Lone Star College-Kingwood offers a wide variety of educational experiences for its students, even during a pandemic.
Dr. Brian Shmaefsky, environmental science and biology professor at LSC-Kingwood, recently received a mini-grant from the Lone Star College Foundation Board to purchase innovative equipment for science projects and related field trips. The $2,028 funding will buy an aquatic remote-control drone, aquatic sonar devices and wildlife motion-detecting cameras. These measures will improve accessibility to science field trips for students with disabilities and provide virtual science field trips and recording apparatuses to capture aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems for face-to-face and online classes.
“Academically, this grant is important because it will benefit students in the core science courses such as biology, environmental science and geology to experience real-time and recorded field trips by their professors,” said Shmaefsky. “Personally, this funding will provide disabled students (many of whom I teach) access to the same field trips afforded to non-disabled students, including those in online courses or face-to-face students who were absent during a field trip.”
The professor will purchase the science-related equipment at the end of fall 2020, and the first field trips using the devices will post in spring 2021 for online students. These activities will be a permanent part of the environmental science program. The biology and geology departments will have access to the equipment in fall 2021. The ultimate goal is to apply for external funding to purchase more devices and expand remote-sensing capabilities.
“I hope to use these items for student-driven research projects on environmental monitoring,” he said. “We will combine them with aerial drones, 3-D printers, and other environmental monitoring equipment purchased via other Lone Star College grants.”