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Saint Mary's College Receives NSF Grant for Undergraduate Research

For Immediate Release
Michael McAlpin
Director of Media Relations
(925) 631-4222

(Moraga, Calif., April 27, 2009) - The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded Saint Mary's College of California a one-year $117,000 grant for undergraduate research. The award will support the College's new initiative Bay Bridge Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU).

The NSF grant provides for 10 students to participate in the College's undergraduate research initiative and conduct research in the life, physical, social and behavioral sciences. The 10-week program begins June 2009. This new program complements the College's existing summer research program, which has been administered for more than 10 years.

Saint Mary's students will comprise up to half of the cohort, with the remaining students coming from other colleges and universities. The program also aims to serve students from local community colleges, women and minority students.

The REU program combines multidisciplinary scientific research with research ethics, education, and communication of science. The Bay Bridge REU project is a collaborative educational undertaking among faculty from the College's School of Science, School of Liberal Arts, and the Kalmanovitz School of Education.

Under the direction of a faculty mentor in the student's science discipline, each student will conduct lab based or field research on a project and, collectively, the students will explore issues such as ethics in research and more effective ways of communicating scientific topics and issues to the media, government officials and the public.

"The NSF receives hundreds of proposals from across the nation. Receiving this grant is an emblem of our academic excellence and capable faculty," said Ronald Olowin, who chairs the College's physics and astronomy department and is one of the principal investigators for the Bay Bridge REU program.

The Bay Bridge REU grant award was made through the NSF's Research Experiences for Undergraduates program. The NSF's national REU initiative started 23 years ago in order to enhance undergraduate research experiences and ensure an adequate supply of quality scientists and engineers for the future.