Tuskegee University receives historic grant award

Published: Sep. 27, 2011 at 2:17 AM CDT|Updated: Sep. 27, 2011 at 2:19 AM CDT
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TUSKEGEE, AL (WSFA) - Tuskegee University receives it's largest competitive five-year grant award in school history. The National Science Foundation awarded about $16 million dollars for several projects, some that will benefit public schools in the Black Belt.

"It's not just because we are an HBCU, it's because we are doing cutting edge technology in this area," Tuskegee University Vice President for research and sponsored programs Dr. Shaik Jeelani said.

Dr. Jeelani says $10 million dollars of the historic grant will go to middle schoolers across the Black Belt region.

"This is a unique example in the whole country where we're linking the researchers to the K-12 community," Dr. Jeelani said.

The math and science partnership should get underway within a month. Tuskegee Institute science teacher Belinda Hart says she couldn't wait to tell her middle school students the news.

"I said we just got the biggest gift we could actually get and they were like what? So I explained the initiative to the student and they were so excited," Hart said.

Tuskegee students and faculty will create a 3-D curriculum with nanobioscience modules for sixth through eighth graders from Macon County to Selma. This should let them gain hands-on experience and improve math and science test scores.

"We are looking for equipment and people, those are the best resources so that we can give our students the exposure they need," Hart said.

The goal is to produce aspiring college students like Melanie Tolbert who is a product of this school partnership. Now, she's a sophomore chemical engineering major.

"I know that there's a gap between middle and high school. I know a lot of students loose their zeal," Tolbert said.

Hoping to help stimulate their interest in science, engineering, mathematics and research.

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