2019 Baldwin Funded Seed Project Grants

Advancing the Wisconsin Idea with 3-D Satellite Meteorology

Project Leaders: Jerrold Robaidek, Associate Instrument Innovator, Space Science and Engineering Center, and Clayton Suplinski, Systems Programmer, Space Science and Engineering Center

Over the past 50 years, the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW) has played a critical role in the creation and advancement of satellite meteorology. The UW Space Science and Engineering Center (SSEC) participates in numerous traditional outreach events each year such as Grandparents University, Science Expeditions, and tours of SSEC. These activities are designed to engage, excite, and hopefully inspire students to pursue satellite meteorology or other scientific fields. Unfortunately, financial and geographic obstacles make it impossible for some students to visit SSEC, thus hindering our ability to advance the Wisconsin Idea. We have developed an innovative solution to this problem in the form of an interactive virtual reality (VR) webpage. We propose to acquire 3 VR headsets to further development and testing for use with WxSatS, a 3-D interactive visualization of satellites and planets from within a web browser, to make it more effective as a teaching tool. In doing so, we will be able to use technology to broaden the scope of our outreach, educate and academically inspire larger audiences of students, and spread valuable knowledge generated here at the UW.

All About Yosemite Butterflies: A mobile natural history guide

Project Leader: Sean Schoville, Assistant Professor, Department of Entomology, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences

Butterflies are an attractive and diverse group of insects that appeal to the public, and can serve as a vehicle for translational outreach to diverse communities. The proposed project would enhance a natural history guide for mobile smartphones that spotlights the importance of butterflies and butterfly conservation research in Yosemite National Park. The application, Yosemite Butterflies, was developed by UW faculty and students to provide information on species identification, conservation issues and ongoing research on butterflies. Support for this project would be used to expand outreach to iOS smartphones and Spanish language speakers visiting the park, as well as enhance graphical design of the mobile app. Our goal is to increase educational outreach and engagement of park visitors, while ultimately working towards inspiring stewardship of park natural resources and building greater participation of citizen scientists.

Applying Objectified Body Consciousness to Gender-Affirming Surgery: Improving Health of TNG People

Project Leaders: Stephanie Budge, Associate Professor, Counseling Psychology, School of Education, and Morgan Sinnard, Doctoral Student, Counseling Psychology, School of Education

Gender-affirming Surgery (GS) is thought to improve mental health among transgender, nonbinary, and gender-nonconforming (TNG) individuals, as well as reduce burden on mental health resources. The purpose of this project proposal is to establish the need for and feasibility of an innovative nationwide prospective study that will assess who seeks GS, for what reasons, and with what outcomes. Findings of this project will be used to 1) educate medical providers about the importance of considering objectified body consciousness in the provision of ethical gender-affirming care to TNG individuals, and 2) provide empirical data that incorporates objectified body consciousness with GS outcomes for regional TNG health organizations seeking to advance healthcare for TNG individuals. In the spirit of the Wisconsin Idea, this project will influence the lives of TNG Wisconsinites beyond the boundaries of the University through a nationwide, theoretically grounded empirical assessment of the determinants and outcomes of GS.

Building the University’s Entry Point for Community Partnership

Project Leader: Amy Hilgendorf, Associate Director for Engaged Research of the CommNS, School of Human Ecology

This project seeks to build from ongoing collaboration within and beyond UW-Madison and existing assets to further establish the policies and practices recommended by the Civic Action Plan. Since 2016, the Morgridge Center for Public Service and the Center for Community and Nonprofit Studies (the CommNS) have met quarterly to advance a shared vision for community-university partnership, forming the “MoCSI” group (Morgridge – CommNS Special Initiatives) and involved other community-engaged units. We seek to use this grant to build on our efforts to date and make the University a more accessible entity for community groups to build mutually-beneficial community-university partnerships.

