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Faculty members receive grants for research

Two SVSU professors received the Ruth and Ted Braun Fellowship last December. Each was awarded a grant of $37,500 to be used for their respective research projects.

Ross Singer, an associate professor of communications, intends to use the money to support teachers who fill in for him while he conducts his research on environmental activists, particularly the role of gender in environmental work.

“I will be using in-depth interviews to examine how environmental activists affiliated with nonprofit organizations negotiate their environmental identities with their gender and make sense of the broader relationship between environmentalism and feminism,” Singer said.

Olivier Heubo-Kwegna, a professor of mathematics, will use the money to support his research project on the multiplicative ideal theory open problem.

“The problem consists of the possibility of defining a special operation called star operation in a projective way on a ring obtained by gluing several rings together,” Heubo-Kwegna said. “Another side project is to develop undergraduate math projects for SVSU students.”

Heubo-Kwegna said he picked this topic because it is related to a past topic he worked on with an Italian colleague. This grant gives him the chance to expand on past discoveries.

Singer said the process of applying for the grant itself was long and required a lot of support.

“When I was working on my application, it consumed me for several weeks,” Singer said. “I consulted with our terrific staff at the Office of Sponsored Programs. I was fortunate to have a colleague at another Michigan university who advised me on key parts of the application. These people, as well as my wife, made this process easier.”

Heubo-Kwegna also found the application process difficult, but for different reasons.

“[It was] a bit challenging for me, as my research area is theoretical with a vocabulary that is not common,” Heubo-Kwegna said. “I had to find ways to present my rather abstract project so that it would be accessible to a wider audience other than the mathematics community.”

Singer said that even though he has already done some research in his chosen area, he hopes to use the grant to figure out a way to put his theory into practice.

“While my primary goal is to build knowledge in the field, I am optimistic about generating insight for direct, practical use by nonprofit organizations and individual activists,” Singer said. “My findings could help build effective communication strategies for overcoming gender stereotypes in environmental campaigns.”

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