Science Division Wins National Competition to Help Fund Community Research on Water Quality

Truman State University was one of 15 colleges and universities in the nation to win a 2007 Merck/AAAS Undergraduate Science Research Program (USRP) Award, sponsored by the Merck Institute for Science Education (MISE) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Each award provides up to $60,000, paid over three years, for joint use by the biology and chemistry departments at each recipient institution. Cynthia Cooper, professor of biology, and  Barbara Kramer, assistant professor of chemistry, with assistance from Judy Lundberg, director of grants and sponsored programs, submitted a proposal wherein the biology and chemistry departments work together on a project that offers service learning and community research for students and faculty.

The two departments have developed collection, testing and analytical protocols to integrate water quality projects into the undergraduate research programs and several undergraduate chemistry and biology courses.

The Truman Science Division has worked with the newly formed Kirksville Watershed Management Commission (KWMC) to monitor the quality of two local water reservoirs that provide water to the city of Kirksville. The project has a significant civic engagement component in that city officials and Truman faculty meet to identify and assess local environmental issues that impact the water sources used to prepare public drinking water for the region.

The University’s involvement will now be funded, in part, through this award from Merck and AAAS.

The Merck/AAAS USRP is a competitive program available in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Up to 15 awards are made annually. Launched in 2000 as a national competition, the 10-year, $9 million initiative is funded by MISE and administered by AAAS. The program is open to qualified institutions in the United States and Puerto Rico that offer an American Chemical Society-approved program in chemistry and confer 10 or fewer graduate degrees annually in biology and chemistry combined.

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