Dr. Richard Benson, Assistant Professor of the Education Department, has been awarded a one-year grant from the United Negro College Fund for his project entitled, “Resistance Under the Crown”: Black Education, Protest and Radical Activism in Britain 1965-1988”. The Henry C. McBay Research Fellowship in the amount of $15,000 will support Dr. Benson’s travel to the George Padmore Institute located in London, England. As a visiting scholar in the United Kingdom, Dr. Benson will be able to access the plethora of archival collections throughout the United Kingdom and conduct interviews from scholars and grassroots organizers/activists that participate in the Black Education and Black Parents Movements of the 1970s and 1980s. This research will further enable Dr. Benson to complete his book regarding the social protest for educational equity during the era of the Black Power movement in Britain.
Dr. Yolanda Rankin, Assistant Professor of Computer and Information Sciences has been awarded a two-year grant from the National Science Foundation in the amount of $259,436. Her project entitled, “Computer-Based Social Interactions to Facilitate Language Learning” is designed to explore the development of novices’ (little if any functional ability in the targeted language) Spanish proficiency over time. Utilizing a mobile game as the context for Spanish proficiency, the PI will develop a Game-based Social Interaction Model (GSIM) to motivate the design of conversational computer generated game characters known as Non Player Characters (NPCs). These NPCs will function in the role of native Spanish speakers, providing opportunities for novices’ to interact with them during gameplay as they develop and increase their Spanish proficiency skills.
Dr. Angelino Viceisza, Assistant Professor of Economics, has been awarded a two-year grant from the National Science Foundation in the amount of $135,720. His project, a collaborative research endeavor with Duke University is entitled, Collaborative Research: “Media Influences on Entrepreneurship and Innovation”. This research uses the idea that television is often credited for breaking new cultural ground, ushering in acceptance of minority groups, and shifting opinions on important social issues of the day. Dr. Viceisza’s study will combine data from a wide range of sources, such as Nielsen ratings, in-take data from the US Small Business Administration, patent application data from the US Patent and Trade Office, and data on business existence/creation, to explore whether exposure to a televised business plan competition affects rates of new business formation across the United States. The results have the potential to suggest a low cost means of introducing large numbers of individuals to the central challenges facing startups, and what can be done to overcome them. Students from Spelman College and Duke University will collaborate on collecting, merging, and analyzing a dataset that comprises hundreds of thousands of observations and will serve as the foundation for the project. The Spelman research assistant will also travel to Duke to advance this work.