The grant allows for nursing and human physiology students to obtain more advanced equipment for the programs.

Gonzaga University’s School of Nursing and Human Physiology received a $169,000 grant from the E.L. Wiegand Foundation to purchase training equipment for nursing and human physiology students.

The grant allowed the school to purchase 13 pieces of equipment, including ultra-low temperature freezers and refrigerators, a doppler ultrasound and a pediatric simulator.

Ryan McCulloch, chair of the human physiology department, believes that these new tools put GU’s nursing and human physiology department ahead of other undergraduate programs. Students will be exposed to unique learning opportunities, according to McCullough.

“To get a chance to use this type of capable equipment as an undergraduate is a pretty novel experience,” said McCulloch.

Among the purchased equipment are also a handheld ultrasound machine that allows students to perform ultrasounds on themselves and a real-time polymerase chain reaction unit that allows students to perform DNA research.

These two technologies provide students with new modalities and teaching styles, McCulloch said, which lead to a more robust understanding of the structures that they're learning about.

“The pieces of equipment we obtained through the grant are instrumental in the education of our students,” said McCulloch.

McCulloch also believes that this equipment will encourage more students to conduct research in the anatomy and physiology realm.

“I think that it is very appealing to most students in our program to be able to interact with stuff that's really only seen in very high-end research labs,” said McCullough. “To get to do that as part of their curriculum is they really neat opportunity.”

According to an impact report written by the School of Nursing and Human Physiology, the new equipment has benefited over 180 nursing students, future scientists, medical professionals and other health practitioners.

Most of the equipment was installed prior to the start of the Fall 2021 semester and has been phased into classrooms ever since. Two student projects that used the new doppler ultrasound technology were submitted for presentation to a regional conference in February 2022, the report said.

Jeff Geldien, assistant vice president of Major and Planned Giving, said that this grant has been crucial for helping nursing and human physiology students train for their future careers.

“[Students] need to have the most contemporary equipment and experiences so that they're best prepared to enter the workforce,” Geldien said.

The school applied for this grant during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, which Geldien said was significant because it showed the importance of strengthening the nursing and human physiology programs.

“It was a time in society when it was very dark, but we were all seeing how important our healthcare workers were to us,” Geldien said.

This is the fifth grant that GU has received from the E.L. Wiegand Foundation, a non-profit that funds grants at educational institutions in science, business, fine arts, law and medicine. Gonzaga has a long history with the foundation, according to Geldien, that dates to 1998 when Gonzaga was awarded a grant for the renovation of Hughes Hall.

Geldien credits President Thayne McCulloh for maintaining Gonzaga’s connection with the foundation over the years. He also said that President McCulloh has been extremely supportive throughout the grant process, which is something that is not often seen at big universities.

“President McCulloh has been a key player in keeping this relationship solid and very positive for us,” Geldien said.

This grant and its positive impacts on students are demonstrative of Gonzaga’s ongoing commitment to healthcare education and human affairs, according to Geldien.

“This grant helped enhance our equipment that's needed for students to get the experience they need to be able to enter the market,” Geldien said. “So, this really just bolstered Gonzaga School of Nursing and Human Physiology student experience.”

Amelia Troncone is a staff writer.

Staff Writer

Amelia Troncone is a junior from Claremont, California, double majoring in journalism and environmental studies. She loves the outdoors and is passionate about protecting the natural world. She's striving to be an environmental journalist.