Emory Report

September 21, 1998

 Volume 51, No. 5

Hughes Institute funds expanded Emory outreach programs

Emory has received a four-year, $1.6 million grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) to expand its undergraduate biology and science outreach programs. The grant will allow Emory to further its preparation of students for careers in the biological sciences.

The majority of the grant will be used in three areas:

  • to increase student opportunities for hands-on research including fellowships for summer research projects and internships in science policy and journalism;
  • to integrate faculty research into coursework by making the research readily available on the web, and by developing a "projects across the curriculum" program that trains students in applying knowledge through cross-disciplinary "real world" lab situations, such as testing water samples for bacteria and solving a crime using forensic methods. In addition, funds will be provided to develop interdisciplinary science courses for non-science majors; and
  • to expand science education and outreach programs for middle and high school teachers and students in metro Atlanta.

Emory previously received two HHMI grants to fund programs such as the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) for college students. "We are well on our way to achieving our goals of attracting students--particularly underrepresented minorities--to careers in the biological and biomedical sciences, and of preparing these students for careers in science," said Pat Marsteller, director of Hughes initiatives and special projects for the Hughes Science Center. "We couldn't have achieved these goals without the assistance and cooperation of faculty and administrators in the college, health sciences and the graduate school."

Since 1990, 151 faculty members and 400 students have participated in SURE, with more than 90 percent of the students going on to graduate or professional school. Nearly 70 percent of SURE participants have been women, and more than a third have been minorities.

Because recruiting women and minority students to postgraduate programs in the sciences is a priority for Emory's initiative, one-third of all the summer research fellowships are slated to be filled through agreements with historically minority institutions, according to Marsteller. In addition, the outreach programs that will be expanded under the grant include collaborations with Georgia Tech, Clark Atlanta, Spelman and Morris Brown. The new outreach program will involve projects at Booker T. Washington, Douglass, B.E. Mays and Druid Hills high schools, and Turner, Usher, Kennedy, Sylvan Hills and Young middle schools.

Emory is among 58 research institutions, from 191 applicants, to receive funds from HHMI's total $91.1 million commitment. Emory and Georgia Tech are the only institutions in the state to receive such grants.

-Deb Hammacher

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