The new ASPIRE Service on the Third Level of Duane G. Meyer Library on the Springfield campus of Missouri State University has received a $10,000 grant from BNSF (Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad). BNSF funds will be used to provide furnishings conducive to collaborative learning experiences. Jan Johnson, the Libraries employee who has provided much of the vision and energy in developing ASPIRE, is the principal investigator on this grant-funded project.
The creation of the ASPIRE interdisciplinary space within the library provides opportunities for students and faculty members from multiple disciplines to work on real-life issues to develop potential solutions. ASPIRE supports the State of Missouri’s current workforce development initiatives. The space will include emerging technologies such as virtual and augmented reality devices, data visualization, high-end computers, robotics, and multiple collaboration spaces.
BNSF maintains a major presence as an employer in Springfield and has a long history in the area via a merger, in 1980, with the St. Louis-San Francisco Railroad, known by most as the Frisco. BNSF and other area employers will benefit from students’ enhanced workplace readiness, better ability to work in diverse teams, deeper problem solving, aptitudes with cutting edge technologies, and stronger critical thinking skills.