Wright State University Foundation awards Students First Fund grants

The Wright State University Foundation has selected nine projects at the Dayton and Lake Campuses as the latest beneficiaries of the Students First Fund grants program.

Launched in January 2019, the Students First Fund was created by the Wright State University Foundation Board of Trustees to help fund innovative ideas that enhance the Wright State student experience. Since its inception, the program has awarded nearly $300,000 in grants.

This year, Wright State students, faculty and staff submitted 29 grant applications requesting $161,000 in funding.

“We are always impressed with the quality of the grant applications that we receive. This year was no exception,” said Dave Donaldson, chair of the Students First Fund grants committee. “With so many worthy projects competing for a limited amount of funding, it’s never easy to decide which ones to select. The nine projects that were funded will have far-reaching impacts on both the Dayton and Lake Campuses.”

In selecting the projects, Donaldson said that the Students First Fund grants committee wants to impact as many students as possible. The committee also encourages and expects all grant recipients to leverage existing equipment, supplies and resources across Wright State whenever possible.

“We would like to thank all of the faculty, staff and students who took the time and initiative to submit a proposal,” said Donaldson. “The applications clearly demonstrate the Wright State community’s commitment to student success, campus engagement and professional development.”

The following projects were approved for Students First Fund grants, with awards ranging from $500 to $9,200:

  • Raiders Collaborative Community in STEM Education — Students, faculty and staff across the College of Health, Education and Human Services will collaborate with teachers and 10th-grade students at the Dayton Regional STEM School to brainstorm science and health-integrated lessons for local elementary schools. STEM school students will design high-quality, 3D printed manipulatives and laminated materials for students in the College of Health, Education and Human Services to field test in local schools, impacting over 1,000 elementary students.
  • Pre-Med Boot Camp — A boot camp for Wright State pre-med students will provide a more structured exposure to the hospital system, allowing undergraduates to interact with medical students and internal medicine residents. The program will include reviews of the students’ curriculum vitae, interview preparation and mock interview sessions. Workshops that cover suturing, obtaining a medical history and performing a physical exam will also be included. The goal of the program is to keep more students at Wright State for their medical education.
  • The Jazz Outreach Initiative — Renowned artist-educators will visit Wright State for master classes, guest lectures and performances with students. Wright State music majors will lead subsequent outreach performances in surrounding areas, offering chances for rural, socioeconomically disadvantaged and other marginalized groups to hear skilled musicians perform. Around 140 music majors will interact with a guest artist, and hundreds of students, faculty, staff and community members will be able to attend these world-class performances. 
  • Social Work Policy: National Association of Social Workers Advocacy Day, Ohio Statehouse — Social work students will attend the annual Advocacy Day hosted by the National Association of Social Workers, where they will have the opportunity to connect with state legislators, meet social work students from other Ohio universities and network with social workers. Students will learn from leading professionals in the field and gain insight on policies that will impact them in their future careers. 
  • Mental Health First Aid Training — As the number of students facing mental health challenges continues to rise, all Wright State employees will be required to complete training in mental health awareness. Mental health first aid training will teach participants how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. Mental health first aid is not yet widely implemented in universities. Wright State will be on the cutting edge of innovation by implementing this evidence-based approach.
  • Enhanced Student Collaboration in the Library — Three new laser projectors and connectivity equipment will be installed in the Dunbar Library’s group study rooms, allowing students to connect their laptops to the projectors. Updating this equipment will make connectivity seamless for students and enhance their ability to collaborate.
  • Quality Online Classes — To improve student learning, retention rates and satisfaction levels, Wright State will implement a quality assurance plan to ensure that online courses meet the standards of Quality Matters, a nonprofit quality assurance organization. Quality Matters is an internationally recognized program with more than 1,500 colleges and universities subscribing. Funding will be used to train a group of Wright State faculty as certified Quality Matters peer reviewers and master reviewers.
  • Resume Building Over Coffee — Events at the Lake Campus will give students the opportunity to connect with one another while learning how to improve their resumes.
  • Wellness Wednesdays — A weekly program to promote holistic wellness and community, Wellness Wednesdays will give students access to resources to address concerns seen in the Healthy Minds Survey, such as stress, financial wellness, lack of belonging, depression and anxiety. The program is expected to reach 450 students over Fall Semester, with an average of 30 students engaged per week.

“We are proud to continue this innovative program to help Wright State students succeed,” said Scott Rash, president and CEO of the Wright State University Foundation. “Students First Fund grants play a vital role in supporting the university’s commitment to recruitment, retention and relationships.”

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