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NGCSU receives grants, federal funds
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North Georgia College & State University received four grants from NASA last week to support its planetarium and physics department.

The grants, totaling $12,000, will help fund additional student personnel, the Georgia E. Coleman Sr. Planetarium, the North Georgia Astronomical Observatory, student training, eight scholarships and undergraduate research in confocal X-ray fluorescence, a technique used to detect and quantify elements in a sample.

"These grants recognize the outstanding work being done by the faculty and students in our department of physics, which produced the second-highest number of physics graduates of any public university in Georgia this year," North Georgia President Bonita Jacobs said in a news release.

The grants come on the heels of the university earning $720,000 in federal funds and being designated a flagship university for Chinese instruction for cadets.

North Georgia was one of only three schools in the country to get the designation from the National Security Education Program at the Department of Defense.

The university began offering Chinese classes in 2006 and since then has had both a major and a minor approved by the Board of Regents.

"We've come a long way in a short period of time," Chris Jespersen, dean of the university's College of Arts & Letters, said in a news release.

"Our program is being recognized specifically for our efforts with the cadets, and although our funding will be focused on the ROTC students, all students will benefit from this support for the Chinese program."