External Grants Funneled to NMU
Northern consistently secures grants from a variety of federal and state sources to support university research and programs. While by no means exhaustive, the following overview of recently obtained grants highlights the variety of university activities made possible with the help of external funding.
●Northern has received $40,000 as one of 24 nationwide "partners" selected to participate in the Earth System Science Education Alliance. ESSEA is a professional development program for pre-service and in-service middle and high school teachers. Partners receive funding and training to offer a series of online Earth system science courses aligned to national education standards. Working in collaborative groups, teachers who enroll can earn credit while learning how to incorporate inquiry-based classroom methods. "The grant money will support scholarships for teachers already working in the field to enroll in online courses based on programs already in place at Northern," said Mitchell Klett (Education). "It's specifically designed to encourage teachers to get their master's of science education degree at Northern. The first cohort of high school teachers started this fall; next fall, we will focus on the middle school level. Based on the number of queries we've received, we may have to rethink whether to offer 10 full scholarships as originally planned or 20 scholarships at 50 percent of tuition so that more teachers can participate." ESSEA is funded through a cooperative agreement awarded to the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies by the National Science Foundation. Klett said the grant is supplemented by an in-kind university match of $37,000.
●The United States Department of Education awarded Northern's Upward Bound program a grant of about $1.4 million. The grant went into effect Sept. 1 and will fund the entire program through August 31, 2011. Upward Bound is an educational program that helps high school students prepare for a college education. Locally, it helps students from Marquette, Negaunee, Ishpeming and Westwood high schools. To qualify, students must be the first generation in their families to pursue a four-year degree and their family's taxable income must fall below a certain level. Students in the program receive weekly tutoring services, monthly social activities, tickets for plays at Forest Roberts Theatre, an ACT fee waiver, college tours and a six-week summer academy. They also receive the Upward Bound Bridge College Scholarship, which pays for one four-credit summer course, textbook, tutoring and computer rental. Director Jeff Gagnon (Upward Bound) said the program is entirely supported by the federal grant and would cease to exist without it. The grant covers every aspect of the program, from the employees’ salaries to the day-to-day operations to the scholarships.
●The Upward Bound Mathematics and Science Program, which is independent from the Upward Bound Program mentioned above, was awarded a grant for nearly $289,000. The U.S. Department of Education rated the grant proposal to keep the Upward Bound Mathematics and Science Program among the top 10 percent. As a result, the grant will fund the program for five years instead of four, which is the usual allotted time span. The Upward Bound Mathematics and Science Program offers similar services to the Upward Bound Program, except it targets students pursuing a career in mathematics or science. Also, it works with schools all over the state. Julie Bowerman (Seaborg Center) is the director of the Upward Bound Mathematics and Science Program.
●The American Chemical Society’s Petroleum Research Fund awarded Frankie McCormick (Chemistry) a $40,000 grant. Students will contribute to all aspects of the research project, which is titled “Synthesis and Characterization of Novel Donor/Acceptor Molecules Based on Propellanes: A Probe of Nonclassical Conjugation.” The study is in the area of physical organic chemistry and is expected to answer basic questions about the electronic structure of organic molecules, as well as possibly provide a new class of transparent materials for use in nonlinear optics, electronics or energy transfer processes. Under McCormick’s supervision, students will synthesize, purify and characterize molecules using several chemical, analytical and spectroscopic techniques. If the work is successful, McCormick and her students will present their findings at a national conference and submit an article for publication in a scientific journal. “I am very excited about the research that we will carry out using the funds and look forward to working on the project over the next 20 months. I am also very thankful for the opportunity that this grant provides to my department, my students and myself,” McCormick said.