The University of Illinois Springfield is one of eight institutions that has been awarded a $25,000 Innovation Fund grant from the Coca-Cola Foundation-sponsored competition, “100,000 Strong in the Americas”.
The grant was in recognition of education initiatives to create partnerships between higher education institutions, such as UIS, and Latin America; with the goal of increasing study abroad programs in the field of environmental sciences, with an emphasis on water.
Keenan Dungey, UIS associate professor of chemistry, was the lead author of the proposal, which also included Michael Lemke, UIS professor of biology; Jonathan GoldbergBelle, senior director of UIS International Programs; Claudia Bonecker, professor of biology at the Universidade Estadual de Maringa (UEM) and Felipe Velho, co-director of the NUPELIA field station of UEM.
“This grant will leverage our 10-year collaboration with the Universidade Estadual de Maringa creating additional student research opportunities, sharing our aquatic ecology projects with a broader audience, and contributing to public policy on river management,” said Dungey.
The joint project between UIS and UEM will bring together students and faculty from the U.S. and Brazil to study two of the world’s great rivers: the Paraná and the Illinois. Initially nine students and six faculty will be involved in the summer of 2017, with plans to grow the program in future years.
It is expected that the eight grants, handed out internationally in 2016, will result in 115 students studying abroad, preparing them to be more globally competent for the 21st century workforce.