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Grants In Action: The Ripple Effects of a Grant at Whitman College

Grants often have ripple effects on organizations in areas beyond what was funded. At Whitman College, a grant from the Murdock Trust four years ago has had a big impact on its science programs. Renovations to several laboratories in the college’s Hall of Science have paid huge dividends to Whitman professors, the students they collaborate with, the campus community and beyond.

The improved laboratories have facilitated the awarding of numerous grants (from Murdock and other foundations) to Whitman’s science faculty. For instance, Greg Vaughn-Ogin, assistant professor of physics, received a new research lab for his work studying optics and precision measurement. The state-of-the-art lab has enabled him to collect data that formed the basis of two successful external grant proposals, including one from the Murdock College Research Program for Natural Sciences earlier this year. And the lab furthers his ongoing participation with the trailblazing Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory Scientific Collaboration.

The renovations grant—and eight subsequent grants received through the Murdock College Research Program for Natural Sciences—have increased the quantity and quality of student-faculty research experiences at Whitman. Dozens of students can now collaborate with their faculty mentors on grant-funded research projects on topics ranging from plant genetics to computational chemistry to theoretical physics. Many of these projects serve as the basis for the students’ senior theses and help prepare them for graduate school, medical school or scientific jobs.

The Murdock Trust values investing in scientific research and is pleased to see how Whitman College has stewarded its grant resources in ways that continue to this day.