Larry Medsker, Ph.D., professor of physics and computer science, Sharon Small, Ph.D, assistant professor of computer science and director of the Siena College Institute for Artificial Intelligence, Jon Bannon, Ph.D, associate professor of mathematics, Michele McColgan, Ph.D., assistant professor of physics, Jodi O’Donnell, Ph.D., associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, and Lucas Tucker, Ph.D., assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry, have been awarded a $618,689 "Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics" (S-STEM) grant from the National Science Foundation to support students majoring in STEM fields. Other program personnel include Mary Anne Egan, Robin Flatland, Darren Lim, Jim Matthews and Scott Vandenberg. In addition to providing scholarships of up to $10,000 per year for over 40 talented students with financial need, the program will provide faculty mentoring, expanded undergraduate research opportunities and expanded advising services. This program builds on the success of our previous S-STEM grant, which supported 45 talented undergraduates and accomplished a graduation rate of higher than 90%.
The School of Science has been awarded a $75,000 grant from the George I. Alden Trust to support the Siena Advanced Instrumentation and Technology (SAInT) Center. The grant will be used toward the purchase of a Scanning Electron Microscope, which uses an electron beam to obtain high resolution images. This microscope, which has wide-ranging applications across chemistry, biochemistry, physics, biology, materials science and engineering, will be integrated into the curriculum. In addition, several faculty research groups will utilize the microscope and involve undergraduate researchers in hands-on use of the instrument. Beyond enhancing educational and research opportunities for our students, the grant will foster job placement by helping students gain key skills that are needed in the region's growing semiconductor industry.
In strategic partnership with the Office of International Programs at Siena College, a grant for $25,000 has been awarded to FAE Centro Universitario, a Franciscan university in Curitiba, Brazil. The grant comes through the100K Strong in the Americas program sponsored by the US Department of State. With this grant, FAE Centro Universitario will implement a four-week summer program in Brazilian Portuguese for Siena students, scheduled for mid-May to mid-June 2015. Interested students and faculty may contact the Office of International Programs for more information.
Katherine Meierdiercks, Ph.D., assistant professor of environmental studies, was awarded a $9,975 grant from the New York State Water Resources Institute. This award will support the study of the effectiveness of stormwater management practices at the watershed scale through geospatial, field, and modeling analyses and involve Siena students in this research.
John Moustakas, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, was awarded a $10,034 grant from the Space Telescope Science Institute to analyze the deepest and sharpest observations of the sky ever obtained with the Hubble Space Telescope. This project will be part of his larger program to understand the formation of the first galaxies to form in the 14-billion year history of the universe.
Allan Weatherwax, Ph.D., dean of the school of science and professor of physics, was awarded $61,323 from NASA for the design, construction, testing, and post flight evaluation of particle and field instrumentation for space weather research. The Visions (VISualizing Ion Outflow via Neutral atom imaging during a Substorm) mission is a sounding rocket mission that launched in early February 2013 with the purpose of further improving the understanding of some of the basic transport mechanisms during Auroral events. MILENA (MIniaturized Low-energy Energetic Neutral Atom imager) is a particle instrument on the Visions sounding rocket that was developed as a result of collaboration between NASA and Siena College. Under the current grant, Siena College will provide recommendations for improvements to the instrument design based on the performance of the instrument and the scientific goals of future missions. The grant will also support updates to the engineering design of an additional system to take into account lessons learned during the recent rocket flight.
Allan Weatherwax, Ph.D., dean of the school of science and professor of physics, was awarded $185,362 from the National Science Foundation to study Earth's tenuous upper atmosphere. The ionosphere-thermosphere-magnetosphere (ITM) region constitutes the Earth's upper atmosphere that is part of larger Geospace environment, and ITM is a portal upon which the solar wind energy and momentum enter and impact the entire Geospace domain. This project will support studies of interrelated ITM phenomena observed at high latitudes through the coordinated and collaborative instruments deployed across Antarctica. The research will be conducted in collaboration with the New Jersey Institute of Technology, Johns Hopkins University and the University of New Hampshire. It will also involve Siena undergraduates who will assist with instrument deployment, data collection and analysis.
Katherine Meierdiercks, Ph.D., assistant professor of environmental studies, Kevin Rhoads, Ph.D., associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, Mary Beth Kolozsvary, Ph.D., assistant professor of environmental studies, and Jean Mangun, Ph.D., professor and chair of environmental studies, were awarded a $20,275 grant from the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission in partnership with New York State’s Department of Environmental Conservation’s Hudson River Estuary Program. This award will support the study of flooding and water quality issues in the Kromma Kill watershed and involve Siena students in this research.
Mathew Bellis, Ph.D., assistant professor of physics, was awarded $204,000 from the National Science Foundation to work with the Cornell University High Energy Physics Group on the Compact Muon Solenoid experiment at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. The grant will also enable Siena undergraduates to participate in data analyses collected from the experiment, which is one of the premier experiments in particle physics today.
Andrea Smith-Hunter, Ph.D., professor of management and professor of sociology, was awarded $5,000 from the Times Union Hope Fund to design and implement a new program titled Educating Dynamic Girl Entrepreneurs (EDGE). This program will serve students from the Albany Leadership Charter High School for Girls, bringing them to the Siena campus to learn entrepreneurship and business skills.
Mathew Johnson ’93, Ph.D., associate professor of sociology and director of academic and community engagement (ACE), was awarded $60,000 as part of a federally-funded New York State Education Department grant to the City of Albany School District for after school and summer enrichment programming. The Office of Academic and Community Engagement will develop and implement the Siena College Citizenship TeenCorps program, adapted from the Bonner Foundation’s proven model of youth development through civic engagement.
Paul Murray, Ph.D., professor of sociology, was awarded the “Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle” film set and a $1,200 programming stipend from the Gilder Lehrman Institute on behalf of the Bridging Cultures initiative of the National Endowment for the Humanities. The grant will be used for public film screenings and discussion events focusing on themes in the films.