UConn to receive $2.1 million in federal grants
Funds will be distributed to graduate students in five different departments
Published: Thursday, October 11, 2012
Updated: Thursday, October 11, 2012 00:10
Departments of the UConn graduate school will receive $2.1 million in federal grants over the next three years.
At UConn, five different departments will be receiving portions of the Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (Gann): the School of Nursing; Neag School of Education, department of chemical, materials and biomolecular engineering; department of electrical and computer engineering; and the Office of the Provost in collaboration with the school of engineering.
Grants are awarded annually to institutions of higher education from the US Department of Education. The funds are distributed in the form of fellowships to students pursuing the highest degree in areas deemed in “national need.”
The interim vice provost for graduate studies and dean of the graduate school, Kent Holsinger, said the grant speaks volumes about the quality of UConn’s graduate school.
“Few institutions receive more than one of these awards,” Holsinger said. “For UConn to receive five is a remarkable achievement and a testament to the quality of the graduate programs in which these fellowships will be awarded.”
The funds are awarded to students at the discretion of the grant-winning department. Recipients are selected on merit and financial need and are selected from the pool of students who have gone through the admissions process. The fellowships are used partly to cover tuition and fees but may also be used to cover books, computer hardware or other expenses incurred throughout a student’s research.
Mun Choi, the interim provost and executive vice president for academic affairs of the department of mechanical engineering, said the grant money provided to the Office of the Provost and engineering department is for research in sustainable green energy and will allow the department to give out about 100 different fellowships.
The School of Nursing will be receiving the largest grant at $540,000. Carol Polifroni, an associate professor of nursing instruction and research, said this grant is in response to the nation’s growing need for nursing educators.
“You read all the time there’s a shortage of nurses, but there’s a bigger shortage for nursing faculty,” Polifroni said. “This money lets us provide students with the opportunity even if they’re not financially able.”
John Chandy, the associate head of the department of electrical and computer engineering, said this grant is significant for American students pursing careers as engineers.
“The biggest benefit is that it allows us to recruit American students into our graduate program,” Chandy said. “In engineering we’ve relied a lot on foreign students and these grants allows us to attract and keep American students.”
Chandy’s department has been a GAANN recipient for the past three years and a new award this year will provide fellowships for students to continue research and training to increase the security of computer systems.
A grant was also awarded to the Neag School of Education to develop a way to increase the number psychometricians—people skilled at measuring psychological elements such as knowledge and personality traits—and educational research methodologists. This grant was awarded based on the national need for increased accountability in education a clear means of measuring improvement.