Connecting Tribal Food Sovereignty Activists Through Digital Audio Storytelling

Project Leaders: Jennifer Gaddis, Assistant Professor, School of Human Ecology, and
Rebecca Dower, Graduate Student, School of Human Ecology

Food sovereignty is the ability for a community to control its own foodways. For First Nations
communities it is unique in that it offers a direct link to the edible landscape represented in many tribal stories passed across generations through oral tradition. Regaining tribal food sovereignty is an opportunity to revitalize food traditions using the local, place-based knowledge still represented in Native communities both on and off the reservation. Tribal food sovereignty initiatives include Oneida Nation’s white corn coop and the White Earth Band of Ojibwe wild rice production. These approaches to food sovereignty acquire food through Native modes of production while improving access to Native consumers seeking healthy, cultural foods that were replaced with government issued commodities during colonization. Documenting the stories of food sovereignty leaders and Native foods activists will capture the diversity of food sovereignty work, highlighting local, place-based understandings formed through generations of tribal communities being intimately linked to the places they come from. Once accessible to communities, these stories can serve as inspiration to tribal communities looking to regain their own food sovereignty. Stories of food sovereignty leaders will be collected in the form of long-form oral histories. From these longer interviews, this project will create smaller story segments in 4-6 minute digital audio stories able to be broadcast on tribal radio and other digital story platforms. Packaging audio stories into smaller clips and gathering them on a web-based sharing platform will allow the food sovereignty interviews to reach a wider tribal audience.

Emergency Room Accessibility for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Project Leaders: Karla Ausderau, Assistant Professor, Department of Kinesiology, School of Education; Jessica Muesbeck, Graduate Student, Occupational Therapy, Department of Kinesiology; and Megan Gray, Graduate Student, Occupational Therapy, Department of Kinesiology

Emergency departments (ED) present fast-paced, high stress, and sensory intensive environments that can be difficult for a child with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and their families to manage. Seeking emergency medical care can become increasingly stressful for children with ASD and their families due to social, behavioral, and sensory challenges that may be amplified by ED environments. EDs should be aware of the innate challenges for children with ASD in a high-stress environment and have strategies in place to make the child’s ED experience more manageable with the best quality of care. EDs in rural communities may be ill equipped to serve children with ASD due to limited resources and knowledge on how to best support this population. The purpose of this project is to collaborate with community stakeholders, Aiming for Acceptance, and rural community EDs to help educate, provide resources and recommendations, and implement strategies to help support children with ASD and their families to receive appropriate care in rural Wisconsin EDs. Our anticipated outcomes include working with rural county EDs to aid in providing better quality of care for children with ASD and their families. We will also develop guidelines and an accommodations toolkit to use for future ED staff.

Engaging Wisconsin Dairy Farms to be Leaders in Health and Safety

Project Leaders: Jessica Coburn, Clinical Assistant Professor, School of Nursing, and Keith Poulsen, Clinical Assistant Professor and Director of the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory

Purpose: Badger Partners in Health and Safety’s (BPHS) Farm Clinic Project aims to increase access to healthcare for dairy farm personnel, while simultaneously providing an interdisciplinary cultural immersion experience for UW-Madison Nursing and Veterinary students. Additionally, the Farm Clinic Project will address Mycobacterium bovis reverse-zoonosis in Wisconsin’s dairy herd.

Methods: BPHS will conduct Farm Clinics to provide immunizations and TB testing to dairy farm personnel as part of an on-farm clinical experience for nursing and veterinary students. Students will work with UW-Madison faculty and Madison-Dane County Public Health to provide care.

Significance: BPHS’s Farm Clinic Project continues to work toward increasing access to healthcare screenings and immunizations for one of Wisconsin’s most vulnerable populations while providing a high-impact learning experience. Our collaborative approach also addresses the transmission of TB from humans to cows by engaging the resources of UW-Madison’s Veterinary and Nursing Schools

Examining the Efficacy of ACT Microinterventions for Distressed First-Generation College Students

Project Leaders: Emily Kroska, Post-doctoral Trainee, Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine and Public Health (SMPH), and Zachary Stowe, Professor, Department of Psychiatry, SMPH

