The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

July 10, 2012

UPJ, Windber Research announce partnership

JOHNSTOWN — Windber Research Institute often touts its global research staff, which hails from seven countries.

But it also reflects what institute CEO Tom Kurtz calls a “troubling” trend: Despite growing demand worldwide in the science and research fields, interest is dwindling among U.S. students pursuing it as a career.

A new partnership between Pitt-Johnstown and Windber Research Institute will work to change that locally, planners say.

And UPJ leaders say it will create internship opportunities, put the institute’s researchers in campus classrooms and create an annual conference touting the partnership’s benefits to the region – at a time the school is preparing to break ground this month on its $11 million Nursing and Health Sciences Building.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for Pitt-Johnstown,” said Steven Stern, who chairs UPJ’s Natural Sciences division. “It’s going to give our students a chance to work with world-class researchers.”

“We couldn’t think of a better partner to link up with,” UPJ President Jem Spectar added, noting it will match the school and institute’s strengths to allow both to grow together.

It also will give UPJ an edge recruiting young minds interested in science and technology, while providing current students in fields such as nursing, health science and natural science fields with opportunities to work in real-life settings that could lead to local, high-paying jobs, he added.

At the same time, Windber Research will be able to work closely with UPJ – even within its classrooms – to educate and identify students who may be their future researchers, Kurtz said.

“We have Ph.D.s on our staff who are excited to teach them,” he added, noting they will have UPJ faculty as partners.


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