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Tracy Brown-Fox Awarded NSF grant

The team at Smith Institute congratulates Dr. Tracy Brown-Fox for her efforts and success in securing a multi-year grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the amount of $300,000 over the course of 3 years. Brown-Fox’s work, entitled Investigating the Efficacy and Stability of Charred Nanocellulose Materials in High Temperature and High Performing Polymers, seeks to study the impact of high temperatures on the stability of tiny particles.

After attending the GSPAR Grants Development Institute, Dr. Brown-Fox has worked in partnership with Dr. Roderquita Moore, and Forest Laboratories to secure the grant. In reflecting on her grant-writing efforts, Dr. Brown-Fox says,

“I wrote this grant in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. . . . It was difficult and taxing on the mind and body, but with perseverance and the support of GSPAR, I was awarded the Research Initiation Awards grant in the late Spring of 2021.”

There are additional reasons for hope in her success: this was not Dr. Brown-Fox’s first time trying to secure this grant. She submitted this idea four (4) times before being funded.

The Research Initiation Awards (RIA) program allows faculty without recent research funding in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) to pursue research at their home institution. This award happens to be especially helpful to minority faculty at primary teaching universities in STEM, because it is an investment in their research ideas and in the students they mentored.

The activities funded by this particular RIA will help to establish a research program designated to attract students into the Minority Polymer Undergraduate Research Experiences (M-PURE) program to conduct research on polymers and cellulose micro- and nanomaterials.

Additionally, Dr. Brown-Fox also sees lasting impact for students. “JCSU students participating in M-PURE program will be provided opportunities that will motivate them to develop strong research interests as well as meet requirements necessary for the completion of their research senior investigative papers (SIPs).”

The proposed project plans to investigate charred cellulose (micro- and nanoscale) materials as a nanoadditive into high temperature processing polymers. If determined to be a suitable additive, this will open cellulose materials to a wide range of applications.

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Tracy Brown-Fox!

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