Student projects to get increased funding

Joseph Wilson

The Universiy Corp.’s Student Project Committee plans to increase the amount of funding available to students’ projects, said Juana Zamora, chair of SPC an SPC committee member.

Though student projects are funded by SPC, the amount of money available to students is often limited due to TUC budgeting.

“Typically there is not enough money for every project,” said Julio Blanco, chair of physics and astronomy and adviser professor of the SPC.

Students from engineering, physics, biology, psychology and other fields apply for the limited amount of funding available through the committee.

Science students with projects receive grant money from their faculty mentors and the SPC only, Blanco said.

Projects, such as the BattleBot project, received money from SPC this semester. Bob Ryan, a mechanical engineering professor, advises the BattleBot project.

The BattleBot project involves seven mechanical engineering students and one electrical engineering student.

“It’s a challenge,” Ryan said. “The more complex the project is the more you have to look to outside (funding).”

SPC gave the project $1,500 and the project received $4,400 from the Instructionally Related Activities trust, which gives money to student projects from various colleges on campus.

“IRA money and SPC money have made me feel pretty comfortable (about the project),” Ryan said.

Lockheed Martin Corp. and Haas Automation Inc. have a long-standing relationship with CSUN, providing funding to the College of Engineering, Ryan said.

“The needs on this campus are tremendous for this kind of support,” Blanco said. “The bulk of funding for (science projects) comes from faculty mentors themselves.”

Funds given out by SPC this semester totaled about $52,000 for the 20 applicants chosen out of the 60 to 90 applicants.

“President Koester has made us aware of the need for fundraising,” Blanco said.

Zamora is working with the committee to change the language to receive funds.

“We’re trying to set up standard guidelines as to how much they can receive,” Zamora said. “In terms of trying to give everyone a little bit.”

The funding necessary for student projects varies from semester to semester, Zamora said.

SPC is made up of five students who make the funding decisions, Zamora said.

SPC members review applications individually and the committee meets to decide which projects will receive funding, Zamora said.

Once the committee has chosen the projects to get money, TUC executive committee allocates funds to the projects.

“For a lot of students this is their only source of funding,” Zamora said.

Zamora said she focuses on applications that are senior projects and involves large groups of students.

“A lot of students are depending on these projects to graduate,” Zamora said. “You try and help as many students as you can.”

Zamora said this is her first semester with SPC, adding that she enjoyed the work.

“It’s an amazing experience, working at the corporation level,” she said.

Blanco said faculty advises students that funding will be available to them.

“I do point (SPC funding) out to the faculty when the times comes,” Blanco said.

Applications are found in TUC, located in the Sierra Center.

Elizabeth Kioussis, executive assistant for TUC, handles the administrative duties for SPC that includes mailing acceptance letters and rejections of proposals.

“SPC allows graduate students a chance to do grant work,” Kioussis said.

Joseph Wilson can be reached at