Dominion awards gift to establish new lab on UA campus


From left: Tim McNutt, General Manager of Pipeline Operations, Dominion; Dr. Donald P. Visco, associate dean of undergraduate studies, UA College of Engineering; Dr. Theresa Cutright, associate professor of civil engineering;  and Jeff Murphy, VP Natural Gas Utility, Dominion

Dominion Foundation has awarded $31,000.00 to The University of Akron to establish a hands-on laboratory for the study and mitigation of the effects of harmful algal blooms (HAB) on Ohio waterways. Teresa Cutright, associate professor of civil engineering, and Donald Ott, professor of biology, will equip the laboratory for use by undergraduate students, graduate students as well as outreach activities, including the Women in Engineering Program’s middle and high school summer camps.

Harmful algal blooms pose a real threat to Ohioans. Last year, an HAB near Toledo resulted in a three-day drinking ban. Algae can grow in almost any marine or freshwater body of water.  Threats posed from HAB consumption have been reported in Africa, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, as well as Ohio, Florida, Texas, North Caroline and Mississippi in the U.S. 

“The new lab will help raise awareness of what a harmful algal bloom is for all of our students,” says Cutright. “Our seniors and graduate students will also gain the skill set needed to address the problem.”

The University of Akron was one of seven Ohio institutions to receive funding from the Dominion Foundation Higher Education Grants for 2015. Other institutions receiving funding include Kent State University Foundation, Kent State University at Stark, Cuyahoga Community College Foundation, Cleveland State University Foundation, Malone University and Case Western Reserve University.