Notre Dame College Supports STEM Faculty Research, Teaching Projects with Goetz Geier Endowment

Notre Dame College is expected to double the number of endowment-funded science faculty projects this academic year to support the advancement of student engagement and learning in the STEM disciplines.

The College has selected 10 projects submitted by seven faculty members for the fall 2018 semester and is expected to name additional projects for the spring 2019 semester, to reach a total of more $30,000 in funding for science and math research and teaching this year. Grants are provided through the Marie Goetz Geier Endowment for STEM Education and Professor(s) in STEM Education at Notre Dame.

Notre Dame funded a total of 10 projects submitted by seven faculty for a total of nearly $30,000 in 2017-2018, the first year of the endowment.

Named in honor of Marie Goetz Geier, who graduated from Notre Dame in 1960 and served as faculty, staff and trustee at the College, the endowment is dedicated to supporting and growing the College’s science, technology, engineering and mathematics programs and has established three Distinguished STEM Professorships.

Projects Selected for 2018-2019

The following are the 2018-2019 academic year awards which were funded at the fall mini-grant submission:

  • Advancing Aquaponics and Sustainability at Notre Dame College – Engaging Students in Undergraduate Research Using an Aquaponic System - $1,470.10
    Tracey Meilander, Ph.D., Marie Goetz Geier Distinguished Professor of STEM, Associate Professor of Biology and Choose Ohio First STEMM @ NDC Program Director
  • Increasing Quantitative Reasoning, Modeling and Simulation Skills with SimBio - $382.00
    Tracey Meilander, Ph.D., Marie Goetz Geier Distinguished Professor of STEM, Associate Professor of Biology and Choose Ohio First STEMM @ NDC Program Director
  • iPad Technology for Classroom Engagement: Enhancing Course Presentation Through the Use of Real Time Slide Annotation - $409.99
    Carolyn Troha, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Mathematics
  • Using Document Camera Technology to Help Students Visualize Mathematics on the Graphing Calculator and Beyond - $859.68
    Donna Morlani, M.A., Assistant Professor of Mathematics
  • An Exploration of Enzyme Catalysts and Attachment Chemistries in an Enzymatic Fuel Cell - $3,000.00
    David Kirby, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Chemistry, and David Orosz, Ph.D., Marie Goetz Geier Distinguished Professor of STEM and Professor of Biochemistry
  • Video and Sound Enhancement for the Notre Dame College Lightboard Studio - $1,003.00
    David Orosz, Ph.D., Marie Goetz Geier Distinguished Professor of STEM and Professor of Biochemistry, and David Kirby, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Chemistry
  • JAZF-1 and HNDC Student Engagement Research Projects - $2,500.00.
    M. Logan Johnson, Ph.D., Marie Goetz Geier Distinguished Professor of STEM and Associate Professor of Biology
  • Low Resolution Molecular Models - $500.00
    M. Logan Johnson, Ph.D., Marie Goetz Geier Distinguished Professor of STEM and Associate Professor of Biology
  • The Role of CBX and CG12744 during Drosophila melanogaster Crystal Cell Development and Immune Protection against Bacterial and Fungal Infection - $750.00
    Angela Johnson, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biology, and M. Logan Johnson, Ph.D., Marie Goetz Geier Distinguished Professor of STEM and Associate Professor of Biology
  • IRAK4-Mediated Control of the TLR3-Induced Innate Inflammatory Response - $2,500.00
    Angela Johnson, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biology

Projects Achieved in 2017-2018

In the first year of grant funding during the 2017-18 academic year, the endowment supported 10 different project totaling more than $30,000. Selected submissions involved 10 faculty in individual and/or partner awards with seven faculty submitting two awards. Faculty represented the STEM departments of biology, chemistry and mathematics.

All projects were implemented during the 2017-2018 academic year and contributed to improved learning experiences for STEM majors on campus. Projects focused on enhancing teaching with improved technologies and resources, undergraduate research projects and improving student STEM retention.

