CEPS Announces GK-12 Fellowship Recipients

Grad students to spark scientific inquiry at high schools

Contact: Bob Emro
603 862 3102
Writer - CEPS

August 30, 2004

DURHAM, N.H. -- The University of New Hampshire’s Joan and James Leitzel Center for Mathematics, Science and Engineering Education announced today the recipients of its first PROBE fellowships.

The first major grant initiative for the Leitzel Center, PROBE, or Partnerships for Research Opportunities to Benefit Education, is funded by a $1.9 million grant from the National Science Foundation’s GK-12 initiative. It links graduate fellows in science and mathematics with grade K-12 students and teachers.

PROBE will place 10 UNH graduate students from the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics in nine high schools throughout southern New Hampshire, in Goffstown, Milford, Nashua, Salem, Raymond, Portsmouth, Pittsfield, Rochester and Somersworth.

“I am passionate in my desire to understand the world through science, and I see the GK-12 program as an excellent opportunity to share both my enthusiasm and experience,” said Michael Baron of Monson, Mass., a Ph.D. student at UNH in biochemistry.

The other UNH PROBE fellows (and their disciplines) are: Laura DiMeglio (genetics) of Nottingham; Lisa Doerr (chemistry) of Buffalo, N.Y.; Ryan Huntley (natural resources) of Durham; Erik Janicki (microbiology) of Eliot, Maine; Melissa Kimball (mathematics education) of Lebanon, Maine; Richard Onyancha (mechanical engineering) of Durham; Dan Seaton (physics) of Wayne, Penn.; Michelle Serapiglia (plant biology) of Bridgeport, Conn.; and Wayne Smith (electrical and computer engineering) of Deerfield.

The UNH PROBE Project is helping schools develop more student-centered and inquiry-focused science courses. Over the summer, PROBE fellows worked with Project SMART students and teachers to develop hands-on, inquiry-based activities and projects. Once school starts in the fall, they will spend two days a week assisting local teachers.

“For the teachers, it will be like having a scientist in residence,” said Barbara Hopkins, assistant director for outreach at the Leitzel Center. “They’re really a partner with the teacher. The teacher knows the curriculum and the fellow knows the research side of the science. Together they make a great inquiry team.”

The long-term goal of the federally funded GK-12 initiative is recruiting more high school students into careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, as well as helping graduate students to be better communicators of science as future faculty and researchers. While international students have swelled enrollments in graduate programs, the number of U.S. students enrolled is near an all-time low.

For Photo please visit: http://www.ceps.unh.edu/news/releases04/PROBE804.htm