Thursday, September 3, 2020
The National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research recently gave a five-year, $4 million grant to Mississippi State University's National Research and Training Center on Blindness and Low Vision to fund seven research projects focused on greater employment outcomes for people with blindness or low vision.
NRTC researchers will evaluate the effects of virtual interview training for youth, develop and test an interactive video to educate employers about blindness and low vision and evaluate the effectiveness of teaching job search skills through videoconferencing, a release from MSU says.
Other project goals for NRTC include identifying internal and external barriers to labor-force participation, exploring employment predictors and outcomes using national datasets and evaluating the accessibility and usability of job-application websites.
NRTC plans to put up tools and resources for businesses, service providers and individuals with blindness or low vision, including peer-reviewed publications, online courses, guides, training protocols and educational videos, on the center’s website, blind.msstate.edu.
MSU Professor Receives Grant for Solar Fuel Project
The US Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy awarded Like Li, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Mississippi State University, with a $2.5 million grant for a project to develop a low-cost, zero-emission fuel that can efficiently store solar energy.
Li is partnering with researchers at Michigan State University, Oregon State University and Purdue University Northwest on the three-year project. The goal of the project is to develop two different types of reactors, one that will absorb thermal energy through solar power and one that will reverse the reaction and allow air to chemically react with the fuel to release heat and power a traditional electrical turbo-generator, a release from MSU says. Li and his team at MSU are currently developing models for the designs of the two reactors.
For information on MSU's Bagley College of Engineering, visit bagley.msstate.edu or the MSU engineering Facebook page.
USM Hosting First-Ever Online University Forum
The University of Southern Mississippi will host its 46th annual speaker series, University Forum, online for the first time due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The 2020 University Forum will take place on Tuesday evenings at 6:30 p.m. and will feature four speakers instead of the usual three, a release from USM says. The university will host each lecture online and will post information on how to attend at usm.edu/forum. Anyone interested in attending an online lecture can sign up at usm.edu/forum to get an email invitation to the talks, although pre-registration is not required.
The first speaker, Nontombi Naomi Tutu, is the daughter of Nobel Peace Prize-winning anti-apartheid activist Archbishop Desmond Tutu. She will speak about “truth and reconciliation” on Sept. 15.
Paul Tough, a contributing editor at New York Times Magazine and author of "The Years That Matter Most: How College Makes or Breaks Us," will offer advice about higher education to educators, students and parents on Oct. 13.
James Forman Jr., a professor of law at Yale University and son of civil-rights activist James Forman, will speak about mass incarceration and its disproportionate impact on people of color in the United States on Oct. 27.
Dr. Marjorie Spruill, a former USM professor of history and former director of the USM University Forum, will speak about the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment and the role the South had in making women’s history on Nov. 10.
For more information about the University Forum program, visit https://www.usm.edu/honors/about-university-forum.php.