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Earth Science Department receives USDA grant

Friday, May 13, 2016

Northeastern Illinois University’s Department of Earth Science has received a $200,000 grant from the United States Department of Agriculture. The award will fund the Multicultural Scholars Program (MSP) at Northeastern, which aims to develop a highly skilled workforce for the agricultural sciences through scholarships that support recruitment, engagement, retention and training of eligible multicultural scholars.

“Globally, we face serious challenges like climate change, water pollution, and disappearing farmland. We need fresh, creative ideas for growing healthful food while preserving the environment,” said Professor of Earth Science Laura Sanders. “Who knows where the next scientific breakthrough or truly great idea will come from? This grant program will help make sure that the scientists working on those questions represent our multicultural nation.”

The target audience of the MSP is the highly diverse undergraduate student body at Northeastern, where about half of all students are members of minorities that are underrepresented in agricultural science. The anticipated outcome of the project is that five highly-prepared MSP Scholars will complete baccalaureate degrees with an Earth Science or Environmental Science major and a STEM minor and will progress to graduate education or careers in agricultural science."

Sanders and Assistant Professor of Earth Science Kenneth Vogelsonger are the project directors, but the program also will involve support from the Learning Support Center, First-Year Experience Program, and Institutional Research and Assessment.