Active grant awards

New College of Florida recognizes researchers who have recently been awarded grants.

active awards

New College faculty and staff are diverse people; some of them put together plays, some of them head their departments, and some of them play ping-pong in the cafeteria. One thing they do all have in common though, is their constant commitment to the New College and greater Sarasota community.

The best way they have to connect with these communities is through the formation of projects, many of which have been backed financially by outside sources. From conservation efforts around the Sarasota area to virtual recreations of historic events to developing new scientific technologies, their projects all have a positive impact on not only the community of New College, but the local and global communities as well. By undertaking large projects such as these, our faculty and staff show a commitment to not only pushing academic boundaries, but bettering the world as well.

At-Risk Butterfly Conservation Reverse the Decline Program, Florida Museum of Natural History at the University of Florida

Assistant Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies Emily Saarinen secured funds from the University of Florida to partner with them in performing research on the conservation and recovery of key at-risk butterflies, including listed taxa and those of conservation concern across Florida and California. Emily and select New College students will perform bioinformatics and genetic data analysis, among other related tasks. Way to go Emily! Much success to you and students!

KTH Royal Institute of Technology School, Stockholm

Professor of Sociology and Environmental Studies David Brain secured a contract with the Center for the Future of Places at KTH Royal Institute of Technology School, Stockholm, for a project on Public Space and Urbanism Research Database Development. Through the contract David will hire up to three New College student research assistants. These will assist in identifying and reviewing the available research literature in the social sciences (including sociology, environmental psychology, political science, economics, and anthropology) for possible inclusion in the Center’s database. Kudos to David!

Publix Super Markets Charities

Professor of Biology and Director of Pritzker Marine Biology Research Center Sandra Gilchrist has secured funding from Publix Super Markets Charities for her PUSH/SUCCESS program’s 15th year anniversary. With New College faculty and students working together, PUSH/SUCCESS provides a comprehensive educational activity for local, financially-challenged middle-school and high-school youth in a college setting. Focus is placed on assuring that students interested in science, not always tops in their classes, are given a chance to explore their interests. This year Sandra’s happy to report that one of the students from past sessions is working with her on a project for the MaST program on ocean acidification effects on sea urchins. Congrats to Sandra and participating students!

New Institutional Seed Grant: Faculty Scholarship Enhancement Program (FSEP) 

ORPS and the Provost’s Office are pleased to announce the awardees of the new Faculty Scholarship Enhancement Program (FSEP) designed to provide seed money to faculty for research, scholarly and creative work through an internal competitive process. Professor of Psychology and Director of Environmental Studies Heidi Harley was funded to perform her research on the Creation of the NCF Center for the Wellbeing of Humans and Other Animals. Associate Professor of German Studies Wendy-Lou Sutherland was awarded to perform her work on Mapping the Self: British Colonialism, the Slave Trade, and Migration. And Associate Professor of Art Kim Anderson received funding for her creative work of an artistic display. This seed money will help position these faculty members to secure external funding to further their work all the while engaging New College community. Let’s hear it for Heidi, Wendy and Kim!

NEH Summer Institute

Assistant Professor of Religion Manuel Lopez Zafra was selected to participate in the NEH Summer Institute Islam in Asia: Traditions and Transformations, that will take place in Honolulu, Hawaii June 12-July 7. The goal of the Institute is to “enable undergraduate educators to develop curricular content on Islam, including its origins in the Middle East, the history of its spread throughout South and Southeast Asia, and its place in contemporary Asia. Balancing the dual needs for breadth and depth in teaching and learning about traditions that are culturally and historically distant, this multidisciplinary four-week summer institute program will offer participants the context-rich engagement with key traditions, practices, and primary texts (in translation) needed to develop curricular materials applicable across a wide range of humanities disciplines, including religion, philosophy, history, art history and literature.” Congrats Manu!

The American Philosophical Society Franklin Research Grant

The American Philosophical Society has awarded Professor of History David Harvey a Franklin Research Grant in support of David’s research. With this grant David will make a research trip to France to examine French efforts to secure new colonies in Guyana, the Falkland Islands, and Madagascar, and to reform and regenerate existing colonies in the Caribbean and Indian Ocean. The product of David’s research will be a book on Enlightened Colonialism? France and the World, 1763-1789. Congratulations David!

