Week of 6/17/13
Some OC grads followed familiar path at commencement
(The Kitsap (Wash.) Sun, June 16, 2013)
Among the hundreds who donned caps and gowns as part of Olympic College's commencement ceremony Sunday were a few who had done the college walk before.
Rita Souther, of Port Orchard, and Jessie Hettinga, of Bellingham, were among 18 students in Olympic's ceremony receiving degrees from Old Dominion University of Norfolk, Va.
Both received master's degrees in elementary education to follow bachelor's degrees each received elsewhere. The all-online program meant neither ever had to go to Virginia and will allow them to pursue teaching careers should they decide to and should the market for teachers create an opening.
"It's about the best way to get your certificate," Souther said. ...
Hettinga is a mother of three elementary-age children she schools at home. Getting the Old Dominion degree was for her a way to finish what she didn't when she got her bachelor's degree from Western Washington University in 2002 without getting the teaching certificate.
The Old Dominion program allowed Hettinga to fit her studying in with her kids' schedule. "It's ideal for someone with a family," she said. "Everywhere my kids were, I took my school with me." (More)
'Tailing' spiny lobster larvae to protect them
(Eureka.com, June 13, 2013)
The commercial value of spiny lobster (Panulirus argus) in the Caribbean reaches $1 billion annually, thus making it one of the most valuable fisheries in the region. In a new study of this iconic species, Ph.D. candidate Andrew Kough and Dr. Claire Paris of the Biophysical Interactions Lab at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science, in collaboration with Dr. Mark Butler from Old Dominion University, studied the larval dispersal of this species in the Caribbean. The goal of the study was to describe the sources, sinks, and routes connecting the Caribbean spiny lobster metapopulation. The results led the team to propose marine resource management strategies that incorporate larval connectivity and "larval lobster credits" to sustain and rebuild exploited marine populations. The study, which appears in the June 2013 issue of the journal PLOS ONE, synthesizes empirical data from laboratory studies, mail surveys and published works to parameterize an individual-based model of lobster larval connectivity, the Connectivity Modeling System (CMS), developed by Paris. Results were then verified using two independent studies, separated by over 500 km, giving validation to the model's performance -- something never before achieved for spiny lobster or other pelagic larvae over such large scales.
"Spiny lobster have extraordinary larvae with a prolonged planktonic existence that can last from five months to nearly a year, which confer them with high dispersal potential and complex pelagic pathways. Despite such challenges in documenting their pathways in the open ocean, just like hurricane models that help to reduce the 'cone of uncertainty', in this case we are improving settlement predictions by simulating large numbers of spawning events and tracking virtual larvae undergoing deep vertical migrations," says Paris. (More)
Norfolk eminent domain battle may finally reach end
(The Virginian-Pilot, June 16, 2013)
A forthcoming state Supreme Court decision over eminent domain could finally mean the end of a long-running battle between Old Dominion University and a group of holdout property owners fighting to keep their land.
Virginia's highest court heard arguments early this month in the case between the Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority and PKO Ventures LLC, which owned a 10-unit apartment building at 1069 W. 41st St. near ODU. At issue is whether the housing authority had the right to take the property for ODU's expansion or whether a 2007 change in state law made the move illegal.
The court's ruling, expected in September, also could decide the fate of at least two other properties, including Central Radio, an 80-year-old communications repair firm at 1083 W. 39th St. that employs about 100 people and has been the most vocal opponent in the case.
If the landowners win, the housing authority could be forced to pay them years of legal fees and damages. Such an outcome would be a significant loss for ODU, which has been waiting years to redevelop the properties.
"Whether we win or lose, this has taken so much of my time," said Bob Wilson Jr., Central Radio's vice president and a nephew of the company's founder. "We're hoping there might finally be justice for us."
The conflict dates to 1998, when the City Council approved the Hampton Boulevard Redevelopment Project to help ODU expand eastward. The area marked for redevelopment stretches from 38th to 48th streets, between Hampton Boulevard and Killam Avenue. (More)
Blind Va. Beach student graduates with her class
(The Virginian-Pilot, June 15, 2013)
For Elizabeth "Lizzy" Conlin, the turning point was sophomore year.
Would Conlin, blind since birth, graduate from her local public school as planned? Or would the academic gap with her sighted peers - never so wide as it was that year - continue to grow? If so, she'd have to leave Kempsville High School and enroll in a special school for the blind.
