Please join me in commending UTC faculty and staff who have received awards or submitted proposals for sponsored programs in August 2016. These projects are also listed on the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs’ blog

Best regards,


Funded Proposals (9/1/2016 – 9/30/2016)


The following UTC faculty and staff recently attracted $2,908,798 in external grant and contract awards:

Ms. Twyler Boykin, Project Director of Upward Bound Math and Science, attracted $257,500 from the U.S. Department of Education to continue the Promoting Resolve in Science and Math (PRISM) program during the 2016-17 academic year. The goal of PRISM is to strengthen the math and science skills of local high school students from low-income communities and to encourage these students to pursue postsecondary degrees in these fields.

Dr. Ethan Carver, Associate Dean of the Graduate School, Dr. Michelle Deardorff, Professor of Political Science, Dr. Jennifer Boyd, Associate Professor of Biology, and Dr. Joanne Romagni. Dean of the Graduate School have received $2,112,010 from the National Science Foundation for “ASPIRE: Appalachian Students Promoting the Integration of Research in Educations.”  This program seeks to create a comprehensive STEM recruitment and support pipeline for rural Appalachian students from financially distressed and at-risk regions of Tennessee.

Ms. Shirl Gholston, Director of Student Support Services, has received $293,288 from the Department of Education for UTC’s Student Support Services program, which is in its second of five years of funding. This program provides academic support and other services to low-income students, first generation students, and individuals with disabilities.

Dr. Marcia Noe, Professor of English and Director of Women’s Studies, received $6,000 from the Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature to serve as editor-in-chief of the Society’s two publications, MidAmerica and Midwestern Miscellany.

Ms. Karen Vann, Program Director for the Center for Community Career Education, has received $240,000 from the U.S. Department of Education in order to provide academic counseling and connections to tutoring and resources for low-income, first-generation potential college students currently in middle and high school in the Hamilton County area.



The following UTC faculty and staff members submitted proposals with the potential to generate over $3,150,000 in external funding, if awarded:

Drs. Raga Ahmed (Electrical Engineering) and Jennifer Ellis (Education) have requested $68,821 from the Tennessee Higher Education Commission for their ASTUTE Teachers and Students program, which reinforces STEM-content knowledge and best pedagogical practices for grade 6 through 12 STEM teachers, via a summer workshop and online portal.

Drs. Neslihan Alp, Endong Wang (Engineering Management), Mbakisya Onyango (Chemical Engineering), Nurhidajat Sisworahardjo (Electrical Engineering), and Li Yang (Computer Science) requested $1,192,081 from the National Science Foundation through their ITEST program. The team’s program, EXCEL (EXploring Clean Energy through hands-on Learning) delivers high-quality professional development that improves teachers’ content knowledge and self-efficacy in clean energy and technology, specifically in Hamilton, Bradley, and Cleveland counties.

Drs. Neslihan Alp (Engineering Management), Li Yang (Computer Science), Trevor Elliott, Charles Margraves (Mechanical Engineering), Karen Adsit (Education), and Andy Carroll (IGTLab) have requested $73,991 from the Tennessee Higher Education Commission for their EXCEL project, which will broaden content knowledge, interest, and participation in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields by targeting students from underrepresented backgrounds in grades 9-11 at six high-need urban high schools.

Dr. Francesco Barioli (Mathematics) and Ms. Deborah Troutman-Cantrell (Education) have requested $74,854 from the Tennessee Higher Education Commission for their Algebra and Pre-algebra ACT Preparation program for teachers, which will provide 30+ in-service teachers with the methodology to enhance the teaching of Pre-algebra/Algebra via real world applications.

Dr. Morgan Cooley, (Social Work) and Ms. Elizabeth O’Brien (Counselor Education Program) has submitted a proposal to the Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga to expand existing training efforts and allow community groups to be trained in either Youth Mental Health First Aid or Adult Mental Health First Aid.

Drs. Kay Cowan, Jennifer Lubke (Education) and John Zibluk (Communications) have requested $74,906 from the Tennessee Higher Education Commission to provide middle and secondary science and math teachers with a workshop for using apps to teach disciplinary literacy and STEM concepts.

Drs. David Giles (Biological & Environmental Sciences) and Steven Symes (Chemistry) have requested $106,619 from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in order to study the impact of fatty acids on Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a common bacterial infection in those with Cystic Fibrosis.

Dr. A.K.M. Hossain (Biology) has requested $231,951 from NASA through a collaboration with the University of Mississippi in order to monitor groundwater storage changes in the Mississippi Delta using satellite and ground-based data, with the goal of supporting sustainable agricultural water management.

Dr. Shewanee Howard-Baptiste, Assistant Professor of Exercise Science, has requested $15,110 from the Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga for her project “D.A.N.C.E.: Determining Adolescents Needs for Culturally-Appropriate Exercises: Investigating the Barriers to Physical Activity for Minority Female Adolescents.”

Drs. Billy Jackson (Mathematics) and Jennifer Ellis (Education) have requested $71,263 from the Tennessee Higher Education Commission to develop an activity based curriculum for teachers that combines knowledge of mathematics with knowledge in at least one of the other areas of STEM, in order to solve problems and stress the integrative nature of the STEM fields.

Dr. Farah Kandah, (Computer Science), has submitted a preliminary proposal to the Department of Energy’s Office of Science to develop a networking system that can provide real-time response in global collaborative virtual lab environments.

Drs. Kate Kemplin, Jenny Holcombe (Nursing), Jill Shelton, and Nicky Ozbek (Psychology), have requested $1,169,414 from the Department of Defense in order to study and observe medics participating in Prolonged Field Care by measuring their trait performance, cognition, physiological and neurocognitive activity. They will then correlate those with inter-observer evaluations during PFC training to validate training pathways and predict clinical performance.

Drs. Deborah McAllister (Education), Henry Spratt (Biology), and Shannon McCarragher (Sociology) have requested $75,000 from the Tennessee Higher Education Commission for their project that focuses on improving science and related mathematics content and pedagogy for grade 6 teachers, including regular classroom teachers and exceptional education teachers, as they implement the Tennessee science standards and the Tennessee mathematics standards.