INSGC Grant Helps Saint Joseph's College Students Explore Environmental Careers

May 7, 2013

In April 2013, Saint Joseph's College's Associate Professor of Physics and Computer Science Dr. Jennifer Coy took 35 students to visit Meadow Lake Wind Farm in Chalmers, Ind. and BioTown Ag in Reynolds, Ind.

Prior to the trip, Coy stated, "The goal of this field trip is to investigate science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers in the environmental industry and for students to be exposed to some of the science and technology used in renewable energy."

While at the Meadow Lake Wind Farm, which operates 303 wind turbines and provides clean energy to 133,000 homes, SJC students were given the opportunity to ask Project Manager of Development Jeffrey Nemeth questions about the farm and wind energy careers. Coy and the students then traveled to BioTown Ag, where owner and operator Brian Furrer explained how the company produces biogases through the biological breakdown of organic materials via anaerobic digestion.

The day's festivities were funded by a $15,000 grant titled "Preparing for Environmental Careers through Hands-On Learning." The grant, which was awarded to SJC by the Indiana Space Grant Consortium (INSGC) in August 2012, has provided opportunities for students in Core 6 and STEM disciplines to explore environment-related careers through site visits and research on campus or in the local area. The grant has also enabled SJC's STEM faculty to purchase items such as FLIR i3 infrared cameras and Vernier equipment to give students more hands-on experience within the classroom.

"We are excited about this opportunity and grateful to receive the funding from NASA through INSGC," said Coy.

The INSGC is a source of National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)-related information, awards, and programs for the State of Indiana. It awards scholarships to students at its affiliate institutions and is one of 52 consortia that are part of the National Space College and Fellowship Program, initiated by NASA in 1989. Each consortium includes colleges, universities, businesses, and other private and public-sector institutions working to further aerospace education and career training.

Saint Joseph's College, named a "character-building college" by the Templeton Foundation and a "best Midwestern college" by the Princeton Review, is a four-year, Catholic college offering 27 majors, 4 group majors, 34 minors, and 9 pre-professional programs, complemented by the nationally acclaimed Core Program. Founded and sponsored by the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, SJC is located in Rensselaer, Indiana, approximately 90 minutes from both Chicago and Indianapolis, on a park-like campus of 180 acres and has an enrollment of 1,100 students.

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