Abington Students Receive Reinvention Fund Grant

Whitney Lloyd

In October 2013, the Sustainability Institute announced its new internal grant program, The Reinvention Fund, intended to support collaborative projects by faculty, staff and students that will improve and expand sustainability efforts at Penn State. Of the more than $700,000 allocated for investment in these projects, $102,000 has been dedicated to support proposals received by student teams.

“The student proposals submitted to the Reinvention Fund are very inspiring,” said David Riley, Reinvention Fund program manager. “While we have a lot of work to do as a University in the pursuit of sustainability, it is exciting to see the level of commitment that exists among students across our colleges and campuses.”

Twenty-two proposals were received from interdisciplinary student teams, and 11 were selected to be funded. The funded proposals represent innovative ideas from four of Penn State’s campuses — Abington; Berks; Erie, The Behrend College; and University Park. Abington received funding for the following:

Abington’s Cloverly Gardens, Penn State Abington – Build an educational greenhouse and accompanying garden at Penn State Abington as a model for other campuses.

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Professor probes forgiveness in context of revolution, liberation theology

November 1, 2013

ImageABINGTON, Pa. — A Penn State Abington associate professor of sociology traveled to Oxford University in England to present the paper “Forgiveness, Reconciliation and Revolution in Nicaragua.” Karen Halnon said the piece is the first resulting from her current research on Nicaragua’s Sandinista Revolution and liberation theology.

The paper explores the issues in the context of the Sandinista Revolution including the efforts of political leaders to facilitate forgiveness and reconciliation on a mass scale.

Halnon also edited the proceedings from the conference Forgiveness: Probing the Boundaries, which were just published. The conference was sponsored by InterDisciplinary.Net, a forum for the exchange and interaction of ideas, research and points of view that bear on a wide range of issues of concern and interest in the contemporary world. The organization promotes and sponsors inter- and multidisciplinary encounters by bringing people together from differing contexts, disciplines, professions and vocations, with the aim to engender and nurture engagements that cross the boundaries of intellectual work.

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Active Earth Monitor Comes to Abington

ImageNext time you are on the first floor of our library, check out the Active Earth Monitor (AEM) kiosk.   The AEM is a customizable computer based earth science display designed for K-12 schools, museums, visitor centers, libraries, and universities. The AEM provides a way to engage audiences with earth science information without spending resources on a large exhibit. The Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS), working in coordination with NSF’s EarthScope USArray Transportable Array seismic observatory, has loaned Penn State Abington an Active Earth Monitor Kiosk for one year. Dr. Ann Schmiedekamp, Professor of Physics and Division Head for Science and Engineering applied for Abington to be a part of this program.  Dr. Schmiedekamp felt that the kiosk would be a great way for students and faculty to explore the area of Earth science and seismic activity, especially that of the tri-state region.  

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Student Researchers Uncover the Resting Place of Famous Arctic Explorer

Location of the resting place of Isaac Israel Hayes, M.D.


Penn State Abington students Janet Stock and Steven Mangier examine Hayes’ grave marker.

Since 2006, three different seminar courses in American studies and Anthropology at Penn State University Abington College have sought to locate the birth and burial spots of four Arctic explorers all born in Pennsylvania.  Some of these, such as the birthplace of Robert E. Peary outside Altoona, PA, are relatively well-known, as of course is his burial place at Arlington National Cemetery.

The other three Arctic explorers, Edwin de Haven, Elisha Kent Kane, and Isaac Israel Hayes, proved more difficult to trace.  Kane’s crypt was located in 2006 at the famous Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia, and in the summer of 2012, the grave of de Haven was located at Christ Church, Philadelphia, little more than 50 feet from the grave of Benjamin Franklin.

The final resting place of Arctic explorer Isaac Israel Hayes, however, proved a much more difficult task.  Penn State Abington student Kevin Drew in 2006 uncovered a lead to a Friends cemetery in West Chester, PA.  Abington students Steven Mangier and Janet Stock followed up on this in the spring semester, 2013, but made little headway until a field trip to the Friends cemetery in West Chester on 3 April 2013 failed to locate Hayes. 

However, on this same trip, Stock alertly took down the phone number of a locale Friends school and that led to a lead that Hayes was in fact buried in another Friends cemetery, one located in the nearby village of West Goshen, PA.  A second field trip, this to West Goshen, finally discovered the grave of Isaac Israel Hayes, M.D., in the Oakland Friends Burial Ground. 

The modest white marker over Dr. Hayes is difficult to read.  It has a patina of lichen growth over much of it.  Hayes is surrounded by other Hayeses from his immediate family, including his father Benjamin, who outlived his famous son.   Isaac Israel Hayes was born on 5 March 1832 and died in New York on 17 December 1881. 

After his internment, the only mention of him in the New York Times is a brief note from May of 1882 that described a delegation from New York coming to place flowers on his grave on Decoration Day (now Memorial Day).  The students of Penn State Abington who found Hayes on 17 April 2013 were likely some of the first visitors to the Arctic explorer’s grave site in a century or more. 

