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B-CU Science Programs Get Boost from Grants

Bethune-Cookman University's growing science programs are getting a boost from $300,000 in federal grants targeted to support expanded lab space and environmental field study.  The funds were recently awarded in two separate grants:  a $250,000 federal appropriation to update and increase lab space in Gross Science Hall and $50,000 through the U.S. Forest Service to support field study by students involved in B-CU's new integrated environmental science program.
In addition, Northrop Grumman Corporation has awarded B-CU a $2,500 seed grant to help recruit students interested in studying science, technology, engineering or mathematics.
"These awards will greatly enhance our efforts to prepare students who can apply their scientific knowledge and skills to addressing real world problems," noted Dr. Herbert Thompson, dean of the B-CU School of Science, Engineering and Mathematics. "This is also an indication that we are moving in the right direction as funding agencies and corporations continue to recognize the talent of our faculty, the potential of our students, and the commitment of our administration."

The appropriation for lab expansion was secured with the help and support of Congressman John Mica (R-Winter Park).   "Modernizing scientific teaching facilities is crucial to our nation’s ability to compete in the 21st century.  This project will help put Bethune-Cookman University and our country back on the cutting edge of technological research and advancement.  And it will put people to work in well paying professional positions," said Rep. Mica of the award.

This funding will go towards updating and expanding a 10,000 square-foot wing of science laboratories and classrooms to better support robotics and environmental science research and accommodate a wide variety of teaching situations.  In addition, the wing will feature two "clean" labs – safe spaces with modern ventilation equipment for the storage of chemicals – as well as technologically enhanced lecture classrooms/theatres.  Finally, the wing will be designed to be energy efficient and to model environmentally sustainable building practices. 

The $50,000 awarded through the U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station’s Director’s Initiative will support B-CU's new integrated environmental science department by funding field study at Blue Spring State Park and Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve.  These research opportunities provide students with hands-on experience dealing with important environmental and ecological issues related to both water and land-based eco-systems. Funds from this award will also support efforts to recruit and retain top students for the new program.

The Director's Initiative, launched by Station Director Jim Reaves, is a new effort designed to create research and training opportunities for minority students and researchers in the field of natural resources.  "The Director's Initiative was born from my desire to expand the cadre of people who seek a career in the Forest Service, in particular, the Southern Research Station," said Reaves. "If we are going to expand our research relationships beyond traditional forestry institutions in the region, we have to expand our efforts to attract scientists and researchers from other colleges and universities."

Proposals were submitted by universities from across the South. After a panel review, five projects were selected for funding:  Bethune-Cookman University, Florida A&M University, Hampton University, Southern University and Tuskegee University. The projects will receive funding for two years.
The Northrop Grumman Corporation grant will go toward B-CU’s efforts to recruit students interested in science-related fields of study.  It is also part of an ongoing effort to build relationships between the University and major U.S. corporations. For example, B-CU has also developed a strong relationship with Raytheon, the technology company specializing in defense and homeland security, through the U.S. Department of Defense Mentor-Protégé program.  B-CU is currently engaged in its third partnership project with Raytheon.

Office Institutional Advancement

Liz Poston

PH: 386-481-2990

About Bethune Cookman University:

Founded in 1904 by Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, Bethune-Cookman University (B-CU) today sustains her legacy of faith, scholarship and service through its relationship with the United Methodist Church and its commitment to academic excellence and civic engagement.  B-CU offers 38 degrees on its main campus and online college. Located in Daytona Beach, B-CU is one of three private, historically black colleges in the state of Florida. The institution boasts a diverse and international faculty and student body of nearly 4,000.  For more information, visit

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