(Posted March 22, 2023)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. — Juniata College has received a $496,500 grant from the Sherman Fairchild Foundation as part of its Scientific Equipment Program to fund the creation of an advanced, multidisciplinary lab designed to strengthen science education for Juniata students.

Uma Ramakrishnan, natural science division head and professor of environmental science and studies led a team that included, Jim Borgardt, William W. Woolford Professor of Physics; Dennis Johnson, Blechschmidt Professor of Environmental Science; and Ryan Mathur, professor of geology, who imagined the project and co-wrote the grant.

“This funding allows us to continue our excellent tradition of mentored research and collaboration across departments. The external reviewers for this grant who visited campus in September were in awe of the fine work of this faculty and their commitment to student learning as well as they should be,” said Lauren Bowen, provost.

This support from the Sherman Fairchild Foundation will fund a new environmental fluids lab in Brumbaugh Academic Center, which will benefit Juniata’s environmental engineering students while also providing opportunities to students enrolled in courses in biology, chemistry, environmental sciences and studies, geology, and physics.

“This Sherman Fairchild equipment grant can serve as a catalyst for student learning and discovery and can help inspire the next generation of environmental engineers,” Ramakrishnan said.

The lab, equipped with instruments to allow faculty and students to construct indoor simulations of natural systems, will complement outdoor learning opportunities and will be central to the success of Juniata’s newly-launched environmental engineering program. Designed to pique the interest of science and non-science students alike, the environmental fluids lab will provide experiential learning opportunities involving quantification and modeling of natural systems.

“In the engineering fields, hands-on learning is essential,” said Johnson. “This lab will provide opportunities to learn concepts that will eventually translate to real-world practices on the ground designs.”

Environmental engineers develop solutions to environmental problems with the goal of protecting the environment and human health. They work in a variety of fields ranging from field and site monitoring to design and implementation of environmental improvement projects.

Contact April Feagley at feaglea@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.