UW-Green Bay receives international innovation grant to research water quality issues

Grant supports faculty-led student travel/research both in the region and to Chile

GREEN BAY – The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay was one of eight institutions of higher education (and their partners) to be recognized recently with a “100,000 Strong in the Americas” Innovation Fund Award and $25,000 in grant funding. The White House, U.S. Department of State, Partners of the Americas, and NAFSA: Association of International Educators, announced the Innovation Fund grant winners of the Coca-Cola Foundation-sponsored competition.

Spearheaded by Michael Zorn (Associate Dean of the College of Science and Technology and Professor in the Department of Natural and Applied Sciences), UW-Green Bay and its partner, the Universidad del Desarrollo in Chile, received the award for the proposal, “Establishment of a UW-Green Bay (US)-Universidad del Desarrollo (UDD, Chile) Bi-Directional Travel Course: Environmental Engineering Issues-Water Emphasis. This Innovation Fund grant competition focused on creating new study abroad programs between the United States and Latin America in the field of environmental science, with an emphasis on water. These Innovation Fund grant winners were announced during the opening reception of the Partners of the Americas’ Convention in Guadalajara, Mexico.

“This award highlights the world class research on water related issues that is being done by faculty, staff and students at UW-Green Bay and will provide our students with an incredible opportunity to collaborate with faculty and students from our partner, UDD,” said John Katers, Dean of UW-Green Bay’s College of Science and Technology and co-principal investigator on this grant. “We are committed to finding new ways to improve and protect the water quality in our region.”

The proposal provides partial support for 12 UW-Green Bay students to travel from Green Bay to UDD and six students from UDD to travel to UW-Green Bay to participate in water-related research and study. Past relationships between the institutions showed strong similarities in studying water related issues and controversies, with faculty expertise at the two institutions being complimentary. The geographic locations and associated water-specific environmental concerns of both institutions present an ideal laboratory for students studying environmental sciences/engineering concepts related to water. Both locations deal with the unfortunate situation of water pollution crises. Students will be immersed in the science, engineering and policy behind the problems and the potential solutions to the site-specific water issues. Ultimately, this award strengthens the partnership between UW-Green Bay and its Chilean partner, while creating capacity-building opportunities that will allow more UW-Green Bay and UDD students access to inter-institutional travel courses—specific to environmental sciences, environmental engineering and beyond. Students from both programs will begin their experience in 2017.

“This kind of international collaboration prepares our graduates to address both regional issues and the water quality issues facing our nation and the world,” Katers said. “These are opportunities to help improve quality of life in our region and beyond.”

About 100,000 Strong in the Americas

The goal of 100,000 Strong in the Americas is to increase the number of U.S. students studying in the Western Hemisphere to 100,000, and the number of Western Hemisphere students studying in the United States to 100,000 by 2020. The educational initiative is aimed at enhancing hemispheric competitiveness, increasing prosperity and providing study abroad opportunities to better prepare a globally aware and culturally competent workforce. The Innovation Fund awards promote transnational institutional partnerships by leveraging private sector contributions and commitments by higher education institutions to increase unique study abroad opportunities for students going to and from the Western Hemisphere region.

About the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay

The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay is a comprehensive public institution offering undergraduate and graduate programs to 6,700 students. The University transforms lives and communities through exceptional and award-winning teaching and research, innovative learning opportunities, and a problem-solving approach to education. For more information, visit www.uwgb.edu.


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