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Miami receives $1.6 million for biosience education

09/16/1998

OXFORD, Ohio -- Miami University has received a $1.6 million grant from

the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) to strengthen its biological

sciences programs. Out of 191 proposals received, Miami is one of two

universities in Ohio, and 58 schools nationwide, to be awarded a four-year

grant.

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute, a medical research organization, has

awarded $425 million since 1988 to enhance undergraduate science education

nationwide. Miami is among only 20 schools that have received the

undergraduate sciences grant each of the three times it was offered.

Miami will use the grant in several ways: to enhance student summer research

opportunities, to continue providing fellowships for high school teachers

pursuing masters of art in teaching (MAT) of biological science, to increase

from six to 10 summer research fellowships for inner city high school students

working with Miami faculty, to update Miami's biological science and chemistry

classrooms and labs, and to offer developmental opportunities for Miami

faculty.

"In addition to our proposal, the institute considered the success of two

previous Hughes-Miami projects that had a profound impact on biomedical

education at Miami and in the region," said Anne Hopkins, Miami provost. "To

be among a select group of institutions receiving three consecutive Howard

Hughes awards reflects the very high quality of Miami's efforts in the

biological sciences."

Projects funded by the grant will enhance learning in Miami's departments of

botany, chemistry and biochemistry, microbiology and zoology.

Miami's first goal, that of enhancing undergraduate research, includes

numerous opportunities for students. It will:

  • add 20 undergraduate research internships to the 30 Miami now provides,

  • maintain 20 academic year undergraduate research projects,

  • create a partnership with Eli Lilly and Procter & Gamble for summer research experience for six Miami students per year,

  • create partnerships with area colleges allowing undergraduate researchers to pair with faculty mentors from Miami or the other colleges.

  • create a research-based honors course for 20 nonscience majors and

  • maintain a fund to allow students to travel to meetings to present papers.

In addition to maintaining the 40 MAT fellowships for high school teachers,

the grant will enable a new MAT program for 20 elementary school science

teachers. Sixty-nine teachers have earned MAT degrees since the program

started. Some, in addition to greatly enhancing teaching skills, have

subsequently won grants to bring science equipment to their schools.

The Cincinnati Academy of Math And Sciences (CAMAS), a partner school in the

Miami-Hughes projects, has had 67 students participate in six-week research

programs with Miami faculty and has revised its science curriculum. All

participants (except six current seniors) graduated from high school and all

but one of them has gone on to a four-year college or university.

"The Howard Hughes grants have enabled Miami to establish excellent

relationships and programs with CAMAS and with Cincinnati-area teachers. The

new grant maintains these relationships and similarly establishes new

relationships in undergraduate research with Procter & Gamble, Eli Lilly,

and regional four-year colleges, " says William Rauckhorst, associate provost

for scholarship and teaching.

Adding analytical and multimedia equipment to the science classrooms will

revitalize biomedical curriculum for science and nonscience majors, says David

Francko, chair of botany.

"With this grant we are enhancing biological sciences at many levels," says

Karl Mattox, dean of the College of Arts and Science and director of the

Hughes-Miami project. "It is very satisfying that the CAMAS students go on to

college, even if it is not Miami. The MAT teachers improve their classroom

experiences and send us more sophisticated science students. Our strengthened

curriculum and research opportunities attract more bright science students and

then prepares them well for medical or graduate school and careers."

Of 259 summer research appointments through HHMI and Miami cost-sharing since

1989, 147 were women. About one-third have gone on to medical school,

one-third to graduate school, and most of the remainder found biomedical

careers in industry.

While many universities in Ohio were invited to submit proposals, the only

other Ohio university receiving an HHMI grant this year is Case Western

Reserve. More information on the grants is at

www.hhmi.org/undergrad98.

Active on the Hughes-Miami project advisory council are David Francko; Michael

Novak, chair, chemistry/biochemistry; William Rauckhorst; Douglas Miekle,

chair, zoology; and Mary Woodworth, chair, microbiology.

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