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But none of these classes will generate more science majors if you can't get students interested in science in the first place. Outreach programs are major components of many of the education experiments. The University of Texas-Pan American is taking science to its rural neighbors with a bus converted into a mobile lab. On the bus, sixth through ninth graders dig into research on forensics and real-world problems, like sickle cell anemia and HIV. With complementary teacher training, the school hopes the excitement about science will carry on beyond the two-day bus visit.
North Carolina Central University, a historically black college, will start recruiting promising science students to the school as early as middle school and will support them though high school and college, with everything from SAT-prep workshops to mentoring and career support. The program “will give continuity, which we think assures greater success,” says Sandra White, co-program director of the HHMI grant.
Encouraging participation by underrepresented minorities in science is a key goal at Spelman College, a historically black liberal arts college for women. Spelman has focused its efforts on making sure its students see successful women and minority scientists and plans to start a mentorship program and create a full-length documentary about the lives of its graduates pursuing scientific careers.
“The film will focus on lifestyle choices Spelman graduates have made as scientists and as women struggling to balance their work lives and home lives,” says Cynthia Bauerle, the HHMI program director at the college. “We hope the movie will speak to young alumnae who are struggling with the same issues and help keep them in the field.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION: To see a full list of the colleges and universities that received grants and to learn more about their programs, visit www.hhmi.org/news/college20080422_list.html.