While the transition to college is known to be associated with increased stress and risk for mental health symptoms, one promising psychotherapy intervention has been examined with this population with positive results– Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), which is a mindfulness-based behavioral intervention that has demonstrated efficacy in a number of different populations. The current study will examine the efficacy of ACT microinterventions delivered via smartphone app in comparison to self-monitoring of mood, distress, and activity. Participants will be first-generation college students, given the known risk of increased stress and mental health difficulties in this population. In collaboration with an expert in microinterventions and just-in time adaptive interventions, the study procedures will take place via smartphone application. Twice-daily assessments via the app will be completed by all participants, and those in the ACT condition will also receive microinterventions that are based in one of six core ACT processes (e.g., identification of values, acceptance of emotion). After completion of the 6-week intervention, participants will complete follow-up measurements at 3- and 6-months post-intervention. This study will also examine the feasibility and acceptability of the interventions by soliciting student feedback regarding ease of use and areas for improvement. Should the ACT microintervention demonstrate comparative efficacy, dissemination and implementation of the intervention on a broader scale would have the potential to impact student mental health during the transition to college.

Improving Science Literacy through a Handheld Microscope (foldscope) in Rural Kenya

Project Leaders: Araceli Alonso, Distinguished Senior Lecturer, Gender and Women’s Studies, College of Letters and Science, and Mengyao Niu, Graduate Student, Microbiology, School of Medicine and Public Health

Previous work led by UW-Madison Professor Araceli Alonso focused on promoting community health in rural Kenya through her United Nations awarded project/NGO Nikumbuke-Health by Motorbike (N-HbM). This project successfully engaged thousands of women through a “train the trainers” model that recognized and addressed social justice issues such as gender inequities and health disparities. Through N-HbM, a large group of women health promoters were well trained to become capable health educators in their own villages, allowing villagers to understand health promotion and disease prevention. The proposed project intends to go a step further training community health workers again but using a more scientific knowledge to understand macroscopic and microscopic living organisms in their daily environment. Furthermore, this project also aims to train school teachers and young girls in the use of a handheld microscope (foldscope). Currently, in rural Kenya didactic science remains the only form of science education and it fails to stimulate girls¿ interest in science (personal interview with primary and secondary girl students from Lunga Lunga and Godo).

LEAP! Learning Executive function skills through Applied Play; An Early Learning Intervention

Project Leaders: Edward Hubbard, Assistant Professor, Educational Psychology, School of Education, and Katherine Norman, Graduate Student, Department of Educational Psychology, School of Education

Among the many causes for the well-documented Achievement Gap in American education is the variance in Executive Functioning skills for pre-K and early elementary students (e.g. Fitzpatrick, et al. 2014; Lawson, et al. 2016). Executive Functioning (EF), sometimes also referred to as self-control, is an umbrella term for a collection of foundational cognitive skills. Early childhood EF capacity is the most reliable predictor not only of school readiness, but also of long-term academic achievement and positive life outcomes (e.g. Müller, et al. 2017; Blair & Diamond 2008). LEAP! is a classroom intervention designed to support early childhood executive functioning skills through dramatic guided game play in pre-K classrooms.

Dramatic guided game play holds great promise for supporting the development of EF skills (e.g. Goldstein, Winner & Lerner 2017; Thibodeau 2016). Theatre games for young students recruit and challenge specific EF domains, while the physicality, playfulness, and child-led aspects of these activities fulfill the socioemotional requirements of effective EF interventions (Diamond & Lee 2011). LEAP brings the expertise of educational psychologists and theatre artists to Dane County preschools; concurrently, this community-based research will enhance understandings the effective interventions to support early EF development.

LGBTQ+ Health Summit: Responding to the needs of the community to improve LGBTQ+ Health

Project Leader: Kristen Pecanac, Assistant Professor, School of Nursing

The LGBTQ+ Health Summit began in response to both members of the community and students indicating a need for education and discussion of how to improve the health of LGBTQ+ individuals. The LGBTQ+ Health Summit will involve pre-conference workshops, a keynote address, breakout sessions, and a resource fair that will serve healthcare professionals, students/faculty/staff, and members of the community to meet the following objectives: 1) Educate and activate the health science community on LGBTQ+ health and pathways into serving LGBTQ+ communities throughout the state; 2) Reinvigorate LGBTQ+-identified healthcare professionals, students/faculty/staff, and community members in finding community and support in practice; and 3) Promote the use of up to date best practices to improve LGBTQ+ health outcomes.