– Dr. P.J. Capelotti, Associate Professor of Anthropology

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Abington Professor Studies Consumer Behavior at the Bottom of the Pyramid


Dr. Gupta along with a colleague from a business school in Navi Mumbai during a visit to Lotus Colony in Govandi, Navi Mumbai, India.

Dr. Shruti Gupta, Associate Professor of Marketing at Penn State Abington spent her sabbatical leave in Fall 2012 in India. She divided her time between Mumbai and Kolkata where she interviewed individuals with a personal daily income of approximately $2-4 per day. This market segment has been labeled as the Bottom of the Pyramid (BoP). Companies believe that marketing to this group of consumers would help with poverty alleviation (by stimulating consumption) and provide a growth potential for multinationals that face saturated markets in the developed world. Most of the BoP is either self-employed in the informal retail sector or work as housekeepers, food service providers, rickshaw drivers, construction labor etc.

For her research, Dr. Gupta conducted in-depth interviews with 55 BoP consumers to learn about their identity with poverty, consumption decisions, marketplace exploitation and susceptibility to marketing stimuli, if any. In Mumbai, she interviewed individuals from Rafinagar and Lotus Colony in Govandi which is now part of the largest slum in Asia. Her interviewees from Govandi were mostly self-employed in hand embroidery and worked on a contract basis for suppliers. Inhabitants of Rafinagar, settled on a garbage dump site, were mostly trash and rag pickers. Her other interviewees for the study came from far flung slums in Kharghar and Vashi in Navi Mumbai. These men and women were mostly employed in housekeeping and janitorial work though some were also self-employed in the informal retail sector. Informants for the study conducted in Kolkata lived in distant villages and either worked as caregivers at a homeless shelter for young children or as domestic help for upper income households.

In the coming semesters, Dr. Gupta plans to publish her research findings in the form of several scholarly journal publications and conference presentations. Her first paper from the sabbatical research data titled, Despite Unethical Retail Practices, Consumers at the Bottom of the Pyramid Remain Loyal is under review with the 2013 Summer Educator’s Conference of the American Marketing Association, August 9-11, 2013 at Boston, Massachusetts.

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Penn State Professor Collaborates on Topic that Needs to Be Exposed

Against Their WillDr. Judith Newman, associate professor of Human Development at Penn State University (Abington), Allen Hornblum and Gregory J. Dober are collaborating on a topic that makes many uncomfortable, but one that needs to be discussed, the exploitation of children as medical “guinea pigs.”   Their book,  Against Their Will, The Secret History of Medical Experimentation on Children in Cold War America comes out in June of this year.

A short six decades ago, American scientists and doctors increasingly made an unthinkable choice: they would use one of the country’s most vulnerable populations, institutionalized children, as grist in the research mill. Against Their Will traces this harrowing story, showing how thousands of children, in hospitals, orphanages, and mental asylums, became the unwilling subjects of experimental studies. They were drafted as “volunteers” to test vaccines, subjected to electric shock, and given lobotomies. They were also fed radioactive isotopes and exposed to chemical warfare agents. The product of many years of archival work and numerous interviews with both scientific researchers and former test subjects, this is an important and disturbing book that finally uncovers a dark chapter of America’s medical/psychiatric history.

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East Meets West at Penn State Abington

“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, not to worry about the future, or not to anticipate troubles, but to live the present moment wisely and earnestly.”


Dr. Pierce Salguero, Assistant Professor of Asian History, is a researcher of Buddhist medicine, a system of healing that spread widely throughout Asia in the first millennium CE along with Buddhism. Originating in India, Buddhist medical ideas are closely related to Indian Ayurveda and ancient Greco-Roman medicine. Historically, this system spread as far as Iran, Mongolia, Japan, and Indonesia. Today, it is still the foundation of traditional medicine in Tibet, Thailand, and other parts of Asia. At the same time that Buddhist medicine has become a transnational tradition, however, it has been reinterpreted locally through the lenses of the many different cultures that have adopted it. His research explores this interplay between transmitted and indigenous knowledge.

Dr. Salguero’s current work primarily focuses on the reception of Buddhist medical doctrines in medieval China. This historical process is a fascinating window onto China’s involvement in a Eurasia-wide network of cultural exchange via the Silk Road and maritime trade routes. It is an important case study of the role of translation in the transmission and reception of medicine. The exploration of this topic also touches on larger theoretical questions, such as what we mean by “religion” and “medicine” in a global historical context, and how to theorize the interactions between cultures.

In his work, he employs interdisciplinary methodologies and perspectives from History of Medicine, Religious Studies, Sociology, and Translation Studies, among other disciplines. It is also important for him to present his research in ways that are accessible for practitioners of Buddhism and traditional Asian medicine, as well as for general audiences.

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