Updates: RAMP Up's Career Campaign Award Winners

Our Career Campaign Award winners from the past four years continue to work on their projects.

Some notable highlights:



Aparna Gupta, Assistant Professor of Management & Technology has attended the Financial Management Association (FMA) annual meeting October, 2010. With a background of Applied Mathematics and Operations Research, Dr. Gupta had in the past been more active in the Institute for Operations Research and Management Science (INFORMS) activities. Transition into the business school has required a greater presence in the mainstream Finance professional organizations as well as justifying her trip to the aforementioned conference. Dr. Gupta has worked towards increasing her participation in the FMA professional association's activities and events post transition.

Assistant Professor of Management & Technology will be attending the Financial Management Association (FMA) annual meeting from October 20-23, 2010. With a background of Applied Mathematics and Operations Research, Dr. Gupta had in the past been more active in the Institute for Operations Research and Management Science (INFORMS) activities. Transition into the business school has required a greater presence in the mainstream Finance professional organizations. Therefore, over the past three years, Dr. Gupta has worked towards increasing her participation in the FMA professional association's activities and events. This year she served on the Editorial Committee and helped in the review process for the annual meeting of the FMA, as well as is going to Chair a session at the meeting. In the Finance community, the tradition of discussants for each paper presented is strong and a very beneficial feature. As a Chair, one is also expected to arrange for a discussant for the papers.

Last year, Dr. Gupta was approached to write a proposal for a book on 'Risk Management and Simulation'. Her proposal was accepted, and she is now working on writing the book. This project is coming along, however the book's comprehensive coverage and multi-disciplinary nature combining simulation technologies and financial risk management requires referring to several books, some of which are not readily available from Dr. Gupta's institution's library. Dr. Gupta will greatly benefit from being able to buy some of the books she urgently needs using the funds available through the Career Campaign Award.



Audrey Bennett is an associate professor in the Department of Language, Literature, and Communication at Rensselaer.

She studies the role of the user in visual communication. She seeks to understand how visual language married to technology bears images that facilitate interaction between image producers and image consumers. In her research, she uses participatory design methods to co-design interactive images with laypeople in remote regions of the world including the third world. So far, these interactive images have addressed the global HIV/AIDS pandemic. Bennett had face-to-face meetings with her mentor John Harrington when he was dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. Upon his departure, she had telephone and email conversations with an external mentor, visual communication research pioneer Sharon Poggenpohl of the Hong Kong Polytechnic Institute.

To develop an international reputation as a graphic design researcher, Bennett used her award to support the development of a virtual conference on the impact of design on global society, particularly indigenous communities. The conference titled "GLIDE (Global Interaction in Design Education)" pioneered a virtual format in the graphic design education community when it streamed on October 22, 2008 via Adobe Connect. There were keynote presentations, refereed full and poster papers, and blog and wiki discussions. The National Educators' Steering Committee of the AIGA, the professional association for design co-sponsored the conference. Subsequently, Bennett edited a special issue of the journal "Visible Language" that is published by the Rhode Island School of Design. Titled "Global Interaction in Design," this special issue that was published in 2010. GLIDE streamed for a second time on October 27, 2010 via gotowebinar with an international cast of presenters. The presentations are available to the general public via YouTube. Also forthcoming is the public dissemination of GLIDE presentations via iTunesU and Vimeo.

            The two above profiles may also be viewed in the 2011 Interim Report


Abby Kinchy, Assistant Professor in Science and Technology Studies

With the Career Campaign Award, Kinchy was able to initiate a new research project investigating the controversy over deep shale natural gas drilling in the northeastern United States. She also was able to present preliminary research findings at academic conferences, and to form important connections with other scholars in her field. Kinchy was then able to secure further funding for the project from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.

In addition, she used the award to support travel to conferences where she presented findings from another research project, further strengthening her network of professional contacts.



Janice Fernheimer is an Assistant Professor, in the Department of Language, Literature & Communications in the School of Humanities, Arts & Social Sciences

Ferheimer has begun research on a new project, the Chaim Perelman Digital Archive on which she collaborates with Jim Crosswhite and David Frank, two of the most prominent and esteemed Perelman scholars. They invited Ferheimer to present along with them, at a dedicated Perelman Supersession at the Rhetoric Society of American 2010. Her remaining Career Campaign funds helped to offset the costs of travel/hotel.