Matilda Effect: A pilot zine for STEM interested women

Project Leaders: Soleil Young, RA, School of Medicine and Public Health, and Briana Burton, Assistant Professor, Bacteriology, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences

Women are underrepresented in upper-level STEM jobs. This underrepresentation is at least partially caused by a “leaky pipeline,” as women are less likely to continue on to graduate school and upper-level research jobs compared to their male counterparts. In order to help encourage young women to stay in STEM, I plan to create a zine featuring interviews with contemporary women scientists and historical women scientists. This zine can be used to get young women in STEM to think about research and graduate school, as well as providing them with concrete resources like scholarships, internships, and advocacy groups. I am requesting $100 to print 20 copies of a 20-page, color zine. I can then use these 20 copies as pilot copies that I can distribute to the coordinators of groups on campus that work with minorities and women interested in STEM. This will serve as a pilot run, and allow me to gain feedback that I can use to tailor a future version for wider distribution with campus groups.

Science Public Outreach Program (SciPOP) Teams

Project Leaders: Laura Hogan, ICTR Science Editor, School of Medicine and Publich Health, and Thomas Zinnen, Outreach Program Manager III (Bio Trek Manager, Science Alliance lead for Science Expeditions), Biotechnology Center

We proposed to create an innovative, experiential training program to increase participation in science public outreach activities by UW research faculty and other early stage investigators drawn from the Advancing Health Equity and Diversity (AHEAD) Scholars program. Working with the Science Alliance, a sponsor of the annual UW Science Expeditions open house for science, these two established programs will extend outreach training into the area of academic workforce development. Science Public Outreach Program (SciPOP) teams will be trained to develop hands-on science presentations targeting grade and middle school aged children and their families. Importantly, to model inclusion and broaden outreach to diverse communities in Madison, the program will simultaneously attempt to increase representation of faculty, staff, and students of color in public-facing roles and their capacity for successful engagement with off-campus audiences. This application leverages the focus on health equity/health disparities research central to AHEAD program scholars and a robust, ongoing community-academic partnership of Science Alliance with Mendota Elementary Community School, a Madison Metropolitan School District school having a substantial population of children of color and children from low-income backgrounds. Overall, the SciPOP program will enhance opportunities for diverse members of on- and off-campus communities to interact in a fun, educational, and inclusive manner, and to grow awareness of research and health-related fields.

Speed Dating for Environmental Educators and Environmental Researchers: UW-Madison and Nature Net

Project Leaders: John Williams, Professor, Department of Geography, College of Letters and Science, and Gail Overholt, Outreach and Education Coordinator, Arboretum, Office of the Vice Chancellor for Graduate Education

We seek to seed new partnerships at the individual scale between 1) UW-Madison re-searchers in the ecological, earth, and environmental sciences and 2) environmental educators in Wisconsin, represented by the Nature Net network of 20 educational institutions that together serve 1.5 million visitors annually. Specific activities include a half-day mixer event to be hosted at the UW Arboretum with speed-dating session(s) of short presentations and time to mix and cross-pollinate. A pre-event survey to attendees will assess potential research and program interests and used to facilitate post-event collaboration. An informational packet will be provided to all participants to facilitate follow-ups. Participating UW organizations include interdisciplinary research hubs (Center for Climatic Research, Wisconsin Ecology) and organizations with strong outreach and service missions (UW Arboretum, Cartography Lab, Geology Museum). Anticipated outcomes include partnerships that can lead to innovative ways to increase the broader impacts of UW-Madison research, engagement with new audiences, and opportunities to enhance the educational activities offered by Nature Net participants.