ASIANetwork Faculty Enhancement Program 2017 Summer Seminar in Indonesia

Assistant Professor of History and Marian Hoppin Chair of Asian Studies Xia Shi, with support from the Provost’s Office, was selected as one of the ten (10) awardees for the ASIANetwork Faculty Enhancement Program 2017 Summer Seminar in Indonesia, which is supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation at that organization. The program intends to deepen Asian Studies in the Liberal Arts colleges by selecting and facilitating faculty to study a country in Asia which lies outside their primary range of expertise. The study-travel seminar that Professor Shi will attend will consist of structured workshops directed by a country expert held at three different times over a one-year period. Outcomes of these seminars will be highly valuable for Professor Shi to include new Asia material for her existing courses as well as further sustain and deepen the study of Asia among our students on NCF campus.

Minnesota Zoological Garden

Assistant Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies Emily Saarinen secured funds from the Minnesota Zoological Garden to partner with them in performing research on the native Minnesota butterfly species. In addition to strengthening ties with external institutions, the project provides undergrad research opportunities for select New College students.

Music Performance Trust Fund

Associate Professor of Sociology Sarah Hernandez with support from the Social Sciences Division, the Humanities Division and New College Chapter of the United Faculty of Florida (NCUFF), received from the Music Performance Trust Fund an award to support Tom Neilson’s performance held on campus. The concert provided a combination of art and activism and all were invited to attend – free!

ASIANetwork Speakers Bureau

A round of applause to Assistant Professor of Religion Manuel López Zafra,  Associate Professor of Chinese Language and Culture Jing Zhang, Professor of Political Science and Director of International Studies Program Barbara Hicks, Assistant Professor of History and Marian Hoppin Chair of Asian Studies Xia Shi and Assistant Professor of Chinese Language and Culture Fang-yu Li for securing an award from the ASIANetwork Speakers Bureau to host a speaker on campus during this academic year. The main goal is to bring interesting speakers to our campus and shine attention on New College’s growing Asian Studies program.

New College: Connecting the Arts and Humanities on Florida’s Creative Coast

ORPS is excited to report that the Andrew V. Mellon Foundation has awarded a five-year grant (2016 thru 2021) of $750,000 to New College of Florida. The project has three central goals.

  • To elevate New College’s capacity to contribute to public discourse on humanities and arts in our region.
  • To build sustainable relations with local arts organizations.
  • To establish sustainable academic connections with local colleges that comprise the College Consortium on the Creative Coast (the C4 group).

The grant from the Mellon Foundation’s Higher Education and Scholarship in the Humanities program is a testimony to New College’s strength in the humanities, to the vibrancy of the arts community in the Sarasota-Manatee area, and to the promise of the C4 consortium. Relatively few such grants go to public universities.

Provost Stephen Miles is the PI for the project while Associate Professor Nova Myhill will be Director for the five years of the project and Associate Professor April Flakne will be the Co-Director for the first year of the grant.

Please join ORPS in congratulating everyone who helped in the creation of this grant!

Chinese and East Asian Film and Culture Series

Jing Zhang has secured support from the USF Confucius Institute for the “Chinese and East Asian Film and Culture Series” in 2016 at the New College of Florida. The funds will be used to partially support two events related to Chinese and East Asian movie showing and lectures on campus. Congratulations Jing!

Large Shark Survey in Offshore Waters of Southwest Florida

Dr. Jayne Gardiner has secured 5 subsidized ship days on the R/V Bellows from the Florida Institute of Oceanography Ship Committee. Dr. Gardiner’s project Large Shark Surveys in Offshore Waters of Southwest Florida will provide hands-on education and training for students in NCF’s Biology of Sharks, Skates, and Rays course, Eckerd’s Elasmobranch Biology and Management course, and Mote’s College Intern Program. Students will gain experience with field sampling methods, large animal handling, and tagging techniques while collecting data that, in addition to be used for class projects, will also contribute to MML’s long-term studies on relative abundance, habitat, and migration patterns of large coastal sharks and Eckerd’s studies on molecular genetics of shark stocks. The project will run thru spring semester 2017.

Florida Sea Grant 2016 Scholar Program

Together with student Kevin Jensen, Dr. Gardiner  secured funding through the Florida Sea Grant 2016 Scholar Program. The goal of this project is to determine if the Sarasota Bay contains potential nursery habitat for local shark species. The team will quantify the abundance and distribution of juvenile sharks in Sarasota Bay, investigate the relationships between environmental variables and species distributions in Sarasota Bay and compare Sarasota Bay with other Gulf of Mexico shark nursery areas while allowing students to gain field experience and education on local elasmobranch populations. The project will run thru March 2017.