That wouldn't happen on her mother's watch. Irene Conlin went to the top, to teachers and school administrators who had rarely, if ever, needed to work with blind students. Together, she said, they obtained the technology, skills and specialized teachers Lizzy needed.
That was two years ago. On Wednesday, Lizzy graduated from Kempsville - not with a special diploma for students with disabilities, but with a Virginia standard diploma.
"It feels really good. It feels exciting," Lizzy said, a smile playing across her face. "Like starting a whole other cycle of living."
Lizzy, 19, has optic nerve hypoplasia. Simply put, her eyes don't work. ...
In many ways, Lizzy is a typical recent high school graduate. She has a lot of friends in the city's blind community, she's played flute in the school band, she loves her iPhone, and she has big plans for the future.
Soon, she'll head to the Colorado Center for the Blind for nine months to learn how to do everyday tasks and live on her own. Afterward, she plans to enroll in Tidewater Community College, then Old Dominion University. Someday, she wants to be a teacher for children ages 3 to 5. (More)
Eight minutes too much for NCAA
(ESPN.com, June 14, 2013)
Today, the new Superman movie "Man of Steel" will make its debut in theaters around the world. I haven't seen it yet (no spoilers, please), but we all know the story.
Homeboy in spandex and a red cape saves the day, and everyone goes home happy.
The NCAA is a bit like Superman for college sports. When there is a problem, a pressing issue, the Indianapolis-based organization flies to the scene of the disturbance and solves any ills that threaten the landscape of collegiate athletics.
In its latest noble effort, the NCAA has decided to deny the appeal of Old Dominion's Donte Hill, who requested an extra year of eligibility to compete during the 2013-14 season. The heroic NCAA, however, rejected his request.
His crime? He played eight minutes of a closed scrimmage in 2010 before announcing his decision to transfer from Clemson a few days later. Hill, a 6-4 guard who averaged 8.2 PPG and 4.0 RPG for an Old Dominion squad that finished 5-25 overall last season, requested a waiver to play a fourth year (he sat out during the 2010-11 season). (More)
ODU Adding 50 Full-time Teachers; Va. Curbs Part-timers
(The Virginian Pilot, June 14, 2013)
Old Dominion University will establish 50 new full-time faculty positions next year, half of them conversions from current part-time teaching slots. The move is driven in part by a new state-mandated policy limiting the hours of part-time, or adjunct, faculty members to avoid providing them health care benefits under the Affordable Care Act.
The move is driven in part by a new state-mandated policy limiting the hours of part-time, or adjunct, faculty members to avoid providing them health care benefits under the Affordable Care Act.
The new federal law requires that employees working 30 hours a week or more receive health care coverage. In response, Gov. Bob McDonnell in February directed that part-time state employees, including adjunct teachers, be limited to a maximum of 29 hours a week.
As a result, adjuncts at ODU will be limited to teaching nine credit hours per semester, Provost Carol Simpson said Thursday. For those handling a full academic load - 15 credit hours - the change would mean a 40 percent pay cut.
The new full-time teaching slots will soften the blow of the state policy, Simpson said. The new positions are also in line with continuing efforts to reduce ODU's reliance on part-time faculty and improve the university's faculty-student ratio. (More)
The despair of the new Dad
(Vallejo (Ca.) Times-Herald/The Associated Press, June 12, 2013)
Parenthood is always a shock to the system. "Frank," a 48-year old Washington dad, got hit even harder.
He and his wife decided that he would leave his job to be a stay-at home dad when his daughter was born late last year. Although it was a role the first-time father had eagerly anticipated, the transition took an immediate toll.
"For the first two weeks, I was cross-eyed. It was intense," says Frank, who asked to use a pseudonym as he undergoes therapy.
He had dealt with depression before, but he soon began to experience something different.
He was constantly cranky, stopped cracking his usual jokes and began withdrawing. ...
"The definition is the same as it is for maternal postpartum depression," says the study's co-author, James Paulson, an associate professor of psychology at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va., who has been studying paternal PPD since 2004. "It's an episode of depression that occurs during the pregnancy or in the first year or so postpartum. If it's left untreated, it can affect the child and the whole family in the same way maternal depression can."
Paternal PPD doesn't necessarily present itself in stereotypical ways - sadness, crying or feelings of worthlessness.
"Instead, it's a sense of detachment, a loss of ability to connect with what's important in the world or the inability to experience pleasure," Paulson says. "It's a loss of emotional capacity."
The conditions are often exacerbated by the father's failure to address them.
