Zhang and Petersen by PPRB building sign

Grant Writing Residency Program Participants Submit Proposals to Investigate Climate Change, Externalizing Behaviors


Two participants of the Public Policy Center’s Grant Writing Residency Program(GWRP) recently submitted their innovative grant proposals which pursue issues of climate change communication and the development of externalizing behaviors.

Bingbing Zhang, assistant professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, submitted the proposal, “Communicating Climate Injustice: The Effects of Solution Journalism on Climate Change Public Engagement Among Marginalized Communities and the General Public,” to the Waterhouse Family Institute. Zhang plans to investigate how “solution journalism” depicts climate change injustice and how it affects the perceptions and responses of both the general public and of marginalized communities. “While news media serves as a primary conduit for the public to comprehend the negative effects of climate change on marginalized groups, its reporting often falls short in fostering public engagement with the issue,” said Zhang. “This work will be important in finding more strategic ways to report such issues and to bolster awareness, efficacy, and engagement in both mitigating and adapting to climate change.”    

Bingbing Zhang, Assistant Professor, School of Journalism and Mass Communication, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences


Isaac Petersen, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences 

    Isaac Petersen, assistant professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, submitted the proposal, “Precision Phenotyping of the Externalizing Spectrum on a Developmentally Informed, Common Metric Across Infancy to Adulthood,” to the National Institute of Mental Health. Petersen aims to develop a new assessment system for capturing developmental changes in externalizing behavior problems, such as physical aggression or substance use. According to Petersen, externalizing problems “look different” across developmental periods and current assessments do not sufficiently account for those differences. By developing a system to account for the changing manifestation of externalizing behavior from infancy to adulthood, Petersen expects to improve the detection of mechanisms in the long-term development of externalizing behavior.

During the GWRP, Petersen and Zhang were provided space and support to develop their grant proposals. Through bi-weekly meetings in the Grant Writer’s Circle, the GWRP participants provided brief updates on their progress and received personalized feedback and support from PPC staff. “It was immensely helpful to have the PPC office space where I could block off time to write the proposal, and to have deadlines for accountability,” said Petersen. “In addition, all of the feedback provided by Mark, Ethan, and Kris was very helpful in making the proposal as strong as possible.” In addition to finding the bi-weekly meetings and structured approach to the GWRP to be helpful, Zhang reflected, “I also appreciate the emotional support offered by the GWRP. The grant application process is lengthy and requires persistence, with no immediate gratification."

Through the GWRP, participants also receive up to $1,500 in funding for research expenses that boost the competitiveness of their proposals. Zhang, for instance, utilized the funding offered by the program for pilot study data collection. Petersen utilized the PPC’s monetary support to fund participant compensation and collection of preliminary data.

The next round of applications for the Grant Writing Residency Program are anticipated to open in Fall 2024. For more information, visit the Grant Writing Residency Program (GWRP)