Active grant awards

New College of Florida recognizes researchers who have recently been awarded grants.

active awards

New College faculty and staff are diverse people; some of them put together plays, some of them head their departments, and some of them play ping-pong in the cafeteria. One thing they do all have in common though, is their constant commitment to the New College and greater Sarasota community.

The best way they have to connect with these communities is through the formation of projects, many of which have been backed financially by outside sources. From conservation efforts around the Sarasota area to virtual recreations of historic events to developing new scientific technologies, their projects all have a positive impact on not only the community of New College, but the local and global communities as well. By undertaking large projects such as these, our faculty and staff show a commitment to not only pushing academic boundaries, but bettering the world as well.

Microplastic Pollution

Professor of Biology and Marine Science Sandra Gilchrist secured a grant from the HDR Foundation to address microplastic pollution in nearshore waters. Her project will give an annual baseline of microplastics in water and sediment that can be added to state and 5 gyres databases, providing information for a reduction/clean-up strategy. Dr. Gilchrist expects to engage at least 120 college students and 30 teachers in her project and will continue to process and collect samples as part of class work and senior projects with New College students.


Assistant Professor of Mathematics Christopher Kottke achieved a multi-year grant from the National Science Foundation for his project entitled “RUI: Analysis on HyperKahler Moduli Spaces.” Dr. Kottke will collaborate with national and international colleagues to contribute to the body of work on moduli spaces, which are important objects of study in geometry. This work will complement Dr. Kottke’s classroom teaching, supervising of original undergraduate research, mentoring student-led project-based independent study projects, and an ongoing initiative to improve diversity and gender parity in the math major.

International: KTH Royal Institute of Technology School, Stockholm

Professor of Sociology and Environmental Studies David Brain secured additional funding from the KTH Royal Institute of Technology School of Architecture and the Built Environment to continue his and New College students’ work on Public Space and Urbanism Research Database Development. Through this work, Dr. Brain and students will continue to identify and review available research in the social sciences for inclusion in the Center’s database. Dr. Brain also secured new finding from KTH to perform his work on Civic Urbanism: Configuring the New Urban Commons.

Environmental Protection Agency Gulf of Mexico Program

Join ORPS in celebrating AWESOME news for Assistant Professor of Biology Brad Oberle and Assistant Professor of Biology Jayne Gardiner. Brad and Jayne have been selected for funding under the EPA Gulf of Mexico Program!!! Together they will partner with Professor of Biology and Director of Pritzker Marine Biology Research Center Sandra Gilchrist and with the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program. The team will implement a novel experimental restoration to identify how alternative methods for exotic deadwood disposal alter mangrove carbon cycling, fish communities and native revegetation. The field work will take place at Tidy Island, the most extensive intact mangrove habitat in Sarasota Bay, and will engage underserved high school students who will learn how the health of the bay affects citizens through Sandra’s PUSH/SUCCESS program
In times of federal funding slashes, especially at the EPA, this award is truly significant for the researchers and New College.

German Academic Exchange Service, Research Stays for Academics and Scientists

Let’s give a round of applause to Associate Professor of History Thomas McCarthy. Tomas was awarded a scholarship under the program Research Stays for University Academics and Scientists by the German Academic Exchange Service. Thomas will apply his scholarship during his sabbatical at the Monumenta Germaniae Historica in Munich during Spring 2018. Congratulations Thomas!

Bay Partners Grants at the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program funds PUSH/SUCCESS

Professor of Biology and Director of Pritzker Marine Biology Research Center Sandra Gilchrist for securing funds from the Bay Partners Grants at the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program (SBEP) for her PUSH/SUCCESS project! PUSH/SUCCESS provides a comprehensive educational activity for local, middle-school and high-school youth on campus. The program offers students an opportunity to enrich their science interests and includes a stay at New College dorms. Other activities for participants include a guided tour of Sarasota Bay on the Bay Explorer, an educational vessel, to learn about important habitats and how humans affect them. Congrats to Sandra and participants!

Bay Partners Grants at the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program funds Phytoremediation of Contaminated Groundwater

Third-year Environmental Science student Carlos Mejia and Natural Sciences Division Chair Katie Walstrom have also secured funding from the Bay Partners Grants at the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program for their project on Phytoremediation of Contaminated Groundwater. Guided by Katie, Carlos and Carolyn Reidy, a third-year undergraduate at Penn State University, will install a specialized phytoremediation garden designed to contain phyto-accumulators in the Caples side of NCF campus. This sustainable, solar-powered initiative will result in cleaner groundwater in the proposed high-priority area. Way to go Katie and Carlos!

At-Risk Butterfly Conservation Reverse the Decline Program, Florida Museum of Natural History at the University of Florida

Assistant Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies Emily Saarinen secured funds from the University of Florida to partner with them in performing research on the conservation and recovery of key at-risk butterflies, including listed taxa and those of conservation concern across Florida and California. Emily and select New College students will perform bioinformatics and genetic data analysis, among other related tasks. Way to go Emily! Much success to you and students!

Publix Super Markets Charities

Professor of Biology and Director of Pritzker Marine Biology Research Center Sandra Gilchrist has secured funding from Publix Super Markets Charities for her PUSH/SUCCESS program’s 15th year anniversary. With New College faculty and students working together, PUSH/SUCCESS provides a comprehensive educational activity for local, financially-challenged middle-school and high-school youth in a college setting. Focus is placed on assuring that students interested in science, not always tops in their classes, are given a chance to explore their interests. This year Sandra’s happy to report that one of the students from past sessions is working with her on a project for the MaST program on ocean acidification effects on sea urchins. Congrats to Sandra and participating students!

The American Philosophical Society Franklin Research Grant

The American Philosophical Society has awarded Professor of History David Harvey a Franklin Research Grant in support of David’s research. With this grant David will make a research trip to France to examine French efforts to secure new colonies in Guyana, the Falkland Islands, and Madagascar, and to reform and regenerate existing colonies in the Caribbean and Indian Ocean. The product of David’s research will be a book titled Enlightened Colonialism? France and the World, 1763-1789. Congratulations David!

New College: Connecting the Arts and Humanities on Florida’s Creative Coast

ORPS is excited to report that the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded a five-year grant (2016 through 2021) of $750,000 to New College of Florida. The project has three central goals.

  • To elevate New College’s capacity to contribute to public discourse on humanities and arts in our region.
  • To build sustainable relations with local arts organizations.
  • To establish sustainable academic connections with local colleges that comprise the College Consortium on the Creative Coast (the C4 group).

The grant from the Mellon Foundation’s Higher Education and Scholarship in the Humanities program is a testimony to New College’s strength in the humanities, to the vibrancy of the arts community in the Sarasota-Manatee area, and to the promise of the C4 consortium. Relatively few such grants go to public universities.

RUI: Rapid Acquisition and Analysis of Complex Spectra with High-Speed Digitizers

With the help of many New College students, Dr. Steven Shipman received generous support from the National Science Foundation to stare into space. Well, more accurately he’s been staring into the atmosphere, and it’s not him that’s doing the looking, it’s a high-speed digital oscilloscope. Dr. Shipman’s project has made data collection and analysis much faster and easier for scientists working with chemical spectrums. The work done on the project includes the creation of new data-collection methods and spectral analysis software, which were all made freely available to the greater scientific community.

What is perhaps most interesting about this project is the fact that many of these methods and pieces of software were created by New College students. This is the other side of Dr. Shipman’s project, not only has he been able to take important steps forward in the field of chemical spectroscopy, he is making an opportunity for New College students to engage directly. For its three-year duration, this project has become part of many students ISPs as well as some theses, making it an important part of the New College educational landscape.