News Releases 2010

NSF awards LETU $1.6 million in Engineering Grants

Thu, Sep 2 2010

LeTourneau University has recently been awarded three National Science Foundation grants totaling nearly $1.6 million for engineering projects.

“In the last 10 years, LeTourneau faculty members have been awarded nearly $6.5 million in grant funding by organizations such as the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health,” said LETU President Dale A. Lunsford.  “Our faculty members are doing exceptional work here in Longview, Texas, where we have one of the premier engineering programs in the country.  Our faculty are among the most highly qualified educators in all of Christian higher education.”\

The first and largest of the three recent grants is $798,823 for upgrading LETU’s materials joining engineering lab for research and education, under the direction of Dr. Yoni Adonyi.  The upgrades include a complete overhaul of the electrical wiring to the laboratory, increasing the capacity needed to operate complex equipment used in the lab for joining advanced engineering materials.  Other upgrades will include improved lighting, roofing, plumbing, ventilation, air conditioning and interior insulation to bring the MJE lab up to date with the 21st century standards of a modern engineering research environment.  Following a design phase, bids will be sought, probably sometime around Christmas.  Completion of the project is expected to be done by Fall 2011.

The second NSF grant recently awarded was for about $500,000 over the next five years to support retention of first-year students majoring in engineering and engineering technology.  The “ First-Year Initiatives for Retention Enhancement” or FIRE grant develops a coordinated mentoring program for first-year students and a new, two-course freshman sequence that exposes students to real-world engineering practices.  Industry mentors will provide a broad perspective of job opportunities in the engineering and engineering technology fields, as they work alongside faculty and peer mentors.   This grant is under the direction of Alan Niemi and Robert Warke.  The initial amount for the first three years is $321,965, with an additional $87,576 in year 2013 and $90,457 in year 2014. 

“These fields of study are in high demand, not only nationally, but globally,” said Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Robert W. Hudson.  “This grant will enable us to retain students in these high-demand fields of study which are areas of strength for LeTourneau University.”

The third NSF grant totals $300,000 over the next three years for research to further develop a computer model that may change how knee stability is currently assessed.  It could also  allow for potentially transformative changes in the current preventive,  treatment and rehabilitation practices prescribed for injuries to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).  This grant is under the direction of Dr. Roger V. Gonzalez.  This grant is initiated in the first year with $119,084 and with an additional $71,412 for year 2011 and $109,504 for year 2012.

LeTourneau University is an interdenominational Christian university located in Longview, Texas, offering academic majors in aeronautical science, business, education, engineering, health care, the humanities and sciences.  LeTourneau University also offers graduate programs in business and education, as well as undergraduate programs in business, psychology and interdisciplinary studies online and at educational centers in Austin, Bedford, Dallas, Houston and Tyler.