"Men are much less likely than women to admit that they're feeling depressed, that there's something wrong and that they need help," Paulson says. (More)
Students learn about canebrake rattlesnakes at Northwest Annex
(The Flagship, June 12, 2013)
Students from a reptile monitoring and conservation class with the Smithsonian-Mason School of Conservation in Front Royal, Va. had the opportunity to get up close and personal and learn about tracking and implanting radio transmitters in canebrake rattlesnakes during their visit to Naval Support Activity Hampton Roads, Northwest Annex (NWA), May 21.
"We wanted the students to meet and see experts in lab and field setting, and to have access to their knowledge, passion and wisdom," said Dr. Tom Akre, Associate Professor of Biological and Environmental Sciences at Longwood University. "We wanted the students to see a long-term monitoring program in action, in particular, one that was focused on a threatened species that included cooperative management between different agencies." ...
In 1995, Northwest Annex wanted to understand the impact of the loss of forest canopy density on the behavior of the canebrake rattlesnake. An agreement was then formed between Northwest Annex and Old Dominion University, with funding and support by Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (VDGIF) and the Navy.
The project entails the students, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Atlantic (NAVFAC) staff members and VDGIF employees catching the snakes in the field and taking them to the laboratory. Radio transmitters are surgically implanted into the snakes' body cavity so that they can be repeatedly located. In some cases, multiple surgeries have to be performed if the battery in the transmitter expires. Most transmitters last about two years. (More)
Live Updates from Merion, Monday, June 10
(Philadelphia Inquirer, June 11, 2013)
7:45 a.m. Early birds on the shuttle
It was barely light out, but the U.S. Open shuttle at Rose Tree Park in Media was entirely full - with both volunteers and spectators alike.
Michael Doviak, an Old Dominion University statistics professor from Norfolk, Va., took a seat on the bus for what would be his fourth Open. (His favorite Open so far was the 1974 tournament, where he watched Arnold Palmer tee off on what he called an extraordinarily difficult course in Westchester County, N.Y.)
Doviak, who's originally from Mount Carmel, Pa., plays golf three to four times a week and started golfing when he was 12.
"It's a very special event - almost a once in a lifetime event for Philadelphia," he said. "I've always wanted to see this place - and this is my chance."
In the seat ahead of him, John McComb, an IT professional from West Chester, sported the distinctive green and white striped polo of a U.S. Open volunteer. He was set to be stationed on the third hole Monday as a marshal - quieting the crowd at crucial moments, working the rope lines and chasing down loose balls.
Around him, spectators and volunteers swapped theories about the forthcoming tournament. Many were excited to see a course they said was generally "impossible" to get into - and interested to see how the pros fared on Merion's famously compact greens.
"If it rains, they're going to murder this course," one man said. And as they exited the bus, the first drops of an early-morning thunderstorm began to fall. (More)
What can grow from one email
(Editorial, The Virginian-Pilot, June 12, 2013)
With a confluence of favorable conditions, an email germinated into an experiment that could help autistic students find productive careers.
An Old Dominion University assistant engineering professor, Chung-Hao Chen, received a request from a tech company seeking high-functioning autistic students.
While difficulty reading social cues characterizes the disorder, some studies have shown that those students have an aptitude for the demanding, detail-oriented work of computer programming and product testing.
The professor, reported The Pilot's Elizabeth Simpson, connected with Dr. Maria Urbano, the director of a program for autistic students at Eastern Virginia Medical School.
Together, they created a 12-week program that pairs autistic and non-autistic students to build robots.
The experiment holds potential for multiple successes: helping autistic students improve their social ability while simultaneously developing job skills; encouraging kids to consider careers in science and math; training future workers in a lucrative, growing job field; and increasing cooperation between two schools considering a joint public health program. (More)
Virginia sees expectedly low turnout for Primary Day
(WVEC-TV, June 11, 2013)
Voter turnout across Hampton Roads appeared to be extremely light on Primary Day, fulfilling political analysts' pre-election predictions of under ten percent.
Six hours after the polls had opened at Norfolk's Young Park Precinct, just 43 people had cast ballots, despite the fact there was a hotly contested City Commissioner of the Revenue Democratic primary underway.
Some who voted were disappointed in their fellow citizens. "I do think more people should show up and vote because this is our privilege and this is what we need to do," said Norfolk resident Elizabeth Lamb.
In Virginia Beach, a similar scene played out at the Woodstock precinct. Less than 160 people had voted by mid-day, even though the precinct is home to more than 4,000 registered voters. ...
