Science and Technology

Latest 4-VA grant recipients receive $66,000

by Eric Gorton

2018 4-VA spring grant recipients group photo

SUMMARY: The grants support faculty efforts that contribute to 4-VA initiatives related to research and instruction.

Faculty from eight departments received more than $66,000 in grants for collaborative research projects from 4-VA at JMU on Friday, April 13.

The largest grant, $18,000, was awarded to Ashleigh Baber, an assistant professor of chemistry, who is collaborating with a faculty member at Virginia Tech to gain insight into what makes materials more active and efficient for chemical reactions.

Awards of $10,000 were made to Margaret Sloan, an assistant professor of strategic leadership studies, who is collaborating with colleagues at George Mason University, University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, Virginia Commonwealth University and Old Dominion University to host a regional leadership conference; and to Elham Torabi, an assistant professor of computer information systems and business analytics, who is working with faculty at Virginia Commonwealth University to investigate causes of, complications around and solutions to Medicaid fraud.

“A lot of great work has come out of this program,” President Jonathan Alger said before handing out the awards during a ceremony at Lakeview Hall. "And it's getting more competitive."

The nine awards were selected from 21 proposals.

“Talk to your colleagues," Alger said, encouraging the current recipients to spread the word about the grants, which he said "enriches the lives of faculty and students and serve as examples of engagement in action across all disciplines."

The grants support faculty efforts that contribute to 4-VA initiatives related to research and instruction. Potential outcomes include shared courses, redesigned courses or collaborative research projects. Since the program started in 2010, more than 100 JMU faculty have received grants that are awarded in the fall and spring.

The 4-VA consortium was organized in 2010 in an effort to meet the needs of the Commonwealth identified by the Governor’s Higher Education Commission and his Jobs Commission. The original members were JMU, George Mason University, University of Virginia and Virginia Tech. Old Dominion University and Virginia Commonwealth University have joined in the past two years.

Information about the program, including an application, can be found at

The full list of grant recipients:

Grant Recipient Department Award
Dr. Margaret Sloan Business
Dr. Ioana Niculescu Physics
Dr. Hao Zhang Integrated Science and Technology
Dr. Elham Torabi Computer Information Systems
Dr. Ashleigh Baber Chemistry
Dr. Carol Dudding Communication Sciences and Disorders
Dr. Kevin Borg History
Dr. Sammy El-Tawab Integrated Science and Technology
Dr. Patrice Ludwig Biology

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Published: Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Last Updated: Thursday, January 23, 2020

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