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Board’s Travel Grant Program picks up speed

By Abbey Reighard / Assistant News Editor

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Student Government Board’s chief of staff will this week review applications for the Undergraduate Conference Travel Grant Program.

SGB’s chief of staff, who Student Government Board President Graeme Meyer said he will announce at tonight’s public meeting, will review travel grants each Thursday, as long as students submit the grant requests by that Wednesday before at 5 p.m., Meyer said in an email Monday. 

Meyer said he processed and reviewed all of the applications until now. Students can use the grant money to reimburse registration, lodging and travel expenses through the program instituted by the previous Board in September.

“This program aims to support the efforts of these students and provide assistance when they are invited to present their research at conferences,” Meyer said. 

The Board reserves $10,000 each semester from the student activities fund to pay for the program. So far, not every student who applied received a grant. 

The last Board denied two of the 47 applications submitted so far during the 2014-2015 school year, Meyer said, because the applications were submitted late. Meyer added that he did not recall specific details about the applications. 

Former SGB President Mike Nites said the Board only considered an application late if students applied for the grant after the conference, a deadline which he said the Board listed on SGB’s old website. 

The Board reserved $10,000 in January to fund students presenting at research conferences. In total, the Board approved 45 out of 47 applicants for travel grants so far, according to Meyer. Students can apply for grants through the SGB website. 

Nites introduced the Undergraduate Conference Travel Grant Fund program last February to provide travel grants for students seeking financial support to present their research at conferences.

After the chief of staff’s approval for the grant, students must submit a hard-copy reimbursement form to the SORC office within 30 days of the end of the conference. After students submit the reimbursement form, they can receive up to $250, Meyer said. 

The total can vary depending on a need basis. For example, Kimberly Sass, a junior majoring in bioengineering, received a grant for $250, but only used $189.Sass said she used the grant money to pay for her hotel room while she presented her research, “Alterations in In Vivo Knee Cartilage Contact After Anterior Cruciate Ligament Reconstruction,” at the American Society of Biomechanics Midwest Regional Conference in Akron, Ohio, last February. 

“Basically, I looked at how cartilage in the knee changed after people sustained ACL injuries,” Sass said.

Sass said she thinks the grants will help Pitt gain recognition.

“I think it will allow students to show that University of Pittsburgh has some of the best research out there,” Sass said.

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Board’s Travel Grant Program picks up speed