Issue Date: June 1, 2006
Major Grant For Science Education
The Howard Hughes Medical Institute has announced that it will provide $86.4 million to support science education programs at 50 research universities in 28 states and the District of Columbia. Just a couple of months ago, HHMI announced that it was providing 20 professors with $1 million each for undergraduate science education (C&EN, April 10, page 17). In all, HHMI has poured nearly $700 million into such programs since 1988.
The latest set of grants is intended to update and broaden biology instruction to better reflect the field's overlap with other disciplines including chemistry, math, and computer science.
???We believe it is vital to bring fresh perspectives to the teaching of established scientific disciplines and to develop novel courses in emerging areas,??? HHMI President Thomas R. Cech says. "Our grantee universities are providing hands-on research experiences to help prepare undergraduates, including women and minorities underrepresented in the sciences, for graduate studies and for careers in biomedical research, medicine, and science education. We also hope these grants will help the universities increase the science literacy of their students, including nonscience majors."
The University of Maryland, Baltimore County, will use its $2.2 million grant to expand a program already funded by HHMI that provides educational support for students from diverse backgrounds, including those from minority groups underrepresented in science. Components include a summer session to prepare select entering freshmen for college science, mentoring and research opportunities, and payment of tuition as well as room and board.
Chemistry and biochemistry professor Michael F. Summers, an HHMI investigator who heads the UMBC program, says the program has "exceeded our expectations." ??Undergraduates who have completed the program and are now pursuing advanced degrees are "not just getting into graduate programs; they???re getting into the very best programs."
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