ROCHESTER INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY (INC)
This award is funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-5). This Science Masters Program focuses on environmental forecasting and disaster preparedness and response. This interdisciplinary program is producing STEM graduates with a systems understanding of the disaster preparedness and response chain, and relevant business and policy acumen. Thus, these graduates have knowledge and skills to lead a change in how America plans for and responds to natural and man-made disasters. As part of their studies, SMP students participate in a novel educational experience as members of a year-long Graduate Learning Community that exposes them to a range of emergency response and preparedness topics in a stimulating and nurturing mentoring environment. Students take specially created courses in Product Development, Policy, and Geospatial Systems, giving them business, social science, and mapping information skills to integrate with their more technical degree studies in imaging science, computer science, or environmental science. Students participate in a collaborative research project spring of their first year, solving real-life problems for local community emergency response agencies, and carry out a paid summer internship in industry, an NGO, or a government agency. Finally, students complete degree requirements and a research thesis in their chosen discipline under faculty supervision. This program provides a model for: (1) integration of external industry and government partners with academic programs, (2) broadening STEM graduate education to include understanding of business, policy, and government, and (3) development of graduate student learning communities to enhance retention and increase interaction of students with industry and government.