News and Analysis

GW increased funding for the Yellow Ribbon Program, a program that provides funding for tuition and fees not covered by the G.I. Bill for qualifying veterans and dependents, according to a University release.

This increase means GW will provide funding up to $22,000 for undergraduate students, up to $14,000 for graduate students and up to $17,150 for law school students, according to the release. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs will match that funding up to full tuition and fees.

The benefits are available to any qualifying student veteran or dependent who applies, and can be requested through GWeb, the release stated. GW has participated in the Yellow Ribbon Program since 2009.

Victoria Pridemore, the associate director of military and student services said in the release that the Yellow Ribbon Program at GW makes education “affordable and accessible” for student veterans and their families and increases diversity on campus.

“These students bring real life experiences, diverse backgrounds and maturity to the GW community,” Pridemore said. “They are leaders and scholars who are often eager to lead through service, advocacy and education.”

There are more than 1,800 veterans, military service members and dependents enrolled at GW and that number increased by nearly 50 percent between 2013 and 2015, according to the release.

  • Permalink
  • Comments
D.C. Fire and EMS extingished a fire in Muson Hall Monday afternoon. Dan Rich | Photo Editor

D.C. Fire and EMS extingished a fire in Muson Hall Monday afternoon. Dan Rich | Photo Editor

Updated: June 6, 2016 at 5:18 p.m.

D.C. Fire and EMS responders extinguished a “small fire” in Munson Hall Monday afternoon, an agency spokesman said.

D.C. Fire and EMS spokesman Vito Maggiolo said a firefighter “suffered a non-serious injury” while responding to the fire. He said EMS personnel were treating the firefighter but could not confirm whether he was taken to a hospital.

Maggiolo said 35 firefighters responded to the fire before 2 p.m. He said responders are still trying to determine the cause of the fire.

“They’ll work on determining a cause,” he said around 2 p.m. “It’s a little early.”

Maggiolo said the call was to an address on H Street, but the responders were redirected to Munson Hall on I street.

University spokesman Kurtis Hiatt said officers in the University Police Department and D.C. Fire and EMS responded to the fire at 1:40 p.m. UPD “proceeded to evacuate the building immediately.”

He said there are currently 155 residents in the building, which houses non-GW residents in the summer.

“Damage was contained to the roof deck, which will remain closed until repairs are made,” Hiatt said.

  • Permalink
  • Comments

Updated: June 3, 2016 at 4:12 p.m.

Students will no longer have to wait for the Chik-fil-A truck to roll up to campus: Chik-fil-A is one of five restaurants coming to District House this fall.

The District House basement will host five restaurants, according to a University release Friday.

Wiseguy NY Pizza, its sister restaurant Beef ‘n’ Bread, Chick-fil-A, GRK Fresh Greek and Sol Mexican Grill will all lease space in the building. All of the restaurants already have locations in other parts of D.C.

The restaurants are expected to open this fall and will be on the same level as a student lounge and meeting spaces. Officials will select a sixth vendor for the space at a later date, according to the release.

  • Permalink
  • Comments
Thursday, June 2, 2016 5:43 p.m.

Homeland security center partners with IBM

IBM is partnering with GW’s homeland security center to support its research on security policy.

The tech-giant is helping to create four task forces with the GW Center for Cyber and Homeland Security on cybersecurity, counterterrorism and intelligence, homeland security strategy and preparedness and infrastructure resilience, the website ExecutiveBiz reported.

The panels will be a collaboration of U.S. and international policymakers, governments, industry members and academic experts, according to ExecutiveBiz.

In a blog post, John Lainhart and Christopher Ballister from the IBM Center for the Business of Government said discussions between the center and IBM are “ongoing how we can work together in future activities that can help government move forward in developing solutions that promote predictive security intelligence.”

Lainhart is a member of the center’s board of directors.

The center, which launched in January 2015, also houses the Program on Extremism, which has gained media attention by researching ISIS, including the group’s social media use.

  • Permalink
  • Comments
Hatchet file photo.

Hatchet file photo.

A researcher in the Milken School of Public Health found that nearly 17 million women and children in 24 sub-Saharan African countries are responsible for collecting water and carrying it long distances home – a task that may harm their health – according to a press release.

Although other studies have looked at the lack of access to clean water in these countries, Jay Graham, a professor of environmental and occupational health in the Milken school, and his colleagues were the first to look at the “absolute number affected and the gender imbalance in water collection labor,” a task that often takes more than 30 minutes per trip, according to the release.