Studying the use of rhetorical theory and new media to understand and resolve conflicts over competing claims to identity, legitimacy, and authority, Fernheimer continues to meet with her mentor Katya Haskins bi-monthly, reviewing work in progress and getting advice about career planning.

As a result of these efforts, Fernheimer has been named a Scholar in Residence at the Hadassah Brandeis Institute for Fall 2008. This opportunity to be in residence at Brandeis University while working on her book will provide strong support for completing her manuscript, a key goal toward tenure.

Fernheimer was also accepted into the Summer Institute for Israel Studies 2008 hosted by Brandeis University's Schusterman Center for Israel Studies.

In addition, the Career Campaign Award has helped Fernheimer make appearances and give talks at three different conferences this spring: The Perelman Conference in Eugene, Oregon, the Biennial Meeting of the Rhetoric Society of America in Seattle Washington, and the international Writing Across the Curriculum in Austin, Texas.



Updates: 2007-2009 Award Winners

Seventeen women faculty members were awarded the Career Campaign Award during the first three years of competition. The accomplishments of many of these distinctive women are profiled below.

The following profiles can also be found in the 2010 Annual Report

Career Campaign Awards – Third Round  (2009)


Katherine High

Kathy High is an Associate Professor in the Arts Department
Recently, Kathy High was granted a Guggenheim fellowship for her work in ScienceArt. She is at a critical point in her career where the Career Campaign funds have helped her establish herself further as a practitioner. She needed funding for travel, lab fees and board for an artist residencies program. The site is SymboticA: The Art and Science Collaborative Research Laboratory, an artistinresidence program housed in the University of Western Australia, in Perth.

With this 3½ month residency, High developed the projects that she applied for to the Guggenheim Foundation. She was awarded the Guggenheim fellowship which will allow her to continue this research and to develop it further, resulting in international art exhibitions in the future. One of High's mentors was and still continues to be extremely helpful to her development. The mentor wrote a support letter for her Guggenheim application.

High is also a media artist, curator, and produces videos and installations around issues of gender and technology, pursues queer and feminist inquiries into various areas of medicine/bioscience, and is engaged with science fiction, and studies of animal behavior. High teaches digital video production and post production and has been working in the area of film, video and photography for over 20 years.



Lee Ligon

Lee Ligon, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology, has a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Virginia and received her postdoctoral training in Cell Biology at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research focuses on the role of structural elements in the cell, such as the cytoskeleton and cell adhesion, in cell function. Among the honors and awards she has received are the Research Scholar Grant from the American Cancer Society, a National Research Service Award from the National Institutes of Health, an Alavi-Dabiri Fellowship Award, and a Porter Symposium Award from the Society of General Physiologists.

Ligon used this grant to attend two Gordon Research Conferences and also to partially fund a collaborative research project with a visiting scientist on sabbatical from Union College (Barbara Danowski). She presented their research at both meetings and received very helpful feedback at each. The project with Dr. Danowski has led to the submission of a manuscript (currently in revision at the journal, Molecular Biology of the Cell).



Liping Huang

Liping Huang, Assistant Professor in the Department of Materials Science & Engineering
The Career Campaign Award supported Dr. Huang to attend two international conferences in 2009: The 8th Pacific Rim Conference on Ceramic and Glass Technology in Vancouver, and The Computational and Theoretical Chemistry conference, in Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China. Dr. Huang gave invited talks at these conferences, which was a great opportunity for her to present research findings and network with high-caliber scientists in the field, and to make them aware of her work as early as possible.

The Career Campaign Award also supported Dr. Huang to attend the NSF CAREER Proposal Writing Workshop, March 25 and 26, 2010, in Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA.

Dr. Huang plans to spend the rest of the award to visit Prof. Thomas Duffy in the Department of Geosciences at Princeton University in August 2010. Prof. Duffy's group has state-of-the-art high-temperature and high-pressure light scattering facilities. This will also help her build a long-term collaboration with them for her career development.


Career Campaign Awards - Second Round  (2008)


Aparna Gupta

Aparna Gupta is an Associate Professor of Quantitative Finance in the Lally School of Management and Technology, with a joint appointment in the Industrial and Systems Engineering department in the School of Engineering at Rensselaer.
Gupta has utilized the funds provided by the Career Campaign Award to develop research investigations with her mentor, Professor Bill Francis. She has developed a framework to assess the contribution of regulatory changes and executive compensation structure changes on the risk¬taking characteristics of firms. She has applied this framework to the commercial banking sector, in which it is seen that the governance characteristics of a bank function as an important control over bank's risk¬taking. In her continued investigation of this corporate risk¬taking issue, Gupta is applying her framework to the insurance sector. Her investigation is looking to identify a determinant for the evolving enhanced risk¬taking behavior of firms, like AIG. One of Gupta's papers on this investigation was accepted for presentation at the 2009 European Financial Management Association meeting. Another paper is under review and a third is in preparation.

