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Mercyhurst partners in NSF collaborative project

Friday, June 23, 2017

Dr. Amy Parente

Mercyhurst University is among 12 higher education institutions nationwide participating in a National Science Foundation-funded project to enhance research experiences for college students.

The NSF grant of $598,666 was awarded to the University of San Diego and will support a team of 15 faculty from research-intensive universities, undergraduate-focused universities and community colleges, including Dr. Amy Parente, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry at Mercyhurst.

“The aim of this project is to transform the impact of teaching laboratories at participating institutions by incorporating quantitative, authentic research into the classroom and curriculum,” said Dr. Ellis Bell of USD’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.

“This type of high-impact teaching has been shown to help students increase their enthusiasm for learning science and earning advanced degrees in the sciences, as well as enhancing  critical thinking skills,” added USD’s Dr. Joseph Provost.

The project, titled "An Interdisciplinary Faculty Community Using a Protein-focused Course Based Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE) to Improve Student Learning," will test two aspects of CURE frameworks to directly affect the learning environment in 56 CUREs courses, involving approximately 1000 students at participating institutions.

“Our department has always made research experiences for undergraduates in the classroom a priority, and funding from this grant will allow us to move these opportunities to the next level,” Parente said. “Students will participate in authentic collaborative research projects with faculty at a myriad of institutions, all of whom share the same passion for undergraduate research experiences.”

The project kicks off at the beginning of August with a week-long collaborative workshop in San Diego, where all 15 faculty are slated to share ideas and finalize research projects for the upcoming year.  

The following faculty and institutions are contributing members to the collaborative project:

  • Ellis Bell, PhD, University of San Diego (principal investigator)

  • Joseph Provost, PhD, University of San Diego (co-principal investigator)

  • Jessica Bell, PhD, University of San Diego (co-principal investigator)

  • Anthony Bell, PhD, University of San Diego

  • Amy Parente, PhD, Mercyhurst University

  • Kristin Fox, PhD, Union College

  • Kevin Callahan, PhD, St. John Fisher College

  • Laura Christian, PhD, West Virginia University

  • David Hecht, PhD, Southwestern Community College

  • Kate Huisinga, PhD, Malone University

  • Tamara Mans, PhD, North Hennepin Community College

  • Celeste Peterson, PhD, Suffolk University

  • John Rakus, PhD, Marshall University

  • Amy Springer, PhD, University of Massachusetts Amherst

  • Jing Zhang, PhD, University of Nebraska Lincoln