Two West Virginia Wesleyan College faculty have been awarded supplemental funding for equipment and curriculum improvements used to attract the next generation of scientists. Chris DeRosa, assistant professor of chemistry, received an Instrumentation Grant and Jordana LaFantasie, assistant professor of biology, was awarded an Innovation Grant.
West Virginia Science & Research, a division of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, awarded five Instrumentation Grants and two Innovation Grants to professors from five colleges and universities within the state.
Instrumentation and Innovation Grants assist higher education institutions in providing necessary resources for undergraduate students to continue careers in science, mathematics and engineering. Instrumentation Grants allow the purchase of scientific equipment for advanced undergraduate laboratories. Innovation Grants fund improvements in scientific equipment, curriculum, minor renovations, classroom instruction, delivery and pedagogy.
DeRosa received $15,002 toward the purchase of an ultraviolet visual (UV/Vis) spectroscopy, a new tool to teach students color and concentration of molecules in solutions. “Undoubtedly, the skill and knowledge will give undergraduates and graduates an edge in finding jobs and internships or continuing education in graduate school,” stated DeRosa.
LaFantasie received $40,000 to modernize the biology curriculum using research-grade instrumentation for relevance and retention. The grant will allow WVWC to replace older equipment with instrumentation specific to plant physiology and field ecology. “The earlier students are trained to use modern instrumentation, the more positive their attitudes toward science, and the more likely they are to retain in a STEM field,” said LaFantasie.
In total, over $170,000 was awarded throughout the state. Other awardees were from Shepherd University, West Virginia University Institute of Technology, Fairmont State University, and Concord University.
For more information about Instrumentation and Innovation Grants, visit wvresearch.org/programs.
West Virginia Science & Research, a division of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission, directs the National Science Foundation’s Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) in West Virginia, while also managing state-funded academic research programs, including the Research Challenge Fund.