Tuesday, May 7, 2013

UNO Earns $315,000 National Science Foundation Grant for Summer Research Program

NSF GrantUNO undergraduate student Nooraldeen Alkurd participated in the 2012 UNO-AMRI summer research program. The University just received a $315,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to continue the program for the next three years.

The University of New Orleans is the recipient of a 3-year, $315,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to help fund the University's annual summer research program for undergraduate students, which is heavily focused on exposing minority students to scientific research. The NSF has funded the program, run by UNO's Department of Chemistry and Advanced Materials Research Institute, since 2003.

Over a 3-year period, the grant will support 24 undergraduate students and four teachers who will participate in the summer program in UNO's labs.

"Early research experiences are an extremely important tool in helping students succeed in science and technology careers," said Matthew Tarr, professor of chemistry, director of undergraduate research and principal investigator on the grant.

"We have an exceptional record of attracting female students and minority students; both groups are dramatically underrepresented in the physical sciences. Our success with undergraduates over the years has led NSF to award us our fourth grant to run this program. Educating the future generation of American scientists and engineers is crucial to the future of our country."

From 2003 to 2012, 79 undergraduates have participated in UNO's summer research program. Of those students, 66 percent were from minority groups, 56 percent were female and 30 percent were from historically black colleges and universities.

Participants conduct cutting-edge research on an independent project in chemistry, physics or materials science. In addition, weekly seminar programs allow for discussion of current scientific issues, general research concepts and scientific ethics. The program culminates with a poster presentation at the end of the summer. Travel awards are also available so that students can present their research results at a national scientific meeting.

The participating teachers will work in the research labs alongside the undergraduate students. The teachers will also attend a graduate course that will train them how to incorporate scientific concepts into their teaching practices.