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State-funded endowments help Maryland colleges build science niches

The Baltimore Sun
March 14, 2016

Best known for training writers in the footsteps of Sophie Kerr, Washington College now aims to broaden its reputation, using its location by the Chester River to build standing in marine science and research.

Researchers at the liberal arts college in Chestertown on the Eastern Shore want to keep a close watch on the health of the river, one of many tributaries feeding harmful fertilizers, animal waste and sediment into the Chesapeake Bay. A team has spent a year developing a buoy system that can track river and bay conditions for a tenth of the cost of traditional monitoring systems.

The project was jump-started by a new state program that helps fund the establishment of endowed professorships at schools across Maryland. While a new chief of entrepreneurial science at Washington College is exploring better ways to analyze the bay environment, the first-ever distinguished professor at Morgan State University will study ways to secure Internet-connected devices, and a new University of Maryland School of Medicine faculty member may conduct research that could improve understanding of disease-causing viruses such as Zika and HIV.

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