Below is a list of awards and a brief summary of each 2017-2018 project evaluation:

  • iWorx Physiology Teaching Kits - $8,108.00
    Sharon Balchak, Ph.D., Professor of Biology, and Maggie Williams, Ph.D., Biology Laboratory Coordinator and Adjunct Faculty
    The iWorx data acquisition and analysis systems were used in BI 301 and 303 Human Anatomy and Physiology for Majors I and II labs and served 10 students each semester. These units allowed the students to serve as subjects in order to acquire real time data of various physiological tests. Some of the experiments that were done include electromyography, blood pressure and heart rate, electrocardiograms and respiration rates. The students learned how to properly apply the equipment to the subjects and acquire real time data. Using this data allowed the students to correlate the material presented to them during lecture to actually seeing the data on themselves. The future goals are to use the iWorx units not only in the physiology course but to incorporate the instrumentation into courses such as kinesiology and exercise science. The long-term goal is to use the units for some student research in the field of exercise science.
  • An Exploration of Enzyme Catalysts and Attachment Chemistries in an Enzymatic Fuel Cell - $3,200.00
    David Kirby, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Chemistry and David Orosz, Ph.D., Marie Goetz Geier Distinguished Professor of STEM and Professor of Biochemistry
    Two chemistry students actively participated (more than three hours per week over both fall and spring semesters of 2017-18 academic year) in the experimental design and execution to develop an enzymatic fuel cell (EFC) based on published reports. The construction of this fuel cell serves as a first step for this research project. The students worked to find an inexpensive probe for the presence of nanostructure and test the functionality of the prepared electrodes by studying the oxidation and reduction of glucose by cyclic voltammetry (CV). They traveled to Penn State Behrend to observe their electrodes under a scanning electron microscope (SEM). Successful fabrication will allow future projects to use this platform to study the factors affecting electron transfer in an enzymatic fuel cell.
  • Lightboard-Enhanced Videos for Science and Mathematics Instruction - $2,000.00
    David Orosz, Ph.D., Marie Goetz Geier Distinguished Professor of STEM and Professor of Biochemistry, and David Kirby, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Chemistry
    The lightboard was constructed and used throughout the year to enhance video-recorded content for online and face-to-face, flipped-classroom courses (with other funds provided by a donation specifically to the project and by the Finn Center and Academic Affairs). Recorded videos, which were posted to the Moodle course management system, were used to introduce, explain and demonstrate applications of course content to students in the flipped classroom and online courses. During the 2017-18 academic year, the lightboard project initially influenced at least 100 students in General Chemistry (CH 118, flipped classroom), Principles of Inorganic Chemistry (CH 106 flipped classroom and online), Quantitative Analysis (CH 310 A, flipped classroom), and College Physics I and II (PS 200 and PS 202, flipped classroom). Preliminary evidence suggests that construction of a Lightboard Studio, and, thus, the video recording produced in the facility, has improved student learning in these courses. The Lightboard Studio continues to be extensively used in recording course material for flipped classroom courses. The lightboard was also featured in a Faculty Development presentation: “Teaching Naked at Notre Dame  College,” October 23, 2018. Additionally, two students in an education course used the lightboard to record videos to demonstrate the application in teaching secondary students mathematics.
  • Citizen Weather Station - $1,460.00
    Mike Cackowski, M.S., Assistant Professor of Mathematics
    The weather station was purchased and plans were underway for installation in Fall 2018 in the "NDC Grows" community garden. The station will report rain information to th Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network (COCORAHS) immediately upon installation. The weather data will be used in statistics and environmental science courses and will provide students with the opportunity to use and analyze real time data with large data sets.
  • JAZF-1 Cancer Model and Protein Interactions - $3,400.00
    M. Logan Johnson, Ph.D., Marie Goetz Geier Distinguished Professor of STEM and Associate Professor of Biology
    This project was designed to engage and educate students through both Course-based Undergraduate Research Experiences (CUREs) and independent research experiences. Using a fruit fly model organism, students in Cell and Molecular Biology (BI 307) and Research Methods (BI 466) were able to experience CUREs.  Students in Research Methods used their data from this project to compile a poster and presented it at Notre Dame College’s Celebration of Scholarship week.  Furthermore, materials purchased with this project helped support two students independent research projects. With data that these students generated, they were able to present at a national conference, the 59th Annual Drosophila Research Conference in Philadelphia.
  • IRAK4-Mediated Control of the TLR3-Induced Innate Inflammatory Response - $4,850.00
    Angela Johnson, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biology
    Two students participated in immunology research investigating toll-like receptors and their involvement in the innate immune response for three hours minimum each week of the semester. During the spring 2018 semester, one student presented at the Notre Dame College Celebration of Scholarship and Ohio Academy of Science Annual Meeting (Bowling Green, Ohio), thus demonstrating engagement and learning gains from the project, as the research work was communicated to the campus community and the wider scientific community. The involved research students aspire to attend medical, nursing or graduate school. Therefore, the continuation of these efforts not only drives the study of innate immunity forward, but also allows students at Notre Dame to gain valuable experience that will help them secure future educational opportunities and employment.
  • The Role of CBX and CG12744 during Drosophila melanogaster Crystal Cell Development and Immune Protection against Bacterial and Fungal Infection - $1,300.00
    Angela Johnson, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biology, and M. Logan Johnson, Ph.D., Marie Goetz Geier Distinguished Professor of STEM and Associate Professor of Biology
    The project was designed to engage and educate students through the generation of independent research experiences that are collaborative efforts between A.C. Johnson and M.L. Johnson’s laboratories. Several students were able to experience the study of developmental molecular genetics within the context of Drosophila melanogaster models of infection and immunity. Over the 2017-2018 academic year, students involved in independent research participated in projects for three hours minimum each week of the semester and presented their findings at the Notre Dame College Celebration of Scholarship and/or the Ohio Academic of Science Annual Meeting (Bowling Green, Ohio) to demonstrate their engagement and learning gains from the project, as they communicated the work to the campus community and the wider scientific community.
  • 3D Printer - $1,300.00
    Mike Cackowski, M.S., Assistant Professor of Mathematics, and the late Josephine Pophal, M.Ed., Marie Goetz Geier Distinguished Professor of STEM and Assistant Professor of Mathematics
    A 3D printer was purchased and installed as part of the Notre Dame College Learning & Innovation Center (LIC) with additional funds supplemented by an alumni donation. The printer and associated software was used by the Engineering Club to design and print original designs. During the academic year, the printer was also used by the Enzymatic Fuel Cell Project (Kirby and Orosz, see above) to create the flow chamber for the fuel cell. In the upcoming year, the LIC will conduct faculty, staff and student 3D printer trainings and the innovation club (a super-club integrating STEM, art and entrepreneurship) will use the 3D printer to create prototypes.
  • Increasing Student Success in General Biology II with a Peer Led Supplemental Instruction Program - $1,000.00
    Tracey Meilander, Ph.D., Marie Goetz Geier Distinguished Professor of STEM, Associate Professor of Biology, and Choose Ohio First STEMM @ NDC Program Director
    A peer tutor serving as a supplemental instructor in the BI 116 General Biology II: Organismal Biology course facilitated tutoring and review sessions for students in Fall 2017 and Spring 2018. Many students (40-60 percent) participated in one or more review sessions and felt that they were worthwhile and should be continued in this course and others. The number of D and F grades in the course declined while the number of A and B grades increased, suggesting that the supplemental instruction program had a positive impact on student success in the course.
  • Growing Sustainability at Notre Dame College- $2,350.00
    Tracey Meilander, Ph.D., Marie Goetz Geier Distinguished Professor of STEM, Associate Professor of Biology and Choose Ohio First STEMM @ NDC Program Director
    A 8’ x 12’ greenhouse was constructed on a cement pad adjacent to the community garden for use with sustainability initiatives, undergraduate research (individual and/or course-based) and community programs. South Euclid community gardeners and middle school students from the Cleveland Clinic Summer Treatment Program utilized the greenhouse during the summer of 2018. The Fall 2018 BI 310/311 Ecology and Lab classes will utilize the greenhouse for plant competition experiments, and undergraduate research plant studies will commence in 2018-2019.

