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Battelle Engineering, Technology and Human Affairs

History and Previous Awardees

History of Battelle Partnership with The Ohio State University

Since its first recorded gift to Ohio State in 1954, Battelle Memorial Institute’s generosity has enabled Ohio State to accelerate research in fields as diverse as medicine, engineering and contemporary public policy. 

The Battelle Endowment for Technology and Human Affairs, established in 1975, supports activities that help scientists and engineers become more knowledgeable about and engaged in the relationship between science and technology and broader social and cultural issues. Participants in the program’s initiatives have numbered in the thousands—including Ohio State faculty, staff and students; Battelle colleagues; specially invited international luminaries; and members of the central Ohio community. For the first 10 years of its existence, the program provided for a major symposium, as well as seminars and meetings on general topics connecting science and technology with the quality of life in the contemporary world. A hallmark of the early symposia and related activities was their broad interdisciplinarity. The inaugural Battelle Endowment symposium, “Energy, Environment and Our Society,” included a professor of economics from the University of Colorado who, at the time, was also the president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science; the vice president for science and technology at Exxon Corporation (now, ExxonMobil); the dean emeritus of the John F. Kennedy School of Government; the chief economist of the Atlantic Richfield Company; the former ambassador to Saudi Arabia; and the president of the National Audubon Society. The complementary faculty seminars included representatives from such diverse disciplines as law, agricultural economics, sociology, nuclear engineering, philosophy, economics, public administration, history, zoology and political science. 

The program format has changed since its earliest days, but the focus remains the same. In 2012, program administration moved from the Office of Academic Affairs to the Office of Research. At Battelle’s request the fund was renamed the Battelle Engineering, Technology and Human Affairs (BETHA) Endowment. Today, the Battelle Endowment supports such initiatives as public lectures, art exhibits, workshops and interactive computer projects that examine the complex relationship between science and technology and the needs and aspirations of individuals and society.

BETHA Previously Funded Projects

2023 Awardees

The Megalonyx Project: Science Education Through Restudy of a Landmark Scientific Discovery

Loren Babcock
College of Arts and Sciences Department of Earth Sciences

The reconstructed skeleton of the ancient ground sloth Megalonyx at Ohio State was incompletely excavated following its 1890 discovery. The grant will allow the group to: complete geospatial surveying and digital imaging at the original excavation site in Holmes County, Ohio; create digital imaging of skeletal material to understand its fossilization history; and provide radiocarbon dating and isotopic analysis to determine the skeleton's geologic age. The work will add to the Orton Geological Museum's teaching and outreach activities by bringing the work to the public through online media, through classroom experiences, and through an updated, modernized display in the Orton Museum.

What Can You Do with Physics? Transform Healthcare

Ashley Cetnar
College of Medicine Department of Radiation Oncology

It can be challenging for students to envision themselves in a meaningful career within STEM fields. To help promote awareness of opportunities for the application of science and technology in healthcare, the group will partner medical physicists with educators in grades 6-12 to explore how physics is applied in the advancement of human health. This project will recruit teams of teachers, medical physicists and education researchers for professional development opportunities at the James Cancer Hospital, develop lesson plans which can be made publicly available, and host a Science of Physics in Medicine Day for students and STEM educators in central Ohio.

Uncovering the Underground Railroad: Scanning History through Architecture

Karen Lewis
College of Engineering Knowlton School of Architecture

This is a multidisciplinary visualization project to explore the architecture of the Neil House, an undocumented––but often cited––station on the Underground Railroad. For more than 60 years, newspapers and others claim underground tunnels, hidden passageways and secret rooms were used to conceal Black men and women escaping slavery. However, it is not clear if these passages were used to hide people, or the result of decades of architectural renovations. Using image scanning technologies, three-dimensional digital and physical models, and other architectural representations, this project seeks to forensically investigate and visualize the architecture and infrastructure of the Underground Railroad across Ohio State’s campus.

3D Digital Reconstruction of Lost Urban Streetscapes: Historic Mt. Vernon Ave in Columbus

Harvey Miller
College of Arts and Sciences Department of Geography
Center for Urban and Regional Analysis

Understanding the history of 20th century urban highway construction on vulnerable neighborhoods can guide policy and design prescriptions and also help avoid similar mistakes with 21st century mobility technologies. The project will integrate existing machine learning methods for 3D modeling of historic buildings and landscapes to create a 3D streetscape of historic Mt. Vernon Ave, the commercial heart of Black Columbus, before it was severed from downtown by I-71. The team will work with the Columbus Landmarks Foundation to co-design visualizations and related media with neighborhood stakeholders to support historic district designation and serve as a pilot for additional funding.

2022 Awardees

Project BioEYES: Promoting scientific literacy and forging powerful connections between public schools and the OSU science community

Sharon Amacher
College of Arts and Sciences Department of Molecular Genetics

There is a genetic revolution advancing at unprecedented speed with genome sequencing and editing technologies. As the COVID pandemic illustrates, it is more important than ever that all citizens feel comfortable and capable of discussing new technologies and understanding promise and risks. To spark interest in science, improve science literacy, and forge powerful connections between the public schools and Ohio State, the project proposes to build upon the successful implementation of the Project BioEYES curriculum by expanding the program to new elementary schools, designing and offering a new Ohio State service learning course, and developing an annual celebratory BioEYES Festival.