Gupta has been attending annual Financial Management Association meetings regularly, and has gotten increasingly involved in the conference's paper review, discussion and session chairing activities. Her mentor, Professor Francis who also regularly attends this conference, has introduced Gupta to other researchers in his network. Dr. Gupta has greatly benefited from this experience and exposure.

Gupta's research interest spans applying mathematical modeling and risk management to problems in the delivery of technology¬enabled services. She has been working on developing mechanisms and strategies for risk management in communication services. In this connection, this summer she will attend a week-long workshop at the Isaac Newton Institute of Mathematical Sciences in Cambridge University on Statistics and Simulation of Networks and Rare¬Events. She utilized funds from this award to attend this workshop. Attendance to the workshop was by invitation only, and the workshop has helped Gupta to begin exploring the area of security risk management for communication networks. She is developing this research agenda in collaboration with researchers in universities in the UK.



Ellen Esrock

Ellen Esrock, Associate Professor of Language, Literature, and Communication
Using funds from the Career Campaign Award, Ellen Esrock attended the meetings of the Modern Language Association in December 2008, 2009, and will attend 2010. She has presented a paper at the Society for the study of Art, Literature, and Science in 2010 in Atlanta and attended the International Conference on Consciousness in Hong Kong in 2009. In July 2010 she was an invited participant at an international workshop on Embodiment held at Barnard college.

She was awarded the Jerome Fishbach travel grant in 2009 to sponsor her travel to China. She has published "Embodying Art: The Spectator and the Inner Body," Poetics Today, 31, 2 (2010): 217¬250 and has another, "Embodying Literature," under review.

Ellen Esrock has met monthly with her mentor, Linnda Caporael, to review progress on her objectives. Her interviews with artists and spectators has continued throughout the grant period. A final set of interviews with scientists is anticipated for fall 2010.



Career Campaign Awards - First Round   (2007)


Tomie Hahn

Tomie Hahn is an Associate Professor of Arts who studies the role of play as a crucial component of creative learning and self¬realization in diverse cultures. Her project characterizes play as a social engagement that can be transmitted as part of a child's enculturation process. Hahn meets regularly with her mentor, Professor Kay Kaufman Shelemay, G. Gordon Watts Professor of Music and Professor of African and African American Studies at Harvard University. Her mentor at Rensselaer, Professor Katherine Isbister has left the institute.

Hahn has used her Career Campaign award to visit her mentor in Cambridge, Massachusetts, travel to conferences and interview materials. Currently, Hahn is on sabbatical. She reports that the Career Campaign funds have been a direct source to help her jumpstart potential project ideas prior to her sabbatical leave. She has found this to be one of the most valuable aspects of the fund. Prior to her sabbatical, Hahn was able to test several projects and consult with professionals. During this period of time her book, Sensational Knowledge received the highest award in her field: The Alan P. Merriam Prize. As a result, the Career Campaign Award enabled her to fuel the momentum and excitement from her book and support her in ways she had not expected. Hahn was invited to be one of a small number of scholars to a Think Tank on the Body and Consciousness in Germany. In August 2010, she will be a fellow at Illinois State University with several of these cognitive scientists and neurobiologists.

During her Career Campaign Award funding years Hahn has presented numerous papers at conferences, given workshops, and performances, which then led to invitations to think¬tanks, artist/scholar¬residencies and this year, a keynote speech at a conference at Harvard.

Lastly, Hahn contends that the Career Campaign Award funds have enabled her to "take risks that would not normally be possible." She said, "This in itself is the greatest kind of support that women need during their careers! Between the encouragement of my mentor to take chances and the funds enabling room to explore, I find myself in a different place in my career. I have been involved in more interdisciplinary work than usual, have met scholars and artists from a wide variety of backgrounds, and presented my work in a setting I would not have expected."



