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Award Detail

Doing Business As Name:Colby College
  • Tasha L Dunn
  • (207) 859-5808
  • Bess G Koffman
  • Walter A Sullivan
Award Date:06/21/2021
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 299,500
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 299,500
  • FY 2021=$299,500
Start Date:07/01/2021
End Date:06/30/2022
Transaction Type:Grant
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.050
Primary Program Source:040100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:Acquisition of a SEM-EDS-CL microanalytical system for research, teaching, and outreach in Geology at Colby College, a Primarily Undergraduate Institution (PUI)
Federal Award ID Number:2038418
DUNS ID:071741268
Parent DUNS ID:071741268
Program:Instrumentation & Facilities
Program Officer:
  • Luciana Astiz
  • (703) 292-4705

Awardee Location

Street:4000 Mayflower Hill
Awardee Cong. District:01

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:Colby College
Street:4000 Mayflower Hill
Cong. District:01

Abstract at Time of Award

This grant funds the acquisition of a new state-of-the-art scanning-electron-microscope (SEM) for high-resolution imaging and analysis of Earth materials, such as volcanic dust, meteorites, and fault rocks. This new instrument will be used to support and enrich ongoing research in the Geology department at Colby College, and it will provide valuable training opportunities for undergraduate students in Geology and other STEM fields. This new SEM system also is ideal for classroom use and will be integrated into all levels of Colby’s geology curriculum, from introductory geology to senior capstone experiences. Colby faculty in the Biology and Physics Departments also will incorporate the SEM into their teaching and research programs, thus increasing the overall impact of the new instrument. The SEM will be used by a diverse group of students across campus, including incoming first-year students in Colby’s immersive summer program for students from underrepresented or disadvantaged groups who are interested in science. Geology faculty also will share research results with the mostly rural, underserved population of central Maine through their participation in community outreach programs. This award to Colby College is for the acquisition of a variable-pressure scanning electron microscope equipped with a low-vacuum secondary (SE) detector, a high-sensitivity back-scatter-electron (BSE) detector, an energy-dispersive-spectrometer (EDS), and a color-cathodoluminescence (color-CL) detector. The new SEM system will support a variety of research initiatives at Colby College, including: 1) understanding the physical and chemical mechanisms that weaken rocks in fault zones and help control earthquake-generating fault slip events; 2) elucidating the early evolution of our solar system as recorded in fragments of asteroids that fall to Earth as meteorites; and 3) constraining the effects past volcanic eruptions on climate and assessing the impacts of atmospheric dust deposition on the productivity of marine ecosystems. The SEM system will increase the research capabilities of faculty in the Geology Department at Colby College, and will enable ~60 undergraduate Geology majors to engage in research over the next decade. Access to the SEM will allow student users to develop cutting-edge skills that will be useful for future careers in a wide range of STEM fields. Faculty in other STEM fields also will incorporate the SEM into their teaching and research programs, thus increasing the overall impact of the new instrument. The SEM will help Geology faculty recruit and retain students from under-represented or disadvantaged backgrounds through their ongoing work the Colby Achievement Program in the Sciences—a 6-week immersive summer program for incoming first-year students from underrepresented groups who are interested in STEM majors. This award received co-funding from the Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) office. This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

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