(Photo left) Dr. Alex Goberman (center) accepts the award for research with undergraduates from Interim President Carol Cartwright (right) and Joyce Blinn, widow of Elliott Blinn. (Photo right) Dr. Fleming Fallon receives the collaborative research award from the president as Provost Shirley Baugher (right) looks on.
Goberman, Fallon win research awards
Dr. Alex Goberman’s collaboration with recent graduate Becky Recker helped earn him the Elliott L. Blinn Award for Faculty-Undergraduate Student Innovative Basic Research/Creative Work. The honor includes a $1,000 cash award for Goberman, an associate professor of communication disorders, and $4,000 for his department for continued support of undergraduate research.
Recker, who graduated summa cum laude last May with a bachelor’s degree in communication disorders, worked with Goberman for two years on a project to better understand communication performance of people with Parkinson’s disease.
Dr. Linda Petrosino, their nominator and dean of the College of Health and Human Services, explained that individuals with Parkinson’s and other neurological disorders tend to use better speech and voice when being tested than they usually do at home. Among Goberman’s and Recker’s studies was an examination of differences in speech and voice when participants thought they were being recorded versus when they thought they weren’t—but actually were by a hidden microphone.
“Assessment of the performance decline in the absence of a testing stimulus is important work because this topic has not been quantitatively examined before,” Petrosino pointed out in her nomination letter.
Recker was one of 12 undergraduates who have worked with Goberman since 2001, when he came to BGSU and began developing an undergraduate research program—now institutionalized as a course—in the communication disorders department. “He started the program to give undergraduate students an opportunity to participate in meaningful research with CDIS faculty,” nine of whom have since teamed with a combined 96 students in mentored research projects, Petrosino added.
She also noted that undergraduates were involved with much of the research that led to Goberman’s selection as recipient of the college’s Clyde R. Willis Faculty Development Award in 2005. “There is no one else in the College of Health and Human Services who exceeds Dr. Goberman in the dedication to, and the delivery of, high-quality undergraduate research opportunities and experiences,” according to the dean.
Petrosino also nominated the winner of the President’s Award for Collaborative Research and Creative Work with graduate students, Dr. Fleming Fallon, a professor of public health. He received $2,500 for use on graduate student education and research.
The graduate students in this case were the 15 members of his “Public Health Budgets and Finance” class in summer 2007. Advised by Fallon and Wood County Health Commissioner Pam Butler, the students conducted an actual public health planning and research project to determine the economic impact of an influenza pandemic on Wood County.
“This type of applied research assignment is typical of Dr. Fallon’s approach in teaching mid-career and beginning public health professionals,” Petrosino wrote. “He believes that working with ‘live’ problems and issues is the best way for graduate students to learn and be motivated about particular issues.”
She added that cost estimates and implications of a Wood County flu pandemic for health care services agencies and the public had never been figured before. “So the project not only had value for the graduate students as an applied research activity of the sort that they would have to do as public health professionals, it also created a methodology and findings that had important public policy and health policy implications as well,” she noted.
“Completing this project involved integrating concepts and procedures learned throughout the student’s course of study including economics, statistics, marketing and epidemiology, to name a few,” wrote Dr. Deanne Snavely, acting dean of the Graduate College, in support of Fallon’s selection for the award.
The students’ final report “should serve as reference material for municipalities, counties or states who may apply the methods and findings to their own regions,” she said, pointing out that it has been presented to the Association of Ohio Health Commissioners and the Health Commissioners of Northwest Ohio, as well as the Wood County Pandemic Flu Task Force.
November 3, 2008