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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University October 22, 2007 | Vol. 37 No. 8
Goal: Advancing Country's Global Technological Competitiveness

Representatives of the ARCS Foundation Metropolitan Washington chapter visited the Homewood campus recently to meet with students who have benefited from its funding. Seated: Toni Schierling, ARCS president; Ted Poehler, JHU vice provost for research; and Antoinette Delaney, ARCS vice president for scholarships and university relations. Standing: Jonathan Trenkle and Christina Alves, former ARCS Scholars; and current scholars John Sivey, Bridget Wildt and Stephen Martin. All five recipients are in the Whiting School.

By Brian Shields
Special to The Gazette

For nearly three decades, a select few talented Johns Hopkins graduate students in engineering and science have received research support each year from the ARCS Foundation, whose acronym stands for Achievement Rewards for College Scientists. Every fall, the university's vice provost for research seeks nominations of potential ARCS Scholars from faculty members and recommends three or four to the foundation. For the 2008 academic year, three will be selected to receive one-year grants of $15,000.

"We are committed to supporting students whose core research in the hard sciences and engineering disciplines could feasibly serve as a breakthrough technology or discovery, with the fundamental goal of advancing our country's global technological competitiveness," said Toni Schierling, president of the ARCS Metro Washington chapter, which funds awards at Johns Hopkins, Georgetown, George Washington, the University of Maryland, College Park and the University of Virginia. The all- volunteer foundation raises the funds from corporations and individuals and channels 100 percent of the dollars to scholarship support.

The three current ARCS Scholars are doctoral students in the Whiting School of Engineering.

In the Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering, John Sivey is researching herbicides and their long-term effects; specifically, he's attempting to predict the effects of chloroacetamide herbicides and herbicide analogues, which are used all over the globe, and then determine how to increase the safety of these chemicals without sacrificing their herbicidal properties.

Bridget Wildt, in Materials Science and Engineering, is studying the sub-cellular attachment and detachment of cells on solid substrates, an area of inquiry that has potential applications in fields ranging from tissue engineering to medical implants. Her grant is fully funded by the Boeing Corp.

Stephen Martin's research involves a part of the world few people will ever see. Martin works on a team in Mechanical Engineering that is developing navigation systems for remotely operated robots that will enable oceanographers and others to explore the deepest reaches of the ocean. His focus is on development of a high-level controller to perform the job of a pilot on autonomous underwater vehicles, and on controllers to enable these vehicles to perform accurate low-speed maneuvers.

The importance of philanthropic funding, particularly in a climate marked by flat or declining federal research funds, cannot be overstated, Poehler said, particularly for young scientists like Sivey, Wildt and Martin who are all exploring novel ideas. Students in engineering and the natural sciences who are interested in the 2008-2009 ARCS Scholars nomination process should contact their advisers for more information.


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