Sonoma State University graduate Ian Cauble was awarded the status of Top Young Sommelier in the World this month by Paris-based gastronomic organization Confrerie de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs.

Mr. Cauble, who graduated 10 years ago with a degree in international business with an emphasis in wine business and Spanish, won the title after an eight-hour competition in Greece.

[caption id="attachment_42560" align="alignright" width="350" caption="Ian Cauble (right) was awarded the status of "Top Young Sommelier in the World" this month by the Paris-based gastronomic organization, the Confrerie de la Chaîne des Rôtisseurs."][/caption]

The current head sommelier at the Ritz-Carlton in Half Moon Bay, Mr. Cauble traveled around Europe, North Africa and India working in the wine business after college and was called the Top Sommelier of the Western United States by the Guild of Sommeliers this year. He said that traveling to Chile with SSU’s wine class helped cement his interest in the field.***

The National Science Foundation has awarded Sonoma State University’s School of Science and Technology with more than $1 million in grant funding.

Three grants, totaling approximately $1.4 million, will help to expand instruction and research and to purchase specialized equipment.

The largest of the three grants, nearly $1 million over five years, will go toward developing a new “Freshman Year Experience” course, according to the university. The course will build a foundation for science, technology, engineering and mathematics students and will involve the university’s Fairfield Osborn and Galbreath Wildlands Preserves.

“We are so excited that NSF selected our proposal. The competition was very strong, less than one in ten proposals to this program were funded this year,” said Lynn Stauffer, science and technology school dean.

With another $300,000 grant, the university’s Department of Chemistry will purchase a high-power nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer, a machine used for studying the properties of molecules. The device will also be available to undergraduates.

 “We believe this is a major turning point for our department,” said Chair Jennifer Whiles Lillig, who added that the device will help to secure future funding for research.

 The final grant, $129,000 over three years, will support chemistry professor Carmen Works’ efforts to conduct research with undergraduates through the Research in Undergraduate Institutions program.

Students in the program will study iron-only hydrogenase compounds, which help in the usage of hydrogen as a fuel.***

McCormick & Company has donated $30,000 to the Culinary Institute of America, funding a scholarship that will be distributed to six Hispanic students in the coming semester.

The school’s Napa County campus in St. Helena will share the fund with another campus in San Antonio. McCormick raised part of the fund through donations during the “Asando Sabroso” tour of the Southwest United States.

The school, which began in 1946, has four campuses and a reported 40,000 graduates.***

The Petaluma Educational Foundation is looking for support from the business community for its new "Transforming Education in the Classroom" (TEC) Initiative, an effort to act on the growing number of grant applicants who see technology as an asset in the classroom.

Contributions, be them financial or gift-in-kind, help to support the nearly 30-year-old foundation’s grant programs. Some companies already pledging their support are Petaluma-based classroom audio specialists Front Row, offering $5,000 in technology, and another $5,000 pledge from Troxell Communications.

The new initiative was born this year after foundation members saw the increasing desire for certain technologies in Petaluma schools, said Maureen Highland, the foundation’s development coordinator.

The foundation plans to develop a set of best practices for implementing and using technology in Petaluma schools. Those assets, in turn, could be supported through the grant programs at the organization, and members hope to see those grants supporting technology upgrades in the city’s schools, Ms. Highland said.

The deadline for grant applications is Nov. 16, with funding available for Petaluma public, charter and not-for-profit private schools. Applications are available at www.pefinfo.com.

Up to $2,000 is available through the “Enrichment Grant,” and up to $15,000 through the Major Impact Grant. Those applying for a Major Impact Grant are required to have attended a grant writing workshop on Oct. 12.

The foundation has awarded more than $2 million in grants and scholarships since it began nearly 30 years ago.