Venture Grant Program Receives Equivalent of $2 Million Endowment

Allison Stewart ’12 describes her research project “Movement of Cuba: Study of Rueda de Casino Style Dance” to Jeff Keller ’91 at the Venture Grant Forum on Nov. 9.

Colorado College’s venture grant program, in which students are awarded up to $1,000 for research or other academic projects of their choosing, has received a grant from the Keller Family Foundation that will fund the program indefinitely.

The program, which will be named the Keller Family Venture Grant Program for Student Research, allows approximately 100 Colorado College students to imagine, articulate and pursue original research or an academic project of their choosing.  The Keller family will provide 100 percent of the grant funding, which runs about $100,000 each year, making the gift the equivalent of a $2 million endowment.

Jeff Keller ’91 made the announcement on behalf of his family, parents Dennis and Connie, and brother David ’95, at the 2010 Venture Grant Forum, held Nov. 9 at Colorado College.

The venture grant program was established at Colorado College in 1970. While some schools have money available for advanced research, the funds are largely for conventional academic, lab or classroom research and are not broadly available to students. At Colorado College, the spirit of the venture grants program is different: It is expected that a student’s experience will be an adventure, a departure from the norm, whether the research takes place on campus or on some far corner of the earth.

The 92 venture grants awarded during the 2009-10 academic year include:

  • Magdalena C. Reinsvold ’10, research in India for a project titled “Politics of Polio: The Resurgence and Reemergence of Poliomyelitis in India and Nigeria”
  • Anais Gude ’10, research in Beijing, China, for a project titled “Aging in Beijing: An Analysis of What it Means to Grow Old in China’s Capital”
  • Will Rosenheimer ’10, research in Guatemala for a project titled “Where Does Your Coffee Dollar Go? Democracy, Transparency and Social Consciousness of Guatemalan Fair-Trade Coffee Cooperatives”
  • Drew Thayer ’11, a project titled “The Effects of Glacial Recession on Geohazards in the Cordillera Blaca”
  • Kerry Cavanaugh ’12, a project titled “Western Medicine Practitioners in Rural Uganda”

Susan Ashley, dean of the college and the faculty, says “There are three keys to a successful venture grant. The first is to imagine the project in the right way. The second is to articulate the project vision. And the third is to execute.”

All proposals for a venture grant must have academic merit; applicants must have a faculty sponsor and the maximum grant awarded is $1,000. For more information, go to: http://www.coloradocollege.edu/resources/dean/VentureGrants/

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