A new program at Triton College will provide scholarships, mentoring and other resources to students pursuing careers in geology, environmental science, engineering and related fields.
The GENIUS (Geo-Engineering Innovations through Undergraduate Scholarship) project is supported by a five-year grant of $650,000 through the National Science Foundation’s Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (S-STEM) program. Nearly $400,000 in grant funds will support student scholarships, with the remainder of the funds to cover equipment, research, mentoring and other support services.
“We are highly pleased to support the efforts of the faculty, Dr. Sheldon Turner & colleagues, and the Grants Office in the development of a relevant program of study with scholarship opportunities and resources for capable students to create positive, environmental impact within our communities” said Triton College President Mary-Rita Moore.
The GENIUS project will help mitigate the regional need for more and better prepared geoscience and engineering technology graduates. The 10-year projected growth rate in Illinois for geo-engineering occupations is between 15 percent and 20 percent, which is substantially higher than the national average for all occupations.
“There’s a big workforce need,” said Triton College science professor Dr. Sheldon Turner, the grant’s principal investigator. “There is a growing number of environmental science jobs out there and we are excited to take the lead on preparing students to succeed in tho
Beginning in the fall 2018 semester, academically talented students demonstrating a financial need will receive a full tuition scholarship, along with intensive mentoring and coaching from Triton’s expert faculty and staff. The program includes partnerships with area high schools, four-year colleges, and environmental and industry groups to involve students in hands-on projects that will demonstrate the importance of geo-engineering careers.
“The main thing we’re looking for is really motivated, high achieving students who have a financial need.
“We do want to get them early so we can help them through the whole program, Dr. Turner said.”
GENIUS program completers will be prepared to transfer to a four-year college to pursue a bachelor’s degree, or succeed in careers in which they’ll help protect water resources and address other environmental issues.
The skills and knowledge gained in the environmental science program will be attractive to the myriad of environmental remediation firms and environmentally focused nonprofit organizations within the Chicagoland area.
“One of the big things in the Chicago area is finding all of the leaking tanks left behind by closed factories and gas stations and getting them out of the ground to protect our groundwater, as well as our rivers and Lake Michigan,” said Dr. Turner
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that promotes the progress of science and serves as a funding source for nearly a quarter of all federally supported basic research conducted by America’s colleges and universities.
Photo Above: Triton College Science Professor Dr. Sheldon Turner was the principal investigator for the NSA grant.