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Seed Grants

Grand Challenges Seed Grants support interdisciplinary, innovative, and impactful proposals across the School of Education. Twenty faculty-led teams applied for Seed Grants, of up to $75,000 each, in one of three focus areas: education, health, and the arts. In May 2019, three awards were made in each area to grow audacious ideas.

Seed Grant Award Recipients in the Arts

  • Arts-integration for Social Emotional Learning

  • These Grand Places

  • Modeling Movement-Based Pedagogy for Parkinson Disease into Multiple Craft Disciplines

Seed Grant Award Recipients in Education

  • Urban Indigenous Arts and Sciences: Creating Educator Professional Development in an Intertribal Context

  • Tikuyendadi: Supporting Expansive Education for Children with Disabilities in Malawi

  • Our Hmoob American College Paj Ntaub

Seed Grant Award Recipients in Health

  • Brain Inflammation in Chronic Multi-Symptom Disease

  • Balance Rehabilitation via Robotic Training of Foot-Force

  • The Association Between Poverty, Executive Function, and Early Brain Development

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More Seed Proposals in the Arts

  • Performance of the Gendered Voice and the Experience of Self

  • Dreams of the Abandoned Daughter: A Dance About Climate Change

More Seed Proposals in Education

  • Inclusive Reading Instruction in Multilingual International Settings

  • Early Literacy Matters: Transforming Special Education Assessments and Placements

  • Play Takes Flight: A Research-Practice Partnership

  • Nation-to-Nation for Education: A Tribal Nation/University Model

  • Wisconsin StoryBridges

More Seed Proposals in Health

  • Mobile Technology to Increase Physical Activity of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

  • Promoting Persistence: A Culturally Affirming Wellness Program for Latinx College Students

  • Development of a Fidelity Measure for a Wheelchair Tai Chi Intervention

  • Implementing a Novel Intervention to Improve Cardiovascular Health

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Inclusive Reading Instruction in Multilingual International Settings

Lesley Bartlett (EPS) Melinda Leko (RPSE) Nancy Kendall (EPS) Simone Schweber (C&I) Jon Marino (Graduate Student, EPS) Kelsey Dalrymple (Graduate Student, EPS)

Tanzania and Uganda are linguistically diverse countries, have relatively low literacy rates, and have experienced major reforms in reading curriculum and instruction in the past five years. With a focus on the needs of students with reading disabilities, this project is designed to determine how reading models, pedagogies, and assessments should be adapted to account for language structures, multilingual contexts, and instructional policies. This project will contribute to improving early grade reading instruction and educator professional development.

Poster by Eva Gabriella Flynn

Nation-to-Nation for Education: A Tribal Nation/University Model

Clif Conrad (ELPA) Nicky Bowman (WCER) Jessie Conaway (Nelson Institute) Rosalie Grant (WIDA) Annalee Good (WCER) Alison Bowman (WCER) Bruce King (ELPA)

The Nation-to-Nation (N2N) project will work with faculty and staff to document promising practices for improving the educational experiences for American Indian students in Wisconsin. The goal is to create a N2N model that will provide insight on sustainable strategies to support students and faculty. The model will help the School of Education, UW-Madison, and UW System when working on future initiatives with Tribal Nations and American Indian students.

Wisconsin StoryBridges

Margaret Hawkins (C&I) Stacey Lee (EPS)

This project will examine the ways that marginalized high school students make sense of their civic identities and develop relationships with students that have different social identities. This work will be accomplished by supporting youth as they explore and document their civic lives and communities. This project provides a platform for youth to interact with peers in other communities through multimodal digitally mediated exchanges and creates bridges between geographically distinct communities.

Poster by Autumn Brown

Early Literacy Matters: Transforming Special Education Assessments and Placements

Jerlando Jackson (ELPA) Shawn Robinson (Wei LAB) Melinda Leko (RPSE) Kimber Wilkerson (RPSE)

Wisconsin is ranked 49th in the United States in reading proficiency for African American students. Relying on an analysis of Individualized Education Plans (IEPs), the proposed mixed methods study explores the special education experiences of African American and White boys in the fourth and fifth grade. The research will document differences based on race in a variety of factors at it relates to reading achievement in special education and generates new knowledge about equity and reading instruction for White and African American boys.

Poster by Pranav Sood

Tikuyendadi: Supporting Expansive Education for Children with Disabilities in Malawi

Nancy Kendall (EPS) Aydin Bal (RPSE) Lori DiPrete Brown (SOHE) Augustine Kanyendula (Reading for All Malawi - USAID) Zikani Kaunda (Institute for Participatory Engagement and Quality Improvement) Chrissie Thakwalakwa (University of Malawi)

While access to schools has increased rapidly across the globe, there are particular concerns about educational access and quality for children with disabilities, especially in low-income countries. The goal of Tikuyendadi (“Let’s go Together” in Chichewa, Malawi’s national language) is to learn from, and contribute to, government, school, family, community, and disability rights movement efforts in Malawi to support students with disabilities and provide an equal, inclusive, and transformative education for all.

