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Falk Students Among IVMF Fellowship Recipients

Three Falk College doctoral candidates recently received letters many researchers anxiously await to receive, yet often never do.
Front of the National Veterans Resource Center

Bernard D. Rostker G’66, G’70 and Louise C. Rostker G’68 have spent decades impacting the lives of others. As part of the Forever Orange campaign, they are now supporting Ph.D. candidates through the D’Aniello Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF).

Jacob DeBlois, Kyle Leister, and Rachel Linsner are being awarded financial support for their research projects through the Bernard D. and Louise C. Rostker IVMF dissertation research fund. Totaling more than $50,000, the funding supports interdisciplinary dissertation research on topics related to veteran and military families conducted by Ph.D. candidates through the D’Aniello Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF).

As an R1 research institute, it should come as no surprise that Syracuse University is a source for groundbreaking research across the vast array of disciplines available throughout its 13 schools and colleges. To conduct quality research, it can be a challenge to obtain the required funding. Surveys, focus groups, experiments, interviews and even observations require expenses, and that is before there is an attempt to publish the research and present it at conferences.

“The field of veterans studies crosses many disciplines and modes of inquiry, and this is certainly reflected in our five inaugural recipients,” says Nick Armstrong G’08, G’14, IVMF managing director for research and data. “The generous support provided by the Rostkers exemplifies what makes Syracuse University best-in-class and best for veterans—it provides rising scholars the resources and flexibility to pursue distinctive excellence, while at the same time addressing some of the leading challenges facing the veteran community.”

The funding, provided by Bernard G’66, G’70 and Louise Rostker G’68 through the Forever Orange Campaign, did not come with the typical restrictions due in part because of the personal experiences the couple went through in pursuing their own advanced degrees. The Rostkers have spent years dedicating time in support of military families. Bernard is a veteran of the U.S. Army and later served as a senior executive in the Department of Defense and Louise devoted herself to her lifetime career in social work, having a history of supporting education for military children and expanding employment opportunities for military spouses.

The combined total of $50,000 in funding will be dispersed between five recipients this year, each of whom have a research topic focused on the military-connected community. Learn more about Falk College’s 2022 fellowship recipients:

Jacob DeBlois Portrait

Jacob DeBlois

Ph.D. Candidate, Exercise Science

DeBlois’ research interests focus on the contribution of occupational stressors to the risk of cardiovascular disease. The topic first caught his attention during his undergraduate studies after working on projects funded by the Department of Homeland Security investigating firefighting tactics and the impact of those tactics on physiological outcomes. His dissertation, “The Occupational, Psychosocial, Biobehavioral and Physiological Determinants of Hypertension Risk Among Military Service Members,” seeks to explore the impact of occupational stressors on hypertension risk among a nationally representative sample of service members to determine if those with military combat exposure, injury or trauma and prolonged overseas deployments have higher blood pressure or physician diagnosed hypertension than those without similar experiences.

Kyle Leister Portrait

Kyle Leister

Ph.D. Candidate, Exercise Science

Leister’s research interests are focused on improving quality of care for amputees. Leister is a certified orthotist/prosthetist and has over seven years of practice and continues to treat patients in the clinical setting on a part-time basis. His dissertation, “Development and Cross Validation of a Prediction Equation for Estimating Step Count in Individuals With Transtibial Amputation,” seeks to develop and cross validate two equations to estimate daily step count based on two common clinical-based functional outcome measures and one patient-reported outcome measure.

Rachel Linsner Portrait

Rachel Linsner

Ph.D. Candidate, Human Development and Family Science

Linsner’s research interests focus on military families, specifically within child and family policies. She first started with the D’Aniello Institute in 2015 as a student researcher and is now a full-time research associate working in the research and evaluation division. Her dissertation, “Military Spouse Employment Status: Implications for Attitudes Toward the Military, Individual, Well-Being and Family Functioning,” will examine the relationships between military spouse employment status, attitudes towards the military, individual well-being and family functioning.

About Forever Orange: The Campaign for Syracuse University

Orange isn’t just our color. It’s our promise to leave the world better than we found it. Forever Orange: The Campaign for Syracuse University is poised to do just that. Fueled by more than 150 years of fearless firsts, together we can enhance academic excellence, transform the student experience and expand unique opportunities for learning and growth. Forever Orange endeavors to raise $1.5 billion in philanthropic support, inspire 125,000 individual donors to participate in the campaign, and actively engage one in five alumni in the life of the University. Now is the time to show the world what Orange can do.

~ Adapted from an SU News story by Charlie Poag originally published on Wednesday, November 30, 2022.