Supporting Feminist, Trauma-informed Practice in Decarceration Community Organizing

Project Leaders: Molly Clark-Barol, Graduate Student, School of Human Ecology, and Lori DiPrete Brown, Distinguished Faculty Associate and Director of the 4W Initiative, School of Human Ecology

The School of Human Ecology and the 4W (Women & Wellbeing in Wisconsin and the World) Initiative propose to extend expertise in participatory action research, evaluation, wellbeing and gender analysis in support of a community organizing and public health campaign to addressing the gender-specific impacts of incarceration on social determinants of health. The purpose of the FREE campaign is to organize and empower women who have been affected by incarceration to advocate for themselves and to lead decarceration efforts at the local and state levels. 4W has an existing relationship with the FREE campaign. Baldwin Seed funding will be used to fund outreach work through a graduate student (hourly) outreach leader in two key areas. The 4W Initiative has developed a gender-informed, participatory wellbeing model, which would be available to the FREE campaign leaders as they develop and document a feminist, trauma-informed organizing approach, with expert facilitation and support from the graduate student outreach leader. The graduate outreach leader would also be able to use her research skills to draw on University knowledge resources and ensure that campaign leaders have access to the best related evidence available in the academic literature. The outreach leader would build evaluation capacity among campaign leaders, and facilitate participatory research and evaluation practices that support organizing work. This evaluation work is vital to the campaigns continuous learning and the documentation and dissemination of a feminist and trauma-informed organizing practice.

Trans Youth Justice Council

Project Leader: Chris Barcelos, Assistant Professor, Gender and Women’s Studies, College of Letters and Science

The increasing social visibility of transgender people in the United States has enabled more and more K-12 students across Wisconsin to come out as trans, nonbinary, and/or gender-nonconforming (TGNC). In Dane County alone, the percentage of middle and high school students who identified as transgender grew 22% from 2015 to 2018. TGNC youth in Wisconsin are more likely than their cisgender (non-trans) counterparts to experience adverse educational and health outcomes. Although there are over 200 GSAs in Wisconsin providing support and leadership development to LGBQ youth, there are no equivalent programs to promote the leadership and well-being of TGNC students. The WI Trans Youth Justice Council (YJC) will fill this much-needed gap. This project is a collaboration between the GSAFE, a community-based organization serving youth statewide, the WI Trans Health Coalition, and Dr. Barcelos from the department of Gender and Women’s Studies. The objectives of the YJC are to increase the capacity and resilience of TGNC youth, develop youth leaders, and contribute to addressing social, educational, and health inequalities disproportionately affecting TGNC youth. Eligible youth will apply to participate in a school-year cohort of YJC members. With structured support and training from project partners, these students will design and implement a project of their choosing that increases the capacity and resilience of TGNC youth at their schools.

UW-Madison CommNS and Mandela Fellows Collaboration Program for Community Initiatives

Project Leader: Mary Beth Collins, Lecturer, Center for Community and Nonprofit Studies, School of Human Ecology

This project aims to create meaningful collaborations between Mandela Washington Fellows, local community, human services, educational, and nonprofit initiatives based in different African countries, and the UW-Madison Center for Community and Nonprofit Studies (“CommNS”) and its graduate student contributors and community partners. Our proposed program will connect Mandela Fellows and their local initiatives to CommNS students and as applicable, Wisconsin-based partners, in turn creating bi-directional learning about community and nonprofit organization programming and practices, and international collaboration. The project will also nurture communities of practice among professionals and community members on the African continent and in the U.S., focused on developing and sustaining meaningful independent programs in communities. With seed funding to allow for a pilot effort to connect CommNS graduate students and staff with four (4) to six (6) distinct programs in communities in Benin, Chad, Tanzania, Namibia, and Swaziland, we will have a chance to develop and implement a model for collaboration and support, relying on technology for virtual communication, and conducting minimal travel to conduct a final site visit to some of the projects. We expect that if the model developed through the pilot is promising, we can continue to grow the program and identify additional sources of support.

