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NASA Awards UMass Lowell a $614K Climate Change Education Grant


LOWELL, Mass. ߝ UMass Lowell has received a $614,691 grant from NASA to create unique methods of educating K-12 and college students about the science of global climate change. The award was announced today at a climate change “Teach-In” at UMass Lowell.

“Engaging students in the development of new and different ways to communicate the science of climate change is key to a deeper understanding of this critical global issue,” said Chancellor Marty Meehan. “As a university, we are committed to cutting our carbon footprint. We are making strides by constructing LEED-certified buildings, using electric cars and installing solar energy systems on four campus buildings.”

The project “Climate Change Education:  Science, Solutions, and Education in an Age of Media” will get underway this month. It will integrate climate change science with video to create a unique and stimulating approach to global climate change education. Students will gain an understanding of cutting-edge science and of the media through which they access information.

Congresswoman Niki Tsongas, who kicked off the Climate Change Teach-In event today at UMass Lowell, said “I want to congratulate Chancellor Meehan and university faculty for leading this unique initiative. Expanding understanding about climate change is the first step in finding solutions to its harmful impacts.  Not only is tackling climate change critical for our planet’s future, but the clean energy technology that allows us to do so holds tremendous economic opportunity for our country and the Fifth District, in particular, which has one the highest concentrations of clean energy employers in New England.” 

Under the grant, videos produced by students will incorporate their peers’ questions, concerns, and perspectives on climate change. Students will learn to ‘write’ in the language of video and, through this experience, they will gain a deeper and more sophisticated literacy in a medium that is emerging as a major means of communication. 

“In today’s media world of twitter, blogs, and sound bites, confusion about the scientific reality of climate change frequently dominates the discourse in classrooms and communities,” said Associate Prof. Juliette Rooney-Varga who is the lead researcher on the project and an expert on the ecological consequences of climate change. “We aim to change this by integrating climate change science with the expressive power of video to create a unique and stimulating approach to global climate change education.”

The expected outcomes of the project include new climate change courses at UMass Lowell, the development of a high school summer video program and professional development training for teachers. UMass Lowell students will have an opportunity to apply for paid summer internships working with Cambridge high school students during a climate change video production summer program.

UMass Lowell is partnering with Cambridge Educational Access TV, TERC, Sage Fox Consulting Inc., Carleton College and filmmaker Randy Olson.

UMass Lowell, with a national reputation in science, engineering and technology, is committed to educating students for lifelong success in a diverse world and conducting research and outreach activities that sustain the economic, environmental and social health of the region. The university offers its 14,000 students more than 120 degree choices, internships, five-year combined bachelor’s to master’s programs and doctoral studies in the colleges of Arts, Sciences, Engineering and Management, the School of Health and Environment, and the Graduate School of Education.

For more information, contact or 978-934-3224