Burroughs Wellcome Fund to support Project Suc-SEED at CIIT Centers for Health Research

September 14, 2006

The Health Research and Education Foundation (HR&EF) at the CIIT Centers for Health Research (CIIT-CHR) will receive $1,292,511 in funding from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund (BWF) to support Project Suc-SEED. Project Suc-SEED is a partnership between CIIT and the North Carolina Local Section of the American Chemical Society (ACS). This project will recruit, support, and encourage talented economically disadvantaged high school students, including minorities, to pursue Ph.D. degrees in chemistry, chemistry-related science disciplines, or the sciences.

Project Suc-SEED is an extension and enhancement to a Summer Educational Experience for the Disadvantaged better known as Project SEED, a national model developed by the ACS. The North Carolina section of Project SEED drew from students in the Triangle area, while Project Suc-SEED will expand its reach statewide.

Project Suc-SEED will include all aspects of the Project SEED program. Students participating in Project Suc-SEED will be placed in academic, industrial, and governmental laboratories for 8-10 weeks during the summer to conduct research under the mentorship of accomplished scientists. Follow up activities will include participation in science conferences for high school students and presentations of summer research projects at national competitions and conferences. Extended enrichment opportunities are offered in a year-round format. During the summer a residential component is involved.

Ms. Isa Watson, a Project SEED alumni and current Chemical Engineering major at Hampton University in Virginia credits her success to Project SEED. Ms. Watson was a student at Chapel Hill High School and had an interest in science when she applied to enter the Project SEED program. She says she excelled under the close mentorship and high expectations. The exposure and experience at professional science conferences was especially valuable. Ms. Watson says that when her group attended conferences "We would shine. Project SEED puts you on a whole other level."

Indeed, Project SEED graduates have an impressive record. There are nine Project SEED students in doctoral programs in science fields. In the past five years, students have placed and won in 36 national awards in science competitions. More than 75 percent of Project SEED participants receive full or partial scholarships. Ms. Watson received a full scholarship for her undergraduate degree. She has completed summer internships at the California Institute of Technology and Cornell University and is now being recruited for several Ph.D. programs, including one at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The CIIT Health Research and Education Foundation has provided facility space, communications, and meeting support to the North Carolina section of Project Seed since 2001. CIIT will continue to serve as the administrative home for Project Suc-SEED. Mr. Kenneth Cutler, Director of Project Suc-SEED, said "The high level accomplishments of the Project SEED program is directly attributed to the years of collaborative assisted efforts of the North Carolina Local Section of the ACS, CIIT-CHR, preceptors (scientists), and SEED staff."

Dr. William Greenlee, President and CEO of CIIT-CHR and Chairman of the HR&EF Board, said "I am pleased that the Health Research and Education Foundation can continue to play a significant role in the success of future science leaders such as Ms. Watson. Under Ken Cutler's leadership and uncommon commitment, Project SEED has established an outstanding legacy of success for Triangle area high school students who otherwise might not have pursued careers in science."

Since 1996, BWF has invested more than $12 million in grants to support informal science education in North Carolina. "We are proud to take Project SEED to the next level," said Dr. Queta Bond, president of BWF. "The ACS North Carolina section of Project SEED has been a model example for our science education program and has enriched the lives of many Triangle area students. To be able to take its success across the entire state is spectacular."
The Burroughs Wellcome Fund is an independent, private foundation dedicated to advancing the medical sciences by supporting research and other scientific and educational activities. A majority of its grantmaking is made through competitive programs designed to support the career development of young scientists and to build capacity in undervalued research areas. For more information about the Fund, contact Russ Campbell, Communications Officer, at 919-991-5119 or visit the Fund's web site at www.bwfund.org.

The Health Research & Education Foundation (HR&EF) is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization established in 2001 to support the research and education programs of the CIIT Centers for Health Research (CIIT-CHR). The HR&EF gives corporations, business leaders, and scientists who have benefited from CIIT-CHR over the years the opportunity to participate in CIIT-CHR's vision for the 21st century.

The CIIT Centers for Health Research (CIIT-CHR) is a renowned leader in environmental health sciences research and education. For over 25 years, CIIT-CHR has contributed science that guides sound regulatory decisions and protects the health of the public. CIIT-CHR research is published in peer-reviewed journals. For more information on CIIT-CHR, please contact Erin Knight, Manager, Communications, 919-558-1215 or visit the CIIT-CHR web site at www.ciit.org.

The Hamner Institutes for Health

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