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$150,000 grant supports continued DNA teaching
The National Science Foundation has awarded a $150,000 grant to J.K. Bhattacharjee and Gary R. Janssen (both microbiology) to continue summer DNA cloning workshops for high school teachers.
This award represents its third year of the grant, totaling $450,000. The workshops, conducted by Bhattacharjee and Janssen, are designed to improve biology teaching at the high school level. Teachers are selected from rural, suburban and inner city high schools where the need is greatest to introduce students to gene therapy.
"Teacher Enhancement in Molecular Biology and Recombinant DNA Technology" is a two-week intensive workshop designed to enhance basic knowledge, technical skills and teaching proficiencies for about 30 high school teachers. A follow-up program continues during the academic year.
The program is also intended to boost student interest and abilities to pursue science careers in research and biotechnology.
Teachers receive graduate credit, a stipend, travel and living expenses, textbooks, equipment and materials for their classrooms.
Teachers are expected to share their new-found knowledge with colleagues. With continuous support from the NSF, the workshops have had a positive impact on 15,000 students in 160 high schools. Many students have taken an interest in genetics as a result of their teachers having attend the workshops, says Bhattacharjee.