Numerous Bucknell faculty members and students conduct research within the Susquehanna River Valley that benefits residents and builds knowledge about issues of interest to the community. Below is a representative, though not comprehensive list, of the ways in which members of the Bucknell community are working within the region:
Prof. Chipper Dean, psychology, and a team of undergraduates are surveying local public school students about their health behaviors and assessing how social and psychological factors, skills and abilities affect behavior. The results will contribute to the science of adolescent health and development.
Prof. Elizabeth Capaldi Evans, biology and animal behavior, studies the effect of Deformed Wing Virus on the behavior of honeybees to determine if there is a link to colony collapse disorder, a serious problem in Pa. as well as nationwide.
Prof. Marie Pizzorno, biology, is studying the biology of the same virus to see how it infects bees.
History and culture of the region
Prof. Katherine Faull, German and humanities, studies early 18th-century writings that reveal early life at the confluence of the Susquehanna River (about 10 miles south of Bucknell) in a cross-cultural American Indian and Euro-American community. Her work inspired her to create a Native Paths Driving Tour for the Susquehanna Valley Visitors Bureau. The route follows common paths used for exchange, communication, hunting and war for Native peoples for centuries before the arrival of the European settlers. She received a National Endowment for the Humanities grant for her work in translating the diaries of the Moravian Settlement near what is now Sunbury, Pa.
Profs. Faull and Alf Siewers, English, worked with undergraduate researchers to conduct a study that led to the designation of the Susquehanna River as a national historic connector trail of the National Park Service's John Smith Chesapeake Trail, an effort sponsored by the Conservation Fund. || link to news story
Profs. Siewers and Faull have developed a new, community-based environmental learning course focusing on interdisciplinary environmental approaches to regional studies. The course, Susquehanna Country, includes field trips on and around the Susquehanna River.
Profs. Siewers and Faull are co-editing a series of books and a regional digital atlas, "Stories of the Susquehanna Valley," for the Bucknell University Press. Publication began in 2012.
Through a Bucknell Scadden Fellowship, Prof. Siewers and his students have researched late 18th-century and early 19th-century literary history on the river, including the works of James Fenimore Cooper, Susan Fenimore Cooper, Samuel Coleridge, and Joseph Priestley.
Prof. Matthew McTammany '95, biology, is collaborating with other scientists in the region to study ecological issues in the regional watershed, which feeds the Chesapeake Bay via the Susquehanna River. He's looked at how drainage from abandoned coal mines and farmlands is related to nutrient problems in the Chesapeake.
In collaboration with the Susquehanna River Heartland Coalition for Environmental Studies, Prof. McTammany has installed water-quality sensors in the river's north and west branches. Every 15 minutes, the sensors upload timely data on several variables to a website. [http://www.departments.bucknell.edu/environmental_center/susquehanna_river_monitoring/index.html] He is also conducting extensive surveys of biota in the Susquehanna River to better understand the river's biodiversity.
Prof. Amy Wolaver, economics, has led a team of students that analyzed hospitalization records and developed reports on diabetes, C. difficile infections, and other issues related to inpatient hospitalizations for the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council.
Prof. Katharyn Nottis, education, and her students have worked with New Order Amish and Old Order Mennonite one-room schools to develop lessons on topics in environmental science, including stream health, diminishing songbird populations and disappearing honeybees - subjects relevant to the Anabaptist way of life.
Prof. Ramona Fruja, education, is collaborating with the Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit to connect Bucknell with migrant students in Hazelton. Bucknell students learn about local demographic shifts and immigration-related legislation, and migrant students receive mentorship from the intermediate unit, visit Bucknell and learn about the college admissions process.
Bucknell's biomedical engineering students partner with medical professionals from Geisinger Health System to research and develop prototypes of problem-solving devices, including improving means to measure bone quality in older adults, removing dangerous air bubbles from tubes administering fluids and medicine and treating jaundice.
Prof. DeeAnn Reeder, biology, has been at the forefront of a nationwide investigation into what causes white-nose syndrome (WNS), a deadly disease that has killed some 6.7 million bats in North America and nearly wiped out the bat population in Pa. She was part of the team that helped demonstrate that the fungus Geomyces destructans causes WNS, and now, Reeder and Prof. Ken Field, biology, are trying to find out whether certain genetic characteristics, behavior and environmental factors contribute to the severity of the disease.
Prof. David Evans, psychology and neuroscience, and collaborators at Geisinger Health System are conducting a student to determine if even subtle symptoms of autism or obsessive-compulsive disorder may be linked to cognition and brain activity, which could aid in critical early screening, intervention and treatment.
Prof. Carl Kirby, geology, and his team have worked with students to create an online, public database for researchers and citizens delving into critical questions about the Marcellus Shale, a rock formation under portions of Pennsylvania and adjacent states that now is being widely drilled for oil and natural gas.
Prof. Carl Milofsky, sociology, collaborates with Prof. Ben Marsh, environmental studies, and undergraduates to conduct social asset audits within local communities and provide useful information to community leaders. Projects have mapped blighted housing in Sunbury and Shamokin, and assessed health needs in Williamsport. A current project is inventorying social services and nonprofit organizations to inform a database 211, a hotline that will connect residents of Northumberland, Union and Snyder counties with social services.
The Office of Civic Engagement manages academically based service-learning opportunities and co-curricular volunteering, including many such projects happening in our area. Examples include tutoring students who speak English as a second language, collecting and recycling waste in downtown Lewisburg and aiding local victims of the fall 2011 flooding.
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