Dozens of high school students in Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) will be able to conduct research in National Institutes of Health (NIH) laboratories, thanks to two grants from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) totaling almost $1.5 million.
Science teachers also will benefit from support for NIH research internships and training in advanced life sciences such as microbiology, physiology and genetics.
The awards to MCPS include $785,000 over three and one-half years for a student internship program at NIH and $680,000 over three and one-half years for summer internships at NIH for middle and high school science teachers.
Both grants extend successful internship programs developed by the school system and supported by HHMI since 1990.
Each year approximately 17 high school sophomores and juniors from schools throughout Montgomery County are selected from nearly 100 applicants. They take a summer course in laboratory principles, techniques and practices, then work side-by-side with NIH scientist-mentors throughout the school year. At the year's end, they present their research findings at a symposium at HHMI headquarters in Chevy Chase, Maryland.
Approximately 10 teachers are chosen each year to participate in six weeks of laboratory research at NIH during the summer. When they return to their schools, they develop instructional units to share what they have learned with their students and fellow teachers. Teachers may return to NIH for a second summer to continue their research and develop additional instructional units.
HHMI also gave a special one-time award of $100,000 to Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Prince George's County for student internships, teacher training and curriculum development of advanced science courses.
Since 1988, HHMI, whose principal purpose is conducting biomedical research, has awarded more than $150 million for elementary and secondary school science education. The Institute's grants programs make up the largest private initiative to enhance the quality of science education in the United States.