The University of Illinois Springfield is one of eight institutions to receive an Innovation Fund grant from the Coca-Cola Foundation, and the school plans to use the $25,000 to help students study and compare river ecosystems in Brazil and Illinois.
The grant will help fund a joint project between UIS and the Universidade Estadual de Maringa (UEM) in Brazil.
Students and faculty from the two universities will study two of the world’s great rivers, the Paraná and the Illinois.
According to UIS, nine students and six faculty will be involved in the summer of 2017, with plans to increase that number in the future. Faculty and staff from UIS and UEM have been collaborating for 10 years on similar projects.
UIS associate professor of chemistry Keenan Dungey, professor of biology Michael Lemke and international programs director Jonathan GoldbergBelle submitted the grant-funded proposal along with their Brazilian colleagues.
“Students are going to learn how to measure the ecology of the rivers, water chemistry and microbes, plankton, and compare the state of the Illinois River to the Parana.”
“The Illinois River has been impacted by human agriculture and industrialization for more than 100 years, whereas the region of the Parana has had a lot less impact and three national parks help to preserve the river,” Dungey said.
The $25,000 grant is part of the Coca-Cola Foundation-sponsored competition “100,000 Strong in the Americas.” The grants recognize initiatives to create partnerships between higher education institutions and Latin America, with the goal of increasing study abroad in the field of environmental sciences, with an emphasis on water.
The eight grants awarded in 2016 will help 115 students to study abroad and prepare them for the 21st-century workforce.
This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on November 12, 2016.
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