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Awarded Faculty Senate Engagement Mini-Grants 

An overview of previously awarded mini-grants is provided below. Please contact indicated faculty with any questions about the awarded project. 



Academic Unit

Engagement Project

Canessa Nicole Collins


Wrapping Our Community Place with Student Engaged Learning 


Our Community Place, located in Harrisonburg, has been serving those in need for 10 years. The organization serves over 8,300 hot meals a year to marginalized and homeless people; provides shower and laundry services, case management services, job training, and learning opportunities while helping to find housing and employment, referrals for health and dental services, and mental health and substance use support group and counseling services. Our Community Place needed a wrap for their box truck, as well as other local nonprofits, to serve as a mobile advertisement bringing awareness to the organization and its services for the local community. Forty JMU marketing students, in two sections of MKTG 498: Creative Marketing Strategy and Design, created ideas for a truck wrap using a blank template of the truck. Our Community Place voted on their favorite wrap and MKTG 498 student Lindsay Merritt’s project was chosen. The grant provided the funds to wrap the truck, using a local company, ENS Graphics in Broadway. 

Jessica Del Vecchio 

School of Theatre and Dance 

Kunqu Performance in Action 

I used the Faculty Senate Mini Grant to have the Kunqu Society of New York do two Zoom workshops with my class THEA 316: Theatre Histories, Texts, and Performances II. The workshops were facilitated by Dr. Dongshin Chang (Hunter College, NYC), a scholar and amateur performer of Kunqu, and Mr. Min Cheng, a performer and master teacher of the form. Prior to the workshops, students studied the history of the form, its major characteristics, and specific performances. In the first workshop, students learned and practiced codified movement and gestures and, in the second, the speaking and singing style. One student wrote, “The Kunqu workshop gave me tangible admiration and appreciation for an art form that I could only once admire from arm’s length…I now believe further cross-cultural exchanges like this one are needed to educate and grow the possibilities of what theater can accomplish on a global scale.”  

Lora Henderson

Graduate Psychology

Codesigning Resources for Caregivers of Native American Youth Impacted by Trauma

Wanchi Huang 


Monticello Strings  

Monticello Strings is a string chamber group of faculty and student string majors with different concentrations; some are with performance and some are music education or industry concentrations. In March 2022, we traveled to surrounding communities to engage in outreach and educational programs with challenging and diverse genres of string chamber works, ranging from traditional European composers, such as Felix Mendelssohn and Anton Dvorak, to works by living African American composer Adolphus Hailstork. Performance venues included the Wayne Theater (Waynesboro), The Handley Auditorium (Winchester), Boys and Girls Club After School Programs (Blue Stone Elementary School), and Forbes Center Recital Hall. Performances were also live-streamed on social media, giving us an online audience that was perhaps too far away or not comfortable being in close proximity with others.  

Krisztina Jakobsen & Ben Blankenship 


Summer Research Experience for Underrepresented Undergraduates in Psychology 

The Summer Research Experience for Underrepresented Undergraduates (SREUU) was designed to support participants in their academic and professional goals and improve participants’ sense of belonging in the department and the university. With funding from the Faculty Senate and Department of Psychology, we were able to offer a paid summer research program and provide professional development books for six students. Generally speaking, the students reported that they gained confidence in their research skills and in preparing for and applying to graduate school; they regularly commented that they were glad to have the support of the three faculty mentors, faculty coordinator, and numerous guests.  

Katya Koubek

Educational Foundations & Exceptionalities 

Empowering Multilingual Learners with Culturally Responsive Children's Literature: Partnering with the Shenandoah Virginia Migrant Education Organization 

Kala Melchiori 


Examining How Race Impacts Responses to Vaccine Hesitant Mothers 

My students and I attended the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI) conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico, from June 24-26, 2002, to present our original research on how race impacts responses to vaccine hesitant mothers. The funds covered the students’ flights, conference registration, and hotel costs. The students presented two posters on their research projects and attended many sessions each day on how psychological science can be applied to issues like climate change, colonialism, equity in the classroom, and transgender representation. Students also enjoyed exploring San Juan and learning about the cultural history of the region. We used Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC) software, purchased with our grant funds, to analyze text-responses to a White or Black vaccine hesitant mother. We found that family was invoked more often for low hesitancy White mothers compared to Black mothers but more often for moderate and high hesitancy Black mothers compared to White mothers. We also found that words with positive emotion were more likely to be used with the low-hesitancy Black mother compared to other conditions. This work is important for understanding how health care providers’ biases may be expressed to patients. 

