March 25, 2004
HHMI Support for K-12 Education Across the Nation
Today's world—and tomorrow's—is built on a foundation of
science and technology.
Howard Hughes Medical Institute has helped and is helping hundreds
of thousands of students learn and thousands of teachers teach science.
For more than a decade, HHMI has supported innovative science education
programs across the nation. The Institute has invested nearly $200
million in projects targeting K-12 students and their science teachers.
Some of the programs bring science to schools in the inner cities.
Others focus on students and teachers in isolated rural communities.
Several target disadvantaged students and those who are under
represented in the sciences.
For example, using science education grants from HHMI:
Montgomery County and Prince George's County, Maryland, high school
students and teachers are working alongside scientist-mentors in
laboratories at the National Institutes of Health, helping solve
scientific problems ranging from the molecular and genetic mechanisms
underlying schizophrenia to new therapeutics for cancer.
In Washington, D.C., middle school students from one of the city's
most deprived neighborhoods are discovering that they can—and
want to—go to college, due to a mentoring project at Georgetown
Elementary school teachers in Mobile, Alabama, and surrounding
counties, are learning to improve science curriculum modules by
including experiments, which helps the teachers become more comfortable
Each year, high school students and teachers are invited to take a
guided tour of a compelling topic in biology, led by eminent biomedical
researchers during the annual Holiday Lectures on Science, presented
live at HHMI headquarters in Chevy Chase, Maryland. The lectures reach
a worldwide audience through a webcast and DVDs that are available free
In Alaska, children and their families in remote villages are
getting a chance to do hands-on science by participating in a traveling
science festival run by the Imaginarium, a science museum in
Mississippi high school students are encouraged to explore careers
in science and medicine by doing research in the laboratories of
scientists at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.
Rural science teachers are forming a support network following
summer training at Cornell University. Similar networks are developing
from teachers' summer programs in Oklahoma, Nebraska, and
Preschool children and their parents are learning hands-on science
in schools in inner-city Chicago, taught by preschool science
specialists working with scientists at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's
At an innovative summer science camp at the University of North
Dakota, Native American middle school students are learning to link
science to their tribal traditions.
Elementary, middle, and high school teachers and students are
finding summer and school-year science activities in their communities,
through the Search for Science Opportunities database on the HHMI web
HHMI awards K-12 science education grants to biomedical research
institutions and to colleges and universities to do outreach to
teachers, children and families.
Biomedical research institutions have unique resources to share with
their communities, including the expertise and excitement of the
scientists who work and train there. HHMI has awarded $33 million to
biomedical research institutions for programs that have reached more
than 400,000 school children and nearly 20,000 teachers.
Colleges and universities often partner with their local schools to
improve science education. Faculty, undergraduates and graduate
students work with school children and teachers at all grade levels.
HHMI has awarded grants totaling $557 million to 236 colleges and
universities, part of which is used for programs targeting K-12
students and teachers.