SIUC awarded several grants during intersession

By Gus Bode

Coal research, humanities and NASA given major grants

Several SIUC programs were the recipients of grants during the intersession period.

The largest of these grants was the $2 million awarded to coal research at the University May 20 by the U.S. Department of Energy. The grant will give researchers working with coal the opportunity to work with a private corporation to test new designs for infiltration

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“This is a nationwide project that’s important to not only this region where there’s lots of coal-mining, but all over to help make power plants cleaner,” said John Mead, director of the SIUC coal research center. “We want to make it so that coal will not create additional air pollution.”

The money awarded from the grant will not only go to cleaning coal, but also to improve the level of coal-burning emissions so that one day it will be comparable to that of natural gas.

The Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program awarded another important grant recently given to SIUC. The award is a memorial to a black astronaut and physicist who died in the Challenger space disaster in the early 1980s. Its purpose is to motivate first generation, low-income students. Particularly, those who plan to pursue a degree in the sciences where there is small minority representation.

SIUC is one of 155 schools to receive the grant out of the 301 campuses that applied for the award. The grant will last four years and will accommodate 20 McNair scholars selected by the University each year to receive the honor.

“The McNair scholarship offers minorities training in underrepresented fields so they receive a more personalized education,” said Prudence Rice, acting assistant vice-chancellor for research and director of office research development administration. “We try to give them the training they need to one day serve as role models and reach their long-term goals.

“The University has a long and strong commitment to first generation college students.”

Another place on the SIUC campus that is scheduled to receive funding is Upward Bound, a program that also assists low-income high school students who will be the first in their family to attend college.

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Upward Bound, which has existed on the SIUC campus since 1978 and caters to 11 area high schools, received $372,716 from the Department of Education for this year. The grant will be awarded to SIUC over a period of four years, with Congress deciding each year what amount to bestow upon the program.

According to director Donnell Wilson, the grant will be used to further improve resources for the program, which takes place during six weeks of the summer and on Saturdays in the regular school year.

At these times, the 50 students in attendance during the summer, and the 80 during the regular school year, take classes to improve their study skills, and other techniques taught in the classroom setting.

Other major grants awarded during intersession included the $182,000 National Aeronautics and Space Administration grant, which will help the University with studies concerning the geodynamics of the lithosphere, and several humanities grants.

Reporter Jessica Yorama can be reached at [email protected]

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