Michigan State University’s Rick Wash is the recipient of a Faculty Early Career Development grant, one of the National Science Foundation’s most prestigious and competitive awards for junior researchers.
Also known as a CAREER grant, the $489,678 award will help fund Wash’s research related to online communities.
"This grant will allow me to continue my work understanding how people make reasoned decisions about their use of technology and will allow me to continue discovering more about how groups function online," said Wash, an assistant professor with appointments in the School of Journalism and the Department of Telecommunication, Information Studies and Media.
"It will help me to explore in detail how online groups develop, how people decide whether they should participate in these groups, and whether they should keep participating once they have joined."
CAREER awards recognize promising faculty in the early stages of their careers who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research.
Wash's research, titled “Mental Models and Critical Mass: Shaping the Success of Online Communities,” will help in designing, managing and participating in many kinds of online communities and will contribute to information, cognitive and social sciences education.
Wash is one of the primary investigators in the Behavior, Information and Technology Lab, a group of social science and technology researchers in the College of Communication Arts and Sciences.
The grant will support at least one Ph.D. student for five years and a number of undergraduate or master student research assistants. It also will help support the BITLab and the research being produced there.