The Eckerd College Dog Training Program is open to any of more than 100 Eckerd students who own dogs and live on campus, and the hope is that the research will lead to innovative new therapies and inexpensive to help people, especially students. , better manage stress.
Now, the more than 1,500 Eckerd students on campus who don’t own dogs can also participate.
Thanks to a recent grant from the Presidential Innovation Fund and a partnership with the Humane Society of Pinellas, Highfill and her colleagues at Eckerd Sara Hofmann, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology; Crystal Young-Erdos, Ph.D., assistant professor of chemistry; and Jason Sears, professor of philosophy, plan to open the program to all Eckerd students starting in September.
The Fund, was established this year by Eckerd President Damián Fernández, Ph.D., to provide seed grants of up to $5,000 to faculty, staff, and students “to enable them to launch projects that support research, learning, entrepreneurship and/or community engagement aligned with the initiatives and themes of our strategic plan,” says Fernandez. “The selected proposals showcase collaboration, innovation and entrepreneurship in line with the promise of the Strategic Plan.”
The Eckerd Dog Training Program, which is free for students, is funded by the Academy of Senior Professionals at Eckerd College. “But it would be nice to have the seed capital to continue the project and grow it,” says Highfill. “It would have been difficult to move forward without that.