April 28, 2003
CONTACT: Becky Zelinski, 661/664-2138, bzelinski@csub.edu

CSUB Geology department receives $400,000 grant

The California State University, Bakersfield geology department recently received a three-year, $400,000 grant from the Natural Science Foundation to study the climate history of the Southern San Joaquin Valley and support geoscience education in Kern County.

CSUB geology professors Dirk Baron and Rob Negrini, together with Manuel Palacios-Fest of Terra Nostra Earth Science in Arizona prepared the grant, which will support research designed to understand the regional climate history and flooding of the Kern River and its tributaries. The grant also provides significant funding to improve geoscience education in local middle and high schools and at CSUB.

According to Baron, receiving the grant is a significant accomplishment for CSUB since most Natural Science Foundation grants are awarded to large research universities. But more than that, heŪs excited about it because the grant will benefit students, the university and the community.

žThis grant is great for the university because it will allow us to purchase new research equipment, support cutting-edge research by faculty and students, and help us recruit talented local high school students who may not otherwise attend CSUB,Ó Baron said. žStudents will benefit by the scholarships associated with the grant and it will also give them real research experience, which helps motivate them and gives them an edge when applying to grad schools.Ó

žAs for the community,Ó Baron added, žour agriculture- and petroleum-based economy relies on geoscience expertise and provides excellent employment opportunities for geologists. Unfortunately, thereŪs a real lack of K-12 teachers with training in the geosciences that could get kids interested in geology and make them aware of the many career opportunities in this field. This grant will significantly strengthen geoscience education in local schools by training middle and high school teachers. The community will also benefit from the research that will be conducted.Ó

Each year of the grant, three $4,000 scholarships will be available to CSUB geology students. Grant funding will begin in September 2003.