The Los Medanos College Science and Engineering Program struck gold to start off the spring semester when the department was awarded a $7,500 grant by Praxair, the third largest worldwide industrial gas company based on revenue.
The donation came from a Pittsburg refinery just down the street off Loveridge Road.
The money will primarily be used to tackle an issue that the program has always had, a shortage of equipment in the classroom.
“We’re very excited for this,” Paul West said. “There will be a better efficiency when it comes to lab times for the students.”
Items that will be replaced include flasks, graduated cylinders, crucibles and tubes. West says that these sets of equipment are a crucial part of some of the class’ lab requirements.
This is not the first time the S&E department was able to reel in a grant like this, and specifically from Praxair. Last year, the Connecticut based corporation granted $5,000 to the S&E.
The road to get this grant started with a simple application that the Science and Engineering department submitted to the Praxair foundation. Out of hundreds, they were selected. West credits LMC’s Foundation Development Officer, Trinh Nguyen with helping them receive the grant.
“They realized that our project was working and gave us more money,” said Nguyen. “In this case, Praxair’s focus was education and science so there was an advantage.”
Chemistry instructor Dennis Gravert said that students would often times have to share much of the equipment, in addition to having tools that cannot keep up after being used for so many years.
But now, that is a thing of the past.
And a new correlation that many professors expect to see over time is an increase in student participation, and better results in the classroom.
Gravert says that many times, Due to the shortage of equipment, some students had the tendency to rely on the more determined students to get the work done.
“Now with having more equipment, our students can have more interaction with the work ahead,” Gravert said. “The results in the classrooms should grow.”
The LMC students that are focused on a career in the science field feel like that this will help them do even better in the field of study.
“This definitely going to help us students do better in the classroom because we will have enough equipment to go around,” LMC student and chemical engineering major Zakk Lowe said. “Plus it’ll make class time a lot easier.”
This isn’t the end of the road for the S&E department, as West says that they are always looking for donors to assist in a better learning experience for the students at LMC.