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June 24, 2020

SFA announces recipients of 2020 Research and Creative Activity grants

Stephen F. Austin State University’s Office of Research and Graduate Studies has announced the recipients of its annual Research and Creative Activity grants. The RCA grant program was created to help support the initial research efforts of SFA faculty members and to help prepare them and their research for submission to national grant programs.

ORGS and the Division of Academic Affairs conduct a university-wide call for proposals, and the deadline for submissions is typically the end of October. The University Research Council conducts a blind peer review of all applications. Grant awardees are notified early in the spring semester, and projects are funded through the remainder of the fiscal year.

This year, ORGS received 13 applications, and the council selected six recipients. Monies awarded totals slightly over $130,000.

2020 Research and Creative Activity Grants

Dr. Carmen Montaña-Schalk – Department of Biology, College of Sciences and Mathematics
Examining the Effects of Predators on Energy and Nutrient Exports across Aquatic-Terrestrial Boundaries

Montaña-Schalk’s study will investigate how aquatic predators (e.g., fish and invertebrates) in permanent ponds influence biomass and transport of nutrient subsidies from water to terrestrial boundaries (e.g., ponds to forest) via amphibian migrations.

Dr. Bidisha Sengupta – Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, College of Sciences and Mathematics
Unraveling the Pathway of Aggregation of Amyloin beta-peptides with the Intention of Prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease using Neurotransmitters and Phytochemicals

The aim of Sengupta’s project is to understand the mechanism of the onset of Alzheimer’s disease at the molecular level by studying the unfolding process of amyloid B-peptide (AB). Furthermore, Sengupta will investigate the role of naturally occurring chemicals, including Tryptamine-based sleep regulatory neurotransmitters melatonin and serotonin, and plant flavonols (mono/polyhydroxyflavonoid), against aggregation of AB, which is the key factor for Alzheimer’s disease. This naturopathic noninvasive way to prevent Alzheimer’s disease is likely to create a connection between sleep regulation, healthy diet and dementia.

Dr. Yuhui Weng – Forestry and Spatial Science, Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture.
Effects of Thinning on Needle Decomposition in Loblolly Pine Plantations in the West Gulf Coastal Plain

Thinning is widely used in managing loblolly pine plantations in the West Gulf Coastal Plain region to improve timber productivity and economic benefits. This study focuses on investigating how thinning affects decomposition of needles on the ground and needle nutrient release of loblolly pine — an important issue of plantation ecological environments. The results will provide important messages for managing loblolly pine plantations in the region.

Dr. Jessica Sams – Department of Languages, Cultures and Communication; College of Liberal and Applied Arts
Unreliable Narrators: Dangers of Eyewitness Testimony

Research has demonstrated humans are unreliable narrators because of the fallibility of cognition and memory, yet eyewitness testimony has remained a cornerstone in U.S. court cases. The dangers of eyewitness testimony, especially given by a witness perceived as an expert or authority figure, include the following:
•    narrators are subjective and, therefore, fallible
•    memories are inaccurate, and details shift to create a cohesive narrative
•    original intent or thought is inaccessible and irrecoverable
•    testimony is highly mediated yet presented as natural conversation
•    and identities being performed skew the importance of details and thus affect aspects of memory-making and event-reporting.

This project will address these issues by weaving together findings from research in the fields of cognitive science (e.g., psychology and behavioral neuroscience), linguistics (e.g., conversation analysis, corpus studies and semantics), and the law and will provide original analyses of eyewitness accounts and testimonies with collaboration from Assistant Federal Defender Angela Halim.

Dr. William Nieberding – School of Art, College of Fine Arts
East Texas: A Portrait in Wet-Plate Collodion

East Texas: A Portrait in Wet-Plate Collodion is a photographic project in which portraits and landscapes made with tin, collodion and light create a unique picture of time in East Texas. Nieberding is researching and experimenting with these materials using historical and contemporary chemical formulas to find combinations that work best for creating expressive tintypes in the heat and humidity of East Texas. A gallery exhibition of the original tintypes and large-scale inkjet prints created through this research will conclude the project.

Dr. Tingting Xu – Department of Education Studies, James I. Perkins College of Education
Redefine Engineering in Early Childhood Education through Professional Development

Xu’s project intends to examine the impact of a summer intensive professional development on kindergarten and first grade classroom teachers’ content and pedagogical knowledge of engineering, as well as their attitudes and efficacy towards teaching engineering. With a time-series research design using mixed methodological approach, it is expected to discover a significant increase in teachers’ content and pedagogical knowledge of engineering, as well as improved attitudes after the professional development.

March 23, 2020

Externally Sponsored Projects and Internal Grants: Guidance for Faculty and Staff

State and federal agencies are aware of the current COVID-19 challenges; in addition, many of these offices are closed with some employees working remotely. We will share additional guidance as it becomes available.