Amy Baram Reid Receives NEA Literature Translation Fellowship

The National Endowment for the Arts announced that Amy Baram Reid has been recommended for an NEA Literature Translation Fellowship of $12,500. Dr. Reid is one of 23 recommended fellows for 2017. In total, the NEA is recommending $325,000 in grants this round to support the new translation of fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry from 13 different languages into English.

Reid’s grant will support the translation from the French of the novel When the Plums Are Ripe (La Saison des prunes, 2013) by francophone Cameroonian novelist Patrice Nganang. Nganang (b.1970) is a prolific writer and a powerful voice for political engagement in Cameroon and across Francophone Africa. He has received considerable critical attention for his novels, short stories and poetry, as well as for his theoretical and critical essays. When the Plums Are Ripe is the second volume of a trilogy about the sources of Cameroonian nationalism, focusing on the period from 1940-44 and interweaving history with fiction. It highlights the experiences of Cameroonian civilians and tirailleurs–soldiers with de Gaulle’s Free French Forces—as the French resistance took hold in Africa. When the Plums Are Ripe is in turn ironic, insightful, and idealistic, reflecting both Nganang’s political engagement and his efforts to bring humanity into focus. Reid’s translation of the first volume of the trilogy, Mount Pleasant, was published in April 2016 by Farrar, Strauss & Giroux.

Amy Baram Reid is a professor of French Language and Literature at the New College of Florida, and served as Director of the Gender Studies Program from 2006-12. In addition to Mount Pleasant, she has translated Nganang’s novel Dog Days (University of Virginia Press, 2006), as well as Queen Pokou: Concerto for a Sacrifice (Ayebia Clark, 2009) and Far from My Father (University of Virginia Press, 2014) by Véronique Tadjo.

“Translating a work of literature takes not only deep knowledge of another language, but also skill, artistry, and dedication,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “I am proud of the NEA’s long commitment to supporting literary translation. This art form plays an important role in providing Americans with a truly unique insight into other cultures as well as access to some of our world’s greatest writers.”

Since 1981, the NEA has awarded 433 fellowships to 383 translators, with translations representing 67 languages and 81 countries. For the complete list of FY 2017 NEA Literature Translation Fellows, visit the NEA’s website at arts.gov.

The Conservation of Oarisma Poweshiek and Hesperia Dacotae

In 2012, Dr. Emily Saarinen received support from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for her project to better understand and preserve the Oarisma powshiek and Hesperia dacotae. For those that don’t speak Latin, that would be the Poweshiek Skipperling and the Dakota Skipper; endangered butterflies that can be found in Southern Canada, Wisconsin, and the Dakotas. Working with the Fish and Wildlife Service, Dr. Saarinen has performed DNA extractions, facilitated a complete scan of the genomes of both butterflies, and facilitated various population level analyses with the hopes of better understanding the threats the species face.

The project has succeeded in getting both of the butterflies classified as endangered, and their remaining habitats have been designated as “critical habitats,” meaning that the Fish and Wildlife Service is working with local landowners to help preserve their natural prairie habitat. Conservation efforts are important to many New College students as well as their professors, and projects such as this one are a perfect example of that. Dr. Saarinen shows a devotion to these two species of butterfly, reflecting the understanding that every small part of the system is necessary. By focusing her efforts on protecting these butterflies, she will see to it that their habitats are preserved, but this is not only a preserving of a habitat for butterflies, but for every other plant and animal that calls these prairies home.

By protecting these two insects, Dr. Saarinen protects a greater part of the ecosystem as well. The project is set to wrap up in 2017.

RUI: Rapid Acquisition and Analysis of Complex Spectra with High-Speed Digitizers

With the help of many New College students, Dr. Steven Shipman received generous support from the National Science Foundation to stare into space. Well, more accurately he’s been staring into the atmosphere, and it’s not him that’s doing the looking, it’s a high-speed digital oscilloscope. Dr. Shipman’s project has made data collection and analysis much faster and easier for scientists working with chemical spectrums. The work done on the project includes the creation of new data-collection methods and spectral analysis software, which were all made freely available to the greater scientific community.

What is perhaps most interesting about this project is the fact that many of these methods and pieces of software were created by New College students. This is the other side of Dr. Shipman’s project, not only has he been able to take important steps forward in the field of chemical spectroscopy, he is making an opportunity for New College students to engage directly. For its three-year duration, this project has become part of many students ISPs as well as some theses, making it an important part of the New College educational landscape.

SBEP Teachers Workshops 2016-17

Dr. Sandra Gilchrist is a biology professor as well as the director of the Pritzker Marine Biology Research Center. In her role as director of the research center, she has many responsibilities, and one of those is outreach to the greater community.

