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Dominion Foundation Grant Will Support Lab Modules on Sustainable Energy Resources

Public Relations
Posted: Monday Nov 12, 2012

Nov. 12, 2012

The Dominion Foundation recently presented a $25,000 award to Saint Vincent College that will be used to develop and implement laboratory modules on sustainable energy resources and the impact of energy on the environment.

The grant is part of the Dominion Foundation’s Higher Education Partnership Program, which has awarded a total of $1 million in grants to 32 college and post-secondary schools across 10 states for projects in renewable energy, environmental studies, engineering and workforce development.

“They will be integrated into undergraduate courses targeted for both science and non-science majors,” noted Dr. Caryl Fish, associate professor of chemistry and project director. “The purpose of the modules is for students to better understand contemporary energy issues and gain experience with alternative energy (biofuels and solar energy) and the effects of conventional energy sources on the environment.”

“By varying the questions asked and the type of data collected, these modules would be transferable to other courses in subsequent years, expanding the curriculum so that a majority of future graduates will have enhanced knowledge of environmental energy issues,” she added.
“Two of the modules will focus on measuring the amount of energy from different sources such as solar energy, biofuels, coal, etc. In the other two, students will evaluate whether conventional energy resources (coal mining and natural gas drilling) impact the aquatic environment through water sampling and analysis. The lessons will emphasize the science of evaluating these energy sources. The funds provided by this award will provide the equipment needed to develop and implement these modules. In addition to my work as project director, the modules will be developed by faculty members Dr. Steven Gravelle, associate professor of chemistry, and Dr. Cynthia Walter, associate professor of biology, as part of their ongoing efforts to enhance and improve education at Saint Vincent College.”

The presentation was made by Jim Mesloh, executive director of the Dominion Foundation, during a recent visit to campus accompanied by Benjamin Kroeck, Dominion Foundation representative; Dan Donovan, director of media relations for Dominion; and John Frith, manager of public affairs for Dominion. The group toured the newly-completed Sis and Herman Dupré Science Pavilion and its Environmental Science Center, greenhouse and organic chemistry laboratory.

“On behalf of the faculty, students and staff of Saint Vincent College, I want to express my appreciation to Mr. Mesloh and the Dominion Foundation for their support of this project, which will enhance our students’ educational experience and their understanding of the world in which they live,” Br. Norman commented.

The development of these modules is the next step in expanding Saint Vincent College’s Environmental Sciences Program which already serves a diverse audience through its academic coursework and community outreach. Academic programs provide instruction, experiential activities and research opportunities for undergraduate students in environmental science and environmental chemistry degree programs, an environmental education teaching certification and a master’s degree in science education. The new modules will prepare environmental science students for careers in several of the fastest-growing industries including biotechnology, wind power, environmental consulting and solar power.

Dominion is one of the nation’s largest producers and transporters of energy, with a portfolio of approximately 27,400 megawatts of generation. Dominion operates the nation’s largest natural gas storage system and serves retail energy customers in 15 states. For more information about Dominion, visit the company’s website at www.dom.com.---Photo: Jim Mesloh, left, executive director of the Dominion Foundation, presents a $25,000 award to Br. Norman W. Hipps, O.S.B., center, president of Saint Vincent College, and Dr. Caryl Fish, right, associate professor of chemistry, that will be used to develop and implement laboratory modules on sustainable energy resources and the impact of energy on the environment.


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