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~Wellesley College Receives $1.2 Million in Grants for Science Education from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute ~

For immediate release:
September 28, 2004

Arlie Corday,

WELLESLEY, Mass. -- Student research, faculty support, new equipment and precollege outreach programs at Wellesley College will all benefit from a $1.2 million grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) 2004 Undergraduate Science Education Program. Wellesley is one of 42 colleges and universities to receive the grant this year.

HHMI established the grant program to help colleges meet tough challenges in teaching science today. New fields that blur the lines between disciplines are emerging, and biologists, chemists, physicists and mathematicians are forging interdisciplinary collaborations. Scientists trained to be outstanding researchers need to learn to be outstanding teachers. More minorities must be encouraged to pursue scientific careers. To help support these efforts, HHMI this year has awarded $49.7 million in grants to 42 baccalaureate and master’s degree institutions in 17 states and Puerto Rico, bringing its investment in undergraduate science to more than $606 million.

The four-year grants, ranging from $500,000 to $1.6 million, support a variety of programs to improve undergraduate science. At Wellesley, the grant will support research partnerships between undergraduates and faculty mentors, the cornerstone of science education at the college. It will help to continue a competitive, on-campus summer program that provides 10 weeks of intensive student research in collaboration with a Wellesley faculty member. It will further support outreach programs, seminars, field trips and off-campus research. In addition, three postdoctoral candidates will receive support from the grant. Curriculum, equipment and laboratory development will also benefit, helping to expand interdisciplinary teaching and majors such as biological chemistry, neuroscience and other studies.

Although its investigators conduct research at universities and medical schools, HHMI supports science at colleges because they also play a vital role in education, according to Peter Bruns, vice president for grants and special programs at HHMI. “Good science can be done in different settings, in colleges as well as universities,” says Bruns. “Colleges are a better learning environment for some students, and they serve underrepresented minorities extremely well.”

Undergraduate biology is not well-funded nationally, notes Stephen Barkanic, director of HHMI’s undergraduate science education program. “Public and private funders tend to focus their support on research programs, infrastructure, and graduate training, but undergraduate biology tends to be neglected. Smaller colleges and universities, in particular, often are overlooked in the intensive competition for grant dollars.”

HHMI invited 198 public and private baccalaureate and master’s institutions to compete for the new awards. They were selected for their record of preparing students for graduate education and careers in research, teaching, or medicine. A panel of distinguished scientists and educators reviewed proposals and recommended the 42 awards approved by the Institute’s Board of Trustees earlier this year.

The 2004 awardees are:

Amherst College $1.3 million
Barnard College $1.5 million
Bates College $1.2 million
Bowdoin College $800,000
Bryn Mawr College $1.2 million
California State Polytechnic University-Pomona $1.3 million
Canisius College $800,000
Carleton College $800,000
City University of New York City College $1.3 million
City University of New York Hunter College $800,000
City University of New York Queens College $800,000
College of Wooster $800,000
Davidson College $1.3 million
Florida A & M University $1.2 million
Grinnell College $1.4 million
Harvey Mudd College $1.2 million
Haverford College $1.6 million
Hiram College $1.2 million
Hope College $1.5 million
Humboldt State University $1.3 million
Kalamazoo College $1.1 million
Kenyon College $1.5 million
Knox College $1 million
Mount Holyoke College $1.2 million
Occidental College $1.5 million
Point Loma Nazarene College $800,000
Pomona College $1.3 million
Saint Olaf College $1.4 million
Smith College $1.3 million
Spelman College $1.3 million
Swarthmore College $1.5 million
Trinity College $800,000
Trinity University $1 million
Union College $1.6 million
University of Louisiana at Monroe $1 million
University of Puerto Rico Cayey University College $500,000
University of Richmond $900,000
University of Texas-Pan American $1.3 million
Wellesley College $1.2 million
Wesleyan University $1.3 million
Williams College $1.6 million
Xavier University of Louisiana $1.3 million


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