Recognition Event Shows Reach of Fisher Grants

January 10, 2022

On Friday, Jan. 7, St. John Fisher College faculty and staff celebrated their achievements in successfully submitting grant proposals, receiving grant awards, and implementing grant projects over the last year.

Attendees at the virtual Grants Recognition Ceremony.

Hosted jointly by the Offices of Sponsored Programs and Foundation Relations, this annual event allows the College community to pause and reflect on the good work of faculty and staff members who engage in grant work, despite their already busy schedules. The theme of this year’s event was “Putting Fisher on the Map.”

During the event, Sara Vinch, director of foundation relations, and Maya Temperley, director of sponsored programs and government affairs, highlighted the local, regional, national, and global reach of the College’s grant portfolio. President Gerard J. Rooney, Provost Kevin Railey, and Vice President of Institutional Advancement, Chris Biehn each offered remarks as well.

The event also highlighted several grant awards and projects. Dr. Oliver Griffin, assistant professor of history, offered a look at the inner workings of a deep map used in the National Endowment for the Humanities’ Humanities Connections grant, “Rochester: Mapping Place, Space, and Identity.” The Humanities Connections grant pairs humanities and non-humanities faculty members to co-create courses that adopt a place-based lens. Through these courses, students will reflect on big humanities questions by examining local artifacts, texts, and other materials from the greater Rochester area and capturing their findings in a multi-dimensional, fluid digital archive called a deep map. Course offerings include: “Race and Place in the Mid-Century City,” “From the Rhine to the Genesee:  The German Immigrant Experience,” “The Ethical Chemist,” and “Rochester and its River:  Mapping Historical Narratives.”

Dr. Mike Boller displayed the innovative underwater camera used for his National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration Bay Watershed Education and Training (NOAA BWET grant). NOAA funds will be used to train teachers in the Rochester and Finger Lakes Region on how to execute Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences (MWEEs) with their students. Boller is currently implementing his second grant from the NOAA program, which involves developing a 17-hour online MWEE teacher professional development course.

Dr. Dianne Cooney Miner, executive director of the Golisano Institute for Developmental Disability Nursing and dean emeritus of the Wegmans School of Nursing, spoke about the ground-breaking work of the Golisano Institute and its many government and foundation grants supporting the expansion of the Golisano Institute’s critical work. In addition to funding secured from Tom Golisano and the B. Thomas Golisano Foundation to launch the Institute, support has been secured from the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation, the New York State Developmental Disabilities Planning Council,  Special Olympics International, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Community Living as part of a national consortium, and the WITH Foundation.

Dr. Maria Cianca shared updates on work supported by the ESL Charitable Foundation. The funding will support Fisher’s ability to strengthen nonprofit human capital in the Rochester community, providing scholarships to support students in the Education Doctorate in Executive Leadership (Ed.D.) program. The scholarships will be awarded to support emerging leaders of local nonprofit organizations, who will then apply the tools and knowledge gained to strengthen those organizations through effective leadership. 

Rooney shared background and impact information on Fisher’s College Bound Program, which launched under his visionary leadership in 2007. The College Bound Program helps to ensure that academically qualified, low-income Rochester-area students are equipped with the knowledge, skills, and support necessary to complete the college admissions and financial aid application processes. The program targets students whose parents did not graduate from a 2- or 4-year college. It includes a week-long summer residential experience on Fisher’s campus, and follow-up guidance from the program director during the senior year of high school. Through the program, participants explore career options, develop a consideration set of colleges, and become familiar with specific aspects of the college admission, application, and selection processes. In a typical year, up to 36 students participate – and nearly 500 students have been impacted by this program since inception. College Bound has been and continues to be supported by funding from the M&T Charitable Foundation, Ames Amzalak Memorial Trust, and Fred & Floy Willmott Foundation.

About the NOAA B-WET Program/Award #: NA21NOS4290003
The NOAA B-WET program is a competitive grant program that promotes Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences: activities driven by rigorous academic learning standards that aim to increase participants’ understanding and stewardship of watersheds and related ecosystems. To read more about the NOAA B-WET program, please visit

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this article, do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.