PPG Funds University Research Projects
Coatings giant PPG is investing in engineering and chemistry research at the collegiate level.
The PPG Industries Foundation has given $103,000 to the University of Pittsburgh for those programs.
“Students participating in these programs will learn how to combine scientific learning and research with practical communication skills, which better prepares them for future professional opportunities in science and engineering fields,” said Sue Sloan, the executive director of the PPG Industries Foundation.
Grants for Engineering
The organization gave $50,000 to support 12 summer undergraduate research fellowships at the university’s Swanson School of Engineering. The fellows will work full-time with a faculty mentor on an approved research project. When complete, the fellow will present an abstract of the project for the university’s Science 2015 Student Poster Fair in October.
Meanwhile, the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering also received a $50,000 grant from the foundation, according to the statement. That money will be used to support two PPG Industries Foundation Graduate Fellows for one year.
One of those fellows, Xiao “Sean” Ma, is working on a project involving drinking water treatment and biofoam growth on antifouling coatings. Ma is working on his project with Kyle Bibby, who is an assistant professor at the university.
The other student—Omkar Lokare—is evaluating the potential for membrane distillation for the treatment of water produced by the unconventional gas industry. Lokare is working with Radisav Vidic, who is the university’s William Keppler Whiteford Professor and is the chairman of the department.
In addition to funding the projects, the foundation said its grant will be used to enable Ma and Lokare to visit off-campus, industry-related laboratories.
Grants for Chemistry
The final $3,000 from the foundation went to the Department of Chemistry. It will be used to help fund the chemistry laboratory poster session. The session, held annually, allows more than 400 upper-level chemistry students to prepare posters that explain their experiments. Students are graded on how well they are able to convey their methods, according to the foundation’s statement.
Gerald D. Holder, the university's U.S. Steel Dean of Engineering, said in the statement that the PPG grants are helping the university offer its students research and enrichment opportunities.
“The fellowships and undergraduate poster session offer our students experience in conducting important research projects and then developing skills to convey their methods and findings through posters and presentations, and to professionals working in non-university environments,” said Holder.