Mesalands gets a portion of $1.8 million grant

Staff Report

Mesalands Community College is set to receive a portion of a $1.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation designed for the expansion of research opportunities to students.

The grant was awarded to the Community College Undergraduate Research Initiative, a project launched by Finger Lakes Community College in upstate New York.

Mesalands Community College will share in the latest four-year grant, along with FLCC and dozens of other schools in the CCURI network, including Mesa Community College in Arizona, Ivy Technical Community College in Indiana, Oklahoma City Community College, Moreno Valley College in California, and Seminole State College in Florida.

FLCC received a $3.35 million grant in 2011 to share its model for teaching science through research with other community colleges across the country.

“It’s very exciting that our students will continue to receive funding for their ongoing and future undergraduate research projects, which support our county and our region,” said Dr. Thomas W. Newsom, Mesalands’ president.

In the last four years, FLCC has provided training and support for Mesalands to launch its own student research projects. Students enrolled Mesalands’ Natural Sciences Department are learning scientific principles and procedures as part of paleontological studies and water research projects.

“The Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics faculty development opportunities provided by Finger Lakes Community College have given several faculty members at Mesalands the opportunity to learn the latest laboratory and field techniques, said Gretchen Gurtler, director of Mesalands’ Dinosaur Museum and Natural Sciences laboratory.

Gurtler said FLCC also provides financial support for Mesalands students to travel throughout the country to present their research.

“I am thrilled that the National Science Foundation will continue to fund student research opportunities and faculty development for the next four years,” Gurtler said.

“At Finger Lakes Community College, we believe the best way to teach science is to do science,” said James Hewlett, FLCC professor of biology and director of CCURI. “Mesalands Community College has been a great partner in implementing this approach across the country.”

This grant is part of the National Science Foundation’s fund for improving undergraduate education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). For more information on the grant project, called “Community College Undergraduate Research Initiative: Creating a Culture of Change,” visit Visit Mesalands’ partner link at the same address.

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