CONTACT: MARY GERAGHTY
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0011; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: May 1, 2000
Seven UI professors win grants from Obermann Center
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Seven University of Iowa researchers
have won grants from the UI Obermann Center for Advanced Studies for five
projects studying children and their families. These Center for Advanced Studies
Spelman Rockefeller (CASSPR) Grants are supported by the UI Laura Spelman
Rockefeller Fund and by the UI Office of the Vice President for Research.
The $5,000 grants will fund research to be carried out this summer.
This year's award recipients are Elena V. Gavruseva,
an assistant professor of linguistics; Elizabeth Heineman, an associate professor
of history; Kathleen F. Janz, an associate professor of sport, health, leisure,
and physical studies; Steven M. Levy, a professor of preventive medicine;
Trudy L. Burns, a professor of biostatistics; Patricia Kelley, a professor
of social work; and Rita K. Noonan, an assistant professor of sociology.
Gavruseva will study the use of verbal "inflection"
(adding such elements as ed, -ing, or s) in children who have
learned English as a second language in late childhood, approximately ages
5-8. She believes an understanding of when and why children who have learned
English as a second language use these verb forms will contribute to a wider
understanding of the nature of child grammars and children's communicative
Heineman will study the social environments, the legal
constraints, and the economic well-being of children of mixed relationships
in postwar Germany. This work is part of a book-length project entitled "Intimate
Crossings: Mixed Couples in the Postwar Germanys." It examines families started
by mixed couples from 1945-1975 by exploring the legal and institutional structures,
the cultural representations, and the social worlds that shaped their experiences.
Janz, Levy, and Burns will collaborate on a study
of measuring physical activity in children. The project seeks to define movement
count categories that correspond to different physical activity intensity
levels in children. This will enhance researchers' ability to detect significant
associations between levels of children's physical activity and their health
Kelley, along with Lou Blankenberg of United Action
for Youth (UAY) in Iowa City and Judith McRoberts of the National Resource
Center for Family Centered Practice will work on a project titled "Girls Fighting
Trouble: Re-Storying Young Lives." This project will expand on an intensive
summer therapeutic group experience for young female offenders begun last
summer. The program integrates a narrative approach, in which stories of self
are identified and broadened, with an existing cognitive and educational model
used by UAY. The goal is to develop deeper understanding of female offenders'
thoughts, beliefs, and experiences through qualitative analysis of their writings
and transcripts of the taped group sessions.
Noonan's project "Domestic Violence and Children's
Health: What Helps? What Hurts?" is a pilot study of the links between family
violence and negative mental and physical health among children in the developing
world. The goal is to determine whether the effect of family violence on children's
health is mediated by the mother's access to social support and her level
of mental and physical well-being.
Jay Semel, director of the Obermann Center, said that
since its inception this program has resulted in about $7.8 million in external
grants and in numerous publications. In recent years CASSPR Grant recipients
have gone on to win grants from the National Institutes of Health and have
published research findings on children's accident injuries, market women
in Peru, and family stress.
Local community and professional groups who wish to
invite researchers to speak at their meetings about these projects should
contact the Obermann Center at (319) 335-4034.