Science and math programs continue with the aid of grant funding

Posted on Monday, July 16, 2012

 Lauren Conway spends time in the lab working on her summer research project.
While many students are soaking up the sun during summer break, some students are spending their days in the classrooms and labs of Metz Hall. These students are conducting research projects, participating in enrichment programs and earning stipends made possible by grants from the Welch Foundation and the Department of Education.

OLLU’s chemistry department has received grants from the Welch Foundation, a private funding source for chemical research at colleges and universities in Texas, since 2004. The Foundation has contributed more than $160,000 to the University and assisted more than 30 students with their research projects and the recent renewal of the grant allows more students to participate in the research program.  

The grant provides funds for student stipends, travel to professional meetings, instrument maintenance and supplies devoted to research. Students who engage in summer research through the program receive a $3,200 stipend, which helps defray the costs of their research and travel expenses.

 Madison Martinez works on plastic samples in the lab.
OLLU received a $2.43 million grant from the Department of Education’s Title V-Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) Program in 2009. The grant, intended for the science and mathematics departments, provides funding for the chemistry, biology, physics and mathematics departments to update, upgrade, and renovate facilities and equipment. The grant also helps to fund research projects for students pursuing degrees in math or science. 

Several students are currently working on chemistry research projects that they will present in New Orleans during the 245th American Chemical Society National Meeting and Exposition in April 2013. Students are conducting their research under the supervision of Charles Smith, PhD, associate professor of chemistry, Teresita Mungia, PhD, assistant professor of chemistry and Robbie Kouri, associate professor of chemistry.

Smith notes the importance of the grant from the Welch Foundation. “We have obtained a lot of great equipment through other grants, but the funds we receive from the Welch Foundation allows us to maintain that equipment and it also allows the students to do research that they normally would not be able to do because of the costs associated with their projects.”

Students in the SMR3 program listen to 
a lecture during a off-campus trip.
Another program funded under the Title V grant is the Science and Mathematics Renovation, Retention and Research (SMR3) program. Through this program, OLLU students and students from local community colleges who plan to major in chemistry, biology, or mathematics at OLLU can participate in an academic enrichment program and earn a $1,500 stipend. During the month-long summer program, students attend classes and visit local professionals who work in the math and science field to gain an in-depth look at potential career opportunities.

Many graduates of the science and mathematics programs at OLLU have gone into graduate and professional programs at colleges and universities across the country, while others have chosen to start their careers right after graduation.

To learn more about the science and mathematics programs offered OLLU, click here