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August 2011

Release Date: Aug. 15, 2011ASU Logo

ASU Geology Profs Awarded National Geosciences Grant

Drs. Grady Price Blount, Joseph Satterfield and James Ward, geosciences faculty in the Angelo State University Physics Department, have been awarded a $164,839 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to fund their project designed to interest junior high and high school students in geosciences education and careers.

Awarded through the NSF Opportunities for Enhancing Diversity in the Geosciences (OEDG) program, the grant will fund the ASU project titled “Pathways for Inspiring, Educating and Recruiting West Texans in the Geosciences,” or PIER.

The PIER program is designed to increase student participation in the geosciences at Hispanic Serving Institutions through recruiting efforts and professional development for grade 6-12 science teachers in the San Angelo Independent School District. The first goal of the project is to introduce at least 500 grade 6-12 students to geosciences careers while also providing opportunities to study geosciences. The second goal is to educate and inspire at least 40 teachers in geosciences content areas, and to sustain professional development support of those teachers throughout the academic year.

“Science, technology, engineering and math education is at a critical juncture for the future of Texas and the nation,” Blount said. “The whole point of this grant is to reach out to our local students who perhaps have not considered the opportunities for their future in the geosciences. Everyone understands the importance of the environment, but few recognize that the primary engine for understanding that environment is the geosciences. With the future of rural water supplies becoming more and more questionable, we need to place a renewed emphasis on educating the next generation of physical scientists who will work on conserving what we have, remediating what we can, and discovering new and novel resources.”

Geosciences fields of study include geology, hydrology, mineralogy, petrology, geochemistry, paleontology, oceanography, climatology, meteorology and many others.

The NSF award for the PIER project is a “Track 1” grant that supports short-term, proof-of-concept objectives and activities. Next year, the trio of professors may apply for an expanded “Track 2” grant for the full-scale project.

For more information, call the ASU Physics Department at 325-942-2242.

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