Superpowers of Science! Leveraging educational TV to engage young children in engineering activities

James Bonus
College of Arts and Sciences School of Communication

It is crucial to deliver STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) interventions in early childhood, because achievement gaps in STEM emerge before children enter kindergarten. Recognizing this need, the Center for Science Industry (COSI), a Columbus science museum, has started distributing educational kits that engage families in STEM at home. The current project will develop and evaluate content for a new COSI kit that integrates lessons about engineering from the popular TV program "Hero Elementary." This project is possible through a pioneering partnership with PBS (Public Broadcasting Service).

Building trust through an alliance of outcasts: Autonomous flights in prescribed burns

Mrinal Kumar
College of Engineering Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

The project will build partnerships for public engagement and education in two disparate fields: prescribed forest burns, and autonomous vehicles that by themselves have struggled to garner public trust. Prescribed burns are the controlled application of fire to accomplish specific land management objectives. They offer ideal testing grounds for autonomous flight vehicles to prove the decision-making ability in an unstructured and hazardous environment. This collaborative effort brings together two Ohio State academic colleges, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the Metro Schools System and local National Public Radio (NPR) Station, WOSU, to bring into focus the troubling prognosis of wildfires in the eastern United States.

2021 Awardees

The SciAccess 2021 Conference

John Beacom
Department of Physics, Department of Astronomy

Science, with its universal laws, belongs to everyone, but access is not universal. The SciAccess 2021 conference will focus efforts to increase access to science for individuals with disabilities. We will bring together a broad spectrum of researchers, educators, advocates, and students to raise awareness, share best practices, and make connections. Building on the successes of the 2019 and 2020 conferences held at Ohio State, in 2021 we will start to build a coalition of institutions to grow the reach of SciAccess, both as a yearly conference and a year-round community. This will assist individuals, strengthen society, and enrich science.

Color Field: Robotic Painting with Students at "Camp Architecture"

Ashley Bigham
Knowlton School of Architecture

Students considering a career path in architecture, especially those from underrepresented backgrounds, are typically unacquainted with the innovative tools altering the way we design and build cities. Research shows that hands-on experience and early exposure is critical to attracting underrepresented students to STEM fields like architecture. Robotic field painting is a collaborative activity offering aspiring architects hands-on experience with geospatial and robotics. Working with community partners Camp Architecture and Waterman Farms, this project invites middle and high school students to gain invaluable experience with tools that are revolutionizing architecture and its allied fields including landscape architecture and urban design.

Ohio's Coal Transition: Pathways for Community Resilience

Jeffrey Jacquet
School of Environment and Natural Resources

Combining social science, engineering, theatre, and art we propose to explore, understand and document specific and generalizable impacts of the ongoing energy transition away from coal on three rural Ohio case study communities. Our research findings, practitioner reports and community tool-kits will inform policies, programs and design aimed at bolstering community resilience in these communities and beyond. Our creative outputs in theatre and art will build creative capital and bring public awareness to the human and community-impacts of energy systems. Our community partners will ensure the collection of quality data, the usefulness and reach of our academic and creative works.

A Fundamental Shift in Thinking About Trees

Steve Lyon
School of Environment and Natural Resources

Visualizing the impacts of environmental restoration is challenging. For example, when we plant trees it can take a generation before they reach full size and influence environmental health. How can we excite communities about something that takes a lifetime to achieve? We will develop augmented reality visualizations to let stakeholders not only see but also experience what different configurations of trees and environmental impact data would be like at specific locations. Working in Cleveland, our plan is to interlace BIPOC community information needs with our technological abilities to create a series of prototypes that empower future generations of environmental stewards.

From Classrooms to Communities: Fostering Youth Activism and Civic Engagement Through Case-Based High School Biology Curriculum

Jennifer Rodis
College of Pharmacy

Civic engagement, which is decreasing amongst our youth, is important to ensure the advancement of science in society, however, there appears to be a gap in educating our youth on how to be involved in science activism. This partnership between two colleges will design a science curriculum, aligning with Ohio’s Learning Standards for Sciences, geared toward high school students in order to foster an understanding of how science and social issues connect.  Through this pharmacology case-based curriculum, students will encounter real-world problems that have societal interests that will increase science knowledge, confidence and attitude while increasing social awareness and activism.

2020 Awardees

Can Novel Technologies Promote Social and Ecological Resilience to Novel Disturbances in a Changing Arctic Climate?

