$707,569 NSF grant awarded for labs

Jul 01, 2010

The National Science Foundation has awarded Delaware Valley College a grant of $707,569 to renovate three campus science laboratories. The award is effective Oct. 1.

This is the first large-scale NSF grant ever received by the college.

The three renovated labs will make up the Integrated Multidisciplinary Science Education and Research Facility. The labs will be for biology, chemistry and interdisciplinary research, including faculty-assisted student research. Student research is an increasingly important part of a science education at the college.

“Students will complete laboratory courses in state of the art facilities in a way that is even more hands on,” said Benjamin Rusiloski, dean of Business, Education, Arts and Sciences and director of the project.

The NSF awarded the grant as part of its Academic Research Infrastructure – Recovery and Reinvestment program.

President Joseph S. Brosnan views the grant as one step among many that will enhance Delaware Valley College’s reputation as a college known for the life and physical sciences.

“We are both proud and delighted that the National Science Foundation has recognized Delaware Valley College as a place in which to invest,” he said. “This magnificent resource will allow us to continue attracting top students in the sciences. It comes at a time when our plans call for the elevation of all academic programs, especially in the life and physical sciences.”

Seventy-five percent of laboratory time in the discipline-specific laboratories and 100 percent of the time in the interdisciplinary laboratory will be used for faculty supervised student research.

A new course that focuses on student research has been designed and approved.

Students will drive this course, working closely with a mentor to explore a topic of their choosing. Five student projects have been approved for the fall.

Projects include: a comparison between the effectiveness of herbal remedies and antibiotics in treating common bacterial conditions, a study on the evolution of circulatory systems in animals and an analysis of a hydrogen fuel cell.

Rusiloski said student research will encourage critical thinking, team work and enhance already strong mentor relationships between students and science faculty.

“DelVal already does a good job with hands on experience in laboratories and through the Employment Program,” said Dean Rusiloski. “Research adds another important component of an experiential learning system.”