For immediate release…
Monday – April 8, 2013


HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. – The Northern Kentucky University Research Foundation (NKURF) has awarded the Center for Applied Informatics funding for two NKURF Student Scholars, who will work to further develop field-based water quality monitoring applications initially developed by faculty from NKU’s Departments of Biology and Teacher Education. This new funding provides two student stipends at $5,000 per year.

Last year students from the center produced a mobile, water-monitoring application for iOS devices designed to facilitate field data collection as well as an associated database for the information collected. The innovative mobile application, available at the iTunes store at https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/water-quality/id569193509?mt=8, is already in use in NKU courses as well as P-12 field trips. The funding provided by NKURF will be instrumental in the maintenance and further development of this innovative, environmental tool for citizen scientists of all ages.

“The NKURF board is very excited about the further development of the tools like the water quality app and associated data storage,” said Jan Hillard, NKU associate provost for research, graduate studies and regional stewardship and chair of the NKURF. “The entire process of creating and sustaining this application ties together values of undergraduate research, creativity, collaboration and community engagement.”

The application, coupled with NKU’s deep expertise on field data collection, means NKU is poised for ongoing research funding. Next spring NKU will host a national EPA conference on Technology to Empower Citizen Scientists. “The EPA conference provides us with a platform to demonstrate our substantial expertise and technology contributions to the growing use of citizen scientists by the EPA and other agencies,” Hillard said.

Tim Ferguson, executive director of the NKU Center for Applied Informatics, praised the NKURF for making an investment in the program. “The decision of NKURF board members to fund CAI students reinforces the importance of our unique blend of student career growth through innovative co-op opportunities, undergraduate research and the community engagement that is found in the College of Informatics,” he said.

Students working in the CAI Virtual Co-op program build their resumes as they progress through their college career, applying the knowledge they learn in the classroom to real-world research projects. Students have the unique experience to perform undergraduate research and problem solving for organizations in on-campus labs with the support of NKU faculty and staff. The result is a symbiotic relationship between organizations with an informatics project and students seeking experience in completing informatics projects. The funding from NKURF will directly cover the student time and supporting resources required to research and maintain tools like the water quality app.

More information about the NKU Center for Applied Informatics is available at http://cai.nku.edu. Additional details about the NKU Research Foundation are available at http://rgsrs.nku.edu/research.html.

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