Monticello College Foundation awards Luther College $6,900 grant

Luther College was granted $6,900 from the Monticello College Foundation to fund an additional student researcher seeking to understand how pollutants interact with a supramolecular host system—cyclodextrins (sugar buckets) or micelles.

Olga Rinco, Luther associate professor of chemistry, has been collaborating on a project for two years with two Luther students, and the Monticello College Foundation grant enabled Ali Panning, Luther class of 2014 from Blaine, Minn., to join the research group. The group has been studying how environmental pollutants can be detected at low levels by host-guest photochemistry. Thanks in part to this grant, they plan to complete the work in the near future and publish the findings.

The Monticello College Foundation, founded by Captain Benjamin Godfrey, has made a commitment to furthering women’s education.

“Though the number of females pursuing undergraduate degrees in the physical sciences has increased greatly over the years, there is still quite a lack of females going on to higher degrees. Research is a gateway to understanding science at a higher level, and understanding what graduate school would be like. It is a critical piece of a student’s undergraduate experience, if we are going to inspire more students to go on to graduate or professional school and see them in visible science roles in the future. We are grateful for the additional support from the Monticello College Foundation, helping one additional Luther student have the summer research opportunity,” Rinco said.

Though many people scoffed at schooling for females, Godfrey built Monticello Female Seminary in 1838. He saw the need for education, particularly for women as Godfrey had eight daughters. He believed that, “If you educate a man you educate an individual; educate a woman and you educate a whole family.” The school was named after the Virginia estate of Thomas Jefferson, whom he greatly admired.

A national liberal arts college with an enrollment of 2,500, Luther offers an academic curriculum that leads to the bachelor of arts degree in 60 majors and preprofessional programs. For more information about Luther, visit the college's website:

Monticello College Foundation