Ross Receives Additional Funding for NSF Project in Teaching NanoBiology Principles

September 9, 2014

Dr. Betsy Ross, Alumni Professor in the Department of Educational Foundations, Leadership and Technology, recently received two new amendments for her work on a National Science Foundation grant entitled “The NanoBio Science Partnership for Alabama Black Belt Region.”

“We have a sub-grant from Tuskegee to evaluate the effectiveness of the project,” Ross said. “I am the Principal Investigator, and I work closely with both co-investigator Joni Lakin and grant consultant David Shannon on the project. The purpose of the project is to increase awareness of and participation in successful teaching of NanoBiology principles in the Alabama Black Belt. The project is aimed particularly at middle school science teachers in that region.”

“The big focus is to develop modules for teachers to use in the classrooms and see how well they are working,” Ross said. “The prime award recipient is Tuskegee University. The original award to Auburn was for $875,000 across the five project years. Tuskegee has now added an additional $70,000 per year to provide tuition and stipend funding for five students per year to work on the project. Each student can receive $6,000 in stipend funding ($500/month for 12 months) and $8,000 in tuition ($4,000 per semester for two semesters).”

These students work with Auburn faculty in the College of Sciences and Mathematics to enhance and provide teaching plans for the NanoBio modules for the classroom. The total amount of obligated funds from Tuskegee to Auburn for this project is $910,000.

“We measure a wide variety of things in our evaluation process,” Ross said. “We are looking at motivation, attitudes, and learning achievement, among other things. We are seeing what we believe is real progress. The science teachers like the modules, and they like that it is hands-on. They appreciate that students are seeing and doing, and are more engaged because of this. We’re seeing improvement in the use of the scientific process, and that’s where it all starts.”