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Brueckner elected Chair of Board of Trustees
Coach Carter Comes to Muhlenberg
Moody’s Affirms College’s Long-Term A1 Rating
   
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Muhlenberg Summer Music Theatre Schedule
Life Sports Center Wins Award
   
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Students take “alternative” spring break trips
  Faculty Members Awarded Tenure
   
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Encouraging the “19th Street Experience”
Muhlenberg Professor Awarded Grant
from National Science Foundation
   
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Another Way to Give
We are on Track for a Great Finish
Meltsner Foundation Aids College’s Learning Assistant Program
   
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The Graver Arboretum and the Raker Field Station
'Berg Participates in and Hosts Student Chemists' Convention
     

Encouraging the “19th Street Experience”

This year, the College embarked upon a campaign to promote awareness for the 19th Street district, an area that boasts 110 businesses. Located between 17th and 23rd Streets, from Washington Avenue to Liberty Street, the district has something for everyone and encompasses everything from restaurants and retail shops to hair salons, the Allentown Farmers Market and the Civic Theatre, which features an array of independent films and live performances.

The College recently released a guide to this thriving and diverse area, and is working in conjunction with the small business owners to collaborate on events. Furthermore, a Champions Committee, including College, city and county officials, non-profit agencies, merchants and members of the business community, has been formed to look at ways to promote the 19th Street area and encourage more students and faculty to patronize these merchants.

In February and March, the College and the Civic Theatre partnered to create “The Muhlenberg Film Forum,” an off-shoot of the Theatre’s 19th Street Film series. The Muhlenberg Film Forum consisted of post-film discussions led by members of the faculty (left photo).

Professors from all disciplines commented on independent and foreign films such as “Bad Education,” discussion led by Erika Sutherland, department of languages, literatures and cultures; “A Very Long Engagement,” discussion led by Eileen Ketchum, department of languages, literatures and cultures, Robert Croskey, department of history, and Francine Roussel, department of theatre and dance; “Hotel Rwanda,” discussion led by Chris Herrick, department of political science; and “The Merchant of Venice,” discussion led by Tom Cartelli, department of English.

On April 30, the College and the 19th Street district hosted another successful collaboration, the Nineteenth Street Festival. This street festival consisted of performances, arts and crafts, games and fun for all ages.

Along with the aforementioned initiatives, the College has also brought the 19th Street business district into the classroom. Several courses have been aimed at analyzing the marketing design and implementation of these companies, while other classes use the district to explore entrepreneurial characteristics and financial planning procedures needed to start a venture (top right photo).

“Even with an incredible variety of activities on Muhlenberg’s campus—plays, parties, athletic contests, recitals, concerts, comedians, etc.—it’s always good to have still more options within an easy walk of campus,” said President Randy Helm. “Muhlenberg and its neighbors are lucky to have 19th Street right on their doorstep.”

Muhlenberg Professor Awarded Grant
from National Science Foundation

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded Dr. Richard A. Niesenbaum, associate professor and head of the biology department at Muhlenberg College, a $1.05 million, four-year grant. This is the largest NSF grant ever awarded to the College.

The Muhlenberg grant is one of only four awarded nationally through the NSF’s “Collaborative Research at Undergraduate Institutions” (CRUI) program.

The grant project will involve multiple departments at the College in exploring environmental, chemical and genetic bases of variation in plant-insect interactions. This grant is the second major NSF award for Niesenbaum.

The goal of this project is to explore why plants of a given type vary in the degree to which they are eaten by insects. The study will focus on Lindera benzoin (spicebush) and the Tulip Tree Beauty caterpillars that make these plants their primary food source. The scientists involved in the project have differing specialties, including plant ecology, molecular biology, analytical chemistry and statistics. They will take an integrative approach to examining how light and other natural factors determine the extent to which caterpillars will eat a particular spicebush plant. This will be the first study that simultaneously examines how both physical and biological factors, including plant genotype, intersect in the determination of insect feeding rates in a natural, woody plant system.

This work will be central to the general understanding of plant-insect interactions in natural systems. The interdisciplinary collaboration will permit researchers to approach the problem from multiple perspectives: plant, insect, chemical and statistical; and on multiple levels of scale: chemical, genetic, and ecological.

Offering students opportunities to collaborate with faculty is an important part of Muhlenberg’s science curriculum and a core part of this research program. Current and past funding from NSF, NIH, and Muhlenberg College have created an active student research program that supports more than 25 students each summer and a larger number during the school year. This project will increase opportunities in the area of ecology and generate a more diverse, interactive group of students and faculty, involving them in a research project that makes connections among all levels of biology, chemistry and statistics. Participating students will have the opportunity to engage fully in science including project conception, experimental design, field and laboratory research, data analysis, presenting in-house and at national meetings, and writing for professional journals. More importantly, their participation in an interdisciplinary project will permit them to see that collaboration is vital for fully understanding biological systems.

Faculty members collaborating with Niesenbaum in this project are: Dr. Gregory Ciccionetti, assistant professor of mathematics; Dr. Marten Edwards, assistant professor of biology; and Dr. Christine Ingersoll, associate professor of chemistry.

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