June 30, 2006
Vol. 36, Issue 12
Back Issues
$6M for student aid
What teenagers want
House bill supports South Lawn
The power of food
Charting a new course for Semester at Sea
Leaps and bounds
Joyriders vs. jaywalkers
Declaration of Independence exhibit at library open on July 4
African-American Affairs summer film series
Heritage Repertory Theatre indulges in 'Nunsense'
Fixing the hands of time


Headlines @ U.Va.

he Jack Kent Cooke Foundation yesterday announced that it will award $8 million in grants to create programs to help low-income students navigate the college admissions process. Eight grants, of $1 million each, will be awarded to colleges or universities nationwide. Each college would create a “college advising corps,” a group of recent graduates trained to help high school students apply to college and secure financial aid. The mentors also would work with community college students. The foundation has awarded about $1.1 million to the University of Virginia to fund a similar program. In the school year that recently ended, 14 U.Va. graduates worked as college guides in schools across the state. (Washington Post, June 23)

U.Va. researchers say they’ve determined people’s physical condition affects how they view their environment. The scientists investigated the impact of fatigue, physical ability and potential bodily endangerment on how we perceive our environment. They found people have a natural tendency to view hills as steeper when they are tired, less physically able, or carrying a heavy load. Likewise, inclines appear greater and the distance to the ground appears farther when there is a perceived risk of injury. The author of the study — psychology professor Dennis Proffitt — attributes that perceptual variance to the instinctive need to conserve energy and protect ourselves from harm. “The visually specified layout of the environment is modulated in perception in ways that promote effective, efficient, and safe behavior,” said Proffitt. (United Press International, June 15)

A study co-authored by a U.Va. professor suggests that seniors citizens will die in car accidents at a higher rate in the years ahead as America’s 75 million baby boomers age, grow more frail and continue to drive. ... “In general, older people are more susceptible to injury than younger people,” said Richard Kent, assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at U.Va.’s School of Engineering and Applied Science. “As the population ages, the ratio of women to men also changes, going from 1-to-1 for young people to 100 women for every 35 men by age 85. And women tend to be more frail than men, making them more susceptible to injury.” Kent studied the characteristics of car accidents and the nature of injuries sustained by older drivers in a research project titled “On the Fatal Crash Experience of Older Drivers.”

The resulting paper, co-authored with Basem Henary, research associate, mechanical and aerospace engineering at U.Va. and Fumio Matsuoka, project manager for vehicle safety, Vehicle Engineering Division, Toyota Motor Corp., Japan, was recently named the Best Scientific Paper for 2005 by the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine in Barrington, Ill., an organization dedicated to the prevention and control of injuries from motor vehicle accidents. The researchers’ goal was to identify unique aspects of older-driver crashes — in particular, the body region injured, the severity of the crash and the circumstances surrounding fatal crashes in which they were involved — with an eye to identifying patterns that could be used in developing new technologies to assist seniors in driving safely.
(Insurance Journal, June 15)

U.Va. has big plans to build a big barge. The school wants to launch the barge on the Elizabeth River, one of the state’s most polluted waterways, to educate the public about environmental pollution and to do research. (Richmond Times-Dispatch, June 18)



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