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For Immediate Release
October 9, 2015

College Lands a Share of NSF Grant for
Undergraduate Research Projects


The National Science Foundation has awarded $1.5 million to community colleges across the nation, including Moreno Valley College (MVC) for providing continued research opportunities to students.

The grant was awarded to the College's Community College Undergraduate Research Initiative (CCURI), a project first launched by Finger Lakes Community College (FLCC) in upstate New York. In 2011, FLCC received a $3.35 million grant to share its model for teaching science through research with other community colleges across the country.

MVC became a member of the CCURI in 2012. The initial goal was to develop a research-based course for biology major students in collaboration with University of California, Riverside (UCR). Eight biology and chemistry students have presented their research at the CCURI National Student Poster Conference and four faculty members have participated in the research workshops organized by CCURI.

CCURI funding allowed Daniel Pierce to initiate studies of cliff swallows on the MVC campus. Using camera trapping and ArcGIS he mapped and recorded the life of swallows for two years. His research together with results obtained by other biology students from biology courses gained MVC the first independent NSF funding for the initiation of the Flying With Swallow (FWS) project.

"The fact that the grant has been renewed until 2019 extends the research opportunities for MVC STEM students," said Joanna Werner-Fraczek, associate professor of Biology. "More than before, students will be able to use evidence-based learning in science course that has been shown to improve instruction and student success in undergraduate science education at the two-year institution."

Moreno Valley College is among other colleges such as Mesa Community College in Arizona, Ivy Technical Community College in Indiana, Oklahoma City Community College, Seminole State College in Florida who will benefit in the four-year $1.5 million grant.

The grant is part of the National Science Foundation's fund for improving undergraduate education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). For more information on the grant project, called Community College Undergraduate Research Initiative, Creating a Culture of Change, visit for more information.