CSUN Research Fellows Explore Topics that Advance Scholarship in Various Fields

April 30th, 2012 | News

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What difference does difference make in multicultural neighborhoods? How are the concepts of “blackness” and “femaleness” interpreted in the classical Hollywood narrative? Can refundable state tax credits help combat childhood obesity rates among low-income children?

These questions and more will be investigated by the eight faculty members selected for California State University, Northridge’s Research Fellows Program for the 2012–2013 academic year.

The fellows program, founded in 2007 and funded collaboratively by the Office of the Provost, colleges and the Delmar T. Oviatt Library, gives faculty the opportunity to engage in compelling research or creative activity during the year.

Fellows are competitively selected based in part on the extent to which the proposed activity explores creative or original concepts, the likelihood of achievement, how the research or activity will benefit society and the contribution to the field of study or across other fields. Research fellows are required to report results to the deans and the provost. In addition, the Oviatt Library hosts a colloquium in the fall where fellows share their work with the campus.

“We are delighted to have such an eclectic group of researchers named as the Research Fellows for the 2012–2013 academic year,” said Marianne Afifi, associate dean of the Oviatt Library. “The fellowship will allow faculty from seven colleges and the Oviatt Library to spend concentrated time on projects that advance research in their respective fields. I congratulate the fellows on their nomination and wish them a productive year. We look forward to hearing about their work and the outcomes at the Research Fellows Symposium in fall 2013.”

Following are the eight selected research fellows and their respective projects:

Rafi Efrat

Rafi Efrat (Accounting and Information Systems) – Efrat’s research topic is “The Use of Refundable Tax Credits to Increase Low-Income Children’s After-School Physical Activity Level.” He has proposed a new, untested approach for combating childhood obesity rates among low-income children by examining the potential impact tax incentives might have on their participation in organized after-school physical activity.




Sean Flanagan

Sean Flanagan (Kinesiology) – Flanagan’s “Multi Joint Synergies” project will explore how joints work together during human movement. Because of the way joints function as small “teams,” performance may be impeded or an injury can occur even though each joint technically has the capacity to accomplish its task. It may not be the capacities of the individual joints but the synergy, or lack of synergy, that is the root of a particular problem. His research will explore these synergies and their consequences for performance and injury risk.



Frances Gateward

Frances Gateward (Cinema and Television Arts) ­– Gateward will examine the work of African-American women film directors within the contexts of the changing social, political and cultural climates in which they were produced, linking the films to broader ideological developments in American culture that the films articulate and disrupt.





Marcia Henry

Marcia Henry (Reference and Instructional Services) – Henry’s research topic is “Mapping the Gerontological Nursing Literature.” She, along with two colleagues, is doing a citation analysis of cited references in leading geriatric nursing journals. Bibliometric studies help libraries make evidence-based purchasing decisions. Her study is part of an ongoing, collaborative research project with the Nursing and Allied Health Resource Section (NAHRS) of the Medical Library Association.




Clement Lai

Clement Lai (Asian American Studies) – Lai’s research project, entitled “The Difference that Difference Makes: Uncovering California’s Multiracial Past, Living California’s Multiracial Future,” will examine the effects of urban renewal policy on neighboring African Americans and Japanese Americans in San Francisco’s Fillmore District between 1940–1980. He is also working on an oral history project with residents of historical multiracial neighborhoods in Southern California.




Debra Malmberg

Debra Malmberg (Psychology) – Malmberg’s research focuses on educational programs for parents of children with autism spectrum disorders. Parents will learn behavioral strategies to facilitate their children’s language development in natural settings, and behavior analysts will guide parents in taking advantage of learning opportunities throughout the day.





Connie White

Connie White (Elementary Education) – White’s research topic is “Exploring New Possibilities: Struggling Readers and Their Parents Bridging the Gap Between Digital and Traditional Literacies.” This research seeks to address the disparity in current school discourses and practices found to marginalize English language learners and children from low socioeconomic backgrounds.





George Youssef

George Youssef (Mechanical Engineering) – Youssef will study the causal transfer function of biomechanics and muscle forces of human walking. The goal of his research is to formulate an overall causal transfer function that relates the ground reaction force during walking to the mechanical forces and accelerations on the tibia and femur, and to the forces in the muscles.

—Stephanie Colman

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