New Grants in the College of Social Science

November 5, 2018

The College of Social Science is transforming the human experience through its rigorous approach to research. Our faculty has received numerous prestigious grants from different nations organizations to pursue important topics and answer tough questions to make our world a better place. The following are just some of the grants Social Science faculty members have won over the past year.

In the School of Criminal Justice, assistant professor Caitlin Cavanagh was awarded the “Adolescent Social Development During Incarceration” grant from the National Science Foundation. Her study will examine the extent to which normative adolescent social development is disrupted by incarceration. They will compare markers of social development in matched samples of incarcerated youth, youth on probation, and non-arrested youth over the course of three years, and track how social development corresponds to mental health and re-offending behavior. This study will not only give scholars a meaningful insight into adolescent psychological development, but also the impact America’s criminal justice has on those who go through it.

Researchers from the School of Psychology have also been the recipients of large grants. Professors Chris Nye and Brent Donnellan won a grant from the National Science Foundation “Examining the Effects of Work on Personality Trait Change in Young Adulthood.” The study will analyze the impact work has on the personalities and the psychological development of young people in such a formative time in their lives.

Psychology professors Joe Cesario and Taosheng Liu also won a grant from the National Science Foundation for their project, “Understanding Race Bias in the Decision to Shoot with an Integrated Model of Decision Making.” This study will closely analyze how police officers’ racial biases – even those that are implicit and/or rooted societal racism – impact their willingness to shoot a citizen during a law enforcement altercation and how police departments can better equip themselves to become trusted, effective agents for positive change.

Professor Rebecca Campbell from the Department of Criminal Justice was also a recipient of a grant for her study, “Evaluating a Victim Notification Protocol from Untested Sexual Assault Kits: How Do Survivors Define Justice Years after an Assault.” This study focuses on the historical tendency for law enforcement to abandon sexual assault kits and the recent movement to re-open these kits, and how this process affects the well-being of victim and whether it brings them a meaningful sense of justice.

Psychology professors Anne Bogat, Alytia Levendosky, and Joe Lonstein were awarded a grant from the National Institute of Health for their study, “Intimate partner violence and early mother-child bonding.” The study will analyze the impact that intimate partner violence has on women raising young children, disrupts their ability to bond with the child, and thus affects the child’s early childhood development as well. The researchers hope that the results of this study will help them to develop programs that address healthy mother-child relationships during pregnancy to help circumvent these negative consequences.

In the School of Social Work, Assistant Professor Carrie Moylan received a new award from Department of Justice for a collaborative project between the College of Communication Arts and Sciences and the School of Psychology. “Evaluating a Web-Based Crisis Hotline for Sexual Assault Victims: Decreasing Barriers, Increasing Help-Seeking, and Improving the Help-Seeking Experience” aims to make the reporting and help-seeking process easier for victims of sexual assault.

Kurt Rademaker, an assistant professor from the Department of Anthropology, received an Archaeology grant from National Science Foundation Archaeology called “Social Adaptation in a Highly Varied Spatial Environment.” The project investigates the initial human settlement of the Peruvian Andes and Pacific coast. Although the grant is in its second year, Professor Rademaker brought the grant to MSU with him when he started at the university this fall in the Department of Anthropology.

Dr. Joseph T. Hefner, also an assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology, received a National Institute of Justice award to improve the accuracy of age estimates for unidentified remains of children and adolescents. The project, “Investigation of sub-adult dental age-at-death estimation using transitional analysis and machine learning methods,” focuses on tooth root and crown development to estimate age in children and adolescents using transition analysis and machine learning methods. The goal is to provide forensic anthropologists and odonatologists an accurate and precise age estimation method using a large, demographically diverse, modern sample of children and adolescents.