Partnership to build greenhouse

15-09-2020    09:09   |    Patch

US- Alverno College is partnering with the A. O. Smith Foundation to construct a greenhouse on campus, offering students an exciting new opportunity to engage in hands-on learning and explore new career paths.

“The greenhouse will offer students an exciting new opportunity to engage in hands-on learning and explore new career paths.”

The 1,400-square-foot facility will feature an aquaponics system and a classroom space. Hundreds of undergraduate students, as well as area high school students, will participate in learning opportunities and research projects in preparation for careers in the food, agricultural, natural resources and human sciences industries.

"Alverno is proud to empower women and girls to explore and launch STEM careers, and the greenhouse offers a new way for us to engage our students in the experiential learning that is the cornerstone of an Alverno education," said Angela Frey, Ph.D., chair of the STEM program at Alverno College. "We look forward to using this unique space to attract more women, including more women of color, to fields where their expertise and leadership are greatly needed and where their potential to serve their communities can be realized."

Construction on the facility will begin within the next month and is expected to be complete in December.

As lead sponsor of the project, the A. O. Smith Foundation has committed $250,000 in funding over five years to cover expenses, including initial startup, maintenance and staff.

"We are proud to partner with Alverno on this project, further advancing our mission of making our community a better place to live and work. We know that by investing in these students, we can help make STEM a field where more women are empowered to thrive and lead," says Mark Petrarca, senior vice president of human resources and public affairs at A. O. Smith and A. O. Smith Foundation board of directors' secretary.

A cross-disciplinary team of Alverno faculty is leading the design of new classroom curricula and developing hands-on research opportunities to engage high school and college students in the fields of urban agriculture, water research and conservation.

The program will provide Alverno with additional opportunities to recruit, retain and graduate women in a wide variety of STEM majors, including underrepresented minority students, and to create a pipeline to new career opportunities. To assist with the project, Alverno has received a $273,786 grant from the United States Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture, the College's first major grant tied to its status as a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI).

As Wisconsin's first HSI, Alverno is proud to serve a diverse student population, many of whom are first in their families to earn college degrees.

"Ultimately, the greenhouse project will positively impact the community in which our students live and work and will help build our nation's growing urban agriculture sector, promote environmentally sound and sustainable practices, and strengthen participation in the sciences among students who are currently significantly underrepresented in these areas," said Joseph Foy, Ph.D., vice president for Academic Affairs at Alverno.

About A. O. Smith

A. O. Smith Corporation, with headquarters in Milwaukee, Wis., is a global leader applying innovative technology and energy-efficient solutions to products manufactured and marketed worldwide. Listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), the company is one of the world's leading manufacturers of residential and commercial water heating equipment and boilers, as well as a manufacturer of water treatment and air purification products. For more information, visit

About Alverno College

Founded in 1887 by the School Sisters of St. Francis, Alverno College promotes the academic, personal and professional development of its students in a collaborative and inclusive environment. Undergraduate programs for women are offered in more than 60 areas of study, and graduate programs in education, nursing, community psychology, school psychology, music therapy, music and liturgy, and business are open to women and men.

A leader in higher education innovation, Alverno has earned international accolades for its highly effective ability-based, assessment-as-learning approach to education, which emphasizes hands-on experience and develops in-demand skills. The college, Wisconsin's first Hispanic-Serving Institution, ranks among the top schools in the Midwest for its commitment to undergraduate teaching and innovation by U.S. News & World Report. For the past two years, The Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education named Alverno the country's most inspiring college.

Based in Milwaukee, Wis., Alverno College is a four-year independent, Catholic, liberal arts college.

Source: Patch

Photo Courtesy of Alverno College

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