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2019

Seed grants awarded to projects using Twitter data
March 8, 2019
Penn State’s Social Science Research Institute (SSRI), in collaboration with the Institute for CyberScience (ICS) and the College of Information Sciences and Technology, has awarded over $100,000 in funding to support six new interdisciplinary teams of Penn State researchers whose work is aimed at developing innovative research programs using Twitter data. “Twitter data provides significant opportunities to study social problems that cannot be easily addressed by traditional data, advancing the social and behavioral sciences,” said Guangqing Chi, associate professor of rural sociology and demography and public health sciences and director of the SSRI and PRI’s Computational and Spatial Analysis (CSA) Core.
Harper to take the reins at Penn State's Fruit Research and Extension Center
March 5, 2019
Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences has named Jayson Harper, professor of agricultural economics, as interim director of the Fruit Research and Extension Center, effective March 1.
International academic exchange program at Penn State promotes peace, research
March 5, 2019
Stuck and Stressed: The Health Costs of Traffic The physical and psychological toll of brutal commutes can be considerable.
February 21, 2019
Sometimes the seemingly small things in life can be major stressors. Nobody likes sitting in traffic, for example. According to one study, commuting is one of the least pleasant things we do. But it’s not just an annoying time waster — there’s a case that it’s a public health issue. According to analysis by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, the average American commuter spends 42 hours per year stuck in rush-hour traffic. In the Los Angeles area, the figure is nearly twice that, equivalent to more than three days. A 2015 Los Angeles Times poll found that among residents of that city, traffic concerns exceed those pertaining to personal safety, finances or housing costs.
Manure injection offers hope, challenge for restoring Chesapeake water quality
February 11, 2019
Widespread adoption by dairy farmers of injecting manure into the soil instead of spreading it on the surface could be crucial to restoring Chesapeake Bay water quality, according to researchers who compared phosphorus runoff from fields treated by both methods. However, they predict it will be difficult to persuade farmers to change practices. In a four-year study, overland and subsurface flows from 12 hydrologically isolated research plots at Penn State's Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center were measured and sampled for all phosphorus constituents and total solids during and after precipitation events. During that period, from January 2013 to May 2017, the plots were planted with summer crops of corn and winter cover crops of cereal rye. Half the plots received broadcast manure applications, while the others had manure injected into the soil.
Undergraduate students engage with Latino farmworker community through course
February 11, 2019
A new, innovative community service-learning course — "Service-Learning with Pennsylvania Farmworkers" — offered by Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences is aimed at breaking down those barriers. "This course is an example of how our faculty and students use their knowledge and talents to make a difference in the lives of others, and I applaud their dedication and enthusiasm," said Deanna Behring, assistant dean and director of international programs in the College of Agricultural Sciences, when referring to the inaugural course, which took place in the fall 2018 semester and was supported by the Harbaugh Faculty Scholars program.
Clearinghouse evaluates veterans’ use of transition programs
February 11, 2019
According to lead author Daniel Perkins, founder and principal scientist at the Clearinghouse, the good news about veterans that is often overlooked is that “the majority of veterans do not have negative experiences as they adjust to civilian life, rather they make a successful transition back to their communities.” However, a significant number of veterans report they have difficulty with reintegration challenges.
Clearinghouse for Military Family Readiness obtains $1.5 million grant on suicide prevention
January 14, 2019
The Clearinghouse for Military Family Readiness at Penn State was recently awarded a $1.5 million grant from the Military Suicide Research Consortium (MSRC) to enhance suicide prevention efforts in the U.S. Air Force. The two-year grant will enable the Clearinghouse to bolster the pilot implementation of the Zero Suicide Systems Approach (ZSSA) at five Air Force bases. ZSSA is an evidence-informed, framework designed to assist healthcare organizations implement, improve, and sustain system-wide suicide prevention efforts. Components of ZSSA include: universal screening for suicide risk, full suicide risk assessments for those who screen positive, providing a clear pathway to the most appropriate and least restrictive care, safety planning, and counseling on how to prevent access to lethal means such as firearms and medications. Within civilian settings, ZSSA has had promising results in reducing suicides in several large healthcare systems.
Penn State Extension offers free videos with tools to aid community meetings
January 14, 2019
To help community leaders, municipal officials and others who work in the public and nonprofit sectors, Penn State Extension is offering a video series titled, "Community Conflict: Finding Middle Ground." The free series offers practical strategies to facilitate and build trust in a community. The short videos are designed to be watched individually or as a series. Each video focuses on an individual topic important in productive community conversations. It is important for community leaders to create a civil environment to explore the issues at the heart of polarizing conversations, whether those difficult discussions focus on community planning, resource development or other "hot button" topics, according to Walt Whitmer, senior extension educator with Penn State's Department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology, and Education. He and other Penn State Extension educators are sensitive to the importance of effective engagement and earning the trust of stakeholders for optimal open conversation.