The United Parcel Service Foundation has for the 17th consecutive year awarded an academic grant to Virginia Tech’s Grado Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering in the amount of $40,000 for 2013.

Thus far, the Atlanta-based delivery giant has given approximately $800,000 to support doctoral students in the department’s Human Factors Engineering Ergonomics graduate program.

“The principal use of the UPS award is to support Ph.D. students who are undertaking practical, applied research in ergonomics and human factors engineering,” said John Casali, the John Grado Professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering. “We recognize that these areas of workplace safety and health have long represented hallmarks of UPS. The UPS grant allows our human factors program to attract and retain graduate students of the highest caliber, and to perform cutting-edge research during their tenure at Virginia Tech.”

Casali made his first UPS grant proposal in 1995, and has since served as the foundation’s coordinator at Virginia Tech. He estimates that more than 40 doctoral degree students have received funding to continue their studies and research because of the support from UPS.

Casali’s relationship with UPS also has resulted in other areas of support. Don Wittke, UPS corporate engineering manager, continues to serve on the Grado department’s advisory board. As with past years, he was again instrumental in assisting with this year’s grant, Casali said, adding that representatives from UPS have served on the board for the past 30 years.

Established in 1951, the UPS Foundation identifies specific areas in nonprofit effectiveness, economic and global literacy, encouraging diversity, community safety, and environmental sustainability in issuing its grants.

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