UNO CHEMISTRY SCHOLARSHIPS: Five University of New Orleans chemistry students are the first recipients of the Siegfried B. Christensen IV Memorial Scholarships. The scholarships were made possible by a $25,000 gift to the UNO department of chemistry from Christensen’s mother, Rowena.

Each of the five undergraduate chemistry students will receive a $5,000 scholarship. The winners are: Amber Carpenter, Hana Kang, Katherine Bricker, Joshua Black and Ryan McKinnie.

Siegfried B. Christensen IV, an accomplished medicinal chemist, died in 2011 at the age of 57 after a brief and unexpected illness. Christensen was a New Orleans native who earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of New Orleans in 1978; he won the American Chemical Society Undergraduate Award in Chemistry while at UNO. He went on to earn a master’s degree and a doctorate in organic chemistry from Johns Hopkins University.

TULANE EDUCATION RESEARCH: The Education Research Alliance for New Orleans has received $3.5 million in grants to study the long-term impacts of sweeping public education reforms enacted after Hurricane Katrina.

The center was recently founded by Tulane economics professor Douglas N. Harris, who serves as its director. Era-New Orleans will release its first findings next month, with a focus on how parents selected schools before and after the changes. The center plans to release a dozen other studies leading up to the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, when it will co-host a national education conference highlighting lessons learned since the storm.

The Laura and John Arnold Foundation contributed $3 million, with an additional $500,000 in funding from the W.T. Grant Foundation, two anonymous gifts, Tulane’s Murphy Institute and the School of Liberal Arts.

New Orleans public schools have undergone the most radical overhaul of any school district in the country — turning traditional public schools into charter schools, making teacher employment decisions based on performance, shutting down failing schools and giving families more choice.

While school districts around the country are following the New Orleans model, Harris said little is known about what effect the reforms have had or why. For example, advocates say they have increased student test scores and high school graduation rates, while critics say such trends are more likely the result of post-Katrina population shifts or distortions in the tests.

LOYOLA UNIVERSITY: Loyola University New Orleans has been named to the 2014 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll in recognition of its students’ meaningful engagement in the community.

During the 2013-14 academic year, 564 students participated in 16,359 service learning hours, while 54 percent of seniors had a service learning experience during their time at Loyola. Thirty faculty members taught a service learning course as well. For the community-based federal work study program, 27 students worked for 12 nonprofit off-campus employers, and 22 students worked in on-campus positions that directly benefited the community. The program allows students to earn federal work-study awards, which are a part of their financial aid package, by working at partnering nonprofit agencies.

NUNEZ COMMUNITY COLLEGE: Officials at Nunez Community College in Chalmette and Nicholls State University in Thibodaux have taken steps to ensure that credit for certain courses in the business technology division at Nunez can be transferred to the bachelor of science degree program in business administration at Nicholls.

Thomas R. Warner, chancellor of Nunez, and Bruce Murphy, president of Nicholls, signed this “articulation agreement” Dec. 17 in the Entrepreneurship Center at Nunez. Both institutions will monitor student progress and overall performance in the upper-level transfer courses at Nunez.

Those interested in the program at Nunez should contact the college at (504) 278-6427 beginning Jan. 5.