involving faculty, staff and students in the pursuit of academic excellence for human well-being through research in action.
Team lead: Terence Miller
Matteo Ricci was a 17th century Italian Jesuit who traveled to China and became a scholar and advisor to the emperor. He exemplified the vital intercultural competencies necessary to work across difference when he bridged Chinese and Western cultures and modeled Jesuit ideals. As such, he has been chosen as the namesake for this educational badge that will assist students in developing similar intercultural skills as they prepare to engage across difference in an increasingly diverse and global workforce.
Likewise, Marquette has identified diversity, inclusion, and global citizenship as university tactics that correspond with the strategic themes and underpinning values of the university. Traditional stand-alone international opportunities and academic majors are no longer sufficient to prepare students for today’s interconnected global community. We propose implementing an interdisciplinary, evidence-based educational badge through the development of the Ricci Global Scholar program--a challenging academic program that cultivates global perspectives and demonstrates a student’s intercultural competencies.
The initial three (3) year program will be piloted in the College of Arts & Sciences with the goal of expanding it to other colleges and majors after assessment and evaluations have been completed. While Marquette a few internationally-focused undergraduate majors (e.g., International Affairs and International Business), the university lacks an accessible and integrated structure for any student in any major to develop and demonstrate to future employers requisite intercultural competencies. Specifically, students will be challenged to gain an intermediate-level of proficiency in a language of their choice, complete a significant education abroad experience integrating a minimum of 12 academic credits into their Marquette undergraduate experience, demonstrate a significant verifiable engagement with either a local or global community or MU student organization, and enroll in six credits (6) of international academic coursework on campus. To assess the student’s learning and be awarded the educational badge the student must integrate all of their experiences into an e-portfolio that will serve as a central location for students to deposit educational artifacts, reflect on learning, and write a summative essay integrating the various aspects of the program related to intercultural competency development.
Faculty champions will be identified in each A&S major to assess student learning presented in the e-portfolio and determine if the student has earned the Ricci Global Scholar badge after all requirements are satisfied. The Ricci Global Scholar badge would be integrated into a student’s pre-existing academic plan. This structure emphasizes the interdisciplinary nature of today’s issues, spans the student’s Marquette career to allow for intercultural competencies to be developed and demonstrated, and can be achieved within the current mandate of 120-credit hours. This program will be ideal for students who aspire to be global citizens and want to demonstrate key global workforce skills to future employers.