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Current Events

KU science education program draws 21 high school teachers from 14 states

LAWRENCE -- Twenty-one selected high school science teachers from 14 states are participating in a new science education program developed by the Center for Science Education at the University of Kansas, June 16 through 26. The program is funded in part with a two-year, $200,000 grant from the AT&T Foundation.

Teachers selected to participate are from Kansas, Arkansas, California, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Texas.

The two-week summer training session helps teachers create projects that will develop their students problem-solving skills. The teachers will hone their technical, science content and teaching skills. In the process, they will utilize Geographic Information Systems, which are systems capable of combining data referenced by spatial or geographical coordinates.

"We are excited about reaching out to teachers across the country to strengthen science education in our schools," said Joseph A. Heppert, director of the Center for Science Education. "Information technology enables us to work with teachers from Maine to California, and those selected for this online course are both pioneers and leaders in their field."

In spring 2003, the teachers took part in the Web-Facilitated Professional Development Course for Science Teachers, which was taught over eight weeks. The online course taught the fundamentals of using GIS and integrated the technology into standard middle and secondary science curriculum.

The course is a component of KUs overall science teacher development program, Extending Scientific Inquiry through Collaborative Geographic Information Systems, funded by a $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation.

In the fall, the teachers will take the projects they have designed back to their classrooms, refine their skills, report on student progress and encourage other classroom teachers to participate in the unit of study. Throughout the school year, the teachers will continue to report on their personal progress, using a digital communication network.

The KU Center for Science Education was established in fall 2000 in response to a recommendation from the Task Force on Science Education, appointed by KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway. The center seeks to improve science education at KU and throughout Kansas and to contribute to scholarship in science education on a national and international level.

Teachers' names and hometowns are listed below.

ARKANSAS
From Mountain Home
Jeanne Bushey

From Norfolk
Allan Geeny

From Russellville
Ed Roberts

CALIFORNIA
From Fresno
Eric Wheeler

ILLINOIS
From Elgin
Gary Swick

KANSAS
From Lawrence
Perry Kennard
Wendy Grant

From Mulvane
Bill Welch

From Olathe
Sarah Coddington

From Prairie Village
Steven Obenhaus

From Shawnee
Gregory Smith

KENTUCKY
From Louisville
Sandra Schroelucke

MISSOURI
From Warrensburg
Michael Holtz

MONTANA
From Opheim
Mariann Prewett

NEVADA
From Las Vegas
Jenelle Hopkins

NEW HAMPSHIRE
From Antrim
Melissa Champman

NORTH CAROLINA
From Sanford
Tara Wheeler

PENNSYLVANIA
From Olyphant
Jane H. Evans

SOUTH DAKOTA
From Rapid City
Christopher Kelsa

TEXAS
From League City
Judy Lee

WISCONSIN
From Oconomowoc
Greg Bisbee

Contact: Gary Webber, KU Center for Science Education, (785) 864-2379.
Web link: http://www.ur.ku.edu/News/03N/JuneNews/June25/science.html

KU TRIO Programs receive more than $4.5 million in federal funding

LAWRENCE -- A group of programs at the University of Kansas that serve underrepresented and low-income students recently received additional federal funding of more than $4.5 million, officials said.

The funding will be used to support KUs TRIO Programs, which include the McNair Scholars Program, the Upward Bound program, the Upward Bound Math and Science Center, and the Veterans Upward Bound program.

"This is our way of ensuring that all students have a chance to make good grades and attend the states institutions of higher learning," said Ngondi Kamatuka, director of educational opportunity programs at KU.

Mulubrhan Misgana, a junior from Lenexa, is one of the students benefiting from the McNair Scholars Program, which helps low-income, first-generation college students and underrepresented minorities. She said the program has introduced her to research opportunities, lined her up with mentors and advisers, and provided much-needed assistance when applying for graduate school and scholarships. When she graduates from KU, Misgana said, she wants to pursue a graduate degree in clinical psychology and eventually teach.

"Ive always been trying to get some help since I started college," she said. "So for me to have this program, it has definitely had a positive effect on me, my family and my friends."

Of the more than $4.5 million, more than $1 million will go to the McNair Scholars Program; $1.5 million will go to the Upward Bound program, which helps selected high school students prepare for college; more than $1 million will go to the Upward Bound Math and Science Center, which helps selected high school students strengthen their math and science skills; and $1.1 million will go to Veterans Upward Bound, which serves the needs of veterans who are trying to complete their high school or college education.

Kamatuka said the TRIO Programs have been highly successful over the years, with 96 percent of participants graduating from high school and 90 percent of those students immediately going on to postsecondary education.

Within the next two years, he said, the McNair Scholars Program, which began at KU in 1992, will have its first wave of participants to complete their doctoral studies.

Robert Rodriguez, project coordinator for the McNair Scholars Program at KU, said the funding for the TRIO Programs was the result of bipartisan support from lawmakers in Washington, D.C., including Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts and Congressman Dennis Moore.

Rodriguez said the programs not only benefit the students but they also serve the general public by helping to create an educated population.

"It is always great to see the students excelling and to think that maybe we played some role in their success and, hopefully, we changed some lives," he said.

Congress established the TRIO programs in 1965 to provide education opportunities for all Americans, regardless of race, ethnic background or socioeconomic status.

Additional information for the programs follows:

McNair Scholars Program is aimed at low-income, first-generation college students as well as underrepresented minority students. The program helps prepare these undergraduates to be successful in graduate school by pairing them with a mentor to conduct research. Students devote an entire summer to their research; the program is so intense that students usually cannot hold a job, so the program allots a stipend and room and board allowance to each student. For more information contact Robert Rodriguez, program coordinator, at (785) 864-9627, or visit http://www.ku.edu/~mcnair.

Upward Bound program includes about 65 high school students from Wyandotte and Douglas counties and selected high schools in Shawnee County who participate in a year-round program and an intensive summer institute at KU to prepare for college. Students with a 2.0 grade-point average who demonstrate a desire to improve academically and to go on to college are considered. The program serves students of all races. For more information, contact Patti Fugitt or Vincent Edwards in KU's School of Education, (785) 864-3415 or toll free (877) 842-5232, or visit http://www.ku.edu/~eop/UpwardBound.

Upward Bound Math and Science Center helps students from low-income families strengthen math and science skills. In addition, students learn computer technology as well as English, foreign language and study skills. More than 124 programs serve students throughout the country. For more information call toll-free (877) 842-5232.

Veterans Upward Bound currently serves 120 veterans. It gives qualifying veterans the skill and motivation necessary to complete a GED program or to enter and succeed in a postsecondary education program. To learn more about the program visit http://www.ku.edu/~vub/.
Contact: Ranjit Arab, University Relations, (785) 864-8855, [email protected]

Web link: http://www.ur.ku.edu/News/03N/JuneNews/June25/trio.html

Copyright 2002, the University of Kansas Office of University Relations. Images and information may be reused with notice of copyright, but not altered. [email protected], (785) 864-3256

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This page last updated June 25, 2003