Gannon Awarded NSF Grant

Gannon Awarded NSF GrantPosted: November 2, 2011

A grant of $385,919 to Gannon from the National Science Foundation will allow the University to strengthen its support for female faculty members in science, engineering and related fields.

Gannon recently was awarded a five-year, ADVANCE-PAID (Partnerships for Adaptation, Implementation and Dissemination) grant. The grant is designed to help the University more effectively recruit, retain and advance women faculty in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) disciplines.

Melanie Hatch, Ph.D., dean of Gannon’s College of Engineering and Business, is the principal investigator for the grant. Serving as co-principal investigators are Elisa Konieczko, Ph.D., professor, biology; Weslene Tallmadge, Ph.D., associate professor, chemistry; Karinna Vernaza, Ph.D., associate professor, mechanical engineering; and Theresa Vitolo, Ph.D., associate professor, computer and information science.

In addition, Virginia Arp, director of the University’s Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, and Sreela Sasi, Ph.D., professor, computer and information science, collaborated on the proposal.

“It’s an honor to be chosen for a grant from an organization such as the National Science Foundation,” Hatch said. “This grant is exciting in that women tend to be underrepresented in the STEM disciplines.

“It’s important to encourage women to pursue careers in these disciplines, and it’s also important to female students who may look to women faculty as role models,” she added.

The grant will support female faculty through three primary programs:

  • Dual Career Services – This program is focused on women faculty who are considering job opportunities that would require them to relocate. Some women may be hesitant to accept new positions and move unless they are confident their spouses will be able to find meaningful positions in their chosen fields. The University will use a portion of the grant to develop and build a network of partners in business, industry and academia so as to better identify and share information on job openings among all of the partners. “We of course cannot guarantee a spouse a job,” Hatch noted. “However, we hope to give female applicants to Gannon a degree of comfort in knowing that we will provide job-search assistance to their spouses.”
  • Research Initiation Awards – The University will use a portion of the grant to help current female faculty members in the STEM disciplines focus more on research and expand their opportunities to pursue research and other scholarly activities.
  • Leadership Development – The grant funds also will allow Gannon to provide training to administrators related to helping female faculty members advance their careers.