Old Dominion University Political Science professor Jesse Richman tells 13News part of the problem may be the frequency of the elections.
"In Virginia, I like to say, for people who like to vote, we give them so many opportunities," Richman said. "I think we sometimes wear people down a little bit. We always have a primary, we always have a state or federal election every year, so we really give people the opportunity to shape the preferences of those who govern them all the time. That can be a little trying. But it's also a great opportunity."(More)
Study: Most Virginia college spending not on instruction
(Richmond Times-Dispatch, June 11, 2013)
The cost of attending Virginia's public universities has been driven up 150 percent in the past two decades largely as the result of spending not directly related to instruction and declining state funding, according to a study mandated by the General Assembly.
The Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) report Monday found that most spending by four-year institutions is on auxiliary enterprises, such as intercollegiate athletics, student housing and dining.
The escalating charge for a college degree - which has outpaced increases in family income, inflation and even hospital services - follows a 22 percent decline in per-student funding from state appropriations since 1991. ...
Justin Brown, senior division chief at JLARC, said that while the proportion varies somewhat by institution, the trend largely follows spending patterns nationally.
The state's six research institutions - University of Virginia, Virginia Tech, College of William and Mary, and Virginia Commonwealth, George Mason and Old Dominion universities - decreased the amount spent on instruction, according to the report.
From 2001 to 2011 at those schools, inflation-adjusted spending per student increased by 2 percent, or $626, to $28,698 annually. Spending increased for auxiliary enterprises by $821; on research by $319; and on student services, $307. Spending on student financial aid declined by $379, and instructional spending dropped by $270. (More)
Virginians to choose party nominees in Tuesday primaries
(WVEC-TV, June 10, 2013)
In Virginia's statewide and legislative primaries Tuesday, some old intraparty scores will be settled.
Democrats will pick their nominees for lieutenant governor between state Sen. Ralph Northam and former Obama White House technology chief Aneesh Chopra, and for attorney general between state Sen. Mark Herring and Fairfax lawyer Justin Fairfax.
The real bad blood is lower on the ticket, where seven House incumbents, including five Republicans, face nomination challenges from newcomers who believe they've broken faith within their parties.
Among Republicans facing primaries are House Speaker Bill Howell and three committee chairmen.
The most heated Democratic challenge is to Del. Rosalyn Dance, a former mayor of Petersburg, whose opponent has endorsements from Democratic House and Senate members.
(Old Dominion University political scientist Jesse Richman is featured in this story) (More)
OncoSec Medical Enters Sponsored Research Agreement with Old Dominion University for Combination Study in Melanoma
(The Herald (Penn.), June 11, 2013)
OncoSec Medical Inc., a company developing its advanced-stage ImmunoPulse DNA-based immunotherapy and NeoPulse therapy to treat solid tumors, signed a Sponsored Research Agreement (SRA) with Old Dominion University (ODU) and the Frank Reidy Research Center for Bioelectrics. Under the agreement, OncoSec and the University will collaborate on nonclinical research focused on developing new technology related to electroporation and delivery of different agents into solid tumors by electroporation. ...
The principal investigator of the study will be Dr. Richard Heller, one of the world's leading pioneers in electroporation and gene delivery. Dr. Heller sits on OncoSec's Scientific Advisory Board and has more than 25 years of experience in evaluating effects of electric pulses on biological systems.Dr. Heller said, "We are excited to be collaborating with OncoSec. The combination of immune modulating agents to treat aggressive cancers like melanoma will further the scientific community's understanding of these therapies. ImmunoPulse has continued to demonstrate a clear safety profile with promising clinical results, so we are looking forward to learn about the benefits of these new combinations." (More)
Va. primary forecast: severe chance of apathy
(Opinion, The Virginian-Pilot, June 11, 2013)
This much is certain about today's primary election in Virginia: Nobody will wait four hours to vote.
That's how long it took some residents in Chesapeake and Virginia Beach - while braving frigid temperatures - to cast ballots in the November presidential contest.
Today's forecast? High around 87. Chance of thunderstorms. Overwhelming probability of apathy.
Those conditions are typical in June primaries for top statewide offices, especially when there's no contest for governor. Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic Party candidate, is unopposed.
If past elections are any guide, only 6 percent of active voters will spend time breezing through their precincts to choose the Democratic standard bearers for attorney general and lieutenant governor.
"The level of intensity, advertising and campaigning has not been enough to generate a large turnout," Jesse Richman, associate professor of political science at Old Dominion University, told me. (More)