One of the many projects she has undertaken with the research center is the ongoing education of local Sarasota science teachers on topics of oceanic conservation and how they can pass that information on to their students. For each year of the project’s life Dr. Gilchrist has put together three full-day workshops for teachers to attend, where she covers not only the information on conservation that she hopes will find its way into their curriculum, but also how to incorporate new technology into its teaching, and which possible grant organizations that those in attendance may reach out to if they are in need of funds.

Through this program, Dr. Gilchrist shows not only her concern for our natural environment, but an understanding that one of the most efficient ways of addressing this concern is to spread her knowledge outward, and what better way to do this than through the local educators of Sarasota.

Tragedy and Survival: Bicentennial of the Southward Movement of Black Seminoles on the Gulf Coast

The history of people of African heritage and their lives in Florida is something that faces difficulty when it comes to honest reconstruction. While some steps have been taken to acknowledge and honor this history, there is still much work to be done. Hoping to coincide with the bicentennial of the destruction of the Negro fort, Dr. Uzi Baram plans to create a virtual reconstruction of the site of the battle, as well as the paths that the survivors took as they escaped down the Gulf Coast.

With funding from the Florida Humanities Council, Dr. Baram, director of the New College Public Archeology Lab, has teamed up with Digital Heritage Consultants Edward and Dianna Gonzalez-Tennant, who will produce the virtual reconstruction, fellow scholars Nathaniel Millett, Terrance Weik, and Rosalyn Howard, Sherry Svekis, president of the Time-Sifters Archaeological Society. Dr. Baram and his team will visit the site of the battle and the associated locations, and from this will gain the information they need to create the virtual reconstruction, which will be housed on the New College website.

Following its creation, Dr. Baram will have Vickie Oldham, a local journalist and founder of the Looking for Angola project, give public, interactive presentations on the findings at the site of the battle. The combination of the presentations and virtual reconstruction will give the community a 21st century look at what almost became a forgotten part of our state’s history. This project is not just a scholarly examination of our state’s history, but an attempt to bring a forgotten piece of history back into the light.

Geospatial Modeling for Prioritizing Coastal Wetland Restoration in the Western Lake Erie Basin (WLERA), Lake St. Claire, the Connecting Channels (CCRA), Lake Huron and Saginaw Bay, Michigan

Justin Saarinen and a team of New College students are working together to create a program capable of making geospatial maps of the Great Lakes region. With the hope of aiding restoration projects in this area, Saarinen has put together this multiyear project, working with not only the students of New College, but also ecologists from the U.S. Geological Survey and has even brought the two groups together.

The end-goal of the work is to create a mapping application that can be used by scientists directly in the Great Lakes region to create comprehensive restoration assessments of the areas they work with. The application will also be adaptable for use as a mapping tool for other wetland areas. By aiding in the restoration of the Great Lakes area, Saarinen helps place New College in the national academic sphere. His work with state departments, as well as other universities, helps cement New College as a part of the U.S. academic community.

In all his work, he has shown that his goals lie with the preservation and restoration of our natural environment, which is probably why the USGS has specifically sought him out to complete this project. As of 2016, the project has been extended for another year through additional funding from the USGS, ensuring that Justin’s work will be seen through to completion.

Underwater Behavioral Audiograms of Sea Turtles: Green (Chelonia mydas) and Kemp’s Ridley (Lepidochelys kempii)

What does a sea turtle hear? As you are asked this question, you probably realize that you don’t really know. It hadn’t occurred to you to think of what it is that a sea turtle hears, or if they even do hear for that matter.

Well, part of the reason for that is that no one else knew either, not until now. Dr. Gordon Bauer and Dr. Athena Rycyk are members of the New College psychology program, but both have always had a penchant for studying the cognitive behaviors of animals. Together, and with a team and support from the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, they are proceeding with a two-year project designed to create audiograms mapping the hearing range of two types of sea turtles, as well as critical ration measurements (a form of audio analysis more comprehensive than an audiogram) for some of the turtles to be used as subjects.

This data will be instrumental in the understanding of sea turtle sensory experience, and since sea turtles are endangered, this data will be helpful in their protection. If it turns out that sea turtles can’t hear boats very well, it makes them less likely to react to them, so knowing what they can and can’t hear is important for their protection. Dr. Bauer, Dr. Rycyk, and the team at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium are making strides in our understanding of these animals and their behaviors.

Sailfuture Youth Mentoring

Started in 2012 by New College alum Mike Long, Sailfuture represents a huge step forward in how our country tackles the issue of youth incarceration. The program has two focuses; one being a newly designed alternative to incarceration in which high-risk youth as they sail on a five-month journey through the Caribbean, the other is a mentorship program for local Sarasota high-schoolers with GPAs lower than 1.5.

