Dalili attends Presidents'

Summit on America's Future

Dean Dalili, a junior in Emory College and a student science partner in Emory's Elementary Science Education Partners (ESEP) program, attended the Presidents' Summit for America's Future, April 27-29, in Philadelphia as ESEP's delegate. ESEP, known as an exemplary program for science education reform, places over 200 college undergraduate science students in the classrooms of 70 Atlanta public elementary schools as teacher science partners.

Dalili, a junior biology major, was excited over ESEP's invitation to participate in the summit. "The Presidents' Summit has the potential for causing real change across America," said Dalili. "I was honored to represent ESEP at this event." ESEP qualified to send a delegate to the summit because it fit the planners' definition of an organization working to improve the lives of at-risk children.

Dalili said he had many informal opportunities to explain the ESEP program which was greeted with a great deal of interest. He also met with officials of Campus Compact, a national group that links the students at 520 universities with service projects, to discuss ways to engage more college students in service projects. He was involved in creating a plan for Campus Compact to ask 1,000 college and university presidents to challenge their campus student organization leaders to voluntarily draft a requirement for all organizations to sponsor a service event each semester, preferably with high schools.

One of the highpoints of the conference for Dalili was the speech he gave explaining this plan for youth mobilization at a meeting of 150 CEOs of national nonprofit organizations and Gen. Colin Powell. Dalili said he plans to maintain his efforts to recruit Emory students to join ESEP.

To participate in the Summit, ESEP made the commitment to increase its effort by:

Dalili said the summit delegates he met who represented universities or local school boards expressed interest in ESEP and many will follow-up with ESEP for more information. "I am pleased that the Atlanta school system views the program as an educational resource to help teachers improve science education for their 30,000 children," said Director Robert DeHaan. "It is a program that can readily be replicated in other cities."

Dalili, who met his share of celebrities and politicians at the conference, wants to be a physician. He serves as an ESEP student partner with a teacher of third graders at East Lake Elementary. He is in the classroom for about 90 minutes twice a week.

ESEP was founded in 1994 by DeHaan, the William P. Timmie Professor of cell biology at Emory Medical School. The program was funded in 1995 by a five-year, $5.7 million grant from the National Science Foundation to help bring about science education reform. ESEP now engages over 200 college students from a coalition of six Atlanta colleges and universities that work closely together in their recruitment and training. The student partners are paired with elementary teachers to assist with hands-on science lessons for children in kindergarten through fifth grade to help the teacher with inquiry-science, hands-on lessons.

-Jan Gleason