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02-10-2010

NASA Grant Enables Clarkson University & NYSERDA to Improve Climate Change Education in State

Clarkson University recently received a grant from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to improve climate change education for middle and high school students in New York State. Only 15 of 161 proposals submitted were selected nationwide.

Clarkson will be working closely with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to develop and disseminate educational modules that utilize NASA’s vast array of data chronicling the changes in our climate and earth system function.

"We are proud to partner with Clarkson and NASA on a project that will help students learn about the implications climate change could have on their future and the steps they can take to mitigate these impacts," said Francis J. Murray, president and CEO of NYSERDA. "This award adds to NYSERDA’s ongoing work to support teachers statewide seeking to learn new ways to educate students about the critical energy challenges facing New York and the world."

A new undergraduate course, "Global Climate Change: Science, Engineering, and Policy," was developed by Clarkson under this grant and is being offered this semester. The course was designed to help engineering students understand the need for engineering solutions consistent with climate change concerns.

"Both Clarkson University and NYSERDA have made great strides in developing and disseminating teaching materials to improve the energy literacy of New York’s school children," said Susan E. Powers, Clarkson’s associate dean of engineering and the principal investigator of the project. "This grant is a natural extension of our current efforts to explore how our dependence on fossil fuels and large-scale agricultural industries have affected our planet."

This summer at Clarkson, earth and environmental science teachers will develop project-based, climate change units for middle and high school classrooms using NASA geospatial data. Following the trial of these lessons in classrooms around the state, a summer institute will be held at Clarkson University in 2011 to train more teachers.

The resulting learning experiences will be disseminated through teacher workshops and conferences hosted by NYSERDA’s Energy Smart Students Program.

Therese Tuers is the project lead at NYSERDA. She manages the Energy Smart Students Program.

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) uses innovation and technology to solve some of New York’s most difficult energy and environmental problems in ways that improve the State’s economy. Visit http://www.nyserda.org to learn more about NYSERDA’s programs.

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in six alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and health sciences, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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