Those enrolled in the mentorship program are paired with a New College student who will create a plan for them to get back on track to graduate, oh, also the two will have to learn how to sail together. In order to build a relationship on equal footing, Sailfuture has both the mentor and the mentee come in with no sailing experience, so together they build a rapport as well as make strides in problem-solving skills together.

Over the course of six months, the two will learn to sail, and the New College student will develop an academic plan to help the student get back on the track to graduating from high school. Sailfuture gives an indispensable opportunity for New College students to reach out to the Sarasota community and make a difference therein. By working with at-risk youth, the program strengthens both students’ characters as well as forming a stronger bond between New College and the greater Sarasota community.

Colin Jordan, head of the New College Fitness Center, has facilitated a grant in recent years through which Sailfuture covers the expenses of running the program through New College.

New Music New College

Founded in 1998, New Music New College (NMNC) has made a serious and continuous effort to bring new and exciting musical performers to New College, those whose work can always be counted on to be described as ambitious with an interest towards pushing the boundaries between music and other modes of performance.

NMNC’s founder and director, Dr. Stephen Miles, not only wants to bring new music to New College and the Sarasota community, but an understanding of that music as well. Offering artist conversations with each of the year’s five performers (each season has included five performances since 2006), NMNC brings a unique look into the works of these composers.

With performances ranging from the likes of Pamela Z’s warped vocals, to the Jack Quartet’s new take on what a string quartet actually is, each year’s lineup proves to be more intriguing than the last, including many contributions from current New College students as well as alums. A large focus of the program is bringing New College students into the performances in the form of ensembles, and as composers as well.

The recurring event “Crossroads” brings New College bands together with members of the Sarasota orchestra and surrounding music community in a night of performance that often blends elements of classical composition with current trends in popular rock music. NMNC is one New College’s most prestigious projects, and Dr. Miles shows his commitment to new and exciting performance through the continuation and evolution of the program.

For the coming academic year of 2016-2017, New College’s Producer of Music, Ron Silver, has procured funds from the Sarasota Arts and Culture Alliance in order to bring in more artists than ever for this year’s season of New Music New College. These funds will also be used to encourage the greater Sarasota community to participate in this year’s performances, as the money allows for an expanded marketing budget. With this greater reach, Ron hopes to expand New Music New College’s influence to an even greater number of people in the Sarasota area.

Cubano-American Community Project

Florida is rich with Cuban history, especially in the regions surrounding the Tampa Bay area. Dr. Sonia Labrador-Rodriguez hopes to bring that history to light during Hispanic Heritage Month with a series of projects that focus on Cuban people’s history and relationship with the West Florida region.

Dr. Labrador-Rodriguez plans to exhibit a digital presentation of the history of Cuban Ranchos in the Sarasota/Manatee area based on the research of fellow New College professor, Uzi Baram. In addition to the display of this project, she plans to host a series of talks with historians and scholars of Cuban heritage on such topics as the Cuban cigar makers in Tampa, the new opportunities available to both West Florida and Cuba as a result of the recent changes in the U.S./Cuba relationship, and a keynote presentation by anthropologist Jorge Duany on just what the future holds for the relationship between Florida and Cuba.

The events will be open to the public of Sarasota through New College, bringing the community closer through a shared history with the region and the people that have come to live in it. The project itself will raise awareness of the diversity of scholarship at New College as well as the diversity of the Sarasota and Manatee areas by embracing the rich heritage present in the area.

This outreach shows New College as a member of the international community, and its devotion to the pursuit of better futures through academic discourse.

DOE Security Improvements

Over the years, New College has seen some large expansions, Z Dorm, The ACE building, various modes of remodeling and improvement to the general infrastructure of the school.

Many of these plans increase the actual physical space taken up by the school, and with that can come concerns of safety. Is our current security plan capable of maintaining these new locations? Will we be able to keep up with the expansion of our school with a relative expansion of our safety network? Ronald Hambrick has made sure that we have.

Every time our school has grown in recent years, Hambrick has made sure that our security has never been compromised by that growth. From adding new security cameras, to updating the emergency announcement system within buildings, each time our school grows, its safety grows with it. The Department of Education has always been ready to fund the ideas that Ronald brings to them, and has been reliable in giving him the funds necessary to complete what are actually quite ambitions projects.

He has the safety of the school and its students first in mind when it comes to his plans, and has consistently acted on those plans from year to year.