Past Grant Announcements
John Moustakas, Ph.D., assistant professor of physics and astronomy, was awarded a $15,398 grant from the Space Telescope Science Institute to analyze the deepest and sharpest observations of the sky ever obtained with the Hubble Space Telescope. In addition, he was awarded a$10,000 grant from the Spitzer Science Center to analyze extremely deep infrared observations of the sky obtained using the Spitzer Space Telescope. These observations are part of his broader research program to discover and understand the formation of the very first galaxies to form in the 14-billion year history of the Universe.
Sharon Small, Ph.D, assistant professor of computer science and director of the Siena College Institute for Artificial Intelligence, and Larry Medsker, Ph.D., professor of physics and computer science, have been awarded a prestigious Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Other senior personnel on the grant include James Booker, Ph.D., professor of economics, Vera Eccarius-Kelly, Ph.D., professor of political science and Darren Lim, Ph.D., associate professor of computer science. Titled “REU Site: Undergraduate Research on Artificial Intelligence and Text Analysis,” this grant for $359,923 will provide a unique opportunity for undergraduates to develop research expertise in the field of Artificial Intelligence under the guidance of the Siena College Institute for Artificial Intelligence (SCIAI). Students from across the nation will apply to participate in this ten-week program as REU Scholars. The NSF REU grant is typically awarded to large research institutions and highly selective liberal arts colleges. Of the 70 existing REU programs under NSF’s Directorate for Computer & Information Science & Engineering, only three take place at undergraduate institutions. As such, this grant acknowledges the high level of excellence of Siena’s undergraduate research programs. More information about the program can be found at www2.siena.edu/reu.
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., associate 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.
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.
The Siena College/Hudson Link Prison Education Program was awarded a $30,000 College Access Challenge Grant through the Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC) of New York State to support college preparatory programming. This programming helps bridge the gap between GED-level and college-level learning, ensuring that incarcerated students enrolling in Siena College courses have the necessary skills to succeed.
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.
Siena College received two grants to support its prison education program, which offers courses to inmates at an area correctional facility. The Raskob Foundation awarded a grant of $20,000 and an anonymous foundation awarded a grant of $40,000. The funding will be used to purchase textbooks and supplies, reimburse instructors for mileage and pay instructors a modest honorarium for their efforts.
Jodi O’Donnell, Ph.D., assistant professor of chemistry, and Lucas Tucker, Ph.D., assistant professor of chemistry, were awarded $75,000 from the Research Corporation for Science Advancement to study cholesteric liquid crystalline porphyrins and their efficacy as VOC sensors. The combination of the liquid crystal’s responsiveness to external stimuli and the porphyrin’s ability to sense volatile organics should yield platforms for chemical sensing with the flexibility to modulate sensor response by numerous synthetic routes.
Stephen Deyrup, Ph.D., assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry, was awarded $5,000 from the American Society of Pharmacognosy. The grant will be used to purchase equipment to support his research on the elicitation of new antibiotics from fungi through biorational culturing.
Joshua Alexander, Ph.D., assistant professor of philosophy, was awarded $110,809 from the Fuller Theological Seminary through a grant program sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation. The grant will support his research that explores the relationship between intellectual disagreement and the capacity to be open-minded, focusing on the role that specific cognitive dispositions, as well as specific contextual and situational factors, play in the capacity to be open-minded in the face of cognitive diversity.
Michael O’Brien, Lecturer in Chemistry, and Alicia Todaro, Lecturer in Chemistry, were awarded $49,973 through a NYS Department of Environmental Conservation grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. This grant will advance green chemistry by focusing on toxic reductions in chemistry classrooms in NYS schools. By employing more environmentally benign reagents and solvents, green chemistry is effective in reducing hazardous exposures affecting human health and hazardous waste disposal that might find its way into the environment
John Moustakas, Ph.D., assistant professor of physics, was awarded a $20,715 grant from the Space Telescope Science Institute to analyze Hubble Space Telescope observations to help ascertain how high-redshift galaxies assemble their stellar mass.
John Moustakas, Ph.D., assistant professor of physics, was awarded a $15,390 grant from the Space Telescope Science Institute to analyze Hubble Space Telescope observations to help determine why galaxies stop forming new stars when they are gravitationally pulled into galaxy clusters.
