Meadville Tribune

Local News

July 13, 2014

Allegheny College gains grants for community health, more

MEADVILLE — Allegheny College recently received four grants in support of initiatives both on campus and in the community.

Allegheny received the first installment of $300,000 toward a $750,000 grant from an anonymous donor in support of a project focused on improving community health. The grant supports programs related to food and nutrition and physical activity, including the creation of a model neighborhood garden as well as hiking and educational trails at the Meadville Area Recreation Complex (MARC).

The project is a collaborative venture between Allegheny and the MARC as well as the Crawford Central School District, Meadville Medical Center, Crawford County commissioners and Crawford County Career and Technical Center.

A second installment of $250,000 and a third of $200,000 will be awarded in 2015 and 2016, respectively, upon successful achievement of the previous year’s program goals. Kerstin Martin, Allegheny’s garden manager, is the project director.

The college also received a grant of $613,690 from the National Science Foundation (NSF) S-STEM program (Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) to extend the impact of a successful 2009 S-STEM grant that supported a program targeted at increasing the representation of students from under-represented groups in the sciences. The new project provides opportunities for academically talented, financially needy students to earn degrees in any of Allegheny’s natural science departments and to enter the workforce in science and technology fields.

The college is continuing to make every effort to ensure that under-represented students are aware of this opportunity. Professor of Physics Dan Willey and Professor of Geology Ron Cole are the project leaders. One hundred percent of the $613,690 cost of the project will be covered by federal funds through this NSF grant.

The National Science Foundation also awarded Marty Serra, professor of chemistry and biochemistry, a grant of $229,136 in support of his project Research at Undergraduate Institutions: Thermodynamics of RNA Structural Motifs. The grant provides funding for six Allegheny students over three years to collaborate with Serra, who holds the Paul E. and Mildred L. Hill Chair of Chemistry, in developing models to predict the structure of RNA molecules from their sequence. One hundred percent of the $229,136 cost of the project will be covered by federal funds through this NSF grant.

Allegheny received a grant of $85,000 from the Orris C. Hirtzel and Beatrice Dewey Hirtzel Memorial Foundation to support the development of an electroencephalography (EEG) laboratory that benefits hundreds of students each year who are enrolled in a range of neuroscience, psychology, biology and global health courses or who work with faculty on collaborative research projects in those fields. The EEG lab enhances Allegheny’s ability to offer students experience with state-of-the-art, research-quality instrumentation, which is important in preparing them for professional and graduate school. Allison Connell Pensky, assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience, is the project director for the development of the lab.

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