GLENVILLE, WV – The Glenville State College Department of Land Resources has received a grant from the West Virginia Science and Research Opportunity Grants Program to focus on enhancing undergraduate research in ecology in the natural resource management program through a unique international research experience in Japan.

The grant, totaling $5,000, will support the travel of one faculty member and one student to Fukuoka, Japan in summer 2020 to initiate a research project in ecology in partnership with Kyushu University.

This research initiative is an initial step to a more comprehensive international collaboration to strengthen Glenville State College’s undergraduate teaching and research. It aims to provide international research experience in ecology to natural resource management students as an opportunity to learn global ecological issues and the applications of plant techniques and technologies in ecosystem studies.

This international research experience is consistent with the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission’s initiative to strengthen international involvement of faculty and students in West Virginia and will provide Glenville State College faculty with opportunities for professional development through undergraduate teaching and research collaboration.

Glenville State College will collaborate with Kyushu University in Japan to initiate a student research project in ecology. The research study will focus on comparing phenology, morphology, and physiology of native and invasive plant/tree species common to both West Virginia and Japan.

It will also employ available technologies such as Geographic Information Systems and Global Positioning Systems as tools to study the extent, distribution, and location of both native and invasive plants in both countries.

“This is an opportunity to involve our students in invasive plant research with faculty and students of Kyushu University in Japan,” said grant principal investigator Dr. Rico Gazal. “I am grateful for this grant from West Virginia Science and Research and looking forward to our visit to Japan in June 2020.” Gazal also serves as Chair of the Department of Land Resources and is a Professor of Forestry.

The Opportunity Grants Program aims for the improvement of undergraduate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education in West Virginia.