Mariana Figueiro

Mariana Figueiro is an Associate Professor who has completed several tasks performed under the Career Campaign grant. She presented in technical meetings and conferences:

Figueiro participated in and presented a poster at the Society for Research on Biological Rhythms (SRBR), which is one of the largest conferences held in the US in the area of biological rhythms. She presented the work on circadian phototransduction that she had just completed the year before. During this meeting, Figueiro met with Dr. Carskadon from Brown University to discuss a proposal to the US. Green Buildings Council. The proposal was submitted and funded. Figueiro participated and presented an abstract on the Society for Research and Bright Light Treatment (SLTBR) annual meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark. This is an international conference held every year. She presented the work on light and alertness that was completed the year before. During the meeting, she met with European Lighting manufacturers to discuss possible research and demonstration projects.

In addition, Figueiro has participated in and presented an abstract at the Gerontological Society of America (GSA). This is a large conference dedicated to aging. She presented the work on the 24¬hr lighting scheme for older adults that is being developed by her research group. During this conference, she met with Dr. Higgins and Dr. Hornick, from Case Western University, to discuss collaborations. They have a pending NIH proposal.

In terms of collaborations, Figueiro visited Architecture faculty at Clemson University to discuss possible joint projects. They developed a small project together as a result of this collaboration and discussions are underway regarding possible future projects.

Figueiro has met regularly with her mentor, Linda Schadler, who has guided her through her tenure process. As a result of Figueiro's activities in the past year and with her mentorship, she has prepared her dossier to go up for promotion and tenure this Spring.

Figueiro reports that she is 'very thankful' that she had the Career Campaign Grant in a stage of her career that she needed support to travel, form collaborations and make presentations of the research group's work in technical meetings. She said, " The Career Campaign Grant gave me the opportunity to meet with possible collaborators and, as a result, one proposal was funded and one proposal is pending (with a very good score). Moreover, the grant gave me the opportunity to be mentored by Linda Schadler, which was great for me to understand how to succeed in a tenure track position."



Blanca Barquera

Blanca Barquera, an Associate Professor of Biology recently returned from an international meeting in Poland, where she presented some of her new results. During the conference, she was supported with Career Campaign Award funds. Barquera and her group published 5 papers in peer-review journals. This was a particularly important enhancement for her tenure case. The Peer Review papers are as follows:

Juárez,O.,Morgan, J.E., Nilges, M.J. and Barquera,B. 2010. Energy transducing redox steps of the Na+-pumping NADH: quinone oxidoreductase from Vibrio cholerae. PNAS 107: 12505-12510.

Juárez, O., Athearn, K., Gillespie, P., Barquera, B. 2009. Acid residues in the transmembrane helices of the Na+-pumping NADH:quinone oxidoreductase (Na+-NQR) from Vibrio cholerae involved in sodium translocation. Biochemistry 48:9516-9524.

Juárez, O., Morgan, J.E., and Barquera, B. 2009. The electron transfer pathway of the Na+-pumping NADH: quinone oxidoreductase from Vibrio cholerae. J Biol Chem 284: 8963–8972.

Juárez, O., Nilges, M. J., Gillespie, P., Cotton, J., and Barquera, B. 2008. Riboflavin is an active redox cofactor in the Na+-pumping NADH:quinone oxidoreductase (Na+-NQR) from Vibrio cholerae. J Biol Chem 283:33162-33167.

Backiel, J., *Juarez, O., *Zagorevski, D.V., *Wang, Z., Nilges, M.J., and *Barquera, B. 2008. Covalent binding of flavins to RnfG and RnfD in the Rnf complex from Vibrio cholerae. Biochemistry. 47:11273-11284.



Ingrid Wilke

Ingrid Wilke has been promoted to Associate Professor with tenure in Physics.
She is researching Ultrafast and Terahertz Spectroscopy. Wilke investigates the properties of matter in the Terahertz frequency range on a femtosecond time¬scale. Ingrid Wilke is a 1st round winner. The Career Campaign Award funds helped her to increase her visibility as a scientist domestically as well as internationally within and outside of her specific areas of research. It provided Wilke the opportunity to network with senior leaders in her field at a crucial point in her career. Specifically, the funds were used to attend two conferences; (1) World Congress of Photonics, Laser in Manufacturing 2007, München, Germany, 20 June 2007: Influence of laser parameters on femtosecond near¬infrared opto¬injection of living cells.(2) Topical Problems of Biophotonics – 2007, Workshop Terahertz imaging and diagnostics, Nishny Novgorod¬Moskau¬Nishny Novgorod, Russia, 4 August 2007: Timedomain THz¬transmission measurements of artificial skin and human hair.





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Updates & Notable Highlights