Patricia Williams, a second-year student in the EdD program in Kinesiology and Instructor of Biology at Gaston College, and a colleague were awarded a research grant from the Women’s Impact Fund to study the antimicrobial resistant genes and bacterial species present in the critically endangered Catawba River. The Catawba River provides water to over 2 million people in Western North Carolina. This study will address not only the antimicrobial resistant bacteria present in the water system, but also the potential impact it has on the health of individuals who rely on drinking water from this river.
Addressing a Critical Need in the Community
This research grant serves two main purposes. Patricia shared, “Not only do we want to study the health of the Catawba River, we also want to address real-world research problems with undergraduate students who may not have access to research opportunities.” Gaston College has been a hub for undergraduate research for the past 10 years. Gaston College is one of only two community colleges in the nation to earn certification by the Partnership for Undergraduate Life Science Education. “Our goal is to provide research opportunities to our diverse population of students that allow them to address a critical need in their community.” The college has seen substantial growth in their Associate of Science degree programs and have significantly increased student success and retention through these undergraduate research initiatives.
Applying Coursework in the Classroom and Research Laboratory
While Williams has received smaller research grants in the past, the EdD in Kinesiology program helped her develop her skills in grant writing. “When I took our required Physical Activity and Health course with Dr. Paul Davis this past Spring, one of our major projects involved writing a small grant on a health and wellness topic that interested us. This activity provided me with the skills needed to branch out and apply for larger research grants that can impact student success in our college while helping our community.”
Already Making an Impact
Currently, the grant has awarded 5 students with research stipends and at least 7 students with honor’s research credit through their work on the project. “We have collected a lot of data and our students are presenting their research at the State of North Carolina Undergraduate Research and Creativity Symposium in November.”For more information on the grant, Women’s Impact fund, and Gaston College Foundation check out the Press Release here. You can contact Patricia Williams, Principal Investigator and Instructor of Biology at Williams.Patricia@gaston.edu for further information.
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