Undergraduate Education Program

Grant Abstracts 2013

Central Washington University

Blaise Dondji
Ellensburg, WA
$250,000
December 2013

Flow cytometry is a current gold standard tool used in both basic research, clinical research and routinely in clinical settings.  It allows the scientist to sort particles based on their physical and chemical properties.  It can allow one to physically purify the population of interest.  Flow cytometry has applications in a diverse range of fields including genetics, immunology, marine biology, molecular biology, protein engineering and medicine.  Yet at Central Washington University (CWU), flow cytometry is used minimally to conduct undergraduate research but not in teaching laboratories.  Traveling over 200 miles and renting equipment over the course of her research recently allowed one undergraduate student to compete for and secure a summer fellowship at the International Training Center for Global Infectious Diseases Research program of the Yale School of Medicine, CT in 2011.  This proposal seeks to expand and improve undergraduate student learning, research, and career currency by intently introducing and utilizing flow cytometry to 1) Enhance undergraduate student classroom experience; 2) Expand undergraduate student research; 3) Increase exposure of undergraduate student-produced work; 4) Improve currency of student skills; and 5) Explore regional collaborations and contracting.

Concordia University

John Kenney
Irvine, CA
$250,000
December 2013

Exemplifying Concordia University’s commitment to promote transformative educational and scholarly experiences in the sciences, it is proposed to establish a new Center for Astronomy.  The Center will provide significant opportunities for involvement in hands-on astronomical research, education, and outreach.  The centerpiece will be an on-campus observatory comprised of 10”, 12”, and 17” telescopes and a 4” solar telescope housed in a state-of-the-art, remote enabled, roll-off-roof observatory.  The telescopes will be fitted with CCD cameras and spectrographs.  In addition to the on-campus facility, an advanced spectrograph will be fabricated and a wide-field CCD camera will be acquired for use at the Manzanita Observatory’s 48” telescope operated by Tierra Astronomical Institute, with whom Concordia is an active partner.  The Center and Manzanita Observatory will support all levels of student studies from labs for introductory classes to advanced research projects on the spectroscopic analysis of interacting binary stars.  Astronomy outreach activities will be directed to low-income K-12 students in nearby communities and to selected K-12 schools on both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts via web-driven, remote-enabled astronomy using the Center telescopes.

LeTourneau University

Karen Rispin
Longview, TX
$250,000
December 2013

LeTourneau University researchers have seen dramatic improvement in student motivation by combining active learning and student involvement with human disability in small research projects.  This project will expand on that foundation by establishing an Interdisciplinary Mobility Lab based on a collaborative structure among biology, kinesiology, and engineering faculty and students.  The principles of active learning and empathetic motivation will be implemented in three objectives: increased undergraduate engagement in human mobility research, increased impact of related courses through development of active learning modules and course projects, and dissemination of knowledge gained from the pedagogical approaches and enhanced scientific research.  This project will directly impact approximately one fourth of the traditional student body.  Undergraduate students will gain a new understanding of the value of the material learned in the class room and the contribution they can provide by working on human mobility projects.  Student learning, empathetic understanding, and career objectives will be enabled, producing graduates who make an impact for the greater good.

University of Puget Sound

Siddarth Ramakrishnan
Tacoma, WA
$250,000
December 2013

One important way to break the intimidation barrier to science and its methodologies is to make science more accessible and fun.  Using TED-style talks, community partnerships, NeuroArt workshops, and hands-on research experiences, University of Puget Sound will create a culture of neuroscience in our community.  While neuroscience is becoming a ubiquitous part of our lives with daily media blurbs, widespread misinformation exists regarding the brain and brain disorders.  Unfortunately, access to education and resources is restricted to research labs and institutions with little direct access for youth and the community at large.  The vision of this project is to cultivate an environment of neuroscience research education alongside continuous public dialog and engagement.  The team will expand its nascent neuroscience program and develop the new Initiative for NeuroCulture.  Existing neuroscience classes coupled with the strengths of the interdisciplinary faculty from biology, psychology, exercise science, occupational/physical therapy, computer science, philosophy, and bioethics will provide a foundation for the work.  New lab courses; novel curricular and research techniques; summer NeuroArt workshops with K-12 partners; and seminars, exhibitions, and blogs on issues of neuroethics, neural disorders, and consciousness will enhance student learning, train faculty, and engage the community.  The Initiative for NeuroCulture will bring together a wide range of faculty supported by local partnerships with the Tacoma Art Museum and the Science and Math Institute of the Tacoma Public Schools.

California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obsipo

James L. Hanson
San Luis Obispo, CA
$250,000
June 2013

The Global Waste Research Institute at Cal Poly is proposing to broadly incorporate management issues and environmental impact of emerging waste and byproduct streams in the undergraduate STEM curriculum. In particular, waste management aspects of nanotechnology are proposed to be integrated into the curriculum. Advancements have been made in the manufacture and use of nanomaterials with commercial applications and available products numbering in the thousands. However, the short and long term environmental impacts of these new materials and effectiveness of common waste management technologies for nanomaterials are largely unknown. Teaching and learning tools related to nanowaste management, including course content, classroom and laboratory exercises, databases, and modules will be developed. The integrated curriculum will be delivered to several hundred students each year through a wide variety of courses offered in nine disciplines (technical and nontechnical). The deliverables developed in the project will provide scalable models for adoption in other higher education settings and for other emerging waste streams. Students (and thus the next generation of workforce and graduate students) will be equipped with awareness and accompanying interdisciplinary technical skill required for providing solutions to emerging global environmental problems.

California State University, San Bernardino

Erik Melchiorre
San Bernardino, CA
$250,000
June 2013

The faculty of the department of geological sciences proposes to use state of the art energy dispersive x ray fluorescence analyzers to conduct quantitative geochemical analyses in the field as part of a program to strengthen and expand the department’s undergraduate research and educational programs. Initial projects fall into two main categories, geochemistry and volcanology. These will include the study of lead and zinc-impacted soils, arsenic mobility and distribution, and the development of a unique set of reference standards for analyzing volcanic rocks. These standards will allow field-based geochemical studies in volcanology such as the differentiation of lava flows, the correlation of ash beds, and the generation of chemo stratigraphies of volcanic successions to be undertaken. The success of these studies in obtaining rapid, quantitative analyses in the field has the potential to significantly impact the study of volcanic and other deposits. This program will not only reinforce the department’s commitment to academic excellence, but will greatly enhance the ability of geology majors to succeed after graduation by promoting their technical and scientific knowledge as well as their self confidence.

San Jose State University

Joseph J. Pesek
San Jose, CA
$250,000
June 2013

This project focuses on the introduction of a new technology into the laboratory curriculum of courses where the analysis of biological or physiological samples is essential to current practice in the field. Undergraduate students will utilize the technology to develop discipline specific experiments that will be made available to the entire academic community through open access media. The generic process for the experiments will be documented so that instructors in other disciplines or with other goals for their curriculum can modify or establish appropriate teaching tools. This project specifically involves a combined research effort to enhance aqueous normal phase chromatography, a new technology developed at San Jose State University, and to extend this analytical method to teaching laboratories in chemistry, biology, forensic science, and chemical & materials engineering. The primary focus is an integration of cutting edge interdisciplinary research by undergraduate students with curriculum development involving four departments in three different colleges.

Site design: <a href="http://www.formativegroup.com/">Formative Inc.</a>