G. Matt Davies
School of Environment and Natural Resources

The Arctic is the most rapidly warming region on Earth and new types of disturbance, including wildfires, have the potential to further disrupt communities and ecosystems. Wildfire was historically rare in Greenland but large events are becoming more common. Here, wildfire is a novel disturbance and socio-ecological systems may lack resilience. Our interdisciplinary team will work with local stakeholders to evaluate technological solutions for mitigating arctic wildfire risk. To do so requires understanding how stakeholders perceive of, and interact with, technology to ensure tools do not supplant local and traditional knowledge, or negatively impact highly-valued personal and communal autonomy.

The Scientist Next Door: Making STEM Accessible Through Storytelling

Lisa Hall
Chemical Engineering, STEAM Factory

It is imperative that universities translate scientific expertise into accessible language for a broad audience in a way that creates lasting compelling and personal connections to the research and humanizes the process of science. This project seeks to strengthen the science storytelling capacity within the Ohio State research community via professional development, live performance, video development and public outreach initiatives. Through these activities, this project will significantly benefit participating researchers as well as the general public. This project has the potential to have a substantial ongoing impact by further integrating science storytelling into existing university infrastructure and Columbus community.

Using Hyve-3D Immersive VirtualEnvironment System to Facilitate Engagement in Public Participation Activities

Sébastien Proulx

Relying on the Hyve-3D social virtual reality system, this project will establish a Digital Public Participation Lab, to facilitate lay people engagement in the decision making process. This system provides a visualization and rapid-prototyping medium to support engagement in public participation activities. As such, this research focuses on the potentialities of an emerging technology for social and community development. Through this VR system, our initiative sought to make people capable of envisioning the impacts certain decisions may have on their daily lives. As a prototyping tool, the Hyve-3D also provides a promising democratic and community empowerment mechanism making anyone capable of becoming an active stakeholder in the design decision impacting their daily life.

A Collaborative Digital Gaming Platform for Children with Disabilities Using Human-Centered Technology and Touch

Scott Swearingen

Families who care for children with disabilities experience more challenges interacting with their children than families with normal children. This increased level of burden results in higher rates of emotional stress and hardship for families. With over 5.5 million children in the United States with physical or cognitive disabilities, our proposal aims to create a collaborative digital gaming platform using human-centered technology that normalizes the experience of play between the fully-abled and disabled to better serve these children, their families and communities. By emphasizing public engagement, our project merges the arts, humanities and technology, exemplifying the Battelle Endowment Mission.

DYI Science at COSI

Laura Wagner

This project will implement and fully assess a novel model of citizen science participation using the Language Sciences Research Lab at COSI. This model will emphasize a do-it-yourself (DIY) spirit of engagement, involving the general public in decision making at every level of the project, and is expected to improve attitudes towards science and appreciation of science as a process. The best-practices established by this project will be developed into a kit to be exported to other sites for expanded use.

2019 Awardees

MindUp! An e-Mental Health App to Support Homeless Youth’s Mental Health

Scottye Cash
Social Work

Approximately 75 percent of homeless youth experience some type of mental health disorders, however less than nine percent have ever received mental health services. Untreated mental health disorders can lead to a negative life trajectory, including suicidal behaviors. This project will partner with Star House, a central Ohio drop-in center for homeless youth, to design and test a web-based app to provide an evidence-informed, one-stop resource for local mental health resources for depression and anxiety. MindUp! will serve as an innovative tool to reduce these youth’s barriers to seeking mental health support, to improve their well-being and reduce suicidal behaviors.

Inspiring Future Engineers through Girl Scout Leader Training

Rachel Kajfez
Engineering Education

Despite years of effort, women have remained significantly underrepresented in engineering. This project will investigate how Girl Scout engineering badges and journeys impact girls’ views of themselves as future engineers and, using this information, develop evidence-based training for Girl Scout leaders to support girls in their engineering development. Via the Girl Scouts, a large, diverse group of young women across the country will be exposed to engineering at a young age, and by training supportive leaders, this project will aid in closing the gender gap in engineering.

Adaptive Ambience Technology in the Preschool Classroom for Children Exposed to Trauma

Kevin Passino
Electrical and Computer Engineering

Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are increasingly common, especially for children of color and those in lower-income homes. Children who have experienced ACEs enter the classroom on constant alert for threats which can interfere with their ability to learn and feel safe. This project aims to reduce trauma-induced stress in vulnerable children by developing adaptive ambience technology for the preschool classroom, as well as documenting stress levels in a diverse classroom of children ages 3 to 5 years and measuring the impact of adaptive ambiance on stress reduction for children.

A Machine for Reading: RLV2.0

Robyn Warhol

Systems developers/engineers, librarians and English literature scholars are collaborating to build and populate the website Reading Like a Victorian 2.0. The site will enable users to read serial novel installments alongside parts of other novels that were published in the same month and year during the 19th century. The WordPress prototype currently online at will be replaced with new code, including a relational database for searching key elements of texts from Project Gutenberg and Hathi Trust – huge databases that have never before been indexed. years of effort, women have remained significantly underrepresented in engineering. This project will investigate how Girl Scout engineering badges and journeys impact girls’ views of themselves as future engineers and, using this information, develop evidence-based training for Girl Scout leaders to support girls in their engineering development. Via the Girl Scouts, a large, diverse group of young women across the country will be exposed to engineering at a young age, and by training supportive leaders, this project will aid in closing the gender gap in engineering.

