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Recent Grant Awards

 

Principal Investigators: Mr. John Garner, Dr. Dan Bruton, Dr. David Cook

SFA Information Technology Services and the College of Sciences and Mathematics received a 2-year research grant totaling $497,346 from the National Science Foundation for the project “CC-NIE Networking Infrastructure: Data Driven Networking - Keeping SFA on the Map” (NSF award #1341010). According to Dr. Dan Bruton, co-PI of the project and Associate Dean of the College of Science and Mathematics, "The fiber optic installations funded by this project will increase our network speed by a factor of 10 at SFA.  This will expand research and teaching capabilities and improve capacity for data-driven research in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).  These infrastructure improvements will also enhance both graduate and undergraduate curricula in the STEM disciplines and allow for increased student participation in data-intensive research.”

Planned enhancements consist of two fiber optic installation builds. First a four mile build to allow the upgrade from 1gb/s to 10gb/s of SFA’s connection to state and national research and education networks including the Lonestar Education And Research Network (LEARN) and Internet 2. The second is an 11 mile build to connect the Walter C. Todd Agricultural Research complex to SFA main campus at 10 Gb/s capacity.

In addition to the fiber builds, the grant will also increase the capacity of data storage from 1 Gb/s to 10Gb/s. This increase in capacity provides a more rapid exchange of large data outside of the university’s protective firewall and will directly benefit the research endeavors in physics and astronomy, agriculture, biology, biotechnology, chemistry, computer science, mathematics and statistics, forestry, and geospatial sciences. According to Dr. David Cook, co-PI of the project and faculty of the department of Computer Science “the increased computing and networking capabilities will allow us to pursue research in network and data security, distributed architectures and processing, and parallel processing.  The award will allow our students to continue to have access to state-of-the-art technologies to further the practical aspect of their educational experience, and will also give our faculty increased opportunities for research and innovation."

System Network Administrator and PI of the project, John Garner, is enthusiastic about the backing recieved and results to come from the project. "I very much appreciate the support of the NSF and the confidence they show for SFA. I look forward to the completion of these infrastructure upgrades and their utilization in the academic, research and outreach missions of our university." Read abstract.

 

Principal Investigators: Dr. Theresa Coble, Dr. Matthew McBroom, Dr. Pat Stephens-Williams

The Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture received a 3-year grant totaling $247,149 from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS award #MP-00-12-0005-12, www.imls.gov) for the project “Science and the Public Interface: Equipping Museum Professionals to Engage Audiences Regarding Complex and Controversial Science Topics.” This project will bring together museum, state and federal agency and academic partners to jointly develop a sequence of five graduate-level online courses for informal science educators working at museums, science centers, parks, botanical gardens, zoos, planetariums, aquariums, environmental learning centers, refuges and visitor centers. Bill Nye has suggested, “We are in an era where we need special people to tell the rest of us what’s going on in science. For me, there is nothing more important or exciting than the creation of these kinds of translations, from the world of research to all of us—and sometimes back again.” SFA’s Master of Science in Resource Interpretation (MSRI) program, developed in conjunction with the National Park Service, has a 10-year track record of success. The Institute of Museum and Library Services, acknowledging the value of this online graduate program, has tasked SFA with the huge challenge of identifying best practices and instructional strategies for engaging the public regarding complex and controversial science topics.

Stephen F. Austin State University is leading this project with an amazing set of partners and collaborators: Chabot Space and Science Center, University of California-Berkeley, West Virginia University , NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (Earth to Sky Program and the Solar System Exploration Division), Monterey Bay Aquarium, National Park Service (Alaska Region and the Stephen T. Mather Training Center), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (National Conservation Training Center), Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center, and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Read abstract.

 

Principal Investigators: Dr. Lesa Beverly; Dr. Karen Embry Jenlink; Dr. Dennis Gravatt; Dr. Keith Hubbard

SFA College of Sciences and Mathematics has recently entered the second year of a five-year collaborative research program with Angelina College (AC) and Region 7 Ecucation Service Center funded by a ~$1.5 million grant from the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program of the National Science Foundation (NSF award #1136416). The program titled Talented Teachers in Training for Texas (T4) is designed to increase STEM teaching capacity and study the development of a research-based model for strengthening the STEM teacher pipeline.

In recognition of the immediate need to increase capacity of majors in STEM fields, each year T4 selects a candidate pool of 55 Noyce recruits from SFA and AC freshman and sophomore STEM majors. Noyce recruits participate in a two-week summer experience involving a math/science camp and STEM classroom observation. From this group, 20 highly-talented recruits, committed to a career in teaching, are chosen as Noyce scholars, each receiving intensive academic mentoring and a $15,000 annual scholarship during their junior and senior years.

SFA’s established educational partnerships form the critical STEM teacher pipeline of East Texas through which prospective teachers experience early exposure to STEM classrooms. The prospective teachers are initiated into a learning community of STEM scholars, and, in partnership with Region 7 ESC, are placed into high-needs districts that have committed to supporting teacher success in the classroom.

Researching teacher quality and effectiveness is a prime focus of SFA’s STEM Research and Learning Center. Through the STEM Center, T4 examines project data to discover effective recruitment, document longitudinal effects of collaborative preparation of highly qualified STEM teachers, explore sustained induction experiences in a rural environment, develop culturally responsive pedagogy, and learn how these teachers impact student success. Read abstract.