Three new grants will put Maryland teens and teachers in NIH research labs.

Three new grants totaling nearly $1.6 million from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) will enable dozens of Maryland high school students to do research in National Institutes of Health (NIH) laboratories. Science teachers also will benefit from support for NIH research internships and training in advanced life sciences such as microbiology, physiology and genetics. The awards include:

  • $785,000 over 3.5 years to the Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) for a student internship program at NIH.
  • $680,000 over 3.5 years for summer internships at NIH for MCPS middle and high school science teachers.
  • $100,000 over 3.5 years for student internships at NIH and for teacher training and curriculum development of advanced science courses at Eleanor Roosevelt High School, Greenbelt, Md.

Both grants to MCPS extend successful internship programs developed by the school system and supported by HHMI since 1990. Each year approximately 17 high school sophomores and juniors from schools throughout Montgomery County are selected from nearly 100 applicants. They take a summer course in laboratory principles, techniques and practices, then work side-by-side with NIH scientist-mentors throughout the school year. At the year's end, they present their research findings at a symposium at HHMI headquarters in Chevy Chase, Md. Approximately 10 teachers are chosen each year to participate in six weeks of laboratory research at NIH during the summer. When they return to their schools, they develop instructional units to share what they have learned with their students and fellow teachers. Teachers may return to NIH for a second summer to continue their research and develop additional instructional units. "HHMI's ongoing support has enabled us to stimulate many students' interest in science careers and to enhance the science literacy of all our students," says Sandra Shmookler, special assistant for the Montgomery County schools. The special one-time award to Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Greenbelt, Md., is HHMI's first grant to an individual school, as well as the Institute's first science education grant in Prince George's County. The largest high school in Maryland, Eleanor Roosevelt serves as both a science and technology magnet school and as a comprehensive high school for students living in its district. It has a student body that is nearly 72 percent minorities, including 58 percent African American. "This grant will give our teachers the time and resources to work together creatively to bring about truly innovative change," says Gerald Boarman, principal at Roosevelt. Since 1988, HHMI has awarded more than $150 million for elementary and secondary school science education. The Institute's grants programs comprise the largest private initiative to enhance the quality of science education in U.S. history.

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Jim Keeley 301.215.8858