Latest Faculty Accomplishments


Submit scholarly news—publications, paper presentations and professional awards and service (appointment to boards, etc.)—to Janet Smith in Public Affairs at or 568-8008. Or use our online form.

GRANTS (awarded July 2014)

Emily K. Akerson (Associate Director, Institute for Innovation in Health and Human Services) received two grants from the Virginia Department of Social Services – $56,014 for Healthy Families Shenandoah County and $36,228 for Healthy Families Page County to continue to meet the needs of at-risk families by providing education, resources and support.

Dr. L. Adriana Banu (Assistant Professor, Physics and Astronomy) received $35,000 from Research Corporation for “Determination of key astrophysical photonuclear reaction cross section towards understanding the origin of p-nuclei” to contribute to enhancing the current state of knowledge on a forefront topic in nuclear astrophysics – the nucleosynthesis beyond iron of the rarest stable isotopes (the origin of the p-nuclei).

Dr. Christopher E. Berndsen (Assistant Professor, Chemistry and Biochemistry) received $30,000 from the U.S.-Israel Binational Science Foundation to identify and to characterize the reaction cycle of Uba5 enzyme via solution biochemistry experiments and X-ray crystallography.

Dr. Brycelyn M. Boardman (Assistant Professor, Chemistry and Biochemistry) received $35,000 from Research Corporation to perform experimental undergraduate research on synthetically developing novel inorganic-organic hybrid materials.

Dr. Julia W. Carr (Senior Associate Director, University Recreation; Associate Professor, Hospitality, Sport and Recreation Management) received $14,230 from Blue Ridge Community College to oversee a graduate student’s internship experience provided by BRCC’s Fitness and Recreation Center.

Dr. Costel Constantin (Assistant Professor, Physics and Astronomy) received $4,000 from the Commonwealth Research Commercialization Fund to develop a set of procedures for optimizing the thermal boundary conductance (hk) between gallium nitride (GaN) semiconductor substrates and gold metal contacts.

Dr. Daniel M. Downey (Professor, Chemistry and Biochemistry) received $10,000 from the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries for “Water Quality Monitoring for Southwestern Virginia Waters: Little Tumbling Creek and Lake Keokee” to support continued monitoring of project sites so that the management goals of the liming projects may be evaluated.

Kimberley A. Foreman (Associate Dean, Human Resources and Administration, College of Business; Lecturer, Accounting) received $320,970 from the Institute of Certified Professional Managers to maintain the organization’s national headquarters on the campus of JMU.

Diane L. Halke (Assistant General Manager, Development and Business Administration, WMRA-FM) received $26,232 from the Commonwealth of Virginia for the provision and support of radio reading services.

Alleyn S. Harned (Executive Director, Virginia Clean Cities) received $40,000 from the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy to update the Alternative Fuel Vehicle Inventory biannually, to collect and report on information relating to alternative fuel production and to support JMU Virginia Clean Cities’ work.

Kimberlee Hartzler-Weakley (Administrator, Institute for Innovation in Health and Human Services) received $42,000 from the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Community Services Board to provide interpreter services to non-English-speaking clients and $20,000 from the Harrisonburg Police Department to provide qualified law enforcement interpreters in partnership with the department.

Elizabeth Hoover (Assistant Director, Furious Flower Poetry Center) received $8,000 from the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities for “Fusion: Furious Flower: Seeding the Future of African American Poetry” to advance the field of African American poetry, to raise visibility of black poetry and to address the need for diversity for college students. Hoover received $3,200 from the Virginia Commission for the Arts to support a concert that is the opening event for the poetry conference.

Dr. Stephen A. Leslie (Head and Professor, Geology and Environmental Science) received $29,738 from the National Science Foundation for “Collaborative Research: Testing the Early Late Ordovician Cool Water Hypothesis” to use the geochemical archive of conodont apatite and carbonates to address questions about paleoceanographic conditions in the Ordovician epicontinental sea on Laurentia.

Dr. G. Fletcher Linder (Director and Professor, Interdisciplinary Liberal Studies; Professor, Anthropology) received $3,280 from the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund to give pre-service teachers at JMU the background and knowledge to conduct meaningful watershed experiences with elementary- and middle-school students.

Dr. Joanna B. Mott (Head and Professor, Biology) received $24,000 from Tetra Tech Inc. to develop predictive models based on data from beaches in the central coast region of Texas.

Dr. Kenneth F. Newbold Jr. (Associate Vice Provost, Research and Scholarship) and Alleyn S. Harned (Executive Director, Virginia Clean Cities) received $323,373 from Virginia Clean Cities Inc. to reduce petroleum consumption in the transportation sector by advancing the use of alternative fuels and vehicles, idle reduction technologies, hybrid electric vehicles, fuel blends and fuel economy.

Dr. Cynthia R. O’Donoghue (Head and Professor, Communication Sciences and Disorders) and Dr. Cara Meixner (Assistant Professor, Graduate Psychology; Assistant Director, Center for Faculty Innovation) received $5,103 from the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services to update the white paper to create an authoritative reference document on statewide needs and costs related to the behavioral health treatment for persons with brain injury; to evaluate systems options and alternatives; to assist policymakers and service providers to understand clearly the issues; and to provide a sound basis for decision making related to future policy initiatives.

Dr. Stacey L. Pavelko (Assistant Professor, Communication Sciences and Disorders) received $1,100 from the Virginia Department of Education to respond to the need to make clinicians aware of current research with respect to standardized assessments and to teach clinicians to use current research to guide choices in standardized assessments.

