Office of Grants and Sponsored Programs
Howard Hughes Medical Institute Award
Marion and Jasper Whiting Foundation Fellowship Awards
Smith Family Foundation Award
Massachusetts Executive Office of Education Award
Massachusetts Cultural Council Award
Herb and Maxine Jacobs Foundation Awards
Award to Support Postsecondary Education for Current and Former Inmates
Massachusetts Department of Higher Education Award
BayPath Elder Services
Boston Scientific Foundation
Framingham State University has been awarded a $1 million grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) to fund a five-year project aimed at increasing the academic success and persistence of first-generation and underrepresented students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
“This is an incredible opportunity for the University to enhance its longstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion,” says Framingham State President F. Javier Cevallos. “Science and technology are crucial to the state’s innovation economy, but there is still a large achievement gap for first-generation and minority students training in these important fields. We are truly grateful to the Howard Hughes Institute for awarding us this grant as we seek to take important steps to close that gap.”
Framingham State University is one of just 33 schools across the country to receive a grant from the HHMI Inclusive Excellence initiative this year. Another 24 schools were selected in 2017.
“This initiative is about encouraging colleges and universities to change the way they do business - to become institutions with a significantly greater capacity for inclusion of all students, especially those from nontraditional backgrounds,” says HHMI President Erin O’Shea.
The grant will fund FSU’s Transparent Pathways in STEM project, which aims to redesign academic pathways and curricula in a way that removes obstacles to student success and levels the playing field for all students, particularly those from underrepresented groups.
The project will involve approximately 60 STEM faculty from FSU and MassBay Community College (FSU’s largest feeder school) in an evidence-based intensive faculty development model that will lead to improvements in the individual and collective faculty practice, creating a lasting culture of inclusive excellence in the STEM curriculum and faculty ranks. Most importantly, it will foster and create the faculty leadership that is critical for effecting a sizeable impact to institutional culture.
“This extraordinary opportunity has come about because of the hard work and dedication of so many faculty and staff at FSU,” says Dr. Catherine Dignam, chair of Framingham State’s Chemistry and Food Science Department. “We believe that all students here, regardless of their background, are equally deserving of the highest quality education. This grant will give us the resources to make significant progress toward our goal of closing the achievement gap between students in STEM disciplines.”
“We are very excited to become part of the HHMI higher education community,” added Dr. Margaret Carroll, Dean of the College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics at FSU. “This grant will allow us to advance our commitment to diversity and inclusion in our STEM programs.”
During two rounds of selection in 2017 and 2018, HHMI received applications from 594 schools, according to the organization’s award announcement. Of these, 140 schools were invited to submit full proposals for plans to develop more inclusive environments for their students. Framingham State is one of just two Massachusetts public colleges to receive the HHMI grant, along with the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Professor Cynthia Bechtel from FSU’s Nursing Department, Professor Everton Vargas da Costa from the World Languages Department and Professor Megan Lehnerd from the Food & Nutrition Department are all recipients of a 2019 Marion and Jasper Whiting Foundation Fellowship. Dr. Bechtel will use her award to arrange a Cultural, Healthcare & Nursing Journey to Peru in September. Professors Vargas da Costa and Lehnerd intend to travel to Ecuador in May 2020 to develop a Food, Culture & Language course program. In the future, they plan to co-teach the course and lead a trip with students.
Colleen Coffey, Director of FSU’s MetroWest College Planning Collaborative, was the guiding force behind a very generous gift from the Richard and Susan Smith Family Foundation. The award, a total of $600,000 over three years, will fund the MetroWest Scholars Early Start program.
FSU student Nicholas Ironside has received a prestigious J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship to travel to Bosnia & Herzegovina as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant. According to the 12-member Fulbright Board, the grant is a reflection of Ironside's leadership and contributions to society. "Fulbright is the world's largest and most diverse international educational exchange program," the award letter states. "As a grantee, you will join the ranks of distinguished participants in the program. Fulbright alumni have become heads of state, judges, ambassadors, cabinet ministers, CEOs, and university presidents, as well as leading journalists, artists, scientists, and teachers. They include 59 Nobel Laureates, 82 Pulitzer Prize winners, 72 MacArthur Fellows, 16 Presidential Medal of Freedom recipients, and thousands of leaders across the private, public and non-profit sectors."
