St. Thomas Magazine_Spring 2022


innovation gets

If you ask Professor L. Lynn Stansberry Brusnahan about her life in the year 2016, you‘ll likely get the answer: “weeks of no sleep.“ That was the year she applied for and received St. Thomas‘ first major federal grant at or above $1 million. At the time, the $1.2 million, five-year grant to help increase the number of educators specializing in autism spectrum disorder was a major milestone for the university. “It was shocking that a Midwestern private university would get a grant of that caliber – that grant is highly, highly competitive – so it was a great feat,“ Brusnahan said. Fast forward to today …St. Thomas‘ recent success winning major federal grants might drive that shock factor meter off the scale. In fiscal year 2021, St. Thomas pulled in over $7.5 million across 19 federal grants (not including CARES Act funding). That figure represents a 975% increase since 2017, when the university won four total federal grants. It‘s an impressive jump spurred by several new initiatives, ranging from STEM programs to the launch of the Morrison Family College of Health, among others. Most of the funding goes toward student scholarships, but a large chunk also supports groundbreaking academic research, student programs and strengthening faculty leadership skills. In other words, the type of work most often associated with top-tier national universities that have made names for themselves through innovation. A WAVE OF FEDERAL GRANTS IS MAKING AN IMPACT

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