Mesalands to share in National Science Foundation funding for undergraduate research

November 2, 2015

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded $1.5 million to a network of community colleges including Mesalands Community College for the expansion of research opportunities to students.

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

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

Gretchen Gürtler, Director of Mesalands Community College’s Dinosaur Museum and Natural Sciences laboratory, responded to the news:

“The STEM (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,” Gürtler said. “Finger Lakes also provided 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.”

“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.”

Mesalands Community College will share in the latest four-year $1.5 million 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.

“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, President of Mesalands Community College

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.