2018 Awardees

Monitoring Social and Economic Impacts of Green Infrastructure: Blueprint Columbus

Jeremy Brooks
Environment and Natural Resources

Blueprint Columbus aims to improve water quality using green infrastructure (GI), but GI may also improve mental health, physical health and social relationships. Previous research has produced mixed results about whether and in which contexts GI can produce such benefits and has largely ignored whether the planning and implementation process affects perceptions of GI in a way that affects these impacts. This project will use interviews and focus group meetings in two Columbus neighborhoods to address these gaps by capturing local perceptions of the process and outcomes associated with GI installation

Compact Browser-Based Reading Verification for Early Childhood Reading Fluency

Eric Fosler-Lussier
Computer Science and Engineering

Repeated reading has been demonstrated to be an effective paradigm for improving reading fluency in early childhood learners. Computerassisted technology can provide students with additional guided practice in the classroom, effectively augmenting feedback from teachers. This project will make reading verification ubiquitously accessible via a web browser and use advances in neural network deep learning techniques to improve the detection of reading errors. The proposed approach will also more easily allow reading passages to be personalized to the learner and better supplement classroom activities.

Data Science for Women Summer Camp

Dorinda Gallant
Educational Studies

Exposing young women, especially underrepresented minorities, to data science and analytics (DSA) when they are starting to think about college and career paths (middle/high school) is one way to address the lack of diversity in this field. This project will launch a summer camp for young women in grades 8-10 recruited from Columbus City Schools, starting in July 2018 and annually thereafter. The camp will provide 30 young women with a wide variety of activities in DSA to encourage the students to consider DSA as a career choice.

The Global Sustainable Village

Scott Shearer
Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering

Ohio State students have a desire to positively impact humanity as part of their education. As they have undertaken humanitarian courses and projects to “to improve the human condition,” a gap has been identified between classroom learning environments and the field. To close this gap, a Global Sustainable Village (GSV) will be a physical focal point for this project work and provide an authentic setting for problem solving. The ability to develop technologies in a representative setting before field introduction will improve student learning, foster interdisciplinary collaborations, strengthen Ohio State-partner relationships and improve the impact of community development efforts.

DNA Workshops in Rural Ohio Schools

Amanda Simcox
Molecular Genetics

DNA technology offers the next generation great job opportunities, and capturing interest early is critical for developing this workforce. Tenthgrade biology is an opportunity to expose students to hands-on experiences with DNA technology, but the lack of resources and teacher expertise means biology is often taught as a “book-science.” This project will engage Ohio State undergraduates on an alternative spring break, gaining valuable leadership experience while conducting outreach to this underserved population. These Ohio State role models will provide exciting science experiences, and also make college seem more reachable.

Engineering Design to Enhance Urban GEMS

Deanna Wilkinson
Human Sciences

This project will engage Ohio State engineering undergraduates with urban middle school students to design and build a low-cost remote sensing system to facilitate deploying 36 indoor aeroponic growing systems dispersed on the south side of Columbus. The project will broaden the perspectives of Ohio State students by positioning them to utilize their skills to solve real-world problems and to experience firsthand the potential societal impact of technology. In addition, it will provide emergent exposure to STEM for middle school students in Urban GEMS and provide a technological solution to improve the aeroponic growing system.

2017 Awardees

Assessing Trustworthiness in Social Media

Marie-Catherine de Marneffe

The rise of social media has created an information flood, but which information can be trusted? Factors including exact language used and the credibility of the source impact the veridicality of a statement. This project uses the analysis of veridicality and trustworthiness in social media as a gateway to engage students in linguistics and computer science. A course module will be developed to include introductory linguistics and programming assignments, culminating in an interactive demo that assesses the credibility of social media accounts and rates the veridicality of claims in social media.

Using Technology to Support Communication: Training Parent and Teacher Buy-in

Allison Bean Ellawadi
Speech and Hearing Science

Approximately one percent of the population in the United States is unable to communicate effectively using spoken language. Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) devices enable these individuals to communicate. Smart phone and tablet apps enable those devices to function as AAC devices, acting as the “voice" of an individual. Although the use of smart phones and tablets as AAC devices has increased awareness of and access to AAC, these devices continue to be abandoned/rejected. This project will investigate the impact of teacher and parent buy-in training on AAC use in school-age AAC users.

MAJI MARWA: Sustainable and Resilient Tanzania Community

Michael Hagenberger
Civil, Environmental, and Geodetic Engineering

The Village of Marwa in rural Tanzania, with an estimated population of 5,000 – 7,000, is located approximately ten kilometers from the Pangani River, a permanent water supply with its source running off Mt. Kilimanjaro. Marwa lacks the technical ability and financial capacity to sustainably access and treat this water source. The Sustainable and Resilient Tanzanian Community (SRTC) program is an interdisciplinary, international development service learning initiative that brings together students from Ohio State University and the University of Dodoma, Tanzania’s largest public university, in leading-edge civil engineering and community development practice and local Indigenous resource management systems. Maji Marwa, or “Water for Marwa,” focuses on bringing clean, safe and accessible water to the village, while training the next generation of engineers, scientists and development workers in providing real-world solutions to real-world needs.

