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U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning at BC To Announce Grant for Science Equipment

U. S. Senator Jim Bunning was at Berea College campus Tuesday, August 16 to announce a grant of almost $500,000 to the College from the U.S. Department of Education. The Congressionally-directed grant is for upgrading science and technology equipment in Bereaís physics, chemistry, biology, technology and psychology departments.

Senator Jim Bunning visits BC to announce a half-million dollar grant.

At 1 p.m. in the Hall Science Building, Sen. Bunning presented a ceremonial check for the grant amount to Berea College President Larry Shinn. Bunning and members of his staff, along with President Shinn, college provost Carolyn Newton, dean of the faculty Stephanie Browner and college trustees Donna Hall and Jan Crase, toured the biology and chemistry departments, where they heard from Dr. Dawn Anderson, chair of the biology department, and Dr. Jay Baltisberger, associate professor of chemistry, how the new equipment will improve science education in those departments.

Over the past few years, science education at Berea has become an investigative and intensively laboratory research-based curriculum, requiring state of the art lab equipment. The DOE grant will allow the college to acquire the appropriate 21st century equipment needed to continue to keep pace with the demands of the new curriculum. Almost all science majors participate in the collegeís Undergraduate Research Program and over the past ten years, almost 70 percent of Bereaís science majors have gone on to pursue graduate study at major universities.

In biology, $78,000 from the grant will fund microscope replacement and upgrades, and $25,000 of grant funds will be used to purchase a new gene sequencer used in genetics-based instruction and research. $85,000 will fund upgrades to the console of the chemistry departmentís Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) Spectrometer. NMR is a powerful technique used to identify molecules and is used extensively in research applications and by all advanced chemistry students. $30,000 will buy additional equipment for the departmentís quantitative analysis laboratory to serve a greater number of students.

Additional equipment and technology funded by the DOE grant are:

- Physics Department: Laser Ablation apparatus for the study of solid state materials - $75,000; physics lab technology upgrades for better data analysis - $55,000

- Technology and Industrial Arts Department: computer measurement equipment with laser scanner for engineering-related courses- $90,000

- Psychology Department: cognitive laboratory upgrade - $5,000; computers for neuroscience and ethology laboratory - $13,000; human EEG and EMG recording equipment - $25,000; and a virtual reality laboratory - $15,000

Berea College has a long history of excellence in undergraduate science education. Most recently, Berea science departments were in the news when a Berea graduate, John B. Fenn, won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. In 2003, the collegeís chemistry department was celebrated in a feature article in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, a leading professional publication. Among a number of distinguished Berea-educated scientists are Samuel Hurst, inventor of touch screen technology and Dr. George Lester, who was instrumental in the development of the catalytic converter.

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