Adam Mason, Ph.D., assistant professor of biology, was awarded a $362,000 National Science Foundation research grant to study morphogenesis, a critical component of development by which embryonic structures are molded to generate the final adult forms. This work has the potential to contribute to the understanding of the mechanisms underlying birth defects and human disorders associated with defects in vesicular transport or sex determination. The grant will provide funding for Mason, Stephanie Vernooy, Ph.D., visiting assistant professor of biology, and a team of undergraduate research students.
Katherine Meierdiercks, Ph.D., assistant professor of environmental studies, was awarded a $1,400 grant to support a Siena student team to compete in the NYS Pollution Prevention Institute’s 2nd Annual Student Competition.
Brad Henry, Ph.D., assistant professor of mathematics and Jon Bannon, Ph.D., associate professor of mathematics, were awarded a $5,000 grant from the Educational Advancement Foundation to develop inquiry-based learning materials. These materials will help students develop research skills as they expand their understanding of knot theory.
Allan Weatherwax, Ph.D., professor of physics and dean of the school of science, was awarded a $564,805 grant for Major Research Instrumentation from the National Science Foundation. In collaboration with colleagues at the University of Calgary and assistance from Siena undergraduate students, the Space Science Laboratory at Siena College will build the world’s foremost facility for imaging high-energy electron precipitation and remote sensing high-energy particle dynamics in near-Earth space. This will involve the design, testing and building of a synchronous direct digital receiver that will form the foundation of the next-generation VLF-HF receivers/riometers.
Mathew Johnson ’93, Ph.D., associate professor of sociology and director of academic and community engagement (ACE), was awarded an additional $25,000 continuation grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) to support Siena’s Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) program. Funding will be used to support 34 VISTA placements across various not-for-profit agencies in partnership with ACE. The total grant program managed by Siena College and financially supported and administered by CNCS totals $3,299,441.
Michele McColgan, Ph.D., assistant professor of physics, Robert Colesante, Ph. D., professor of education, and Don Biggs, Ph.D., visiting scholar of education, were awarded a $30,000 continuation grant from the Albany City School District to support Siena’s Urban Scholars program. This program brings middle school students to Siena for enrichment experiences that promote their gifts and talents, operating on the premise that all youth possess or are capable of developing above-average abilities and high levels of motivation and creativity.
George Barnes, Ph.D., assistant professor of chemistry, was awarded an Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment computer time grant that is supported by the National Science Foundation. This non-monetary grant provided computational resources to perform modeling of chemical reactions.
Jennifer Dorsey, Ph.D., associate professor of history and director of the McCormick Center for the Study of the American Revolution, was awarded a $175,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The grant supports the development of “Heaven on Earth: Shakers, Religious Revival and Social Reform in America,” a weeklong workshop that focuses on the history, contributions and legacies of American Shakers as a model for understanding the utopian impulse in American History. Eighty K-12 teachers from around the country will attend the workshop on the Siena campus and at three landmark historic sites: Watervliet Shaker National Historic District (the original Shaker site in America), Shaker Museum Mount Lebanon and Hancock Shaker Village. They will also explore the collection of Shaker documents housed at the New York State Library and view the comprehensive collection of Shaker artifacts held by the New York State Museum.
Michele McColgan, Ph.D., assistant professor of physics,Robert Colesante, Ph. D., professor of education, and Don Biggs, Ph.D., visiting scholar of education, were awarded a $71,000 grant to partner with the Albany City School District on a NYS College Access Challenge Grant to increase the percentage of Hackett Middle School students who plan to pursue a college education. Siena’s role in the multi-organization program will be to provide seminars that enable college and career exploration, as well as engage the students in science, technology and math projects designed to strengthen their motivation and performance in these areas. Several of the seminars will include parent/family participation.
John Cummings, Ph.D., assistant professor of physics, was awarded a $243,689 grant from the National Science Foundation to continue his particle physics research that contributes to the Daya Bay Reactor Neutrino Experiment, an international collaboration of physicists responsible for findings that could pave the way for explanations of why matter exists in the universe. This program provides research opportunities for undergraduates and exposes them to exciting particle physics developments at the Brookhaven Laboratory and in China.
Allan Weatherwax, Ph.D., professor of physics and dean of the school of science, was awarded a $57,971 grant from the National Science Foundation to continue his atmospheric studies through the development and delivery of a suite of miniaturized detectors for optical, radio and energetic radiation measurements of lightning to the FireStation International Space Station.
Katherine Meierdiercks, Ph.D., assistant professor of environmental studies, was awarded a $9,521 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 enables the study of flooding and water quality issues in the Kromma Kill watershed.