Community Gardens as Tools to Promote Science Education

Maria Miriti
Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology

Efforts to recruit students from underrepresented backgrounds into careers in evolution, ecology and organismal biology (EEOB) and other STEM disciplines commonly target undergraduates by providing research opportunities. However, these efforts have not appreciably increased the diversity profile of EEOB professionals over the past 20 years. This project applies Participatory Action Research (PAR) to engage youth at an earlier age in community gardening, a growing national movement that promotes healthy eating in food deserts while also empowering youth and promoting social change. Students interact with science professionals and youth from other communities to design and plan garden space, becoming immersed in science to explore human impacts on the environment and discovering pathways to STEM careers.

Shake the Shoe: Connecting Earthquake Science and Football with the Best Fans in the Land

Derek Sawyer
Earth Sciences

Vibrations created by the 100,000+ fans during Ohio State football games can be recorded and analyzed just as an actual earthquake. The Shake the Shoe project will use seismometers to measure these “FanQuakes” at the Shoe. The data obtained will be used as an education and outreach tool about the science, technology and hazards associated with earthquakes. Classroom exercises, a publicly accessible website and interactive exhibits at COSI and other locations will engage and inspire current and future students and leaders.

2016 Awardees

Dance in Transit

Harmony Bench

This digital humanities research project will employ data analytics to complete the historical record of modern dance performance in the first half of the 20th century. The project explores the relation between touring performers and the modes, networks and infrastructures of transportation that link cities, countries and cultures. The result will be a publicly accessible database extensively documenting an estimated 30,000 individual performances, and a digital scholarship on mid-century African American choreographer Katherine Dunham. Dunham conducted anthropological research in the Caribbean, transformed her ethnographic observations into choreographed works for the stage and toured domestically and internationally with her dance company.

Interactive Teaching Station for Child Restraint Installation

John Bolte

The project will develop a hands-on educational station allowing caregivers to practice installing child restraints and receive personalized feedback. Motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of death of children in the United States. Child restraint technology is effective at preventing death and injuries when used appropriately. Unfortunately, up to 93% of child restraints on today’s roads are being used incorrectly. The station will include child restraints instrumented with sensors, an instrumented vehicle seat, instrumented dolls and an interactive computer interface. In addition to real- time educational feedback to the user, the software will record information about the users’ errors during all installation attempts and provide these data to researchers.

The Philosophical Problem for Machine Morality

Justin D’Arms

The project addresses the philosophical problem facing engineers designing autonomous machines: how to ensure that machines behave ethically. The team will conduct philosophical research to examine approaches to programming morality, develop educational materials to be used in the classroom and develop a conference at which local philosophers and engineers will be exposed to the best current work on issues about how to program machines for moral competence.

Creating Oral Histories by Fostering Digital Technological Literacies in Jamaica

Valerie Kinloch
Teaching and Learning

A collaboration among Ohio State faculty, staff and students to collect and document oral histories and digital technological literacies of Black educators and students in Jamaica. Project goals are to increase access to digital technologies in a Black postcolonial community that has limited access to these tools, engage in community dialogues about oral histories and support exchanges about language, culture and digital technological literacies among participants in Jamaica and Ohio.


Michael Mercil

The project is an experimental artwork establishing a temporary (two year), 500 square foot, on-campus, green-energy park whose centerpiece includes a 70’ tall, gold gilt wind turbine generating electricity to support the display of new video artworks in the Wexner Center galleries. Wind|Farm culminates a trio of Living Culture Initiative artworks at Ohio State, and will complete the rotation of this site from flowerbed to working garden, to orchard and livestock pasture, to carbon storage bank and green-energy park. Collaborators on the project involve the Department of Art, the Wexner Center for the Arts, the Office of Energy Services and Sustainability and the Social Responsibility Initiative in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

The Revolution in Cosmology and Fr. Georges Lemaître’s Hidden God

Christopher Orban

An interdisciplinary study of the life, work and thought of the astrophysicist-priest who was one of the most remarkable figures of early 20th century cosmology. Lemaître helped lay the groundwork for the Big Bang theory, and his life and work represents one of the most interesting interactions between science and faith in the 20th century. The project will involve a collaboration between members of Ohio State’s physics, astronomy and philosophy departments to develop coursework to teach about Lemaître and the wider context of his work, a student-led STEAM project to depict the expansion of the universe and public lectures on Lemaître’s life, work and his philosophical and religious thinking.

