Enhancement Grants to Provide New Opportunities for Students

The Flathead Valley Community College Foundation has awarded the following six enhancement grants to FVCC faculty members to provide their students with more sophisticated learning experiences:

Math Toolkit
Amount Awarded:  $4,500

In an effort to increase student success in developmental math courses at FVCC, this grant will provide a math refresher course with the intent of helping students gain the confidence and skills they need to perform well on the COMPASS placement tests.  It also will provide a short-term course that will introduce students to the technology they will utilize in the developmental math course.  In addition, the grant will provide weekly hour-long group sessions in the FVCC Math Lab which will provide students additional assistance and support.

Livescribe™ Smartpens to Jump Start Student Note-taking Skills in Chemistry
Amount Awarded:  $3,400

With the objective to improve student note taking skills and student performance, this grant will pilot the use of Livescribe™ smartpens by students in chemistry classes to test the impact on effective note taking.  The innovative pens will capture not only the notes the students take in class but also the instructors’ lectures, creating digital versions of the notes that are synched to audio recordings.  The project envisions that students’ learning experiences and performance will be enhanced by providing them with a more comprehensive review of what they learned in class.

Toward a Greener Future:
Troubleshooting Problems with Grid Energy Storage Devices

Amount Awarded:  $3,150

This project will engage FVCC students in pioneering research opportunities in conjunction with Zinc Air, Inc. (ZAI), a local leading alternative energy company that focuses on large-capacity green energy storage devices.  Students will conduct specific tests on pH and light levels within innovative zinc-air batteries to determine the potential ability of these elements to reduce battery degradation.  These results could be influential on the future development and patenting of ZAI’s batteries, which, in turn, would directly impact our local economic development.  The grant will fund supplies, equipment and travel costs for students to present findings at a regional conference.

Presentations on Space: Aiding Student’s Scientific Presentations
Amount Awarded:  $1,950

Under the direction of Physics Instructor Jim Boger, this grant will help fund travel expenses for six FVCC students to participate in research events, sponsored by the Montana Space Grant Consortium (MSGC), which will take place at Montana State University in Bozeman in spring 2012.  In April, two of Boger’s students working on the enhancement of FVCC’s and Montana’s only all-sky camera, which tracks meteor events in the skies of Northwest Montana for the National Nuclear Security Administration, will present their project at the Spring 2012 MSGC Student Research Symposium.  The next month, four FVCC students will compete against 13 other teams in the National Student Solar Spectrograph Competition for a chance to win $3,000 NASA scholarships.

Experimental Agricultural Site Development
Amount Awarded:  $1,000

This grant will help fund the expansion of FVCC’s experimental agricultural site which presently contains vegetables, fruit trees and wine grape varieties.  Funds will be used to help purchase equipment and supplies to expand and maintain the site which is being utilized to study which varieties of vegetables, fruit trees and wine grapes thrive in our climate.  Overall, this project will assist FVCC in the further development of its agriculture transfer program.

Student Participation in the Western Regional Honors Council Conference
Amount Awarded:  $1,000

This grant will help fund the top-tier award winners of FVCC’s spring 2012 Scholars Conference on Student Research to travel to The Western Regional Honors Council Conference in Albuquerque, N.M.  This opportunity will provide the students unparalleled experience in a large conference environment.  As participating in professional conferences is a routine expectation for many students as they move through their university studies, this experience would enhance the students’ confidence levels and composure, two vital traits they will need when they join today’s highly-competitive job market.

For more information on these projects, contact the FVCC Foundation Office at (406) 756-3632.