This is Vassar: The newsletter for Vassar College Alumnae/i and Families

Photo credit: John Abbott

Vassar Receives $1.5 Million Grant for Science Education

In May, Vassar was awarded a 1.5 million dollar grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) to support science education. Vassar was one of 48 schools selected by a panel of distinguished scientists and educators from a pool of more than 220 colleges, and received one of the largest of the grants. The grants, which range from $700,000 to $1.6 million, were awarded by HHMI to encourage creative ways to engage students in the biological sciences.

Nancy Jo Pokrywka (pictured), associate professor of biology, headed the team that presented Vassar’s proposal to HHMI. The plans focus on interdisciplinary teaching and student-faculty collaboration, longstanding hallmarks of the Vassar curriculum, which the HHMI grant will build upon and strengthen. The new programs will include “Science Education Teams,” which will help professors develop team-taught interdisciplinary courses; “Research Collectives,” which will allow student research to be a full-credit course; and “Diving into Research,” a summer program that will bring minority and economically disadvantaged students to campus the summer before their freshman year to get involved in research opportunities. The program pairs each participant with a Vassar student and professor and will expand to include Poughkeepsie High School juniors after its first year.

“This outstanding support from HHMI will help us extend in several important ways how we educate the next generation of scientists, as well as how we further scientific literacy on campus and in the community,” says President Hill. “We look forward to new opportunities for student-faculty collaboration, and enhancements to our curriculum and facilities that will keep us on the cutting edge. And I’m very gratified that HHMI is supporting our outreach programs with the Poughkeepsie public schools.”

September 2008


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