2015 Awardees

The Columbus Sound Track Project: Engaging Citizen Scientists to Map Noise Levels in Columbus, OH

Lawrence Feth
Speech and Hearing Science

Noise can deleteriously affect learning, quality-of-life, biodiversity and health. This project will use a citizen-scientist approach to create a noise-map of the Columbus metropolitan area. Members of the public with smartphones will be able to download a free app to measure noise levels tagged with GPS coordinates. COSI will host an interactive display allowing users to explore noise levels in different Columbus locations at different times of day. The display will also be available for exploration online. This project will engage the public in the scientific process and raise awareness of possible implications of different levels of noise.

Culturally Relevant Reading Instruction for Urban Learners Using Voice Activated Computer Assisted Instruction

Ralph Gardner III
Educational Studies

Reading is an essential skill for school success. Poor reading skills place children at risk for school failure and substantially impair long-term possibilities for social mobility and economic success. Currently, the state of Ohio mandates retention of all third grade students who fail the state reading tests. This research combines innovative computer assisted instruction (CAl) using voice recognition software and culturally relevant reading materials to improve the reading fluency and comprehension of first and second grade urban learners at risk for reading failure. The project is designed to demonstrate the effectiveness and applicability of this CAl intervention in urban schools.

Toy Adaptation Program: A Plan for Continuation and Growth

Rachel Kajfez
Civil, Environmental and Geodetic Engineering and Engineering Education Innovation Center

Many engineering students struggle to connect engineering and societal impact. The Toy Adaptation Program (TAP) meets this need by providing hands-on engineering experiences (workshops, labs, and community service sessions) that allow students to apply their technical knowledge while adapting electronic toys for children with disabilities. While the experiences for students allow them to connect concepts related to circuits, soldering and reverse engineering to societal impact, the experiences themselves result in adapted toys that can be donated to toy libraries and families in need. These outcomes allow this program to not only benefit engineering students but also the community.

Mediated Spaces and Human Experience: Using Locative Technology to Enhance Presence and Place

Maria Palazzi
Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Department of Design

The One Ohio State Framework initiative recommends connecting ideas and information throughout the university. Enhancing connections between spaces and inhabitants supports this goal. Digital media and mobile devices augment our relationship to our environments with otherwise invisible evidence of history and culture. Seeding spaces with beacon technology will embed new layers of mediated information in Sullivant Hall to be delivered at contextually relevant locations, thereby exploring how locative technology as a form of presence design can best connect people with history, local culture and the university.

2014 Awardees

The Columbus Sound Track Project: Engaging Citizen Scientists to Map Noise Levels in Columbus, OH

Howard Greene

Senior capstone students in multiple disciplines engage with university partners and residents in Honduras to develop and deploy a sustainable, replicable housing solution for the rural poor. Activities encompass conducting focus groups, developing concepts, designing and building prototypes, business plan development and building a pilot Honduran residence. The experience provides a transformational educational opportunity that fosters interdisciplinary collaboration while allowing students to comprehend firsthand the global context of the solutions they develop.


Joan Herbers
Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology

An Institute for The Study of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (ITS-STEM) to serve as an intellectual hub for scholars who study the social, ethical, legal and educational challenges presented by science and technology. ITS-STEM will provide a forum for faculty to explore how the cultures of science and technology affect their work. Activities include a colloquium series, an outreach program and acquisition of external funding.

Harnessing Education and Technology for Environmental Detection (HEATED)

Bryan Mark
Geography and Byrd Polar Research Center

A Maymester course where a diverse group of students design and build a device to collect geo- and time-tagged temperature data when deployed on moving vehicles, and to create a database, to store and assimilate data collected by the device. This project will result in a device prototype; an innovative, replicable course; data to better understand urban heat islands; and a multidisciplinary team prepared to continue research through other funding opportunities.

Engineering, Technology, Human Affairs, and Social Justice: From Columbus to Colombia

Kevin Passino
Electrical and Computer Engineering

Engineering can improve “human affairs” by promoting social justice via new technologies tailored to the needs of disadvantaged communities, and education to build technological capacity. This project is focused on: (a) cross-cultural K-12 STEM Outreach in Columbus and Colombia; (b) technology development for people who are poor or homeless in Columbus; and (c) technology development for engineering laboratories in disadvantaged universities in Colombia. Results will be used in a course and book on humanitarian engineering.

2013 Awardees

Narrowing Technology Gaps between Ohio State and Eastern Africa Using Mobile Electronic Data Capture and Analysis System for Zoonotic Diseases Research and Training

Wondwosen Gebreyes
Veterinary Preventive Medicine

This project aims to provide opportunities for Ohio State students and faculty members to conduct a research outreach using a Mobile Electronic Data Capture and Analysis System for monitoring foodborne pathogens in Eastern Africa. The proposed study aims to (a) narrow the technology gap and to facilitate scientific networking between Ohio State and eastern Africa partners; (b) enhance interactions among producers, scientists and policymakers; and (c) improve the livelihood of poor urban and peri-urban livestock producers in minimizing zoonosis.