Dr. Eric J. Pyle (Professor, Geology and Environmental Science), Dr. John T. Almarode (Head and Assistant Professor, Educational Foundations and Exceptionalities), Dr. Kerry O. Cresawn (Assistant Professor, Biology), Dr. Barbara A. Reisner (Professor, Chemistry and Biochemistry) and Dr. Brian C. Utter (Associate Professor, Physics and Astronomy) received $299,744 from the National Science Foundation for “James Madison University EPIC (Expanding Pathways, Identity and Capacity) Science Education” to develop two additional credit-bearing pathways leading to science teacher licensure that supplement the existing program at JMU.

Dr. James M. Shaeffer (Associate Vice Provost, Outreach and Engagement) and Dennis O. Burnett (Executive Director, Shenandoah Valley Partnership) received $251,745 from the Shenandoah Valley Partnership to provide economic development support services for regional members, prospects, existing businesses and the Virginia Economic Development Partnership.

Dr. James M. Shaeffer (Associate Vice Provost, Outreach and Engagement) and Christine E. Swayne (Chief Executive Officer, Shenandoah Valley Technology Council) received $51,421 from the Shenandoah Valley Technology Council to support the council in fiscal year 2015.

Dr. Trevor F. Stokes (Professor, Graduate Psychology; Director, Alvin V. Baird Attention and Learning Disabilities Center) received $54,000 from the Shenandoah Valley Regional Program to provide student internships for educational experience through involvement in professional activities in the area of applied behavior analysis with the school districts associated with the SVRP.

Dr. Michael L. Stoloff (Professor, Psychology; Interim Associate Dean, The Graduate School) and Dr. Joann H. Grayson (Professor Emerita, Psychology) received $47,813 from the Virginia Department of Social Services to publish and distribute the Virginia Child Protection Newsletter throughout the state in fiscal year 2015.

Nick D. Swayne (Interim Director, Education Support Center; Coordinator for External Relations, College of Education; Instructor, Learning, Technology and Leadership Education) received $30,000 from the Rockwell Collins Charitable Corp. to help promote growth of the FIRST LEGO League in Washington, D.C., as well as in rural areas and school divisions with Title I designation. Swayne received $6,851 from Virginia city and county donors to provide sponsorship of robotics teams for the Virginia/D.C. FIRST LEGO League.

Dr. William C. Wood (J.W. and Alice S. Marriott Faculty Fellow; Professor, Economics; Director, Center for Economic Education) received $64,818 from Shenandoah Valley Economic Education Inc. for an economic education consultant program to improve economic literacy in Harrisonburg and Rockingham County.

Dr. Nathan T. Wright (Assistant Professor, Chemistry and Biochemistry) received $35,000 from Research Corporation to use multidimensional heteronuclear NMR experiments and biochemical techniques to investigate the structure and target protein binding characteristics of the giant muscle protein obscurin.

Dr. Rhonda M. Zingraff (Associate Dean, College of Health and Behavioral Studies; Director, Institute for Innovation in Health and Human Services) received $6,230 from Crossroads to Brain Injury Recovery Inc. to provide services to individuals affected by brain injuries, maximizing rehabilitation and contributing to the community.

Dr. Rhonda M. Zingraff (Associate Dean, College of Health and Behavioral Studies; Director, Institute for Innovation in Health and Human Services) and Cheryl L. Henderson (Co-Director, Training and Technical Assistance Center) received $50,000 from the Virginia Department of Education to support statewide efforts and activities designed to enhance service effectiveness for personnel in superintendents’ Region 5 Training and Technical Assistance Center who serve children and youth with disabilities.


Dr. Linette M. Watkins (Head, Chemistry and Biochemistry) has been named an American Chemical Society Fellow. Watkins is one of 99 scientists in the 2014 class of ACS Fellows who have demonstrated outstanding accomplishments in chemistry and made important contributions to ACS, the world’s largest scientific society.


Dr. Heather J. Carmack (Assistant Professor, Communication Studies) and her co-authors Matthew Vorell of St. Cloud State University and Jennifer Scarduzio of Lamar University wrote “Surviving work: Toxic organizational communication,” a book published by Kendall-Hunt Publishers. Carmack wrote an article, “A cycle of redemption in a medical error disclosure and apology program,” which was published in Qualitative Health Research, 24(6), 860-869. Carmack and Dr. Jocelyn M. DeGroot of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville wrote an article, “Exploiting loss?: Ethical considerations, boundaries, and opportunities for the study of death and grief online,” which was published in Omega: Journal of Death and Dying, 68(4), 315-335.

Dr. Dorothy Justus Sluss (Professor, Early, Elementary and Reading Education) recently updated the second edition of her book, “Supporting Play in Early Childhood: Environment, Curriculum, Assessment,” which was published by Cengage Learning.


Dr. David A. Stringham (Assistant Professor, Music) has been named chair of the National Association for Music Education’s Council for Music Composition. His term runs from July 2014 through June 2016.

Dr. Heather Watson (Associate Professor, Engineering) has been named a 2014-2015 American Association for the Advancement of Science Science & Technology Policy Fellow in the program’s most competitive track, Health, Education and Human Services. Watson will assist in discovering how to improve the accumulation of knowledge on STEM education and learning; will assist in discovering how Division of Research on Learning programs have impacted STEM education and learning; and will share research results with the right audiences. AAAS is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing science around the world by serving as an educator, leader, spokesperson and professional organization. The AAAS S&T Policy Fellowships provide the opportunity for accomplished scientists and engineers to participate and contribute to the federal policymaking process while learning firsthand about the intersection of science and policy. Watson will serve at the National Science Foundation in the Division of Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings. DRL invests in projects to improve the effectiveness of STEM learning for people of all ages. Its mission includes promoting innovative research, development and evaluation of learning and teaching across all STEM disciplines by advancing cutting-edge knowledge and practices in both formal and informal settings.

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Published: Monday, August 11, 2014

Last Updated: Monday, February 22, 2021

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