Excellence in research and grant development

Office of ResearchThe annual Research Week events at WSU celebrates outstanding contributions to our research enterprise. This year, two psychology faculty and one staff member were honored for their dedication to building partnerships and pursuing new opportunities.

“We have an outstanding set of winners whose work covers a broad range of disciplinary and interdisciplinary work- demonstrating the breadth and impact of WSU’s research, scholarship, and creative activity,” said Christopher Keane, vice president for research at WSU and vice chancellor for research at WSU Pullman. “Congratulations to the winners—we look forward to hearing more news of your efforts!”

Provost and inaugural WSU Pullman Chancellor Elizabeth Chilton presented faculty and staff with their awards for outstanding achievements, contributions, and service in research development and research administration.

The College of Arts and Sciences recipients are:

Faculty Research Award

Masha Gartstein, professor in psychology, director of the Infant Temperament Lab at WSU Pullman, and director of clinical training for the clinical psychology doctoral program, received the Creative Activity, Research, and Scholarship Award for her research on infant and early childhood socio-emotional development.

Her research and teaching hold tremendous promise to benefit child well-being and treatment. The recent Netflix series Babies profiled her lab’s work and accomplishments.

Currently, she is leading a team of investigators from three universities on an NIH grant valued at $3.7M over 5 years. The study, Precursors of Anxiety: The Role of Lateralized Brain Activation and Maternal Sensitivity, investigates the origins of common anxiety symptoms and disorders. She has also earned funding from NSF to investigate self-regulation of emotions in children .

Gartstein is also a tireless mentor and advocate for women in academia. In her role as director of WSU ADVANCE, she has won continued NSF funding to help women flourish in their careers.

Grants and Contracts Support Award

Becky James, research development manager in the College of Arts and Sciences, received the Grant and Contract Administration Service Recognition Award for her work with faculty across the arts, humanities, and social, life, and physical sciences contributing to broad initiatives and providing her expertise on the grants process.

She is particularly dedicated to helping faculty learn grant writing skills. Her CAS-focused grant writing course  provides incoming CAS faculty with peer and one-on-one grant writing mentorship.

James is an invaluable member of the internal CAS grants process. She reviews all internal applications, manages communication with PIs, and communicates with the review committees, and managing the awards.

Nomination letters spoke to her dedication to seek out opportunities to improve her skills and passing that information along to others. “I have grown significantly in my ability to conceive of, write, and even win grants to fund my research. I can say with 100% certainty that my success is really Becky’s success,” wrote one nominator and  another stated, “Through her role in the Grants and Fellowship Support Team, Dr. James has aided me and other faculty members in securing grants and fellowships that bring national recognition to the University.”

RA and $10K Competition Winner

A number of presenters competed for two awards, each for $10,000 and a one-semester doctoral-level Research Assistantship (RA).

Tahira Probst, professor in the Department of Psychology at WSU Vancouver, won the research assistant (RA) funding award for her presentation on a proposed project to assess the experiences of humans interacting with soft-bodied robotic systems.

PhD student Rebecca Lindgren will serve as Probst’s research assistant (RA) on the project titled Understanding the Interface of NextGen Human-Robot Collaboration: Psychosocial Reactions and the User Experience.

The 2022 awards ceremony

The final event of the week began with an engaging performance by bassoonist and School of Music faculty member Jacqueline Wilson. An active soloist and chamber musician, Wilson regularly presents recitals, masterclasses, and clinics, and recently performed at New York City’s Whitney Museum of American Art. She was one of 13 Indigenous women musicians who performed original scores written specifically for each of them by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Raven Chacon.

Wilson frequently collaborates with composers on the creation of new works to expand the repertoire of the bassoon. She is especially passionate about embracing diversity in her performances by elevating music featuring underrepresented perspectives and lived experiences, with a special focus on collaborating with Indigenous composers.

See the full list of 2022 Research Week award recipients at WSU News.

By Karen Hunt, WSU Insider