The Iberdrola USA Foundation has given a grant of $100,000 to Binghamton University’s Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science to provide graduating seniors the opportunity to work on teams to develop new engineering products.

“Seniors are required to work in teams to design, build and test a realistic engineering system under faculty supervision,” University spokeswoman Gail Glover said in a statement. “Although the projects may vary between engineering disciplines, the experience provides exposure to realistic design processes, teamwork and the expectations of practicing engineers.”

Clayton Ellis, manager of corporate communications of New York State Electric & Gas (NYSEG), a subsidiary company of Iberdrola USA, said this was an opportunity for students to use their technical knowledge to solve real-world engineering problems.

“The Iberdrola USA Foundation is always looking for ways to support programs that develop the skill sets our companies need,” Ellis wrote in an email. “We began talking with the University several months ago and we concluded that the Watson School’s senior capstone experience was an excellent fit for funding.”

Michelle Gardner, the major gifts officer for the Watson School of Engineering and a Watson School liaison, said the grant from Iberdrola is part of a BU fundraising campaign.

“The gift from Iberdrola USA Foundation will be recognized as part of the Bold.Brilliant.Binghamton Campaign for Binghamton University,” Gardner wrote in an email. “The campaign has been incredibly important to the Watson School as it has allowed us to enhance our support of students and our academic mission as well as building a base of support to plan for the future.”

The grant will be given to Watson over a period of three years, with funding from the grant coming directly from the Iberdrola USA Foundation. This is the first gift that Binghamton has received from Iberdrola.

As technology continues to have a greater role in our everyday lives, Gardner notes that the research done at Binghamton University is meeting challenges facing energy efficiency, green technology and thermal management.

According to Gardner, Binghamton University has a valuable historical relationship with NYSEG and Energy East, of which Iberdrola is the parent company.

Retired NYSEG Chairman, President and CEO James Carrigg is one of the founders of the Watson School. Iberdrola USA CEO Robert Kump is a graduate of Binghamton University, and the Innovative Technologies Complex, which includes the Biotechnology Building, Engineering and Science Building and future Center of Excellence building, is built on property that the campus purchased from NYSEG.

Jessica Bracht, a freshman majoring in bioengineering, said she is excited about the potential opportunities there will be because of the grant.

“I’m really captivated by the opportunities I will receive with this grant, and look forward to graduating in a few years with being able to have used my skills on real engineering problems,” she said.

Roman Porshnev, a freshman in the Watson School, echoed Bracht’s excitement.

“Instead of simply learning about engineering principles like we do now, I feel that dealing with engineering strategies used in the real world will be better for developing skills that we will need in our future,” Porshnev said.

For more on grants and grant writing, visit Grant Pros.

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