“The journey to collect water every day harms health, uses up limited human energy and takes time away from other opportunities,” Graham said in the release. “By reducing the distance to water – preferably by having water piped to each property – many women and girls would be freed up for work, school or other activities.”

The researchers looked at data from international survey programs and determined that adult women were the primary collectors of water across the 24 countries, from 46 percent in Liberia to 90 percent in Cote d’Ivoire, according to the release.

Graham said in the release that carrying the heavy jugs of water, weighing 40 pounds or more, can cause health problems like pressure on the skeletal system that can lead to early arthritis or spinal pain.

Researchers also found that girls were much more likely than boys to be responsible for water collection – 62 percent and 38 percent respectively, according to the release. The effects on children included health problems like exposure to unclean water that can lead to serious diseases and missing school.

Graham added that women and girls are more prone to sexual violence while on water collection trips.

“We didn’t look at the underlying reason for the gender imbalance in water collection,” Graham said in the release. “However, in some African countries collecting water is considered a low status job and often falls to women and girls.”

Graham and the other researchers created a new metric that “allows public health leaders to plug in numbers of females versus males to get the gender ratio of water collectors,” according to the release. Graham added that he hopes his study will allow these public health leaders to take a closer look at the gender imbalance and attempt to fix it.

“Our study suggests water collection by children and gender ratios should be considered when measuring a nation’s progress toward providing better access to water,” Graham said in the release.

  • Permalink
  • Comments

A researcher from GW found in a study published this week that students who enroll in certificate, associate or bachelor’s degree programs at for-profit institutions generally experience a decline in earnings and greater debt five or six years after attendance, Inside Higher Ed reported.

Stephanie Riegg Cellini, a professor of public policy and public administration and economics, and Nicholas Turner, an employee of the Office of Tax Analysis at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, collected information from the U.S. Department of Education and the Internal Revenue Service on 1.4 million students who enrolled at for-profit institutions between 2006 and 2008, according to the article. They found that these students experienced lower earnings relative to their own earnings before enrolling.

“The most compelling result in our study is that, on average, students in certificate programs in for-profit institutions have lower earnings than demographically similar students in public community colleges, who pay a lot less for their education,” Cellini said in an email. “On average, for-profit students experienced declines in earnings after attendance while public sector students experienced earnings gains.”

Cellini added that she became interested in studying the for-profit college sector in graduate school when she saw late-night commercials that promised graduates flexible scheduling and high earnings.

“No one was studying these schools at the time, and I wondered if their claims could be true,” she said in an email. “Back then, there were very little data on these institutions, so it is really exciting to finally be able to look at student outcomes in this sector with a large, representative data set.”

Cellini said they found their results by calculating the difference between students’ annual earnings five to six years before enrollment and their earnings five to six years after attendance. She said this approach helped control some of the students’ unobservable characteristics, like their natural abilities.

“We then compared this after-before difference for students in for-profit certificate programs to the difference for similar public sector students to net out the effects of the Great Recession and other common experiences of students in the years we study,” Cellini said in the email.

The effects of the economic downturn in 2008, which occurred around the same time the study was conducted, is not the only potential issue the researchers point out: Students at for-profit colleges often leave the programs before they complete their degrees, according to Inside Higher Ed.

Cellini said that the results of her research are not very “encouraging” for the for-profit sector and may prompt changes within those institutions.

“We need to take a careful look at the schools in the sector and consider additional regulation for poor-performing institutions,” Cellini said in an email. “We also need to make sure students have adequate information about their future earnings and the debt they may incur if they attend one of these institutions.”

  • Permalink
  • Comments

The GW Cancer Center received a $1 million donation to create a postdoctoral fellowship, the School of Medicine and Health Sciences announced last week.

The center will now house the Albert L. Tucker and Elizabeth T. Tucker Postdoctoral Fellowship which was sponsored by the Albert L. Tucker and Elizabeth T. Tucker Foundation for $1 million. The proceeds will support the postdoctoral training of one promising young cancer researcher each year, according to a release.

Eduardo Sotomayor, the director of the GW Cancer Center, said in the release that the center is grateful for the support from the Tucker Foundation.

“It will enable us to provide valuable training to a fellow who will make a difference in the field of cancer research,” Sotomayor said in the release. “We know that through gifts like this one, that GW Cancer Center will foster innovation and discovery in cancer research and clinical care.”