The End and the Beginning of Everything

Shane Mecklenburger

The End and the Beginning of Everything is a collaborative art-science initiative between the Ohio State Departments of Art and Astronomy, the University of Chicago Department of Astrophysics, Chicago’s Adler Planetarium and the Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design (ACCAD). Accelerating technologies are amplifying astronomers’ ability to model and observe, expanding our understanding of life and the universe. This initiative guides young artists in creatively interpreting astronomical research for a public contemporary art exhibition.

Big Data and the Social Future

Peter Shane

A multidisciplinary conference on the potential for new enterprises grounded on big data to improve economic, social and political life. The program would publicize the potential of big data enterprises in Columbus, and raise awareness of key law and policy issues. Potential topics include big data as an economic driver, challenges to privacy and information security, big data infrastructure requirements and big data as it relates to government accountability, health care and the urban future.

Understanding Asia through Religion and Art: Creating Finding Aids and Search Tools for a Database of Original Source Materials

Patricia Sieber
East Asian Languages and Literatures

Understanding Asia, particularly through its religions and belief systems, is an imperative in today’s global environment. This project will create “finding aids” for the online database of approximately 262,000 photographs in Ohio State’s Huntington Photographic Archive of Buddhist and Asian art. Currently aimed at scholars with advanced knowledge, the archive can vastly extend its reach to multidisciplinary and multi-level audiences through enhanced search capabilities, fostering education about Asia, and creating a template for other databases.

2012 Awardees

Communicating Health Sciences: Emerging Challenges and Opportunities for Public Engagement

John Barnard

The promise of modern health science will be realized only if it is understood and adopted by an appropriately informed public. The media is a key factor in creating understanding. We propose two public colloquia, one on personal genomics and the other, nanomedicine, involving health care scientists, science communication experts and journalists. The result will be a unique discourse leading to greater understanding and better communication strategies in these two important emerging areas of health care.

SistaAction: Black Girls Creating Digital Futures

Elaine Richardson
Teaching and Learning

The SistaAction project proposes to enhance the critical media literacy skills of urban Black middle school girls in an afterschool mentoring setting, by providing them with access to digital and internet technology tools and assistance in the creation of self-authored counter narrative media productions that support wider representation of empowering images of young women. While work is local, this work addresses a national and global problem through which girls of color experience socialization into oppressive race and gender roles through mainstream mass mediated popular culture.

Re-visioning Light in Our Lives: A Holistic and Sustainable Approach

Mary Tarantino

The study of light is often compartmentalized, isolated into physics, installation art, theatrical/entertainment, engineering and sustainability. Re-visioning Light in Our Lives brings together individuals from architecture, engineering, theatre, ACCAD, and outside project partners and consultants to examine lighting as it informs human needs, energy efficiency and structures. Student teams will engage the community in outreach research inquiries and construct site-specific installations, testing contemporary lighting applications with an emphasis on lighting function and quality.

Seeds of Learning: Creating a Language Sciences Pod at COSI

Laura Wagner

This project will create a research “pod” at the Columbus Center for Science and Industry (COSI) dedicated to the study of language. Ohio State faculty will conduct state of the art research studies inside the pod using museum visitors as research participants. Trained Ohio State students will provide educational explanations to adult and child visitors, promoting understanding of language sciences and the scientific process more generally.

2011 Awardees

E3 Lab: Sustainable Development Solutions for Energy, Economy and Equity in Africa

Charisma Acey

The proposal establishes E3 Lab, a local energy solutions incubator for household alternative energy technologies in sub-Saharan Africa. The Ghana Sustainable Change program would examine biodigesters, a low-cost method of renewable energy production from the anaerobic digestion of organic waste. Using geographic information systems (GIS) students and community leaders would prioritize locations for siting biodigesters, as well as tracking adoption and diffusion. The E3 internet portal will enable ongoing communications between community members and study abroad participants.

Dance Fort: An Interactive Archive of Choreographic Process

Bebe Miller

For decades, the traditional method of an artist’s choreographic legacy has been in the documentation of the finished work: videotapes of performance, photographs, etc. With Dance Fort, we seek to create opportunities for artists and scholars to inscribe history in a living way and, using existing and emerging technologies, create archives that are dynamic and equally useful to the current and next generation, shifting the paradigm of an artist’s archive from artifact to artwork.

Exploration of the Geometry and Cosmology of the Newark Octagon Earthworks

Alan Price
Design, Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design

This project is for the design of an interactive computer application for analysis and understanding of the geometric relationships of Ohio’s Newark Octagon Earthworks to observations of the Moon and Sun. The simulation model will be used for research and to educate the public about these ancient sites in Ohio, and how scientific thinking and observation played an important role in the culture of ancestral Native America.

Reaching for the Moon: Technology for At-Risk Preschool Children

Kathy Cabe Trundle
Teaching and Learning

This project assesses the efficacy of using software to develop young children’s computer skills and understanding of targeted science and mathematics concepts. Preschool teachers will be provided with professional development opportunities to develop their understandings of concepts and technology skills. The outcomes are increased teacher preparation and school and technology readiness for young children. This readiness is especially important for at-risk learners; without it they fall behind upon kindergarten entry, especially in STEM pathways.

