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Computer Science and Journalism Professors Receive Grant from the National Science Foundation

Dr. Monisha Pulimood, Associate Professor of Computer Science, and Dr. Kim Pearson, Associate Professor of Journalism and Interactive Multimedia, have received a grant from the National Science Foundation’s Transforming Undergraduate Education in Science (NSF-TUES) program.

This project seeks to combine the disciplines of computer science and journalism.  Drs. Pulimood and Pearson and their students will develop a model for courses in computer science and other disciplines to collaborate with a community partner.

The model will serve to prepare students for an uncertain economic and global landscape.  Interdisciplinary approaches to real-world situations are some of the best ways to efficiently and concisely solve problems, and this grant allows a mechanism for collaboration between students of diverse interests.  Assessments have been created in order to measure the technology-based solutions that come about from this project

An example of a practical use of this system is exploring pollution in New Jersey, specifically brown fields.  Brown fields are areas of land that have high percentage of toxic chemicals in them.   The ultimate goal of this project is to present the data about the levels of these chemicals in a more efficient and comprehendible way.

The computer science majors will design and build the computational ystem to provide the data so that people can fully understand it.  The journalism majors will work on publicizing these issues through news stories, blogs, and any form of social media.

The two professors are also working closely with TCNJ’s Bonner Center for Civic and Community Engagement and Habitat for Humanity in order to bring attention to these issues so that the areas of land can be cleaned.  Eventually, Habitat for Humanity would like to build houses on this land.

While the grant represents a huge step forward in terms of purifying these brown fields, it also functions to provide a means of collaboration between disciplines.  Many professionals, including journalists, do not fully understand the capabilities of the technology available.  That is, they do not see how technology can be especially useful for their works.  This grant unites two seemingly unrelated disciplines on a project that has many practical benefits.

 

By Andrew Miller

 

For more information:

            • Dr. Pulimood’s website

            • Computer Science Department

            • Dr. Kim Pearson’s website

            • TCNJ’s Bonner Center for Civic and Community Engagement

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