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City Tech Awarded Close to $5 Million in Federal Grants

City Tech is entering an exciting period in its history, having recently won six competitive grants totaling close to $5 million.

The funding will be used to strengthen and re-imagine the academic offerings of the College as well as provide cutting-edge research opportunities for faculty and students.

U.S. Department of Education (DOE) – two grants

The largest grant is $3.1 million from the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) Strengthening Hispanic-Serving Institutions (Title V) Program to connect the College’s curriculum to the dynamic “living laboratory” of Downtown Brooklyn.

The DOE funding will support the creation of an innovative teaching and learning platform that will strengthen social and intellectual bonds among students and deepen their engagement with course materials,” says Professor Matthew K. Gold (English), who will lead the five-year initiative. In addition, this grant will build on the recently created Center for the Study of the Brooklyn Waterfront, which will sponsor interdisciplinary research into the present life and past history along the shores of Brooklyn.

City Tech received a second DOE grant for a new two-year policy-oriented measure entitled, “Integrating Self-Management and Palliation Concepts (IMPACT): Health Policy and Nursing Education Implications.” The goal of this project — funded by a $69,658 DOE Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) US-EU/Atlantis Grant — is to discover and technologically disseminate best practices in palliative care and self-management nursing education here and in the European Union (EU). Professor Patricia A. Cholewka (nursing) is the project director.

National Science Foundation (NSF) – three grants

The words “mechatronic/robotics technology center” will be heard often on campus thanks to a National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education grant of $771,022 to establish just such a facility. The three-year grant will enable City Tech faculty members and students, as well as high school pupils, to participate in multidisciplinary engineering activities, including robotics competitions. “Mechatronic technology has been identified as one of the most important emerging technologies of the 21st century,” says Professor Zhang (mechanical engineering technology), project director. 

Mechatronics is a new product design field involving the integration of mechanical components, electrical/electronic systems, industrial design ideas, computer-control systems, embedded systems, and intelligent software.

Co-directing the mechatronic project along with Professor Zhang are Professors Farrukh Zia and Iem Heng (computer engineering technology) and Professor Sidi Berri (mechanical engineering technology and industrial design technology).

Also winning an NSF grant is Professor Huseyin Yuce (mathematics) who received $199,559 to create an interdisciplinary science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) course, “The Brooklyn Waterfront 2050,” for first-year students. City Tech faculty will work with the Urban Design Lab at the Earth Institute of Columbia University to create the course content.

“The science will be presented in ways that students find engaging, with the living, breathing Brooklyn waterfront at the college’s doorstep as their laboratory,” says Professor Yuce. “Moreover, our students, 50 percent of whom live in Brooklyn, will better understand their own stake in the future of their community.”

City Tech Professor Justin Vazquez-Poritz (physics) was awarded a $60,000 NSF grant over a three-year period for “Constraining Gravity Dual Models of Strongly Coupled Plasmas” to further his research in string theory. He is using string theory — the leading candidate for a "theory of everything” — to understand the properties of a new form of matter known as quark-gluon plasma, which is currently being produced at particle colliders, such as the one at Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island.

“This plasma is at least a thousand times hotter than the core of the sun and is essentially a microscopic version of the early Universe,” says Vazquez Portiz. “A better understanding of it will provide us with a clearer window into the beginning of the universe itself.”

National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) grant

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has awarded the City Tech $442,000 over three years to expand research opportunities for faculty and students at NASA, with the aim of attracting more students to careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

The project, “Achieving Proficiency in Engineering Research and STEM Education Through NASA Initiatives,” will be led by Professor Gaffar Gailani (mechanical engineering and industrial design technology), in collaboration with Hostos Community College and its Proyecto Access Pre-freshmen Engineering Program (also funded by NASA). NASA-related research components will be added to three City Tech core courses, two Hostos core courses and two new multidisciplinary courses. Students will do summer internships at several partnered space centers around the country. The grant’s co-directors are Hostos Professor Nieves Angulo and City Tech Professors Sidi Berri (mechanical engineering technology) and Reginald Blake (physics).


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