Department seeks to create endowment to support student travel to conferences

Approximately half of our undergraduate and essentially all of our graduate students participate in research. One important aspect of research is to be able to present results to an audience of experts, such as those found at national/international conferences. An additional benefit of presenting research results is that it hones communication skills which we deem essential for our students. Unfortunately, obtaining funds to send students to conferences is getting harder to come by nowadays due to budget limitations of most federal and state agencies.

The department wants to set up an endowment of $100,000 that would annually generate $5,000 which would allow 10 Rensselaer students a year to attend a national/international conference. This endowment will be named the Friends of Bob and Jan Spilker Travel Fund as Bob was a long-time faculty member in our department and the idea to create this endowment was motivated by Jan’s initial support for student travel to conferences.

If you find that this is a worthwhile goal that you would be interested contributing to then please contact Mr. Richard Graw, School of Engineering Chief Advancement Officer, at 518-276-4868 or email him at