THIBODAUX, La. — Three Nicholls State University projects have been awarded nearly $800,000 in grants by the Louisiana Board of Regents for the upcoming school year.
A collaborative effort between Nicholls Geomatics and Tulane received $687,509 for a project that will increase the capacity of both institutions to train faculty and students in conducting state-of-the-art coastal research using unmanned aerial systems (UAS), or drones, technologies. The Department of Mathematics was awarded $75,342 for a project that will upgrade two classrooms with furniture, technology and supplies that allow for math courses to be taught using a mix of traditional approaches, collaborative learning and hands-on experiences. The Department of Art received $17,584 to improve its ability to extract fumes from painting and printmaking labs.
The grants, a total of $780,435, were awarded through the Board of Regents Louisiana Education Quality Support Fund. Funds for their projects will be available June 1, with anticipated fall 2019 implementation.
“Nicholls aims to put all students on a path to a successful future and to support the Bayou Region with a skilled workforce,” said Dr. Jay Clune, Nicholls president. “We thank the state for its support through these grants, which will support our students as they pursue their goals.”
The drone proposal by Dr. Balaji Ramachandran, associate professor of geomatics, was one of three projects in the comprehensive category, out of 23 submitted, to be funded. Consultants, who reviewed 23 other projects in the category, believed the program could make Nicholls the leader of drone training in Louisiana and perhaps the U.S. Consultants also believed the project would be a unique opportunity to invest in coastal defense.
“Over the years, the demand for high resolution and accurate spatial data has grown substantially both in the public and private sector,” said Dr. Ramachandran. “The innovation that is occurring in UAS (aka drone) technology is revolutionizing the way spatial data is collected and analyzed in the surveying and mapping profession. Acquisition of state-of-the-art technology to the Geomatics program will help prepare our students for graduate studies and the demand laid out by the emerging technical workforce.”
Assistant professor Dr. Heather Gamel’s proposal ranked No. 13 out of 132. The upgraded classrooms aim to help students from across a broad range of majors that have a history of struggling with mathematics.
Out of 132 targeted projects submitted to the state, 21 were funded and professor Ross Jahnke’s fume extraction submission ranked No. 2. The project will upgrade the department’s equipment, which will help keep students and faculty safe.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 15, 2019
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