Thomas E. Moran 


Transforming Health through Relationships via In-Person and Virtual Environments 

Presentation on this funded project.

Samuel Morton III


MSEL: The Mobile Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Educational Laboratory 

Michael Stewart 

Computer Science 

TeleBand v1.0 

Pam Sullivan 

Early, Elementary & Reading Education 

Studio Wayne Internships 

The Wayne Theatre used this funding to hire students or alumni from JMU’s theatre, dance, and music programs to grow the Studio Wayne aspect of the theatre. The instructors offered courses such as acting for young children, tap dancing, music for preK, cartooning, Improv for teens. The grant also paid for supplies for the sets and props for two of the performance classes offered at the theatre. This funding allowed the Wayne to deliver more classes for students in Waynesboro and the surrounding area, and they have seen a commensurate increase in participation in Studio Wayne offerings. This mutually beneficial arrangement helped grow participation in the arts within a struggling community and provided JMU students with opportunities to practice their intended teaching professions and receive a professional credit to enhance their resumes. 

Tim Thomas 

Educational Foundations & Exceptionalities 

Environmental Radio Program 

The mini-grant funded the radio program Shenandoah Valley Ever Green: Premiering in August 2022, this program provides information about local environmental systems and the people connected to these systems with a focus on scientific evidence and data gathered in the field. I collaborated with Dr. Ryan Alessi (SMAD) to recruit journalism students as correspondents for the show. We arranged with local musicians to record the show’s theme music. I offered grant money to local educators in elementary and secondary classrooms for environmental education projects and recruited four COE faculty to select top applications. These projects were the subject of stories on episodes of the show. WMRA will continue to broadcast the seasonal show. 

Karen Weeks 

School of Nursing 

Incorporating Technology in a Nursing Pedagogy to Increase Alarm Fatigue Awareness 

With this funding, I, in conjunction with the School of Nursing, purchased a lifetime license to iSimulate RealIT 360 monitoring system. The system contains two iPad systems. One iPad is the control unit in which I can change multiple visual and matching sounds to mimic a wide range of acute care environment monitoring systems. The second iPad displays the control and can mimic emergency equipment for life threatening conditions. This system allows for multiple displays that can be streamed to another iPad and other display units within the labs and classrooms.  A pilot of this equipment was used over summer 2022, with students reporting that they were able to apply class content information to different scenarios while implementing alarm fatigue strategies. Incorporating this system into clinical simulations with individual monitors allows students to identify, comprehend, and intervene to both appropriate and false alarms to address alarm fatigue in a complex healthcare environment. 

Kayla Yurco, Manita Khemthong, Galen Murton & Mace Bentley 

School of Integrated Sciences 

Cinematic Representation of Gender, Culture, and Identity in Film: A Focus on Asian Documentaries 

This mini-grant supported a two-day film festival at Grafton-Stovall Theater in April 2022. Faculty co-PIs recruited four students from the Geography, Asian Studies, and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies programs who helped organize and advertise the event. The festival was open to the JMU community and included screenings of the award-winning films The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom and Baato followed by discussion and Q&A. Film topics engaged with gender and culture as related to issues of climate change, disasters, development, and resilience—pressing topics of the modern era. Each of the faculty co-PIs, whose scholarship specializes in one or more of the film festival topics, involved students in their spring courses—Gendered Geographies (Yurco), Geography of East and Southeast Asia (Khemthong), Himalayan Geographies (Murton), and Geography and Film (Bentley)—in discussion across course themes and assignments grounded in multimedia resources. Attendees engaged in group discussion, facilitated entirely by students, after the film screenings, which included a live, in-person Q&A with film producers Kate Stryker and Lucas Millard. The festival offered students and other attendees in-depth opportunities for reflection on their identities as global citizens and on cultural connections across borders and boundaries.


Previously Awarded Faculty Senate Engagement Mini-Grants

2020-2021 Awarded Faculty Senate Engagement Mini-Grants

2019-2020 Awarded Faculty Senate Engagement Mini-Grants

2018-2019 Awarded Faculty Senate Engagement Mini-Grants

2017-2018 Awarded Faculty Senate Engagement Mini-Grants

2016-2017 Awarded Faculty Senate Engagement Mini-Grants

2015-2016 Awarded Faculty Senate Engagement Mini-Grants

2014-2015 Awarded Faculty Senate Engagement Mini-Grants

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