May 24, 2012

Hamline Receives $1.1 Million Grant to Expand Undergraduate Research

science grant full

Hamline University will receive $1.1 million over the next four years from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The university will use this grant to develop Engaging Science Students through Investigative Research, a new program that will expand Hamline’s science education programs and fund additional research opportunities for undergraduate students focusing on biology, biochemistry, chemistry, physics, pre-med, and pre-health science majors. This is the largest grant Hamline’s science department has ever received.

Hamline was among just a few dozen colleges and universities from across the country selected to receive one of the 43 grants given out this year by the Institute. Other Minnesota schools to receive Institute grants included Carleton College, Macalester College, St. Olaf College, and the University of Minnesota-Morris. Hamline will use its grant to provide early exposure to investigative, hands-on, and real-world research opportunities to undergraduate science students with the goal of preparing them to be leaders in science research and medicine.

"Engaging Science Students through Investigative Research
and programs of its kind are crucial to improving science education opportunities for our nation’s next generation of researchers, innovators, and leaders,” Hamline University President Linda Hanson said. “The generous grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute will help us to enhance our already robust undergraduate research program, to offer additional high-impact learning opportunities to students, and to better prepare our graduates for careers in science and medicine."

Over the next four years, Hamline expects that the program will provide hundreds of students with real-world research experiences while diversifying the student population pursuing the field of science. Hamline’s grant is part of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s larger $50 million initiative to encourage and improve science education in the United States.

“This program provides us with an excellent opportunity to enhance the experience of students and prepare them for the future,” said Presley Martin, Hamline University professor and biology department chair. “Hamline is well known for the strength of its science programs, and this support will only serve to better that reputation and to attract even more students to the field.”

Hamline will partner with Century College and North Hennepin Community College to provide students at those institutions the skills they need to successfully pursue advanced science education. Additionally, Engaging Science Students through Investigative Research will help to provide community college students with faculty mentors from all the institutions to increase students’ exposure to career opportunities in the field of science.

“We are excited that this new program will create research opportunities for students from Hamline and the community colleges early in their academic careers, preparing them better for careers in the sciences,” explained Jodi Goldberg, Hamline University biology professor and program director.

"What happens during the undergraduate years is vital to the development of the student, whether she will be a scientist, a science educator, or a member of society who is scientifically curious and literate. The Howard Hughes Medical Institute is investing in these schools because they have shown they are superb incubators of new ideas and models that might be replicated by other institutions to improve how science is taught in college,” said Sean B. Carroll, vice president of science education at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. “We know that these schools have engaged faculty. They care deeply about teaching and how effectively their students are learning about science.”

About Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Since 1988, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute has awarded more than $870 million to 274 colleges and universities to support science education. Those grants have generally been awarded through two separate but complementary efforts, one aimed at undergraduate-focused institutions and the other at research universities. The Howard Hughes Medical Institute support has enabled nearly 85,000 students nationwide to work in research labs and developed programs that have helped 100,000 K-12 teachers learn how to teach science more effectively.