May 2005

The Challenges and Rewards of Emergency Medicine

A Holistic Approach to Geriatric Care

Metabolic Controls of Feeding Behavior

User-Focused Communication

Combining Teaching and Advanced Research

Making High-Tech Eye Candy

S&T Briefs

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Al Dorof, Editor

© 2005

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Bryn Mawr College
A newsletter on research, teaching, management, policy making and leadership in Science and Technology

S&T Briefs

Lifetime Mentor

Rhonda Hughes  
Rhonda Hughes

Rhonda Hughes, the Helen Herrmann Professor of Mathematics, received the prestigious 2004 Lifetime Mentor Award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world's largest general scientific organization. The national award was presented Feb. 19 at the 171st annual meeting of AAAS in Washington, D.C.

Yolanda S. George, deputy director of education and human resources at AAAS, says that Hughes "is a model teacher, scholar and mentor who is selfless in her dedication to improving the advancement of young women in mathematics and science. She works very closely with her students and has been successful in obtaining many grants that were used to promote student research and professional opportunities in mathematics."

With her colleague Sylvia Bozeman of Spelman College, Atlanta, Hughes developed the Spelman-Bryn Mawr Summer Mathematics Program and EDGE (Enhancing Diversity in Graduate Education: A Transition Program for Women in the Mathematical Sciences) to help young women transition from undergraduate through graduate programs in mathematics. George notes that the joint Bryn Mawr and Spelman programs have served more than 100 women. The programs were featured in the April 2001 issue of S&T.

A past president of the Association for Women in Mathematics, Hughes joined the Bryn Mawr faculty in 1980, was named full professor and chair of the mathematics department in 1988, and received her endowed professorship in 1993.

Homeland Security

Clark R. McCauley  
Clark R. McCauley

Professor of Psychology Clark R. McCauley was named one of three co-directors of the new National Center for Study of Terrorism and Response to Terrorism (NC-START) announced by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on Jan. 10. The center, which will be based at the University of Maryland, College Park, is one of four such centers established by DHS. Each center brings together a multidisciplinary team of scholars to examine a cluster of critical homeland-security issues.

NC-START will receive about $12 million in funding over the next three years. McCauley will lead a group of researchers studying terrorist group dynamics, supported by a subcontract from the University of Maryland to the Solomon Asch Center for the Study of Ethnopolitical Conflict at the University of Pennsylvania , Philadelphia . He notes that plans for the first year focus on developing three broad types of data — survey and focus group data, historical studies and a comprehensive database of terrorist incidents — and the development of quantitative models based on these data.

"One study I'm involved in looks at historical instances in which terrorist campaigns ended very suddenly," McCauley says. "There are several examples: we want to examine each one to learn about the circumstances in which such an outcome is possible."

Another historical study will examine groups that have undergone a metamorphosis from nonviolent protest groups to terrorist organizations. "How and when do groups develop the moral framework that makes violence against civilians acceptable or necessary?" McCauley asks. "What kind of rhetoric powers that change?"

McCauley's research on understanding the psychology of terrorism was featured in the May 2004 issue of S&T.

Writing in the Sciences

Davis Ross  
Davis Ross

Associate Professor of Economics Davis Ross will lead a Tri-College team of faculty, staff and students in a summer planning seminar to develop strategies and a workshop curriculum aimed at helping students in quantitatively demanding disciplines to improve their writing skills. Participants from Bryn Mawr, Haverford and Swarthmore Colleges will explore various technological tools that enable increased and more effective feedback — such as comment features in Microsoft Word and Adobe Acrobat as well as tablet PCs and Web-based peer/faculty response software. The project will be funded by a $13,850 grant from the Center for Educational Technology, based at Middlebury College, Middlebury, Vt., and supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Ross explains that students in quantitatively demanding disciplines may find that guidance in writing skills is harder to come by because faculty members "feel challenged to attend to student writing without sacrificing the heavy content demands of their courses or adding burdens to already stretched teaching loads." Ross, Senior Instructional Technologist Laura Blankenship and Writing Center Director Gail Hemmeter will recruit Tri-College faculty and student collaborators to test new technologies for developing their writing skills, select the most useful tools and develop the workshop curriculum.

"Students need to learn how to write about numbers and statistics," Ross says. "There are many technologies that can make it easier for us to give students guidance in disciplinary writing all along the way — we just need to think about the most effective ways to use them."

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