Augsburg Receives Two GEER Grants for Equity in Education and Remote Learning Needs

Minnesota state logoThe Education Department (Dr. Audrey Lensmire) and the Information Technology Department (Scott Krajewski) are the recipients of two new grants from the State of Minnesota which total $250,000. The Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) grant awards will address equity in education and technology and remote learning needs among students of color, Indigenous students, and those who are disabled or low-income. 

Lensmire’s GEER grant will provide direct aid to teacher candidates who have a need to defray unexpected costs posed by the pandemic during their student teaching semester and coursework.  Krajewski’s GEER grant will ensure that students receive the hardware and software required for meeting course learning objectives, and will provide captioning on instructional video recordings in order to make them more accessible. 

The grant awards will result in students and faculty being able to weather changes to their plans for learning and teaching a bit more smoothly. We owe thanks to the Minnesota Office of Higher Education for administering the competitive selection process this summer. We also wish to thank Dr. Lauren Causey for her skillful guidance in creating two high quality GEER proposals. 

The GEER grant program is a redistribution of federal CARES Act funds.

Dr. Mark Engebretson Receives 30th Grant from National Science Foundation to Study Space Weather

Dr. Mark EngebretsonDr. Mark Engebretson, Professor Emeritus of Physics, has received a five-year grant totaling $805,744 from the National Science Foundation to continue operation of the Magnetometer Array for Cusp and Cleft Studies (MACCS) as well as analyze and disseminate its data. This grant represents the 30th research study on which Dr. Engebretson has served as the Principal Investigator via National Science Foundation funding.

MACCS is an 8-station ground-based array that records and disseminates important magnetic field measurements for scientific analyses.  It is the only longitudinally-spaced cusp-latitude array in existence and will continue to provide critical data for studies of geospace phenomena including solar wind-magnetosphere and magnetosphere-ionosphere interactions, geomagnetic storms and substorms, and localized instabilities that produce large geomagnetically induced currents which can cause power grid blackouts on Earth.

Engebretson and his team (Dr. Laura Simms, Dr. Slava Pilipenko, and Dr. Erik Steinmetz) will continue to maintain the MACCS array and conduct detailed observational and theoretical studies using both ground-based and satellite data.  The MACCS project has provided research experiences to over 50 students since its installation in 1992.  The team’s most recent undergraduate co-author of a refereed paper, Lidiya Ahmed (’20), will begin graduate study in Physics at Harvard University after spending 2020/2021 doing research at work at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center near Washington, D.C.

The title of the new study is Collaborative Research: Ground-Based Studies of High-Latitude Magnetospheric and Ionospheric Dynamics Using the Magnetometer Array for Cusp and Cleft Studies (MACCS) and the NSF Award number is 2013648. The University of Michigan (PI Dr. Mark Moldwin) is a key partner on the MACCS 9 project, which will span 8/1/2020 – 7/31/2025.

TRIO SSS Wins U.S. Department of Education Grant Competition

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Students and staff from the Summer Bridge program in 2019



The U.S. Department of Education recently announced that Augsburg University has been awarded a federal Student Support Services (SSS) five-year grant of $294,722 annually to help more students succeed in and graduate from college. This is the fifth consecutive SSS grant awarded to Augsburg University, which has hosted the project since 2001. Augsburg TRIO SSS serves an annual complement of 160 undergraduate students from admission through graduation, to consistently meet its objectives in good academic standing, persistence and graduation.

TRIO SSS helps college students who are low income, first generation (those whose parents do not have a four-year college degree) or students with disabilities. The comprehensive array of services the grant will provide include academic skill development and tutoring, financial aid advice and financial literacy, academic advising, and other forms of assistance. Such services enhance academic success and make it more likely that students will persist and graduate with the lowest possible debt.

“Augsburg TRIO/SSS has established a reputation for helping students navigate higher education to achieve their academic goals. Students know their TRIO advisor is looking out for their best interests and helps them through the tough decisions of college life. We are thrilled to be able to continue this important work at Augsburg!” said Aly Olson, Director of Augsburg TRIO/SSS since 2001.

The project is funded by U.S. Department of Education (Award Number P042A200305). The grant will fund 70% of the overall project. An additional amount estimated at $125,000 (or about 30% of the overall project) will be contributed annually by Augsburg University to ensure the successful implementation of the Student Support Services program.

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