The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Professors awarded grant of $12,000

Three CSUN professors were each awarded a $12,000 fellowship by the John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation March 1 for their research on business, economic and public safety issues that impact the lives of Los Angeles citizens.

Chicano/a and women’s studies professor Marta Lopez-Garza, history professor Josh Sides and urban studies professor Ward Thomas were granted the recipients.

Lopez-Garza’s project, “Formerly Incarcerated Women and their Reintegration into the Community,” studies what Los Angeles women must endure after they are released from prison. The project is currently being made into a short documentary that is set to be completed by mid- to late fall, she said.

The Haynes Foundation grant will allow her to further her research and “have the opportunity to highlight what these women go through (?) the obstacles, the bureaucracy, the paperwork and the negative attitudes (from other people),” Lopez-Garza said.

“I think we all need to know what they go through and I want to be able to facilitate that understanding because the women are telling their own stories,” she said.

Lopez-Garza will be using the grant money “primarily?for the people who participate in the study” along with the technical help she requires such as her camera crew.

“We’re really grateful to the sources and we’re really enjoying (the documentary-making) process. The women themselves are amazing but using this medium as a way to present the research is a great venue.”

Sides, who has been teaching history at CSUN for two years, received the grant for his research, “Renewal Through Retail: Evaluating the Impact of Corporate Retailers in South Central Los Angeles.”

When he noticed a shopping area had been built on Slauson and Western in 2001 in South Central L.A., he became “interested in how these sorts of (large scale retail businesses) affected neighborhoods,” Sides said. “The basic rationale is these companies see what they consider to be an untapped market lapse frontier of retail” from neighborhoods that have been avoided because they are “historically poor.”

Sides said he applied for the Haynes grant because he was “driven by a question rather than a hypothesis,” and the money would allow him to research a project he otherwise would not have had the opportunity to begin without funding.

“I really wanted to pursue something with the Haynes Foundation, and (the subject) was something I was curious about,” he said. “Often times, the goal of our college is to conduct applied research, which has real world and real-time answers,” Sides said, and students directly benefit by getting up-to-date research.

Sides said he plans to release his report by December under CSUN’s unit of the Center for Southern California Studies (CSCS), of which he was recently named as director. Policymakers, he said, will hopefully use his research so that they have a clear and concrete basis on which to make decisions regarding zoning.

By publishing the paper under his new position at the CSCS, Sides said he also hopes to fulfill the “dynamic vision” of Dr. Stella Theodoulou, dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, of the center being the “first place that people will go to find the most current policy research.”

Thomas’ project, “Can We Breathe and be Economically Competitive? Air Quality Regulations and Technological Innovation in the Fabricated Metal Products Industry in L.A.,” studies the effects of regulatory agencies such as the South Coast Air Quality Management District, which controls the Los Angeles, Orange County, Riverside and San Bernardino areas.

“Generally, economists are opposed to environmental regulations because it constrains productivity and makes firms less competitive,” Thomas said. “But there’s an emerging line of thought that you can have regulations not only help clean up the environment, but also encourage firms to be more competitive.”

With a “dirty, polluted” industry such as fabricated metal products, a lot of pollution is being emitted into the air and ground, Thomas said, and among the toxic chemicals the industry uses are chromium, cadmium, nickel and lead. Lung ailments and various cancers are among the health risks that are posed by metal finishing companies, Thomas said, and the Haynes grant will help further his research into the ways in which these companies come up with their own processes or products that will help them be more efficient and reduce pollution as a result of environmental regulations.

Bill Burke, administrative director for the John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation, said the nine-member board bases its decisions on faculty fellowships by quality, originality and relevance to policy issues in the L.A. area.

“The CSUN professors’ grants really stand on their own. They’re well-written and they encapsulate the topics and research quite well,” Burke said. In addition, the board includes professionals and professors who are knowledgeable and have experience in social science issues.

“We hope (the research funded by the fellowships) will find its way into the mix when policy makers make decisions,” Burke said. Not only does it inform the policy makers, he said, but it also informs the professors’ peers and other individual researchers.

“Everybody in the community benefits by using their research as a jumping off point,” Burke said.

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