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UNH Announces Grant, Awards to Support Women Faculty in the Sciences

By Erika Mantz, Media Relations
June 23, 2010

As part of an ongoing effort to support the advancement and leadership of women faculty in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines the UNH ADVANCE office, with the support of a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF), recently announced the recipient of the first Karen Von Damm Leadership Development Grant as well as the three teams that won awards to conduct collaborative research.

Last year UNH received the three-year $1.3 million grant from NSF to support the recruitment, retention and advancement of women faculty in the STEM disciplines. While nationally women now earn 45 percent of all doctoral degrees and make up 30 percent of the faculty among all higher education institutions, they continue to be underrepresented in the majority of STEM disciplines.

The Karen Von Damm Leadership Development Grant was awarded to Jessica Bolker, associate professor of zoology and associate director of the Shoals Marine Laboratory, to support release time from teaching so she can focus her efforts on building new and stronger connections between the university’s academic programs in the marine sciences and the Shoals Marine Laboratory.

“Dr. Bolker’s skill and enthusiasm for enhancing both her scientific and academic leadership made her a natural choice for this grant, which was named after the late Dr. Karen Von Damm, UNH professor and internationally renowned scientific leader who advanced the understanding of hydrothermal activity in submarine volcanic systems,” said Karen Graham, director of the UNH Leitzel Center and chair of the UNH ADVANCE leadership team.

The Collaborative Scholarship Advancement Awards, designed to enhance collaboration between research and tenure track faculty in the STEM disciplines, were given to the following pairs of research and tenure-track faculty:

Julie Bryce, associate professor of geochemistry, and Erik Hobbie, research associate professor of terrestrial ecology, received an award to study the mineral weathering of ectomycorrhizal symbioses by developing a new proxy employing distinctive elemental and isotopic signatures, which can then be applied to enhance field-based approaches to study nutrient stress in northern forests.

Margaret Boettcher, assistant professor of Earth sciences, and Kurt Schwehr, research associate professor in the Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping, received an award to develop techniques to visualize and manipulate geophysical data and then take those techniques into the classroom. Their three-tiered research program is focused on faulting processes local to New England through investigations of large-scale fault zones in the Gulf of Maine, analysis of nearby outcrops containing melt-generated by earthquakes, and laboratory experiments designed to understand frictional processes in fault zones.   

Alison Watts, research assistant professor of civil engineering, and Jennifer Jacobs, associate professor of civil engineering, received a grant to determine the impact of specific stormwater management strategies on stream temperature. The results will be used to guide stormwater management to protect stream quality.

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