|UCSD’s new HHMI grant will great enhance biological science experiences for first-generation college students at the pre-college, undergraduate and community college transfer levels.|
UCSD is one of 50 universities nationally named recently to receive such HHMI funding for biological sciences this year. HHMI is the nation's largest private supporter of science education, with its current round of grants totaling $86.4 million and ranging from $1.5 million to $2.2 million each.
The UCSD grant, which will focus primarily on students from educationally disadvantaged backgrounds and on selected schools having traditionally low college-going rates, will involve an array of university and community partners in carrying out its mission.
|Eduardo Macagno (left), founding dean of the UCSD Division of Biological Sciences, will serve as the grant's principal investigator, and the co-principal investigator is Shu Chien, professor of bioengineering and medicine and director of the Whitaker Institute for Biomedical Engineering.|
“Just as the rapid evolution of biological research requires that scientists from a wide range of academic disciplines work together effectively,” he says, “so must we in biological education work more closely and creatively with committed partners from the public and private sectors if we are to significantly increase the number of educationally and economically disadvantaged students entering higher education to pursue bioscience-related majors and graduate school.”
These sentiments are echoed by the grant’s co-principal investigator Shu Chien, UCSD professor, Bioengineering & Medicine, and director, The Whitaker Institute for Biomedical Engineering, and by Loren Thompson, Assistant Vice Chancellor, UCSD Student Educational Advancement, whose area will coordinate and direct the grant’s undergraduate and pre-college outreach efforts.
“This new initiative will allow us to synergize the outstanding talents and expertise of our faculty in various departments, with a particular emphasis on improving the education, research opportunities, and mentoring for low-income, first generation and ethnically underrepresented students in biology,” says Chien.
Adds Thompson: “We look forward to implementing the powerful educational programs that were collaboratively conceptualized and designed by all of our contributing partners.”
Partners in the grant include: Sweetwater Union High School District; Southwestern Community College; the San Diego Community College District’s three campuses; UCSD’s Division of Biological Sciences; the Bioengineering Department of UCSD’s Jacobs School of Engineering; UCSD School of Medicine, and Student Educational Advancement, or SEA (a division of UCSD Student Affairs which provides key pre-college academic outreach initiatives, undergraduate academic assistance support, and faculty-mentored undergraduate research opportunities on an ongoing basis at the university).
Macagno adds: “We are also grateful to be supported by a host of key biotechnological and biomedical firms.” These companies will provide summer research internships for UCSD’s HHMI students.
“To this end,” says Chien “we will work with these and other partners, including the Office of Minority Engineering Program of the Jacobs School of Engineering, and in concert with the Division of Biological Sciences, to enhance the internship opportunities for students from educationally disadvantaged backgrounds and from schools having traditionally low college-going rates.”
How the Grant Will Work
Capitalizing on UCSD’s strengths in biological sciences, engineering, medicine and other disciplines, the HHMI grant is intended to enhance science education on two key fronts:
Jointly administering the grant project will be a steering committee which includes: Project Director Mel Green, UCSD professor of Biology (Emeritus); Loren Thompson, Assistant Vice Chancellor, Student Educational Advancement; David Artis, director, Academic Enrichment Programs, and Stephen Rodecker, high school science coordinator, Sweetwater Union High School District, who will serve as the grant project’s outreach coordinator.
This is the fourth four-year HHMI grant project awarded to UCSD in recent years. UCSD's three previous HHMI projects -- under the direction of Gabriele Wienhausen, now Provost, UCSD Sixth College, and Barbara Sawrey, Vice-Chair, UCSD Chemistry & Biochemistry -- ran continuously from 1989-2000 and funded middle and high school science enrichment, undergraduate research opportunities, and curriculum development