FSU’s College Planning Collaborative has been awarded an FY19 Early College Technical Support grant in the amount of $30,000. The fund will be used to develop an Early College program to strengthen career education for high school students.
FSU’s Danforth Art Museum continues to receive the support of the Massachusetts Cultural Council. This year, the Cultural Council contributed $15,000 for general operations.
FSU is grateful for the continued generosity of The Herb and Maxine Jacobs Foundation. The Foundation is funding several projects this year including campus internships and fellowships in computer science and the office of Diversity and Inclusion, as well as support for the College Planning Collaborative and the 100 Males to College program.
Framingham State University has joined a new consortium of colleges in Massachusetts that will support expanding access to postsecondary education to people currently and formerly in prison statewide. The consortium was established at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with help from a $250,000 grant from the Vera Institute of Justice (Vera), along with the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The consortium, led by a team within the MIT Experimental Study Group, will be tasked with expanding access to postsecondary education by establishing and sustaining an education pipeline at each of Massachusetts’ prisons. Framingham State already has established partnerships with MCI-Framingham and Middlesex Jail and House of Corrections in Billerica through its Inside-out program, which sends FSU students into the prisons to take classes alongside current inmates.
FSU has been awarded a continuation grant from the Massachusetts Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment Initiative, sponsored by the Department of Higher Education, in the amount of $80,010. This program supports eligible public high school students with intellectual disabilities, ages 18–22, to increase their academic and career success by being included in a college or university community of learners.
The McAuliffe Center received $15,000 to expand its initiative to provide Challenger Learning Center (CLC) mission simulations and FSU Planetarium program opportunities to out-of-school time organizations dedicated to serving financially-disadvantaged youth and youth from populations underrepresented in STEM. The grant award subsidized the visits of approximately one dozen organizations.
The Department of Higher Education has awarded a continuation grant in the amount of $60,000 to FSU’s MetroWest College Planning Collaborative for its “100 Males to College” program. The program focuses on improving college access, college participation, and college completion success rates for high school males in the MetroWest region.
The Adventures in Lifelong Learning Program was awarded Title III federal funds to serve isolated seniors in MetroWest. In Fall 2019, BayPath Elder Services awarded the Adventures in Lifelong Learning Program $9,000 in federal dollars through the Title III program to reach out to isolated senior citizens and involve them in the program. Reducing social isolation improves the health and happiness of the region’s elderly population. The grant will support an outreach worker to involve more members of minority groups age 60 and above, including the LGBTQ community.
Framingham State University and world-renowned Boston Children’s Hospital embark on a unique new partnership to conduct a state-of-the-art food study, “Dietary Composition and Energy Expenditure During Weight-Loss Maintenance.” Funded by Nutrition Science Initiative (NuSI), the study promises to provide fundamental knowledge about how to design more effective approaches to the prevention and treatment of obesity.
This partnership will conduct research over the period of three full academic years and will focus on dietary effects on insulin resistance, cortisol excretion, and other chronic disease risk factors to yield definitive results supporting prior study’s findings.
U.S. Army Natick Labs (NSRDEC) has awarded Dr. Emmanouil Apostolidis of the Chemistry and Food Science Department a research award for a project titled “Determination of blueberry and cocoa phenolic bioactive fractions for glucose uptake regulation.” The goal of Dr. Apostolidis’ proposed study is to assess the potential of blueberry and cocoa phenolic constituents for Type-2 Diabetes management via the inhibition of carbohydrate hydrolysis enzymes. A series of two in-vitro experiments are proposed to investigate the effect of blueberry and cocoa extracts to define the most bioactive phytochemical fractions. Dr. Apostolidis received the undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (DFW) awarded Dr. Bryan Connolly of the Biology Department the Crocanthemum dumosum Bushy Rockrose Genetics Grant. The grant includes a sub-contract between Framingham State University and Stevenson University (SU) and will take place from June 2017 through June 2018. The goal of Dr. Connolly’s work is to further understand the relationship of Crocanthemum dumosum and Crocanthemum canadense plants. Dr. Connolly will identify, collect, and voucher the plants. Dr. Connolly received his undergraduate degree from the University of Vermont and his graduate and doctorate degrees from the University of Connecticut. His research focuses on the taxonomy of the Rose family, pollination, invasive plants, and the flora of New England.