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June 5, 2018 > Professor?s donation will boost science research

Professor?s donation will boost science research

Submitted By Kimberly Hawkins

Professor Emerita Joan Sieber spent her life sticking to a budget and investing what she earned. Now, she?s investing in the future of Cal State East Bay faculty and students. Sieber?s $1.5 million planned gift is dedicated to creating an endowment for the College of Science Collaborative Research Program which provides small grants for those faculty -- who are working on projects involving students and regional industry experts.

?If you love teaching and you really want to help your students learn how to do applied research to better prepare them for careers at a local science or technology firm, how do you do it? Collaborative research,? she said answering her own question.

As a former program director at the National Science Foundation, Sieber realized that only 12 percent of proposals (which sometimes take months to write) are funded and many times, only after scientists have shaped their applications to what an agency wants, instead of what the project requires.

?This means that young, new faculty coming in fresh out of graduate school don?t have funding, and it also means that faculty who love to teach and don?t want to be administering huge grants -- which is a whole lot of work and a distraction from the science -- don?t have a ready source of money,? she said.

According to Sieber, the new grant program will allow the College of Science to pay a stipend to student researchers, purchase materials and if needed, travel to a professional meeting or conference. Those faculty members who already have received big grants are asked not to apply, but any others can in the fall (tenured faculty), and spring (non-tenured) which she hopes attracts professors considering accepting positions at Cal State East Bay.

Vice President of University Advancement Bill Johnson said, ?Joan is ensuring that our students are better prepared for their careers, while also providing key pathways for new faculty at the College of Science to have resources to advance their work. The university is very grateful for her partnership in such an important area.?

Once the research program is off and running this fall, Sieber hopes other donors will step up and help expand the grants. She argues people don?t have to be wealthy or donate a large sum to make a difference and the intrinsic payoff is exciting and rewarding. ?I am not wealthy,? Sieber said. ?As a faculty member, I was able to learn how to invest and be dedicated to giving what I?ve made back to the university, and a contribution such as this can do a lot to shape a particular department and the future of Cal State East Bay students.?

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