The GW Cancer Center, announced in 2013, is a collaboration between GW Hospital, GW Medical Faculty Associates, and SMHS, and also partners with the Milken Institute School of Public Health. Sotomayor joined GW last year after a years-long search to fill the position.

The Albert L. Tucker and Elizabeth T. Tucker Foundation was established in 1995 and provides financial support to hospitals and medical centers.

“The Tucker Foundation has provided funding for similar positions in the healthcare community in Washington, D.C., and has watched with great pride the achievements of the young medical scientists who have been sponsored through the generosity and foresight of the Foundation’s two founders – Albert and Elizabeth Tucker,” Nicholas McConnell, the president of the Albert L. Tucker and Elizabeth T. Tucker Foundation, said in the release.

  • Permalink
  • Comments

A GW employee was arrested last week in Eckles Library for assaulting another employee, a University spokeswoman confirmed Thursday.

University spokeswoman Maralee Csellar said in an email that one employee reported minor injuries after another employee hit him “with a piece of equipment.”

“No guns or other weapons were involved,” she said.

The two employees were in a “verbal altercation” before one of them “picked up a silver metal object and began to strike” the other man in the head and face, causing “lacerations and bruises,” according to an arrest document from the Metropolitan Police Department.

The employee who was assaulted is not named in the documents, but the report states that he is 36 years old, male and a resident of northwest D.C. He was transported to Georgetown University Hospital for treatment, according to the document.

  • Permalink
  • Comments
The Avenir Foundation donated $5 million to the GW Museum and Textile Museum, the University announced Thursday.  Hatchet File Photo. Jordan McDonald | Hatchet Photographer

The Avenir Foundation donated $5 million to the GW Museum and Textile Museum, the University announced Thursday. Hatchet file photo by Jordan McDonald | Hatchet Staff Photographer

The Avenir Foundation donated $5 million to update the conservation facility for the George Washington University Museum and Textile Museum, the University announced Thursday.

The facility, which will now be named the Avenir Foundation Conservation and Collections Resource Center, is located on the Virginia Science and Technology Campus. Officials will use the donation to purchase equipment for preserving items in the museum like a vacuum for cleaning the textiles gently and a microscope to study the weave structures of the items, according to a release.

The money will also go toward an endowment fund to hire and train conservation staff and cover other costs for the conservation lab in Virginia, the release stated.

The $5 million was given in two parts – partially in 2014 to purchase custom storage for the museum’s exhibits and for an endowed chair at the museum, and $2.19 million this March to create the Avenir Foundation Endowment for Textile Museum Conservation, according to the release.

The foundation, based in Colorado, supports projects in the arts and humanities, and has donated to the Textile Museum since 1994, the release stated.

John Wetenhall, the director of the GW and Textile museums, said in the release that the “significant” donation will be put toward the long-term preservation of the textiles.

“The textiles in our collections highlight the stories of diverse populations around the world,” he said in the release. “We are committed to preserving these textiles as we continue to showcase one of the world’s premiere collections of textiles.”

  • Permalink
  • Comments

The Department of Energy will award $430,000 to the GW’s Solar Institute to fund a two-year education project, according to a release Thursday.

Working in partnership with GW Planet Forward and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the Solar Institute will develop a series of multimedia materials to educate firefighters, real estate agents, financiers and others about solar energy.

Amit Ronen, the director of the Solar Institute, said in the release that as solar energy becomes more popular, it is necessary to educate people about its benefits and risks. For example, firefighters may need training to know how to put out a fire on a rooftop solar panel, he said.

“We know our target audiences are super busy and don’t have the time or patience to sit through a day long training, so our goal is to use cutting-edge multimedia tools that will provide them with concise information in accessible and entertaining formats,” Ronen said.

The award comes from the Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative, a $10 million project aimed at educating the public about solar energy. The project will connect veterans with jobs in the solar industry through the Solar Ready Vets program.

The multimedia series funded through the grant will include educational and entertaining videos to explain topics that the Solar Institute will choose via a survey. The videos will be available to the public on the Solar Institute’s website.

Students and participants of Planet Forward, founded by School of Media and Public Affairs Director Frank Sesno, will produce and edit videos.

“Storytelling can have immense impact to communicate information, best practices and the excitement of innovation,” Sesno said in a release. “Nowhere is this more apparent than in the story of solar, which is changing the energy landscape.”

  • Permalink
  • Comments