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Beacon Newsletter

September 2020


Greetings from BEACON at Salisbury University –

Somewhere in the Cloud!


In BEACON‘s 30 year history, we have never faced a new academic year with this much uncertainty. To date, the year 2020 has been a mixed bag. Our project volume is significantly higher than previous years, but the offices and cubicles in the BEACON suite have been empty since late March. Members of our team have been working from home and doing an exceptional job under exceptionally trying circumstances. Our two new graduate assistants and our new undergraduate research associate have hit the ground running. As impressive as this virtual work process has been, it cannot fully replace the physical BEACON work environment. The BEACON suite was custom designed with all the relevant technology and the optimal physical configuration to facilitate the work of our teams. We hope, one day soon, we will be able to return to our BEACON space on campus. In the meantime, we are becoming experts at Zoom, WebEx, Microsoft Teams and now Google Teams. We have even held a few FaceTime chats with team members. Our SMS and email volume is through the roof. Since we have realized a significant boost to our productivity during this “Work from Home” time, we will study the reasons behind this and see if we can learn some useful lessons for BEACON’s post-pandemic operations.


Dr. Memo Diriker, Director                                           Dr. Sarah Guy, Associate Director

BEACON Project News


BEACON Summer 2020 Recap


As a new semester begins, we at BEACON take the opportunity to share with our readers what kept us busy during the summer months.


COVID-19 forced our team to adapt to a virtual telework environment almost overnight. The BEACON team was able to pivot seamlessly, keeping projects on track while also bringing in new, externally funded projects. A major highlight of the summer was BEACON’s partnership with the Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce to host eight webinars on exploring the likely economic scenarios during the current pandemic. These webinars enjoyed the support of many local and regional organizations, including the Greater Salisbury Committee and Salisbury - Wicomico Economic Development (SWED). In addition, we joined forces with the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore and the United Way of the Lower Eastern Shore to host 12 webinars and online planning sessions focusing on "Post-Pandemic Strategic Thinking for Social Enterprises." 


The BEACON team also was able to continue working on a number of externally funded applied business and economic research projects throughout the summer. Two of these project were undertaken in partnership with the Somerset and Wicomico county health departments. These  “Overdose Data to Action” – or OD2A –  projects were funded through grants from the Maryland Department of Health. 


Our team also was retained by the Worcester County Department of Recreation, Parks, Tourism and Economic Development to help them evaluate and administer over $2 million in Workforce Back to Business COVID-19 Assistance Grants. Based on BEACON’s evaluation of applications, funding was allocated to eligible small businesses and farm operations to partially cover their losses due to the pandemic. 


Toward the end of the summer, the BEACON team initiated work on a project we will undertake in partnership with Salisbury University’s Department of Geography and Geosciences. For this project, we will conduct a “3-E” (Effectiveness-Efficiency-Evidence) analysis of the proposed Delmarva Meteorological Mesoscale Network (MesoNet) Project originated by NASA at Wallops Island. The results of this analysis will be used to determine funding allocation models for the new weather towers. This network of towers, when fully deployed, will help enhance Wallop’s capabilities in providing science-to-solutions throughout our region.


Student Spotlight: Kaitlyn Causey

My name is Kaitlyn Causey and I am a new graduate research assistant with BEACON at Salisbury University. I graduated from SU’s Honors College in May 2020 with a double major in marketing and information systems. During my time as an undergrad, I spent two years as a Student Business Leader for the Perdue School of Business and two years being a resident assistant in the St. Martin and Manokin residence halls.

This past summer, I worked for a dog training facility in Eden, MD, called K9 Heeling. At K9 Heeling, I was in charge of all marketing campaigns, filming and editing dog training videos, and designing and updating the company’s production website. Due to K9 Heeling being a small company, I was able to work very closely with the CEO and gain valuable business knowledge that I hope to apply to my role at BEACON this year. 


Being new to BEACON, I am not entirely sure what my role will look like – especially with the shift to working remotely. Regardless, I am super excited to make new connections with my fellow BEACONites, conduct research and get exposure to solving “real-world” business problems. During my four years of undergrad at SU, I have heard nothing but great things about BEACON and the team behind it. I am incredibly grateful to become a member of their group and simultaneously earn my M.B.A. 


Upon graduation in May 2021, I plan to take everything I have learned from working at BEACON and transfer it to a corporate job setting – preferably in either the hospitality or pet care industry. However, with the current state of travel, pet care seems a little more attainable.

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Contact Information

1101 Camden Ave.

Perdue Hall, Suite 100

Salisbury, MD 21801


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