10 ways FSU is changing the world

Florida State University scholars drive innovation and create new art forms while using their knowledge to contribute to Florida and beyond.

Take a look at some ways FSU faculty members are changing the world around us.

Saving Florida’s Critical Ecosystems

Apalachicola Bay once produced 90% of the oysters harvested in Florida, but has gone into extreme decline due to increased pollution, unsustainable harvesting and natural disasters. Florida State University‘s Coastal and Marine Laboratory has developed a recovery plan that will increase the oyster population and improve the health of the bay. This project, funded by settlement money from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, will benefit the region’s ecosystem as well as its commercial fishing industry, a vital part of the local economy.

FSU’s Coastal and Marine Laboratory works to understand the complexities of oyster population decline in Apalachicola Bay.

Cultivating pathways for underrepresented students in the medical profession

Since 1994, FSU has worked to develop a more diverse medical workforce that can better serve local communities through the Science Students Together Reaching Instructional Diversity and Excellence (SSTRIDE) program. FSU faculty implemented the program to help students who excel in STEM fields — but who are underrepresented in health fields — become competitive candidates for medical school or succeed in health-related careers.

From left to right, SSTRIDE students Britney Garcia, Gisselle Nava and Ruth Bellevue observe how a baby's brachial pulse is taken.  Courtesy of FSU College of Medicine
From left to right, SSTRIDE students Britney Garcia, Gisselle Nava and Ruth Bellevue observe how a baby’s brachial pulse is taken. Courtesy of FSU College of Medicine

Transforming how we prepare for natural disasters

The Resilient Infrastructure and Disaster Response Center, part of the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering, promotes inclusive and equitable disaster resilience for vulnerable populations. RIDER does this through technology, data, and multidisciplinary research with a deep understanding of how the unique conditions of each community’s physical and social dynamics, available infrastructure, and land use affect resilience. RIDER’s solutions empower underserved communities with new tools, training, and stronger partnerships between public, private, nonprofit, and academic actors. Better resilience to disasters will protect our vulnerable populations, save billions and protect our society. RIDER leads this work.

The Panama City area suffered extensive damage after Hurricane Michael.

Make sure every child can read

The Florida Center for Reading Research wants every child to read at the grade level in second grade. The interdisciplinary research center focuses on reading and reading-related skills throughout human life. It uses science to improve reading assessments for classrooms, expand our knowledge of learning disabilities such as dyslexia, and help educators connect with students.

Students in an Atlanta classroom listen to a teacher read. Photo courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control via Unsplash.

Improving diversity in STEM fields

Florida First Brigade Marks Step Toward Addressing Underrepresented Students in STEM Programs: Program Emphasizes Diversity in Chronic Disease Prevention and Management and Mental Health , which will create a more cohesive research community and ensure a wider range of perspectives in determining research priorities in these areas. The National Institutes of Health has awarded the team more than $14 million for their work and to help them continue to build a diverse and positive medical community.

Reorganize art therapy in prisons to improve efficiency

FSU’s Art Therapy Program harnesses the power of art therapy in prisons to provide emotional outlets for inmates. Partnering with the Florida Department of Corrections to improve the previous outdated program, FSU’s art therapy program empowers inmates to express themselves and stay positive, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, when interactions face-to-face with family and loved ones has become restricted. The new program was so successful that when the program’s contract was renewed, it doubled the size of the existing program, adding therapists and including more prisons.

‘Mindful Watercolor’ – This image depicts a success-driven process, encouraging clients to begin painting without a plan or intention, but rather stay present with their creation as they watch the color appear on the paper. This mindful practice is helpful in relieving stress and developing positive coping skills.

Testing the limits of natural disaster simulations

Allison Wing, an assistant professor in FSU’s Department of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, uses data on tropical storms, clouds, and other climate variables to better predict future storms. Using high-powered computer simulations, Wing is building models that will give forecasters better information about future storms. Last fall, Wing was named to Popular Science’s Brilliant 10 list, which recognizes early-career researchers conducting groundbreaking research in their fields.

Pushing the boundaries of physical sciences

The National High Magnetic Fields Laboratory, or MagLab, provides researchers with a unique environment to study several fields, including chemistry and physics, primarily focused on the study of materials, life, and energy. This one-of-a-kind laboratory attracts hundreds of scientists from around the world and its super-powerful magnets are used to study a variety of fields such as disease, magnetic fields and complex chemical analysis. The MagLab has broken more than 15 world records, and in 2018 it received $184 million from the National Science Foundation to help fund further research in this area.

Research engineer Charles Lamar English works on a specialized furnace used to develop magnetic coils from the high-temperature superconductor Bi-2212, a version of the copper oxide bismuth strontium calcium.  Photo by Stephen Bilenky/National MagLab.
Research engineer Charles Lamar English works on a specialized furnace used to develop magnetic coils from the high-temperature superconductor Bi-2212, a version of the copper oxide bismuth strontium calcium. Photo by Stephen Bilenky/National MagLab.

Improving education around the world

Faculty members of FSU’s Learning Systems Institute have worked around the world, including Zambia, Uzbekistan, Lebanon, and Nigeria, to provide cutting-edge teaching and learning methods while paving the way to implementation. Since its inception, the Learning Systems Institute has worked with organizations such as USAID, the U.S. Department of Education, UNICEF, and educational centers overseas to improve educational opportunities for hundreds of thousands of children in the world.

Pushing the boundaries of artistic expression in a national choreographic center

The Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography (MANCC) is the world’s only national center for choreography at a major research institution. In addition to supporting burgeoning artists, the center has created 60 short films and podcasts that document the creative experience at MANCC, providing other artists with a toolkit to use to promote and research their creative endeavours.

The ‘Healing Wars’ cast rehearse at FSU. MANCC photo by Chris Cameron

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