Creating pathways to success

Western Kentucky University Research Foundation is helping to trail-blaze advancement by putting needed resources into the hands of Western Kentucky University faculty and students at the cutting edge of innovation.

From creating educational resources for children to helping local businesses with their technology needs, WKURF has become a networking resource for combining creativity with practical need.

Since its launch in 2000, WKURF has supported numerous projects in the areas of education, business, science, math, technology, publishing and even community assistance. Here are some highlights:

In education, WKURF teamed with WKU professor Dr. Bruce Kessler to develop Operation Comics, a project to present mathematics in a way that elementary students find enjoyable and motivating. The storyline follows the adventures of superhero Wonderguy as he takes on his rival, Captain Confusion.

According to the report, “Operation Comics: The Story Continues,” teachers who used the product found that their elementary age students delighted in the change of pace from a typical math class.

WKURF also helped WKU professor Dr. Lynn Hines to produce the second edition of A Toolkit for Success. The toolkit is designed as a resource for educators seeking National Board Certification. It can be used by an individual or a collaborative group — including college faculty who are mentoring candidates.

Beyond the classroom, WKURF has worked with the Student Business Accelerator and the Lost River Data Center to create opportunities for business success.

The Student Business Accelerator provides a place in the Center for Research and Development building where students can work and network as they navigate the first phase of business startup.

The Lost River Data Center is a tier-two facility offering businesses in the community a secure site for their computer servers and business critical data. WKURF has seen this joint venture with Bowling Green Municipal Utilities grow into a substantial rental space.

In another example of community assistance, a 15-passenger van donated to WKURF was provided to the Kelly Autism Program in the Suzanne Vitale Clinical Education Complex at WKU.

The Kelly Autism Program meets the practical transportation needs of autistic individuals and their families. The program serves individuals ranging in age from seven to adult who have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders.

A WKURF collaboration with Sagamore Publishing resulted in two publications — the Journal of Outdoor Recreation, Education and Leadership and the Journal of Nonprofit Education and Leadership.

The Journal of Outdoor Recreation, Education and Leadership focuses on outdoor recreation, education, and leadership and is the only peer-reviewed journal of its kind in the United States.

The Journal of Nonprofit Education and Leadership serves the nonprofit education sphere through articles on professional practice, research, and theoretical discussions.

WKURF also has provided support for the implementation of Dr. Bruce Kessler’s software “Peaklet Anaylsis,” based on his patented method and apparatus for wavelet-based elemental spectrum analysis. This software is vital to the commercialization of Kessler’s method to companies interested in nondestructive testing methodologies.

The Kentucky BioAlliance is another area where WKURF helps to unite science and practicality. The KBA is a nonprofit, member-supported industry organization serving the state’s biotechnology and life science firms and institutions. It seeks to connect, promote and develop industry assets to create a community capable of achieving sustained economic growth.

In the field of communications technology, WKURF partnered with the WKU Communications Department and PCAL to create a software application for purchase by students taking COMM200.

The foundation provided resources needed to retain the services of a software development company to implement this communications theory app. Sales of the app will allow the partners to recoup their investment.

In all, WKURF currently supports and showcases 12 WKU research and service centers:

  • Advanced Materials Institute
  • Applied Physics Institute
  • Engineering Manufacturing Commercialization Center
  • Folk Studies and Anthropology/Kentucky Folklife Program
  • Kentucky Climate Center
  • National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates Program
  • Nondestructive Analysis Center
  • Ogden College Electron Microscopy Facility
  • Biotechnology Center
  • Thermal Analysis Laboratory
  • WKU Small Business Accelerator

By continuing to invest in such endeavors, WKURF aims to create new pathways to greater innovations on the WKU campus, in the Bowling Green community, the state of Kentucky and beyond. The possibilities are truly endless.