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LVC Science Students Benefit from $150,000 Alden Trust Grant for New Instrumentation
10.30.14 |
Lebanon Valley College recently received a grant upwards of $150,000 to aid its Biology Department in purchasing five new pieces of modern laboratory equipment.

Biology faculty believed that a grant would significantly contribute to success of their students so they submitted a proposal to the Alden Trust board, stating, “Early introduction to instrumentation is a core foundation of our science programs. We believe strongly that students learn science by doing science, not just reading about it.”

Ultimately, the Alden trustees agreed with the faculty’s point of view and awarded $150,000 to the department in support of its proposal. With the help of the grant, the department will acquire five new, modern pieces of laboratory equipment including a Becton Dickinson Accuri C6 Flow Cytometer, STORM 860 Molecular IMAGER, Olympus CKX41 Inverted Phase Contrast Microscope with a Digital Imagine System, Fluorescence Microscopes with Camera Documentation Systems, and a Multifunction Microplate Reader. The equipment will be installed in the labs and ready for student use for the fall 2015 semester.

“The cutting-edge, research-grade instruments purchased have become staples of most modern laboratories around the world. Our students will be significantly more competitive in their post-baccalaureate graduate schools, professional schools, or career applications if they have demonstrated familiarity with these technologies,” said Dr. Dale Erskine, chair and professor of biology.

LVC's science faculty encourage their students to gain hands-on research early in their academic careers, including before their freshman year in some cases. This collaborative emphasis continues to enable LVC science graduates to enroll in and graduate from top doctoral research programs such as Princeton, Johns Hopkins, and others, as well as earn positions in major national research laboratories throughout the United States. This new instrumentation allows the College to continue to provide access to state-of-the-art equipment that is relevant to a science student’s ultimate career.

The equipment will directly impact the cell and tissue culture lab, engaging more than 250 science students with the instruments in both professor-led courses and independent research. The lab is utilized by biology, biochemistry and molecular biology courses, as well as chemistry, psychology, psychobiology, and science education courses. This means that more than one-third of all LVC students will benefit from the new equipment at some point in their undergraduate career. The lab and new equipment will also be used by faculty and outside researchers in pursuit of personal research projects.

With the expanded ability to collect more meaningful and quantifiable data for presentation and publication, high-impact experiences through the science departments will increase during students’ undergraduate years.

“The five pieces of instrumentation funded by this grant position us to take another huge step forward in our commitment toward involving science majors in research early in their academic careers,” said Matthew Weaver, a major gifts officer for the College who collaborated with the science faculty on the grant application. “Lebanon Valley College has a strong historical relationship with the Alden Trust. The Trust has generously supported renovations of Lynch Memorial Hall and the Neidig-Gerber Science Center in recent years. We look forward to continuing our relationship with the Alden Trust as we share information with the trustees about our progress as we install the new instrumentation, fully incorporate it into the curriculum, and evaluate the manner in which we use it for our teaching and research.”

The George I. Alden Trust Grant, established in 1912, gives preference to small, independent institutions in higher-education of the New England states. The trust supports projects related to teaching and learning technology, particularly to the sciences. If a school feels they fit the criteria for the grant, the administration can choose to submit a proposal. Once a proposal is submitted, the trustees choose institutions in that the funding will enhance the mission of the college and contribute to the intellectual growth of the students. 


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