The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center's HutchLab program for high-school students is on solid ground, thanks to a $750,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health. The program, which began last summer, was supported initially by funds from the Hutchinson Center.
The three-year NIH grant went to Dr. Nancy Hutchison, director of the Center's Science Education Partnership program, a statewide mentoring program for high-school science teachers.
"We're very excited to be able to continue HutchLab," Hutchison says. "Based on the number of applicants for the program last summer, I expect that there are many interested students who hope to be accepted for next summer."
HutchLab, also supported by a grant from the Swedish Medical Center Foundation, was created to address the many requests the Center receives from students throughout the state who hope to visit and work on research projects at the Center.
Students accepted to the HutchLab summer program spend an intensive week learning a variety of methods and approaches used by scientists to solve problems in biomedical research. On the final day of the program, students share what they have learned using posters or computer-based presentations.
Last summer, HutchLab was offered as two one-week sessions, each for 20 students, and was taught by HutchLab staff as well as three high-school teachers active in the Science Education Partnership. Participants also interacted with many Center scientists and staff.
The NIH grant provides funds for HutchLab teacher-in-residence Dave Masterman, as well as a program coordinator, a science education postdoctoral fellow and administrative support.
In addition to the summer program, HutchLab will offer one-day field trips enabling teachers to bring a group of 20 students to the Center for a day of laboratory exercises. All events will be held in the Center's Teaching Lab.
A large component of the HutchLab grant is to provide opportunities for teachers to strengthen their skills in molecular biology and genetics. Saturday workshops will be offered for teachers who plan to bring students for field trips so that they can play an active teaching role on those days.
Several teachers also will form part of a curriculum development team, helping to design kits and curriculum materials that will be used during the HutchLab sessions and may ultimately be used in school classrooms.
Participating students last summer judged HutchLab to be a great success.
"The week exceeded my expectations," said Cynthia Chen, a senior at Shorewood High School. "We really got to experience the life of a scientist."
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The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center is an independent, nonprofit research institution dedicated to the development and advancement of biomedical technology to eliminate cancer and other potentially fatal diseases. Recognized internationally for its pioneering work in bone-marrow transplantation, the Center's four scientific divisions collaborate to form a unique environment for conducting basic and applied science. One of 35 National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer centers in the nation, it is the only one in the Northwest. For more information, visit the Center's Web site at <www.fhcrc.org>
CONTACT: Kristen Woodward
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Nov. 12, 1999