Please contact Office of Research and Graduate Studies with any questions you may have.

All Grants - External and Internal

Compliance Committees (IRB/IACUC/IBS)

There may be delays in compliance committee approvals. Please contact the respective chair with any questions. Visit the website for contact information.

Employees and Students Paid by Grants

Individuals who work remotely due to university- or government-imposed isolation can continue to charge salary to the respective grant(s) as long as they are working on the grant. Please note that these employees may need to document time worked in an alternate manner than usual. Refer to the HR guidelines or contact Jennifer Hanlon for more information.


Due to COVID19 precautionary measures, the university is not allowing any conference travel for the remainder of the fiscal year (even if it was previously approved).

Local travel to collect data, perform research, etc. may be allowed if you can adhere to COVID-19 precautionary measures (such as maintaining appropriate social distance and no gatherings of more than 10 persons – or whatever the current CDC recommendations are at the time of travel).

If you already have paid for conference travel that is yet to occur, please see the relevant Internal or External Grant section below for further information.

Refund checks related to trip cancellations should be deposited/posted to the original Banner fund(s) that incurred the initial cost.

Various airlines have announced special accommodations. Please consult the respective airline’s website for current information.

External Grants

Grant Submissions

The Office of Research and Graduate Studies will continue to submit proposals. However, please keep in mind that work schedules and in-office hours may change on a daily basis. Contact Beverly Morehouse as soon as you identify a possible grant. This will ensure that appropriate research staff is available for grant submission and will ensure you receive the best assistance from our office. In addition, our website is currently being updated, so you will need to contact the office for the required grant paperwork.

The Office of Research and Graduate Studies still requires a minimum five-business day review to allow for review of the accuracy, completeness and quality of grant proposals, in addition to obtaining the required administrative approvals prior to submission. Dr. Scott Gordon, SFA president, has stated the administration requires at least three business days to review. Submission packages not received within this timeframe most likely will not receive clearance to be submitted.

Some sponsors have announced extensions of due dates. Be sure to frequently review the sponsor’s grant opportunity page/FAQ section, etc. to stay informed.

Impact to Grant Projects (delays in deliverables, scope of work, lack of student workers)

If you are the principal investigator/project director of a grant and you anticipate your grant deliverables/timelines will be delayed or that your scope of work may need to change, email your program officer immediately to let them know of any work plan adjustments and copy Jennifer Hanlon. Jennifer will make sure our staff is aware of your situation and will work with the sponsor if any amendments are needed to extend the project or change the scope of work.

You should also prepare a short explanation for any delays to include in your next progress report. Include any modifications to your timeline, how alternate work will be completed, etc.

Sponsor Communication

If you receive any sponsor communication regarding COVID-19 and your grant, please forward to Jennifer Hanlon as this may impact invoicing and other reports completed by the research office and the Controller’s Office.


If you have already paid for conference travel that is yet to occur, please contact the organization immediately to determine if the event will still happen. If the organization cancels the conference, external sponsors will typically reimburse any non-cancellable obligations (such as airfare). Since the university has stated that no conference travel is allowed for the remainder of this fiscal year, we will request your sponsor cover any non-cancellable obligations. Please inform Letitia Hamilton and Jennifer Hanlon and we will contact your sponsor to determine if the grant will reimburse such expenditures or if you will need to find another source of funds.

Information from sponsors

This information is fluid, so please check your respective sponsor’s webpage for current information.

The below agencies are on telecommuting schedules. Contact staff via email if needed.

  • Texas Commission on the Arts
  • Texas Education Agency
  • Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board
  • Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Internal Grants

Travel Grants

The Office of Research and Graduate Studies is not accepting any further mini-grant applications for travel to present research, exhibit or perform, since all conference travel for the remainder of the fiscal year has been canceled by SFA.

Minigrant applications for travel to collect data, for publication support and for project support are still being accepted. 

If you paid for conference travel prior to March 18, 2020, and the event has yet to occur, please contact the organization immediately to determine if the event has been canceled. If the organization cancels the event, some expenditures may be refundable. If they are not, contact Sherry Tucker immediately.

Current RCA and Project-support Awardees

The Office of Research and Graduate Studies will contact each individual with further information.

January 31, 2020

Stephen F. Austin State University (SFA) is submitting our second proposal to the U.S. Department of Justice for the Office of Violence Against Women grant for 2020. The solicitation is titled, “Grants to Reduce Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, Sexual Assault, and Stalking on Campus Program”.  We are currently funded for this program under the leadership of Dr. Michael Walker and Ms. Dorothy Tubbs.


Office of Research and Graduate Studies
Fax: 936.468.7369

Graduate Studies:
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Physical Address:
404 Aikman Drive
Dugas Liberal Arts North
Nacogdoches, Texas

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 13024, SFA Station
Nacogdoches, Texas 75962

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