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RTI International names 2017-2018 class of RTI University Scholars

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC — The RTI University Scholars Program supports highly talented academics who take scholarly leave from their home institutions to collaborate with RTI International researchers. The 2017-2018 class of RTI University Scholars includes researchers from Duke University, North Carolina State University, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The five scholars who will spend up to one academic year at RTI working on strategic research projects are James Levis, Ph.D. (NC State); Jacqueline MacDonald Gibson, Ph.D. (UNC-Chapel Hill); Clara Muschkin, Ph.D. (Duke); Michael Relf, Ph.D. (Duke); and Yang Zhang, Ph.D. (NC State).

The Scholars represent a variety of specialties and will work with RTI researchers on the following projects:

  • Levis, a research assistant professor at NC State, will join RTI’s Keith Weitz and Khara Grieger, Ph.D., to develop a real-time Life-Cycle Assessment tool to provide decision-support for sustainable development of products, processes, and systems.
  • MacDonald Gibson, an associate professor for the Department of Environmental Sciences at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, will work with RTI’s Keith Levine, Ph.D., and Donna Womack to address gaps in research regarding exposure to toxic metals through North Carolina private well water.
  • Muschkin, an associate research professor of public policy and director of the North Carolina Education Research Data Center, will assess the NC Department of Public Instruction’s Kindergarten Entry Formative Test for the potential risks it poses to students and how teachers utilize this assessment in practice. RTI’s Elizabeth Glennie, Ph.D., and Jean Lennon, Ph.D., will work with work with Muschkin to identify impacts and create a field survey surrounding the Kindergarten Entry Formative Test.
  • Relf, an associate professor of nursing and associate dean for global and community health affairs at the Duke University School of Nursing, will work with RTI’s Laura Nyblade, Ph.D., to culturally adapt an intervention for reducing internalized stigma among women living with HIV in East Africa as part of RTI’s International Development Group.
  • Zhang, a professor in the department of marine, earth, and atmospheric sciences, will work with RTI’s Prakash Doraiswamy, Ph.D., and Seung-Hyun Cho, Ph.D., looking at the economic cost of air pollution.

“Our work with the University Scholars Program has been incredibly productive for driving collaborations with university researchers performing state-of-the-art research, but also for introducing the Scholars to the breadth of scientific resources and expertise at RTI,” said James Harrington, Ph.D., the university research coordinator for the analytical sciences department at RTI.

Each academic year since 2014-2015, RTI has hosted University Scholars. Two scholars participated in the program’s inaugural year, seven in 2015-2016, and six in 2016-2017.

The program is currently open to faculty members from Duke and all 16 campuses of the University of North Carolina System.