Program To Send Middle-Grade Students to Colleges

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Washington--Seeking to promote science careers for female and minority students, the U.S. Energy Department has awarded $1.28 million in grants for programs enabling students in the middle grades to study on college and university campuses.

Provided through the department's Pre-Freshman Enrichment Program, the two-year grants will go to 32 public and private higher-education institutions.

Recipients include Michigan State University, the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, Loyola University of Chicago, and Pacific Lutheran University.

Each institution is to receive a total of $40,000 over the two-year peri4od for programs for students in grades 6 through 10.

While the roots of the program go back nearly 20 years, to an Atomic Energy Commission program for students interested in engineering, an Energy Department official explained, this year's effort is different in that it features a comprehensive approach and covers a variety of fields in mathematics and science.

Under the new program, grant recipients will provide eight-week programs for students in such subjects as math, engineering, chemistry, physics, biology, and computer science. Some 2,000 students are expected to participate.

The institutions will be allowed to offer either daytime or residential programs and include a variety of classroom, laboratory, field-trip, and tutorial programs.

In the past two years, Secretary of Energy James D. Watkins has frequently called attention to the need for more participation in science by women and minorities. A year ago, he and other leaders of science and government called for special efforts to enable female, minority, disabled, and disadvantaged students to complete high-level classes and find cael10lreers in those fields. (See Education Week May 30, 1990.)

In announcing the grant program, Mr. Watkins said that it supports President Bush's new education strategy, America 2000, "by helping to reverse the current trend away from the study of mathematics by women and under-represented students."

"These students will make up the bulk of the new American workforce in the coming years," Mr. Watkins continued. "For the United States to remain globally competitive, we must provide every opportunity for these students to master mathematics, science, and technology."

Grant recipients will be required to obtain support for their programs from private sources in addition to their federal funding.

Vol. 10, Issue 36

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