UMD News Releases

Communication Associate: Public Relations | Lori Melton | | (218) 726-8830

February 7, 2007
Contact: Susan Beasy Latto, Director, UMD Public Relations 218 726-8830
Carmen Latterel, Assoc Professor Dept Mathematics and Statistics 218 726-6573

UMD Receives $3 Million
from National Science Foundation

Five-Year Project to Enhance Science and Mathematics Teaching
in Four Area Schools

The University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) College of Science and Engineering (CSE) has received $3 million in funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for a five-year project titled "GK-12: Graduate Fellows in Science and Mathematics Education".

The project will place ten graduate students (called graduate fellows) into four area schools for ten hours per week. The area schools are Fond Du Lac Ojibwe Elementary School, Proctor Middle School, Cloquet High School, and Harbor City International School. The graduate students will be enrolled in one of three UMD Master of Science graduate programs: Integrated Biological Sciences, Geological Sciences, and Applied and Computational Mathematics.

Primary objectives of the project are:

  1. increasing the interest, desire, skills and effectiveness of graduate fellows to teach and communicate science and mathematics knowledge with non-technical audiences and K-12 students
  2. increasing the knowledge, disciplinary specific skills, and confidence of K-12 teachers to effectively teach science and mathematics
  3. increasing K-12 student interest and learning in science and mathematics. Photo: Carmen Latterell, Principal Investigator for the project.

The students will participate in summer institutes, academic year activities in the K-12 schools, and additional activities to provide ongoing training, interaction and support among the graduate fellows and the K-12 community. These activities are designed to create a strong interaction between UMD graduate fellows and K-12 teachers in the four selected area schools. They will collaborate to identify, develop and implement an innovative science and mathematics curriculum for their individual school.

Carmen Latterell.

"This grant represents an important step in the UMD College of Science and Engineering's efforts to do what we can to help out in K-12 science/math education, and in the preparation of the next generation of American scientists and engineers, " said James P. Riehl, Dean of the College of Science and Engineering. "UMD Professor Carmen Latterell's outstanding leadership in obtaining NSF funding for this educational program is greatly appreciated by her colleagues.

The diversity of project participants will yield a valuable interdisciplinary perspective for students, teachers and fellows. UMD science and mathematics faculty will work with and supervise fellow/teacher teams to ensure high quality science and mathematics content, support team efforts and provide access to needed university resources.

The project includes strong efforts to broaden the participation of underrepresented groups, with an extensive plan to recruit Native Americans as fellows.

Participating UMD staff, fellows, and K-12 teachers will share their experiences and results with their colleagues locally, regionally, and nationally. UMD and K-12 communities hope to gain a greater appreciation of the mutual benefits of developing and maintaining strong working relationships among university faculty, graduate fellows and K-12 teachers. Further opportunities will be encouraged for fellows to interact with parents and the Duluth area community.

The NSF funding provides for $600,000 a year, for a total of $3 million. The Principal Investigator is Carmen Latterell, Associate Professor, UMD Department of Mathematics and Statistics. Co-Principal Investigators are: Program Director/Assistant Professor Cindy Hale, UMD Department of Biology; Associate Professor Penny Morton, UMD Department of Geological Sciences; Professor John Pastor, UMD Department of Biology; and Professor Bruce Munson, UMD Department of Education.

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