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Grant Highlights

Two Smith College faculty have received CAREER Awards from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the most prestigious award for new faculty.

Will Williams, Assistant Professor of Physics

The NSF has awarded Will Williams a five-year $464,346 grant for his project titled "High Precision Spectroscopy of the Beryllium Isotope Chain." In his lab at Smith, Williams is using lasers to make precise measurements of the energy levels in three isotopes of beryllium atoms—two of which are radioactive. 

David Gorin, Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry

The NSF has awarded David Gorin a five-year $661,930 grant for his project titled "DNA-Catalyst Conjugates for Site-Selective Transformations in Biological Contexts." Gorin's research involves developing chemical reagents that selectively modify one compound in a complex biological mixture—studies that will increase understanding of molecular processes in living systems, including infections. 

A Global Prize: Class Project Nets $100,000 Gates Foundation Grant for Three Students

A project for an introductory engineering course has resulted in a $100,000 Gates Foundation grant for three Smith students. With support from the grant, Christine Yee ’17, Darpan Bohara ’18 and Yashna Sureka ’17 will develop a fingerprint authorization system that will allow merchants in Nelamangala, India, to accept non-cash purchases from customers.

Smith received a $800,000 grant from MassMutual for a new program in the emerging field of data science, which involves extracting knowledging from massive stores of data. Beginning in the fall of 2015, Smith students interested in data science will have an opportunity to study the topic in depth through the Women in Data Science collaboration with Mount Holyoke College and MassMutual.

The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) awarded Smith a $300,000 three-year grant for a pilot teaching program aimed at increasing the number of women and underrepresented minorities in science and technology fields. Smith was one of 14 colleges and universities nationwide to receive a full grant award under the AAC&U's Teaching to Increase Diversity and Equity in STEM (TIDES) initiative.

Smith joined the Posse Foundation in its STEM Initiative to support low-income students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. In the fall of 2015, Smith will expand its commitment to educational access by enrolling and supporting a cohort, or "posse," of 10 low-income students each year who seek majors and careers in STEM fields.

The Branta Foundation awarded Smith a $2.5 million grant to support Design Thinking and Innovation and the Picker Professor of Practice initiatives. Design Thinking and Innovation will pilot courses in which students, faculty and staff collaborate in identifying problems and building solutions by providing "maker" spaces that support design-based curricula for a wide range of disciplines. The Picker Professor of Practice funding will allow Smith to hire a respected engineering professional who brings a practitioner's perspective to his or her teaching to open new areas of instruction, research and creative work that connect students with current developments in the field.

The William Randolph Hearst Foundations awarded Smith a $100,000 grant to support the Achieving Excellence in Mathematics, Engineering and Mathematics (AEMES) program. AEMES serves students interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and promotes the success of students from social groups that are historically underrepresented in those fields.