Ohio Christian University to Receive $1 Million Grant for Science Programs

More federal dollars may soon be heading to Ohio Christian University that would be used to improve the university's science program.

Congressman David Hobson has asked for $1 million for OCU's science program. The request has been approved in committee and needs final approval from both houses of Congress.

This is the second time this week Hobson has announced federal funding for OCU. On Monday OCU learned it would get $700,000 for its new logistics management program.

"We really thank Congressman Hobson for his investment in our community," OCU President Mark Smith said. "He understands the link between education and the economy in the 21st century. This will help us do some things to create more interest on scientific education at the university."

The money, which would fund improvements to OCU's two science labs, classrooms and equipment, is included in the 2009 Energy and Water Development Appropriations bill, which funds most of the operations at the U.S. Department of Energy, the civil operations of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Bureau of Reclamation.

"This funding bill supports a variety of energy and water-related projects throughout the district, including water infrastructure improvements, high-performance computing, and the construction of energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly buildings. I'm pleased that OCU's new science education building is a part of that," Hobson said.

Smith said the university's science labs have been outdated for several years and OCU has never had a dedicated science program, which they now will be able to create by hiring full-time faculty members. Some of the money also will be used for community science programs, including camps for area elementary and high school students.

"This will really help us support science in Pickaway County," Smith said. "If we train people in the math and science areas, it opens up lots of doors for other careers."

As OCU expands its science offerings, it intends to focus on basic science education, with courses such as biology, chemistry and anatomy, and will prepare students for careers such as nursing and science education.

Smith said getting federal money to improve science offerings could open the door to getting money from other sources, such as private foundations that specifically support science education.

Written by Waylon Strickland, Staff Writer of the Circleville Herald.[see original article]