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John Jay Faculty Scholarship Garners Major Research Grants College Recognized as Research Hub for Justice

New York, NY, November 16, 2009 –John Jay received nearly $10 million dollars in research grants during the last quarter of the federal 2009 fiscal year. The agencies that awarded grants to the college included the National Institutes of Health; the Department of Homeland Security; the National Science Foundation; the National Institute of Justice; the U.S. Department of Education, the Bureau of Justice Assistance; New York State Department of Education; and the New York City Department of Corrections.

According to President Jeremy Travis, “2009 has been a stellar year for faculty scholarship. Their research has garnered significant support from a broad spectrum of government research institutes. Such funding reaffirms the preeminence of John Jay College as an international thought leader in matters of justice,”

The federal agencies that awarded noteworthy research grants to John Jay College faculty include:

  • The National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded 7 grants totaling $2,747,967. One of the recipients of an NSF grant was Professor Spiridon Bakiras of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science. He received $489,161 to develop techniques that will enable Internet users to verify the authenticity of search results provided by a GPS or other wireless device, as well as protect the privacy of those users whose personal information could be gleaned from their queries.

  • The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, through the Centers for Disease Control and the National Institutes of Health, awarded 2 grants totaling $667,375. Among the recipients was Professor Miriam Ehrensaft of the Department of Psychology who received $293,946 from the Centers for Disease Control to investigate whether preventive intervention at the preschool level reduces the risk of intimate partner violence for children at high-risk for physical, psychological and sexual abuse during their adolescence.
  • The U.S. Department of Justice, through the National Institutes of Justice and the Bureau of Justice Assistance, awarded 6 grants totaling $1,839,368. Among the recipients was Professor Nicholas Petraco of the Department of Sciences who received $704,189 to obtain data and write programs for making statistical comparisons between bullet toolmarks, generating error rates and random match probabilities.
  • The U.S. Department of Homeland Security awarded 3 grants totaling $506,283 to Professor Joshua Freilich of the Department of Criminal Justice. One of these grants will be used to determine whether violent criminal acts perpetrated by far-right extremists can be predicted by examining the non-violent offenses they also commit.
  • The U.S. Department of Education awarded 6 grants totaling $2,285,522. Among the recipients was Professor Anthony Carpi of the Department of Sciences who will receive $608,815 over the next two years. This is a collaborative grant between John Jay and the Borough of Manhattan Community College that will expand research opportunities for undergraduates; align both institutions math and science curricula; and produce materials to add forensic context to foundational chemistry and biology classes.

Below is a complete list of research grants awarded during the last quarter of the federal 2009 fiscal year.

  • William C. Altham, director of the Children’s Center, received $35,792 from the U.S. Department of Education, to >fund a part-time family life specialist who will serve as mental health consultant, parent educator, and group leader for parents, as well as a behavioral and development consultant, and trainer to teachers.

  • Professor Spiridon Bakiras of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science received $489,161 from the National Science Foundation to develop techniques that will enable Internet users to verify the authenticity of search results provided by a GPS or other wireless device, as well as protect the privacy of those users whose personal information could be gleaned from their queries.

  • Professor Theresa Booker of the Department of African-American Studies received $243,000 from the U.S. Department of Education for the continuance of John Jay’s Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program, an initiative designed to increase the number of low-income, first-generation college students entering doctoral programs.

  • Professor Anthony Carpi of the Department of Sciences will receive $608,815 over the next two years from the U.S. Department of Education. The collaborative grant between John Jay and the Borough of Manhattan Community College will expand research opportunities for undergraduates, align both institutions math and science curricula and produce materials to add forensic context to foundational chemistry and biology classes.

  • Josefina Couture, program director of John Jay College Educational Talent Search, received $380,111 from the U.S. Department of Education. Sponsored by the College, the initiative is designed to prepare potential first-generation college students for higher education with tutorial services, counseling and career advisement.

  • Professor Todd Clear of the Department of Criminal Justice received $298,490 from the National Institutes of Justice to study the effect on local crime of a steady population of individuals constantly removed to and returned from prison. The research will concentrate on three New Jersey cities – Newark, Trenton and Camden – as well as rural areas of the state where prison cycling and its impact have been less investigated.
  • Professor Kirk Dombrowski of the Department of Anthropology who received $373,429 from the National Institute of Health for a project using Social Network Analysis to determine why new HIV infections among communities of intravenous drug users seem to stabilize at a level lower than would be expected. Dombrowski’s grant was scored 20th out of more than 26,000 grant applications submitted to the agency. He was also the recipient of another grant – from the National Science Foundation – that will provide $560,166 in funding for Dombrowski and his colleagues, Anthropology Professor Ric Curtis and Math and Computer Science Professor Bilal Khan. They will study the informal social networks created by two Inuit communities in Labrador, Canada and the structural impact that political and economic changes have had on these groups as they transition to self-governance.

  • Meghan Duffy, director of John Jay’s Center for the Advancement of Teaching, will receive $249,470 over the next two years from the U.S. Department of Education to design a rental program that uses customized Kindle eReaders to create a virtual learning community and provide access to course content through electronic versions of textbooks and other materials.

  • Professor Miriam Ehrensaft of the Department of Psychology received $293,946 from the Centers for Disease Control to investigate whether preventive intervention at the preschool level reduces the risk of intimate partner violence for children at high-risk for physical, psychological and sexual abuse during their adolescence.