Poster by Pranav Sood

Urban Indigenous Arts and Sciences: Creating Educator Professional Development in an Intertribal Context

Bruce King (ELPA) Laura Lang (ELPA) Sara Krauskopf (Graduate Student, C&I) Nicky Bowman (WCER) Cheryl Bauer-Armstrong (Earth Partnership) Rachel Byington (Earth Partnership) Claire Bjork (Earth Partnership) Maria Moreno (Earth Partnership)

Wisconsin Act 31 requires the teaching of the history, culture, and sovereignty of Wisconsin Native Nations in K-12 public schools. However, teachers currently lack the capacity to teach about Wisconsin Native Nations in urban, intertribal settings where direct connections with tribal lands, staff, and elders are limited, and numerous tribes are represented in one locality. By combining an established curriculum with an innovative framework for effective educator professional development, this project provides a critical tool to build teacher capacity.

Poster by Max Hautala

Our Hmoob American College Paj Ntaub

Stacey Lee (EPS) Bailey Smolarek (WCER) Matthew Wolfgram (WCER) Hmoob American Studies Committee Student Researchers Freedom Inc.

In collaboration with UW-Madison student members of the HMoob American Studies Committee, the proposed community-based participatory action research project will examine the sociocultural, demographic, and institutional factors that influence the college experiences, educational successes, and post-college transitions of Hmoob American students at UW-Madison. This research draws on the lived experiences of Hmoob American college students to examine the themes of trauma, resilience, displacement, and diaspora.

Poster by Paulina Eguino

Play Takes Flight: A Research-Practice Partnership

Peter Wardrip (C&I) Beth Graue (C&I) Erica Halverson (C&I) Brenda Baker (Madison Children’s Museum) Kia Karlen (Madison Children’s Museum) Rebekah Willett (iSchool)

Wisconsin has the most children’s museums per capita in the United States. The proposed research project will build an innovative research-practice partnership between UW-Madison School of Education and the Wisconsin Children’s Museum Collaborative, a network of 15 children’s museums around the state. The main goal is to collaboratively develop a research agenda to study how to support playful learning opportunities for children and family visitors in non-school, community-based educational environments.

Poster by Eva Gabriella Flynn

Implementing a Novel Intervention to Improve Cardiovascular Health

Jill Barnes (Kinesiology) Heather Johnson (Medicine) Lisa Cadmus-Bertram (Kinesiology) Andrew Pearson (Graduate Student, Kinesiology)

Designing effective interventions to improve heart health is the Grand Challenge facing cardiovascular physiologists. There is evidence that behavioral lifestyle changes may significantly reduce the risk of heart disease. Relying on a novel approach, this project aims to improve cardiovascular health by adjusting the time of day that individuals consume food and evaluates the role of circadian rhythms in restoring healthy blood pressure patterns.

Poster by Autumn Brown

Mobile Technology to Increase Physical Activity of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

Luis Columna (Kinesiology) Simon Goldberg (Counseling Psychology) Zhe Gigi An (RPSE) Jennifer Asmus (Ed Psych) Kristy Kelly (Ed Psych) Karla Ausderau (Kinesiology) Stephanie Johnson (DoIT) Garrett Smith (DoIT)

Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) participate in fewer physical activities and have decreased fundamental motor skills (e.g., jumping, running) when compared to their peers without ASD. These combined factors negatively impact overall physical health, psychological well-being, and quality of life for children with ASD and their families. The proposed project designs and tests the effectiveness of a mobile-based application version of the Fit Families Program, designed to increase physical activity in children with ASD.

Poster by Roberto Torres Mata

Brain Inflammation in Chronic Multi-Symptom Disease

Dane Cook (Kinesiology) Bradley Christian (Medical Physics)

The search for the underlying causes of chronic multi-symptom illnesses (CMIs) is a Grand Challenge in the health fields. With a specific focus on Gulf War Illness, this project uses state-of-the-art neuroimaging techniques combined with exercise-induced stress to document the role of neural inflammation in the maintenance and exacerbation of this debilitating illness.

Poster by Max Hautala

Balance Rehabilitation via Robotic Training of Foot-Force

Kreg Gruben (Kinesiology) Peter Adamczyk (Medical Engineering) Jennifer Bartloff (Kinesiology)

The Grand Challenge addressed by this project is restoring mobility for stroke-affected individuals. Utilizing two complementary robotic rehabilitation devices, the Nottabike and the KIINCE, researchers will aim to correct the root cause of balance disruption following neurological impairment. The proposed project takes a unique approach to understanding human mobility by focusing on the fundamental structure of intact balance control and the underlying deficits caused by neurological impairment.

Poster by Emma Pryde

Promoting Persistence: A Culturally Affirming Wellness Program for Latinx College Students

Beth Larson (Kinesiology) Stephen Quintana (Counseling Psychology) Simon Goldberg (Counseling Psychology) Yeohyun Ahn (Art) Michael Smith (Root Systems Software)

In addition to stressors majority college students face, Latinx students experience specific, race-related stressors, especially at Predominantly White Institutions (e.g., UW-Madison). The proposed project leverages current research on wellness for Latinx college students to design and test a culturally affirming 5Minutes4Myself micro-intervention wellness program. This hybrid, in-person coaching/smartphone approach draws on cultural strengths, resources, traditions, and identity to embed Latinx culture into an existing mobile app framework.

