The Office of Research offers multiple internal funding opportunities to stimulate and support research, creative, and scholarly endeavors of Appalachian faculty and staff. This page contains listings of internal grants that have been funded by the Office of Research, including: App-COVID-19 multidisciplinary research cluster mini-grants and Scholarship of Diversity Equity & Inclusion grants.


App-COVID-19 multidisciplinary research cluster mini-grant

Appalachian State University is supporting multidisciplinary regionally-responsive research on COVID-19 in an effort to generate information and knowledge helpful to our community. The following projects are being funded:


A spatiotemporal investigation of crisis events among adolescents and young adults following the COVID-19 pandemic in Rural Envi

Maggie Sugg, PhD, Jennifer Runkle, PhD, Kurt Michael, PhD

Results from this evaluation will inform the development of more effective Crisis Text Line-derived preventive and early intervention crisis service delivery to mitigate the psychological distress and provide for targeted youth interventions during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Factors contributing to the spread of COVID-19 in Nursing Homes

Sandi Lane, PhD, Adam Hege, PhD, Lakshmi Iyer, PhD, Maggie Sugg, PhD, Trent Spaulding, PhD

Research findings can assist policymakers, emergency management agencies, public health, regional, state and county health leaders, and nursing home organizations in their prevention planning and mitigation strategies. 

Assessing and Mapping the Socioeconomic Determinants of COVID-19 Risk

Lauren Andersen, Maggie Sugg, PhD, Jennifer Runkle, PhD, Elizabeth Shay, PhD, Rene’ Salinas, PhD

This study will examine underlying disparities in COVID-19 risk factors at a sub-county level using statistical analysis, geographic information science, and mapping techniques. resulting in a series of maps highlighting populations particularly vulnerable to COVID-19, which will enable targeted interventions and resource allocations across North Carolina.

Integrative Physiologic Consequences of COVID-19

Stephen Ratchford, PhD, Jonathan Stickford, PhD, Abigail Stickford, PhD

This research will longitudinally track the long-term physiologic consequences of pulmonary, autonomic, and vascular function during recovery from COVID-19, lay the foundation as control data, and allow the investigative team to cross-sectionally evaluate emerging COVID-19 therapeutics and vaccines in the future.

Preparing for High-Impact Research by ASU Scholars through Stakeholder Consultation and Participatory Health Systems Modeling

Brian Burke, PhD, Aniseh Bro, PhD, Jason Snyder, Richard Rheingans, PhD

This research will contribute to the knowledge needs of key stakeholder in our health research system and can lead to the development of more comprehensive and accurate system maps/models, which will better identify health services gaps, unintended consequences, and system vulnerabilities.

Social Distancing and Physical Activity on Greenways and Rail Trails

Richard Christiana, PhD

The results of this project will inform and assist local health departments and trail land managers to effectively promote social distancing practices among trail users in their communities during COVID-19 and to plan for future pandemics.

Modeling the Spread of COVID-19 at a University Situated in a Seasonally Variable Community

Quinn Morris, PhD, Rene’ Salinas, PhD, Lynn Siefferman, PhD,  Brian Burke, PhD 

This research will develop a two-component model of disease spread in Watauga County which can predict the likelihood of an outbreak on Appalachian State University's campus and in the community and also determine the efficacy of potential interventions in the event of an outbreak. 

Family Physical Activity During COVID-19

Brooke Towner, PhD, Becki Battista, PhD, Robert Broce, PhD, Richard W. Christiana, PhD

Understanding how physical activity changed and potentially impacted mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic will be beneficial to future planning efforts of educators, health professionals, recreation managers, city and town planners, and other physical activity focused organizations. 

Scholarship of Diversity Equity & Inclusion Grant  

Appalachian State University is supporting research that will assist in developing a vision and commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, and in fostering and sustaining diversity through Appalachian State University and the community. The following projects are being funded:


Locating Practices of Inclusive Excellence within the Writing Classroom

Belinda Walzer, PhD

This assessment aims to establish best practices and directions for future professional development and curriculum design in the RC program. The goal is to contribute to this body of research by specifically studying practices of inclusivity and diversity at a large regional state institution situated in the Appalachian Mountains that is working actively to promote inclusive excellence.

Peer-to-peer Prescription & Support Program for Outdoor Physical Activity: An Intervention among Scholars with Diverse Abilities

Jana James, PhD, Becki Battista, PhD, Tiana Eovaldi

This project will add to our understanding of how to encourage ALL people to be active in outdoor settings. The HOPE Lab is interdisciplinary (Public Health, Exercise Science, Physical Education & Recreation). Each field will be impacted by this project through gaining a better understanding of a potential strategy that can be used to improve well-being as well as encourage leisure time activities.

Black Male Brilliance: Defining Success of First-Year Black Males & Implications for Higher

Will Sheppard, EdD, Brandy Bryson, PhD, Adrian Anderson

This study demonstrates great promise in how higher education institutions, both HBCU and PWI, can better hone the strengths of academically achieving Black males and bolster Black males in need of additional support.

Bachelor’s Degree Bound: Exploring the Institutional Choices and Transition Experiences of Rural Transfer Students

Sonja Ardoin, PhD and Andres Koricich, PhD 

Findings will address the influence of rurality on choice and transitions which can aid in increased pursuit and completion of bachelor’s degrees.

Helping Underrepresented and First-Generation Students SOAR

Carol Babyak, PhD, Claudia Cartaya-Marin, PhD, Trina Palmer, PhD, Vicky Kilma, PhD

The SOAR model could be of interest to other universities and their assessment could lead to a better understanding of what makes a summer bridge program successful.  The ultimate goal of SOAR is to increase the number of underrepresented and first-generation students in STEM majors, creating a more inclusive environment. 

The Challenge of Culturally Responsive Teaching in NC Community Colleges

Vachel Miller, PhD., Stacey Garrett, PhD, Chris Gilbert, Julie Dillon

Based on these interpretations, they will propose a set of potential action steps for the advancement of culturally responsive, equity-oriented instructional practices and professional development. These recommendations can be shared with the North Carolina Community College system’s Student Success Center, as part of its larger project to implement an “Equity and Excellence Action Plan”. 

Into the Workplace: Understanding the upwardly mobile experience post-higher education

Jacqueline Tilton, PhD

The findings from this project will have both theoretical and practical import. First, in answering calls to consider social class in organizational science, this research promises to provide new insights into how social class “works” in work organizations. Second, the research will provide new understanding regarding the experiences and implications of upward mobility for recent graduates and new employees, thus filling a significant gap in extant research. 

Ideologies about African Americans in YMCA discourse during the Reconstruction

Daniel Theriault, PhD and Marion Harrison, PhD

The goal of data analysis is to map the ideologies and assumptions which underlie discussions of African Americans in YMCA discourse. Mapping this terrain is essential to retelling leisure history in a manner which centers people of color.

Resource Utilization Tracking System

Lee Cope

The goal of this project is to understand if specific programming or events correlate with greater academic performance in order to make recommendations on where to focus Appalachian resources.