  • Professor Joshua Freilich of the Department of Criminal Justice will receive $506,283 in funding from three grants by the Department of Homeland Security. One of these will be used to determine whether violent criminal acts perpetrated by far-right extremists can be predicted by examining the non-violent offenses they also commit. Two of the DHS grants will provide funding for stipends to graduate and undergraduate research assistants on this project, and for career development. Freilich also received $20,000 from the National Institute of Justice for a graduate research fellowship in financial crime.

  • Professor Diana Friedland of the Department of Sciences received $415,000 from the National Science Foundation for a project that provides her undergraduate students with the opportunity to participate in an ongoing research study that she is conducting on plant defense systems and anti-viral strategies.

  • Professor Louis Guinta of the Department of Communication and Theater Arts, received $873,947 in funding from the New York State Department of Education to provide services such as tutoring, curriculum development, faculty development and ancillary courses to foster and facilitate the retention and graduation rates of associate degree students.

  • Steven Handelman, director of the Center on Media, Crime and Justice, received $88,787 from the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation for the Center’s Fifth Annual Harry Frank Guggenheim Symposium on Crime in America to be held in February 2010.

  • Dean Judith Kornberg of the Office of Continuing and Professional Studies, and Richard Glover, Program Director, received $768,334 grant from the U.S. Department of Education for the development of the City University of New York All Campus Emergency Management System.

  • Nancy Jacobs, executive director of the Criminal Justice Research and Evaluation Center, received 2 grants. The first, for $640,000 from the New York City Department of Juvenile Justice, will fund an evaluation of the Collaborative Family Initiative, a family-based mental health program for adolescents. The second grant will provide $682,464 in funding by the New York City Department of Corrections to study a cognitive-behavioral curriculum called the Institute for Inner Development aimed at effecting attitudinal and behavioral change in adolescents who have been detained by the agency.

  • Professor Ping Ji of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science received $388,508 from the National Science Foundation, the College’s share of approximately $600,000 awarded by the agency to John Jay and two other institutions to enhance interaction among law enforcement practitioners, academics, and the software industry in solving crimes – such as child pornography – that involve digital technology.

  • Professor Lawrence Kobilinsky, chairman of the Department of Sciences, received $132,961 from the New York State Department of Education for the CSTEP program, an initiative through which 85 John Jay students who meet eligibility criteria are provided with opportunities meant prepare and motivate them for advance study and careers in law, science, math-science education and health-related fields.

  • Professor Margaret Bull Kovera of the Department of Psychology received $367,988 in funding for three years from the National Science Foundation. Kovera is studying the efficacy of double-blind lineups, those in which the investigator conducting the procedure does not know the identity of the suspect, as a means of avoiding cases of mistaken witness identification.

  • Professor Richard Li of the Department of Sciences received a National Institute of Justice grant of $33,037 to develop a new method for preparing bone specimens for DNA sampling that will be less expensive, less time consuming and will lessen the risk of cross-contamination.

  • Professor Cynthia Mercado of the Department of Psychology received a two-year grant of $283,652 from the National Institute of Justice to identify situational factors that increase the risk of child sexual abuse by Catholic clergy, and protective factors that make it less likely.

  • Debbie A. Mukamal, director of the Prisoner Reentry Institute, received a $500,000 grant from the Bureau of Justice Assistance for a project in collaboration with the Fortune Society that develops tools for a variety of stakeholders in the Harlem community to use in addressing common issues surrounding reentry. The initiative will ultimately serve as a national blueprint for other communities facing large numbers of returning former prisoners. The PRI also received $61,311 in funding from the Urban Institute to create a jail reentry toolkit for community organizations.

  • Professor Steven Penrod of the Department of Psychology received $77,144 from the National Science Foundation to investigate what factors play a role in the plea-bargaining decisions made by defense attorneys and prosecutors. Such decisions are largely driven by the strength of evidence against a defendant. Penrod’s study will examine whether attorneys are sensitive to variations in the quality of eyewitness evidence, or whether they perceive such evidence to be universally strong.

  • Professor Nicholas Petraco of the Department of Sciences received $704,189 from the National Institute of Justice to obtain data and write programs for making statistical comparisons between bullet toolmarks, generating error rates and random match probabilities. A significant portion of the funding will be used for graduate student stipends, database equipment and the purchase of confocal microscopes for three-dimensional imaging.

  • Professor Michael Puls of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science received $450,000 from the National Science Foundation for the Scholarship program at John Jay for Computer Science, Mathematics and Forensic Science, an initiative that will award up to $4,000 to financially needy students who show promise in the fields of science and mathematics.

  • Professor Valerie West received a $5,931 grant from the Proteus Action League for research that focuses on spatial dependency in capital punishment across counties in the United States and variation in the use of the punishment.

About John Jay College of Criminal Justice: An international leader in educating for justice, John Jay College of Criminal Justice of The City University of New York offers a rich liberal arts and professional studies curriculum to upwards of 15,000 undergraduate and graduate students from more than 135 nations. In teaching, scholarship and research, the College approaches justice as an applied art and science in service to society and as an ongoing conversation about fundamental human desires for fairness, equality and the rule of law. For more information, visit www.jjay.cuny.edu.