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The 1804 Fund awards 19 new research and educational initiatives


For 2011, the Ohio University Foundation has awarded $299,186 to 19 new research and educational initiatives from the 1804 Fund.

The 1804 Fund, which was designed to foster innovation and collaboration across disciplines, supports the University's core mission of "maintaining, strengthening, and enhancing a learning-centered community."

Last year, the 1804 Fund celebrated its thirtieth anniversary, bringing the grand total of awards to approximately $15 million. Since awarding its first grants in 1980, the fund has supported more than 600 projects and programs.

 "The goal of the 1804 Fund is to support new, innovative projects that enhance the overall quality of Ohio University through research, programming and resources," said Dorothy Schey, director of development for special fundraising initiatives. "The 1804 Fund has provided the initial investment for hundreds of successful projects. The fund truly embodies the spirit of Ohio University and allows students, faculty and staff to be creative and dream big."

Projects awarded through the 2011 funding cycle range from new research in kinematics, dynamics and controls in robotics, to the creation of a "collaboratory" for developmental mathematics courses. The 1804 Fund supports proposals through two funding pools: research and graduate studies, and undergraduate learning.  

This year six projects were awarded $134,093 through the faculty research and graduate studies category, designed to promote "research and scholarly activities and innovations in graduate education."

Within the undergraduate learning category, which promotes "curricular innovations, programs, and activities that enhance the undergraduate educational experience," the Ohio University Foundation awarded $165,093 to 14 projects. One project, titled "Earth Materials Research Laboratory 2.0," received an award through both funding pools.

Click here for a complete list of 2011 awards.

Guy Riefler, associate professor of civil engineering, was one of the 1804 Fund recipients. His project, "Investigating Synthetic Pigment Production from Acid Mine Drainage (AMD)," seeks to develop a process that produces iron-based pigments from AMD and ultimately return metal-laden streams to fishable and swimmable conditions.

"If successful, this endeavor could create high paying jobs in the area and clean up some seriously polluted streams," explained Riefler. "Preliminary calculations show that this treatment plant could potentially generate enough revenue to pay for its entire operational costs and possibly generate a profit."

According to Riefler, there are a number of AMD sources in the area that are currently not being treated, which results in the continued pollution of local waterways. In order to combat this problem, Riefler seeks to build treatment plants at these sites to remove the worst contaminants such as iron and aluminum. The byproducts generated from this process could potentially be treated and sold as paint pigment, a valuable commodity.

"Right now we are only focused on AMD with high iron and aluminum ratios, but we may be able to adapt the technology to AMD sources with different chemical profiles," said Riefler.

For Kristine Hoke, assistant director of career services, the 1804 Fund award will allow her to build on OHIO’s already successful First-Year Experience (FYE) program by providing programming that is focused on the specific needs and issues of second-year students. Hoke’s proposal, "Sophomore Career Development Program," ultimately seeks to combat a concept known as the sophomore slump.

"No formalized support system exists for sophomore students," explained Hoke. "Once initiated, the program will provide second-year students with an opportunity to reflect on their personal development, learn about campus resources, build relationships with faculty, practice professional etiquette, and assess a possible career interest."

According to Hoke, the primary goal of the program is for sophomore students to practice self-discovery and develop academic and career goals through guided reflection, relationship building, and experiential learning. In order to accomplish these goals, Hoke will initiate a three-part program.

"Through the Career Exploration Series, sophomore students will develop and articulate academic and career plans," said Hoke. "The Job Shadow Program will aid with sophomore students’ career explorations by building their professional networks and the Major and Career Faculty Conversation Series will allow sophomores to become more connected and engaged within the academic and university community."

The 1804 Fund was endowed in 1979 by a visionary gift from the estate of alumnus C. Paul Stocker "to enhance the quality of university programs and life." All awards support the University’s vision of providing the best student-centered learning experience in America.

To make a gift in support of The 1804 Fund, contact Dorothy Schey in University Advancement at 740-593-4556 or schey@ohio.edu, or give on-line at www.ohio.edu/give.

Faculty and staff interested in applying for the 2012 award cycle must have a preliminary discussion with the Vice President for Research (faculty research and graduate studies proposals) or the Dean of University College (undergraduate proposals) by Feb. 15. The goals of the discussions are to assist in the refinement of proposal ideas and to identify issues that should be addressed prior to final proposal submission. Final proposals are due March 15. This marks a change from previous years. Final decisions about funding are made by the Ohio University Foundation Board of Trustees each July.