An geoengineering professional at work. One grant Triton received will fund a scholarship program for students interested in the field. | Photo by Menard Oceania

Since October, Triton College has announced a succession of large grants that will fund initiatives both on and off the college’s River Grove campus. 

In October, the college announced it was awarded a 2017 national leadership grant from the Washington D.C.-based Institute of Museum and Library Services that will allow Triton to partner with the Oak Park-based Equity Team Inc. (E-Team) and the Oak Park Public Library on a new college and career readiness initiative.

Formally called “Triton College Activating Community Opportunities,” the new initiative began Oct. 1. Students from two mentoring programs at Triton have been working with Oak Park and River Forest High School students each day at the Oak Park library.

In addition to tutoring and mentoring, the initiative also offers activities like health and career fairs, family engagement seminars and financial planning seminars — all designed to eliminate the achievement and opportunity gaps between white and black students in the Oak Park area.  

In November, Triton announced a $300,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women, which will fund the implementation of additional educational programs and training related to sexual assault and domestic violence prevention. 

Triton has partnered with the River Grove Police Department and Oak Park-based Sarah’s Inn, a domestic violence resource center, on this initiative. The DOJ grant will help “support the newly formed Triton College Coordinated Community Response Team, which will implement mandatory sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and a stalking prevention program for all incoming Triton students,” according to a statement released by the college on Nov. 21. 

“This grant will assist in the coordination of on- and off-campus victim services organizations and the local criminal justice system to provide holistic support and services for our students,” stated Corey Williams, Triton’s dean of student services. 

Earlier this month, Triton also announced that it had been awarded a $650,000 grant to support students pursuing careers in geology, environmental science, engineering and similar fields. 

The five-year grant comes from the National Science Foundation, an independent federal agency designed to promote scientific progress and that funds basic scientific research at colleges and universities across the country. 

Nearly $400,000 of the grant funds will go to student scholarships while the rest of the money will cover equipment, mentoring services, research and other supports. The scholarships will address the need for more geoengineering professionals in the region. In Illinois, occupations in the geoengineering field will grow by 15 to 20 percent over the next decade, according to a Triton statement announcing the grant funding. 

“There’s a big workforce need,” said Dr. Sheldon Turner, the grant’s principal investigator. “There is a growing number of environmental science jobs out there and we are excited to take the lead on preparing students to succeed in those roles.”

Turner said environmental remediation efforts are driving the need for geoengineering workers.

“One of the big things in the Chicago area is finding all of the leaking tanks left behind by closed factories and gas stations and getting them out of the ground to protect our groundwater, as well as our rivers and Lake Michigan,” he said. 

Students interested in enrolling in the scholarship program can contact Turner at 708-456-0300, ext. 3008 or by email at