Wax Worms for Plastics Waste Reduction and Nutrition

Project Leaders: Jake Olson, Assistant Scientist, Department of Animal Sciences, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, and Valerie Stull, Post-doctoral Research Associate, Global Health Institute

Global per capita demand for protein is expected to double by 2050. Insect agriculture (minilivestock rearing) represents an under-explored means to generate high-quality protein. Some insects can be reared on a variety of organic waste materials, including plastics and food waste, and may have added-value applications beyond feed as biofuels, prebiotics, and even human food. The breadth of possible insect species amenable to mass production and the potential for compound discovery is underinvestigated. However, several insect species have received specific attention at an industrial level, primarily in the European Union. Copious opportunities to create value using insect agriculture exist in the United States, but remain untapped. In Wisconsin, rearing insects for animal feeds is particularly promising due to their value-added potential for rural farms. We aim to establish collaborations with UW-System faculty and industry partners (e.g., farmers, feed producers, waste managers), to explore a new Wisconsin-based research platform for evaluating suitable insects as animal feed ingredients, human foods, and other value-added applications (e.g. biofuels, biomaterials, prebiotics, pharmaceuticals). With help from a Baldwin Seed Grant, we aim to assess local interest in and feasibility of insect agriculture, and research thereof, in WI.

Writing for Peace: A Community Toolkit

Project Leader: Catherine Vieira, Associate Professor, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, School of Education

Funds will be used to aid in the publication of a collaboratively written book and educational game that schools and community organizations can use in peace education workshops in Colombia–a country whose decades-long civil war has taken hundreds of thousands of lives and for whom lasting peace remains uncertain. Edited under the auspices of a local writing-for-peace NGO, a local literary organization, and in collaboration with a local poet and community organizer, this writing-for-peace toolkit would help put into practice the results of my current Fulbright/ICETEX-funded research on writing for peace. Specifically, my ethnographic research in schools and community groups has revealed how carefully designed and socially relevant expressive writing exercises can promote the construction of peace among young people, as they use metaphor and narrative to collaboratively imagine (and circulate) a vision of a harmonious social future.

The Baldwin Seed Grant would allow us to put these results into practice. To that end, the toolkit will include a collaboratively written book in Spanish with chapters by local stakeholders in writing for peace (including students, teachers, writers, cultural organizers, and a publisher) and an interactive board game designed around research-based writing-for-peace exercises. To distribute the toolkit, the project also includes a “pedagogical tour” that I will undertake with co-authors to demonstrate the use of these tools in community centers and schools.

You Are What You Eat: Detrimental Effects of Common Dietary Toxins on Zebrafish Embryogenesis

Project Leaders: Yevgenya Grinblat, Associate Professor, Department of Integrative Biology and Neuroscience, College of Letters and Science, and Kurt Amann, Associate Professor, Department of Integrative Biology and Cell and Molecular Biology, College of Letters and Science

Under-served student populations in Wisconsin suffer from both a lack of access to higher education that leads to careers in the sciences and from a disproportionate rate of birth defects caused by exposure to alcohol and poor maternal diet. Zebrafish embryos are visually and experimentally accessible, allowing modeling of common human conditions, such as fetal alcohol syndrome and diabetic pregnancies. We will take advantage of the zebrafish model to develop a hands-on outreach module for middle school students, comprised of an easily transportable kit containing fertilized zebrafish embryos and all the reagents and instructions required for a middle school science teacher to lead students through the process of seeing firsthand the results of environmental toxins on embryonic development. This kit will be delivered to the classroom by post, allowing the students and teacher to begin the experiment. Several days later, we will visit the classroom with a fluorescence microscope fitted with a commercially available cell phone camera adapter and external screen. Students will use their own phones to capture images and videos, to analyze and to share these with their peers. Students will image anesthetized, living embryos, allowing them to see the beating heart and blood flowing and the facial skeleton, labeled with green fluorescent protein, in normally developing fish. Finally, students will observe and compare the morphology of normal embryos to those that they have developed in the presence of alcohol or glucose, and will note and discuss the developmental defects caused by exposure to these molecules.