Additional Information

To learn more about any of these projects or the Marie Goetz Geier Endowment for STEM Education and Professor(s) in STEM Education at Notre Dame, contact David Orosz, Ph.D., Marie Goetz Geier Distinguished Professor of STEM and professor of biochemistry, at dorosz@ndc.edu or 216.373.5322.

January 2019

About Notre Dame College

For almost a century, Notre Dame College has educated a diverse population in the liberal arts for personal, professional and global responsibility. Founded by the Sisters of Notre Dame in 1922, the College has grown strategically to keep pace with the rapidly changing needs of students and the dramatic changes in higher education. But it has never lost sight of its emphasis on teaching students not only how to make a good living but also how to live a good life.

Today, the College offers bachelor’s degrees in 30 disciplines plus a variety of master's degrees, certification programs and continuing and professional development programs for adult learners on campus and online. Notre Dame College offers NCAA Division II intercollegiate athletic programs for men and women and is located in a picturesque residential neighborhood just 25 minutes from the heart of Cleveland. Hallmarks of the Notre Dame experience include stimulating academics, personalized attention of dedicated faculty and staff, and small class sizes.

Notre Dame College is located at 4545 College Road in South Euclid. For further information contact Brian Johnston, chief communications officer, at 216.373.5252 or bjohnston@ndc.edu.

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