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NASA Awards West Virginia Wesleyan College Two Grants for Undergraduate Research

Mar 29, 2021

Buckhannon, W.Va. – New undergraduate research on the connections between climate change and the integrity of soil systems and the structure of crystals is underway at West Virginia Wesleyan College (WVWC) thanks to two grants from the National Aeronautical Space Administration (NASA) and the NASA-West Virginia Space Grant Consortium (WVSGC). The NASA-WVSGC Faculty Research Enhancement Award (REA) was given to Dr. Matthew Reid, an Assistant Professor of Biology at WVWC to pursue research on climate change and soil. In addition, NASA awarded a Faculty Research Award Grant to Dr. G. Albert Popson, Professor of Physics and Engineering at Wesleyan, to study the atomic structure of crystals. Both grants are for undergraduate research by Wesleyan students during the spring and summer of this year. The research will be led by both Reid and Popson. 

“West Virginia Wesleyan continues to pursue the latest in scientific research on key matters such as climate change and atomic structure thanks to the generous support of partners like NASA,” said Dr. Joseph Wiest, the Chair of WVWC’s Department of Physics, who also sits on the board of the NASA-WVSGC program. Wiest noted that Wesleyan has a long history with NASA, with WVWC graduates going on to work at the space agency. 

Popson concurred with the importance of these grant awards by NASA.

“These grants better support Wesleyan’s efforts to prepare our students for a future in science and engineering and help put them on a path of both educational and professional success,” Popson said. 

Reid outlined that the grants will allow Wesleyan researchers, which include students, to seek answers to some of the most pressing issues facing society today.

“We continue to study the full impact of climate change and thanks to the NASA-West Virginia Space Grant Consortium, we will pursue scientific answers to how climate change impacts soil integrity, which could have real-life applications when it comes to farming and access to clean water,” Reid said.

The grants will cover the costs of stipends for undergraduate students and faculty, as well as the costs of supplies to conduct the research.


West Virginia Wesleyan College (WVWC) is a private, four-year residential liberal arts college in Buckhannon, West Virginia. A tradition of excellence for more than 130 years, West Virginia Wesleyan is home to 14 Fulbright Scholars. The Princeton Review ranked Wesleyan one of its 2021 Best Colleges in the Southeastern Region of the United States. U.S. News & World Report’s 2021 Best College Rankings designated Wesleyan a “Top 20” Best Value – Regional Universities (South) and one of the “Top 75” Regional Universities (South). WVWC offers students more than 40 majors and 40 minors; graduate programs in athletic training, business administration, creative writing, and nursing; 22 NCAA Division II athletic programs; multiple performing arts groups; and more than 70 organizations. Founded in 1890, the College is closely affiliated with the United Methodist Church and abides by the Wesley doctrine that emphasizes service to others. For more information, visit