2010 Awardees

Service Learning and Technology Transfer in Veterinary Public Health and Biotechnology: OSU-VPH-Biotech Eastern Africa

Wondwossen Gebreyes
Veterinary Preventive Medicine

More than two-thirds of emerging infectious diseases are zoonotic. Ohio State initiated a consortium in Eastern Africa where zoonotic diseases cause significant burden but technological capacity is lacking. While Ohio State has successful programs in infectious diseases, students are lacking global perspectives and first-hand exposure. Using the “One Health, One Medicine” approach, we propose to conduct service learning activities to enhance Ohio State students’ practical knowledge while contributing to control of zoonotic diseases and build biotechnology capacity.

Development of Globally Competent and Socially Engaged Engineers: International Collaborative Design Project for Aerial Detection of Landmines

James Gregory
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

The proposed project is a student-designed and constructed remote-control air vehicle for rapid, aerial detection of landmines. This project will develop technology that directly benefits society, and serve as a context for the development of future leaders in engineering who possess an integrated worldview of technical excellence, service and global citizenship. A broad impact will result from citizens and students of eastern and western societies discussing the interface between technology and society via videoconference.

Shifting Centers: Creative Collaboration in and outside of Africa through Cyberlearning and Ubiquitous Technologies

Esther Marian Baker-Tarpaga

African and American contemporary choreographers use cyber technology and web-based communities as a space for artistic exchange and innovation. This proposal seeks funding for the development of an online performance symposium. Funds will be used to support research meetings with key collaborators, internationally recognized, award winning artists in Senegal, South Africa, Morocco and Kenya. The symposium content will be determined by the research and creative work of the artists and students collaborating and contributing to the project.

Reading the Code: Genetic Literacy Across the Middle School Curriculum

Richard Voithofer
Educational Policy and Leadership

This project addresses the emerging need for genetic literacy. Through the creation of a problem-based learning computer simulation, this project will provide a learning technology for middle school students that crosses mathematics, science and social studies. The ultimate outcome of this project is to help the leaders, STEM workers and citizens of tomorrow to begin to understand the positive and negative impact of the growing body of genetic knowledge and increasing capacity for genetic manipulation.

2009 Awardees

Influence of Culture, Society and Religion on the Practice of Veterinary Medicine in Thailand: The Anatomy, Habitat, Health and Behavior of Asian Elephants

Nongnuch Inpanbutr
Veterinary Biosciences

The proposed project is to develop an audiovisual program revealing how culture, social and religion influence the practice of veterinary medicine in other countries such as Thailand. This educational program also includes anatomy, habitat, health and behavior of Asian elephants. This program will increase cultural sensitivity and enhance awareness of cultural diversity for students and elevate the quality of education on Asian elephants. This will promote International Studies at Ohio State, nationally, and globally.

Enhancing Interest in Science and Technology by Engaging High School and Undergraduate Students in Real-Time Research Projects

Parwinder Grewal

Ensuring the vitality of the nation’s scientific and technological enterprise requires that we tap the talents of all citizens. The goal of this summer program is to enhance student interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM disciplines) by immersing them in ongoing, OARDC research projects. By opening the doors to underrepresented high school and undergraduate students from rural areas, the program will influence future leaders and effectively engage Ohio State in the community.

The Virtual Pasture

Michael Mercil

The Virtual Pasture is a project for the Department of Art with the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and the Wexner Center for the Arts. Beginning in spring 2009, The Virtual Pasture reanimates the central campus landscape with a small flock of sheep grazing off-site, but streaming through images transmitted live to a video monitor installed outside the Wexner Center to face the Oval. The project includes working with Ohio State Extension’s 4-H Youth Program to produce a documentary video. Through these and related activities, The Virtual Pasture creates a visible public forum for a variety of issues regarding the local production, marketing and distribution of food in an increasingly industrialized, mechanized and technology-centered agricultural economy.

Every Reader, Every Writer Has a Story

Cynthia Selfe
Center for the Study and Teaching of Writing

“Every Reader, Every Writer Has a Story” focuses on the importance of preserving literacy stories, especially for groups whose literacy history has been ignored. These presentations and workshops acquaint audiences with the Digital Archives of Literacy Narratives (DALN), the first public, online repository to preserve personal accounts of how individual citizens, families, and communities learn to read and write, and how literacy shapes their lives. The DALN supports historical, educational and community research on literacy.

Antibiotic Resistance Transmission through the Global Food Chain: Public Health Impact and Intervention Strategies

Hua Wang
Food Science and Technology; Microbiology

The rapid emergence of antibiotic resistant (ART) bacteria is becoming a major public health threat. Our studies found that ART nonpathogenic and “beneficial” bacteria were highly prevalent in conventional food products, and the food chain has become a significant community-based avenue transmitting ART to humans. We seek Battelle support for education/extension activities (international conference, food safety video, publications) to reveal and control the global health impact of ART bacteria.