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Three Juniata Researchers Receive Funding from II-VI Foundation

(Posted June 7, 2010)

Jim Borgardt, associate professor of physics, is one of three Juniata professors to have research projects funded by II-VI Foundation. Borgardt was recently promoted to full professor, effective in August.

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Juniata College is the recipient of the first-ever undergraduate research grant awarded by the II-VI Foundation, a Bridgeville Pa.-based non-profit private foundation dedicated to funding enterprises that emphasize science, mathematics and engineering as an educational and career goal for students. The grant will support three Juniata undergraduate research projects and five students who will perform research in physics and chemistry during the summer of 2010.

"We are pleased to expand our strategic alliance with Juniata College beyond the Summer Science Splash camp which we partnered with the College last summer and will continue this summer," says Richard Purnell, executive director of the II-VI Foundation. "The Undergraduate Research Program is an experimental undertaking in which we find great comfort to be dealing with Juniata and its very motivated student body under the direction of the college's world-class professional staff."

The foundation shares its name and chairman with the publicly-traded II-VI Incorporated, headquartered in Saxonburg, Pa. It was created in April 2007 by Carl J. Johnson, chairman and founder of II-VI Incorporated, and his wife, Margot, with the mission to "encourage and enable students to pursue a career in science, engineering and mathematics."

The $57,018 grant will support three projects. The first, overseen by Jim Borgardt, associate professor of physics, seeks to quantify the skyshine component of gamma-ray radiation. Skyshine is low-density scattering of radiation from natural or man-made sources on the ground. The research, which will benefit Homeland Security applications, will take place at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratories in Hanford, Wash.

The second project, overseen by Paul Schettler, professor of chemistry, will seek to develop predictive software tools for procedures in gas chromatography.

"The Undergraduate Research Program is an experimental undertaking in which we find great comfort to be dealing with Juniata and its very motivated student body under the direction of the college's world-class professional staff."
Richard Purnell, executive director, II-VI Foundation

The third project, overseen by Richard Hark, professor of chemistry, will analyze coal using Laser-induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) to analyze feedstock and by-products of coal-fired furnaces used for the generation of steam or electricity.

The II-VI Foundation has another program that supports graduate students performing research at 17 universities across the country, including such institutions as Washington State University, the University of North Carolina, the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Illinois. Juniata is the initial undergraduate institution to receive research support from the Foundation. Besides the graduate and undergraduate programs the foundation supports an Early Education initiative for elementary and middle school students as well as a Scholarship program.

Previously, Juniata has received a major grant from the II-VI Foundation's early education program for the college's annual Summer Science Splash Camp, which was held in 2009 and will be offered again this July. The college received a $112,500 grant for the camp's second year. The science summer camp is open to 7th and 8th grade students from across Pennsylvania and New Jersey, who would come to Juniata for five days and immerse themselves in lessons in chemistry, physics, biology and environmental science.


Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.