2012 Grant Recipients

Significant benefits ensue when universities and communities collaborate on research projects resulting in both scholarly publication and community action. Recognizing Rutgers’ responsibility to be a strong partner in New Brunswick, a grant program was developed with awards ranging from $2,500–$25,000 to support community-based participatory research in the city.

Below are the grant recipients for the January-December 2012 grant period.

New Brunswick Cultural Development Strategy
Rutgers co-director: Norman Glickman, Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy
Community co-director: Norma Kaplan, New Brunswick Cultural Center

The New Brunswick Cultural Center (NBCC) is a private, non-profit organization that promotes and advocates for arts organizations. This grant will be used to develop a plan to integrate, incubate, and promote all of the city’s arts and cultural activities, including the less-marketed entities in New Brunswick. Researchers will conduct an inventory of arts and cultural organizations in the city, and build a shared vision and set of strategies for the city’s cultural development. Results will lead to sustainability for the arts and cultural organizations; increased awareness of diverse community-based arts and cultural activities; and the attraction and retention of more creative and innovative people to contribute to the city’s cultural landscape.

Empowering Parents through SALSA: A Community-based Service Learning and Research Partnership
Rutgers co-director: Mary Curran, Graduate School of Education
Community co-director: Barry Smith, Youth Empowerment Services

SALSA (Students Advancing Literary Skills in Adults) is a service learning and research initiative offered through the Rutgers Civic Engagement and Service Education Partnership Program, which will provide Rutgers students as trained English language conversation partners to ESL immigrant youth and their parents in New Brunswick. In partnership with Youth Empowerment Services (Y.E.S.), the project will help community members join English-speaking communities and improve their English proficiency and knowledge about U.S. culture. The results will include an evaluation of the impact of the conversations with both Rutgers students and the community participants. In addition, the production of a parent guide is planned.

Congestion and Safety near the New Brunswick Train Station
Rutgers co-director: Eric J. Gonzales, School of Engineering
Community co-director: Glenn Patterson, City of New Brunswick

The objective of this project is to analyze traffic congestion and safety effects of pedestrians and drivers in the vicinity of the New Brunswick train station. The study will involve quantitative and qualitative analysis of the intersections near the station. The research results will identify low-cost, implementable solutions for the community and Middlesex County in managing users of multiple transportation modes, while simultaneously contributing knowledge and ideas to the transportation engineering field. This project will be led in partnership with the City of New Brunswick’s director of planning, community, and economic development. The study will involve the City of New Brunswick, Middlesex County, and Rutgers University.

Building a Food Hub in New Brunswick: Community Economic Development and Food Security
Rutgers co-director: Kathe Newman, Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy
Community co-director: Lisanne Finston, Elijah’s Promise

The Ralph W. Voorhees Center for Civic Engagement will partner with Elijah’s Promise, a community-based organization that uses food to address poverty, to develop and implement an urban agricultural plan for the City of New Brunswick.  Leveraging existing resources and building on emerging university-community partnerships, the plan will promote food-related economic development and provide access to healthy and affordable food for residents. The proposal will research the potential for the development a “food hub” with a processing and production system that would provide jobs, small business development opportunities, training, and education, while improving food security for low-income residents in New Brunswick.

The Business of Doing Good: Community and Economic Development through Support of Small Business owners in New Brunswick
Rutgers co-director: Matt K. Matusda, School of Arts and Sciences
Community co-director: Joe Shure, The Intersect Fund

This proposal pairs academic course work with The Intersect Fund, a community-based non-profit organization that helps low-income entrepreneurs develop their small businesses. Students and local small business owners will work together to survey community needs and use the research to generate information on potential customers and markets in New Jersey. The academic team and The Intersect Fund will make the research available to small business owners and other community partners to help them make informed decisions about entrepreneurship as a viable career prospect. Findings will be submitted to publications related to social entrepreneurship.

Math and Science Story Time Series: Bringing Math and Science to Life through Reading and Art for Preschoolers in a Community-based Setting
Rutgers co-director: Alissa A. Lange, National Institute of Early Education Research
Community co-director: Darby DeCicco, New Brunswick Free Public Library

This collaboration between the New Brunswick Free Public Library (NBFPL) and Rutgers’ National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) will involve the design and implementation of a Math and Science Story Time Series for young children ages 3-6 years who speak English or Spanish. The program will use engaging, integrative, community-based learning approaches to increase access to math and science for educationally at-risk youngsters. The program will also increase community awareness of and participation in NBFPLprograms for young children, enhance the library’s existing resources for use beyond the scope of the project, and provide NIEERwith knowledge about effective transfer of resources and practices from school-based to community-based settings.

Building a Sustainable Bed Bug Management Program in New Brunswick Public Housing
Rutgers co-director: Changlu Wang, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences
Community co-director: John Clarke, New Brunswick Housing Authority

This program will assist the New Brunswick Housing and Redevelopment Authority (NBHA) in developing a sustainable bed bug management program, targeted to reduce bed bug infestations and associated health hazards. The NBHA is a non-profit organization that manages apartment complexes occupied by low income residents who have experienced a high rate of bed bug infestation. The proposed program will include an assessment of the infestations; educating the residents and NBHA staff about monitoring, prevention, and control methods; and designing and implementing a sustainable bed bug management program. The goal is for affected residents to see an 80% reduction in infestation within 6 months.

New Brunswick Family Solutions: A Conjoint Family Therapy Program
Rutgers co-director: Michael C. LaSala, School of Social Work
Community co-director: Ronald Rak, Saint Peter’s Healthcare System

This proposal will establish a family therapy program focusing on the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth from New Brunswick faith-based organizations. Developed in partnership with St. Peter’s Healthcare System, the project will offer consultation to clergy, and provide coordination and treatment planning with local HIV service providers. This research seeks to diminish the risk of dissolution of families of LGBT youth and the consequences of family disruption such as mental illness, substance abuse, and increased HIV risk. Local faith-based and secular service providers will be better informed about the needs of the LGBT community, which will assist with program planning.

Project BRANCH—Building Research into Action Needed for Community Health
Rutgers co-director: Karen T. D’Alonzo, College of Nursing
Community co-director: Mario Nuñez, Lazos America Unida

This project will use knowledge translation techniques to develop research-based, health promotion programs for the immigrant Latino community in New Brunswick by training local immigrants to become community health workers/promotores de salud. In tandem with Lazos America Unida (LAU), the initiative will provide primary prevention techniques for acculturation stress and depression among immigrant Latino men. By allowing community health workers to be the bridge between the community and the mental health care system, immigrants may be more likely to receive culturally appropriate health education, obtain mental health services, and take advantage of informal counseling, social support, and advocacy services.