Poster by Roberto Torres Mata

The Association Between Poverty, Executive Function, and Early Brain Development

Sarah Short (Ed Psych) Rasmus Birn (Medical Physics) Cathi Propper (UNC-Chapel Hill) Roger Mills-Koonce (UNC-Chapel Hill) Michael Willoughby (Research Triangle International)

Poor cognitive and academic outcomes are well-known consequences for children growing up in poverty. The proposed study is designed to comprehensively assess prenatal and postnatal factors that mediate the association between poverty and brain development. This project will use neuroimaging data to provide valuable insights about when and how the brain is impacted in early development and uncover potential windows of opportunity for targeted interventions that could reduce the income-achievement gap.

Poster by Daniella Echeverria

Development of a Fidelity Measure for a Wheelchair Tai Chi Intervention

Timothy Tansey (RPSE) Kristine Hallisy (SMPH) Jing Tao (Fujian University of Traditional Chinese Medicine) Malachy Bishop (RPSE)

Persons with spinal cord injuries are at increased risk, relative to the general population, for a range of additional chronic health and disability conditions. Providing activities that promote physical and mental health are essential to the quality of life of this population. The proposed project adapts a seated Tai Chi program for individuals with spinal cord injuries. In addition, researchers will develop and test a fidelity measure to support instructor training and assess the capacity of the program to improve physical function and well being.

Poster by Emma Pryde

Dreams of the Abandoned Daughter: A Dance About Climate Change

Peggy Choy (Dance) Patrick Masson (College of Agriculture & Life Sciences) Drew Carlson (Madison Area Permaculture Guild) Tomiko Jones (Art)

This project meets the Grand Challenge of climate change by creating an original Ki Flow dance performance supported by biological and ecological science. Defined as dancing with breath energy (“ki” in Korean), Ki Flow is a tool to repair the broken relationship between humans and the environment. Based on laboratory and permaculture science experiments, and informed by special events to build human connections between science and the arts, Dreams of the Abandoned Daughter will extend dance’s transformative power to confront climate change.

Poster by Autumn Brown

Performance of the Gendered Voice and the Experience of Self

Colleen Conroy (Theatre and Drama) Stephen Quintana (Counseling Psychology) Thomas Purnell (English) Susan Thibeault (UW Health)

Through a series of vocal workshops, this project explores the vocal attributes that index gender, the methods used to teach them, and the psychosocial impact of the gendered voice on the individual. This will lead to a greater understanding of voice training for cross-gender theatrical roles, gender spectrum communication training, and the psychological experience of gendered voices.

Poster by Emma Pryde

Arts-integration for Social Emotional Learning

Kate Corby (Dance) Mariah LeFeber (Performing Ourselves) Mary Patterson (Performing Ourselves) Yorel Lashley (PLACE) Padraic Cassidy (Wadoma) Melinda Trudell (MMSD)

Arts-­integration for Social Emotional Learning (SEL) synthesizes the arts of drum and dance to provide social-emotional learning opportunities for students and professional development for teachers. The project is a collaboration between Drum Power and Performing Ourselves, two programs of the UW Community Arts Collaboratory, and Lowell Elementary School. Through surveys and qualitative interviews, the research team will document the effects of SEL on student development, staff professional development, and outcomes assessment.

Poster by Daniella Echeverria

These Grand Places

Tomiko Jones (Art) Omar Poler (SoE) Giri Venkataramanan (Electrical & Computer Engineering) Adena Rissman (Forest & Wildlife Ecology) Emily Arthur (Art) Todd Newman (Life Sciences Communication) Targol Mesbah (California Institute of Integral Studies) Pireeni Sundaralingam (San Francisco Exploratorium) Lisa Ruth Elliot (Shaping San Francisco)

These Grand Places is a socially engaged photography-based artistic research project that consists of fabricating a mobile research studio and realizing creative field research on public land. Utilizing on-site residencies to gather information, stories, and visual artifacts, These Grand Places documents the lived experience and connections between land and people. Outcomes include an exhibition and publication to be shared with collaborators and the public through conventional art contexts, educational institutions, civic spaces and online.

Poster by Emma Pryde

Modeling Movement-Based Pedagogy for Parkinson Disease into Multiple Craft Disciplines

Helen Lee (Art) Kristen Pickett (Kinesiology) Sharon Gartland (Occupational Therapy) Brian Kluge (Midwest Clay Project) Sylvie Rosenthal (Independent artist) Marianne Fairbanks (Design Studies)

The proposed work addresses the Grand Challenge of diversifying the range of therapeutic modalities available to individuals with Parkinson Disease. Previous research in glassblowing established pedagogical insight about the psychological, social, and emotional effects of purposeful arts-based interventions. The proposed work extends this inquiry into ceramics, metals, wood, and fibers. Through building dedicated community-based partnerships, this work stands to open innovative professional pathways for craftspeople and future clinicians.

Poster by Paulina Eguino