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Faculty Success Stories: October 2017

News Story

Our faculty members are making great strides in everything from smart and connected health, to social policy work, to mental health mentoring. Here are a few of October's faculty success stories!

Ah, fall. Classes are in full swing, comfy cardigans have made a comeback, and the smell of pumpkin spice is basically inescapable. It’s time for a bountiful harvest, and many members of our faculty are celebrating some pretty impressive accolades that continue to inspire the rest of the Pace Community. Stick around for some wise words. They’re laying down how they got to where they are now—and how you can get there, too!


Assistant Professor of Computer Science at the Seidenberg School of CSIS, Juan Shan, PhD, was just awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for $208,107. Her grant, funded through the “Smart and Connected Health” initiative, is a collaborative project with her colleague Ming Zhang, PhD, at Tufts Medical Center. They will be looking at medical imaging in the context of knee osteoarthritis, a disease characterized by deterioration of the cartilage in the knee. Specifically, they will be exploring a novel 3D image model to predict accurate change of knee cartilage to facilitate early detection and treatment for osteoarthritis.

“It is not easy to get funding from NSF nowadays,” says Shan. “I have failed several times before this—and this is my first grant as the principal investigator.”

From the initial idea to funding, Shan laid out her path to success for any would-be researchers:

1. Attend conferences. They are likely to inspire you with new ideas or even provide new funding opportunities.
2. Collaborate. Good ideas come from cross-disciplinary support.
3. Research. You might have a great idea, but it needs to be shaped to suit the program guidelines. Reach out to the NSF program director if need be!
4. Start early. This process is going to take many iterations of design, writing, re-design, and re-writing.
5. Review, review, review! Ask colleagues within and outside your industry take a look at your proposal. They’re likely to provide comprehensive feedback, which is great for you.
6. Consider special grant types or add supplements. “I added the RUI (Research in Undergraduate Institutions) supplement and applied for the EAGER (Early-Concept Grants for Exploratory Research) branch of the SCH program,” Shan said. “An RUI supplement helps balance the competence between top research universities and undergraduate institutions, while the EAGER project is for early concept that can be quickly validated if funded and only requires internal merit review (no external panel review).”

Shan expresses her gratitude for the help of Jonathan Hill, DPS, dean of Seidenberg; Christelle Scharff, PhD, professor of computer science; Katie Todd, Seidenberg communication manager and editor; and Sally Dickerson, PhD, associate provost for research.


Professor of Psychology at the Dyson College of Arts and Sciences Yvonne Rafferty, PhD, has been selected by the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board for a Fulbright Scholar Award to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Studies Research Program (20172018). As a Fulbright scholar, Rafferty will return to Southeast Asia (Thailand, Cambodia, Laos) from October 2017 through April 2018 to continue her research and social policy work involving children who have been trafficked.

Her proposed project, “Prevention and Protection Practices for the Successful Identification, Recovery and Reintegration of Victims of Child Trafficking in Southeast Asia,” has received strong support from international university host institutions, United Nations agencies, governments, and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

In addition to conducting interviews with key informants to facilitate the design and implementation of culturally appropriate psychosocial recovery and reintegration programs for victims of child trafficking, Rafferty will provide workshops for representatives of the United Nations and governmental agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and residential aftercare recovery programs for child victims.


Professor of Psychology at the Dyson College of Arts and Sciences Joseph Franco, PhD, has received an Outstanding Leader Award from the New York Mental Health Counselors Association (NYMHCA). Franco has served on the NYMHCA Board since 2010 as President and now as Membership Chair. He has taught inmates in college bound programs, run counseling workshops, and mentored many inmates at maximum security facilities, further exemplifying his commitment to his students, alumni, and colleagues about the need to “put theory into action.” He was also awarded the Counselor Educator Award by NYMHCA in April 2016 by alumni, students, and mental health colleagues for his ongoing commitment to promote the profession.


Are you a faculty member with great news to share? Send us an email at URnews@pace.edu.