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John Jay College Awarded $21 Million in Grants for the 2009-2010 Fiscal Year

A 28.1% Increase from the Previous Year

New York, NY, July 20, 2010 – John Jay College of Criminal Justice received a record $21 million dollars in external grants during the 2009-2010 fiscal year, a 28.1% increase over the previous year. Five years ago, John Jay got $6 million in grants; this year, John Jay got $21 million. These funds will support research, education, training programs and community initiatives.

The grantees represent a cross-section of disciplines and academic departments including mathematics, the sciences, anthropology, psychology, history and criminology. Sixty-one faculty and staff members garnered, in many cases, multiple grants for a total of 105 funded items in the 2009-2010 fiscal year.

“This is a remarkable accomplishment and a real tribute to our research-oriented faculty and to the solid support provided by the Office for the Advancement of Research at John Jay. We are particularly proud of the depth and scope of the research emanating from our scholars,” said President Jeremy Travis.

Among the organizations that awarded grants to the College were the Centers for Disease Control; National Institutes of Health; the Department of Homeland Security; the National Science Foundation; the National Endowment for the Humanities; the U.S. Department of Defense; the National Institute of Justice; the U.S. Department of Education; the National Institute of Mental Health; the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Ford Foundation; the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; the McCormick Foundation; New York State Department of Education; and the New York City Department of Corrections.

Faculty members that garnered noteworthy research grants awarded during the 2009-2010 fiscal year include:


  • Professor Scott Atran of the Department of Sociology and the Center on Terrorism received $258,250 from the U.S. Army Research Office for a project titled Modeling Cultural Factors in Collaboration and Negotiation. This Multi-University Research Initiative award is led by Carnegie Mellon University. The overall goal of this multidisciplinary research is to develop validated theories and techniques for descriptive and predictive models of dynamic collaboration and negotiation that consider cultural and social factors within the domains of the Middle East, Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Morocco.
  • 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 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.
  • 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 $589,000 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 Mary Gibson of the Department of History received a $50,400 Faculty Research Award from the National Endowment for the Humanities to support her research for a book about the construction of prison policy by the new Italian liberal state after unification in 1860.
  • 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 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 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 (PRI), received $3.9 million from New York City Council for the New York City Justice Corps, a reentry demonstration initiative serving 250 young adults in two New York City neighborhoods. In addition, the PRI was awarded 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 PRI also received $61,311 in funding from the Urban Institute to create a jail reentry toolkit for community organizations.
  • 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.
  • Distinguished Professor Cathy Spatz Widom of the Department of Psychology received $771,450 from the National Institutes of Health to conduct the first large-scale, prospective assessment of the intergenerational transmission of neglect and abuse, using substantiated cases of childhood neglect and abuse and a comparison group who have been followed up into adulthood. This is a continuation of her heavily-funded epic work on development through the life-cycle.

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.