Delaware Tech Awarded Grant For Mentoring And Research In Life Sciences

STANTON - Delaware Technical Community College has been awarded a three-year $878,000 grant by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to provide support for undergraduate research and faculty mentors at the College. The Site Smart Grant, entitled Serving Industry through Education: Student Mentoring and Research Techniques, will be developed and housed in the biotechnology department at Stanton campus.

This award addresses the shift in employer needs in the regional life sciences industry. To remain competitive, these companies require employees to take on more diverse responsibilities and are promoting undergraduate research to develop these skills. The Site Smart project will expand the College’s research curriculum, support the professional development of faculty mentors, increase partnerships with local universities, high schools, and industries, and increase retention of students in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) majors.

Specific project goals include establishing open labs and paid internships for research, developing curriculum in advanced research methodology, and leading workshops for secondary school science teachers and students. Delaware Tech students will be provided with access to learning communities, peer tutoring, field trips, seminars, and workshops. New curricular materials and assessment tools will be widely disseminated. The benefits for students include a better understanding of the relevance of research to real-world applications, improved critical thinking, and stronger connections with faculty and industry leaders.

The biotechnology program at Delaware Tech was established in part by an NSF grant in 2000, and expanded by another in 2007 to incorporate environmental investigative laboratories into its core curriculum. The three-year Site Smart award builds on these successes by increasing student retention through enhanced research support and increasing curricular connections with local educational communities and industries.