Miami Science Museum's IMPACT Project gets 4-year extension from US Dept. of Education

December 07, 2007

The Integrated Marine Program and College Training (IMPACT) Project, established in 1999 by the Miami Science Museum, in cooperation with the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, was recently awarded a four-year continuation grant by the U.S. Department of Education. The goal of the program, which has mentored 252 students since its inception, is to help local students prepare for postsecondary study, with an emphasis on math, science, and technology.

"The IMPACT project has sent 95 percent of participating students on to postsecondary education in the past eight years, compared to only about 25 percent of their peers at local target high schools," said Gillian Thomas, President and CEO of the Miami Science Museum. "We are honored to be the first science museum in the nation to become an Upward Bound Math & Science Center. Since then, the program's success has grown and continues to show in the successes of our students."

The program prepares low income, first-generation students for 2- or 4-year higher education opportunities. Students typically enter as freshmen, stay all four years of high school, and are followed for six years after high school graduation. The Miami Science Museum, in partnership with the Rosenstiel School and Miami-Dade County Public Schools, annually hosts the six week summer marine program, allowing high school students to study diverse marine, atmospheric science and technology curricula. Also integrated in the program are elective courses, such as: literature, composition and foreign languages.

Hands-on activities take place at the Miami Science Museum, Crandon Park and in other South Florida field locations. Classroom lectures, visits to professional seminars, and computer-based training are held on the Rosenstiel School's Virginia Key campus. Each week, a marine science professional or graduate student shares their research with the group. Topics covered include: shark and sea turtle conservation, harmful algal blooms, use of Aplysia (sea slugs) in medical research, and living underwater for six months. The speaker series provides students the opportunity to understand the wealth and diversity of career options available to them in the sciences and technology arenas.

"Our vision, as a research institution, is to help communities better understand the planet, and improve society and the quality of life," said Otis Brown, dean of the Rosenstiel School. "Graduates of the IMPACT program are a clear example of what can be achieved when youth is instilled with an interest and respect for science, math and technology."

To-date, 100 percent of the students remaining active throughout the 4-year program have graduated high school, with more than 90 percent of those students going on to enroll in some form of postsecondary education. In 2005 and 2006, Alex Petit-Homme, Rubens Cadet, Adrianna Smith and Renee Johnson -- students in the program -- were awarded highly selective Dell Scholarships for their postsecondary education.

The Miami Science Museum continues to bring special traveling exhibits to South Florida such as Amazon Voyage, Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition and The Dinosaurs of China. The Museum aims to make a difference in people's lives by inspiring them to appreciate the impact that science and technology can have on every facet of our world. The Museum is accredited by the American Association of Museums and is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution. For more information, visit


Founded in the 1940's, the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science has grown into one of the world's premier marine and atmospheric research institutions. Offering dynamic interdisciplinary academics, the Rosenstiel School is dedicated to helping communities to better understand the planet, participating in the establishment of environmental policies, and aiding in the improvement of society and quality of life. For more information, visit

University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science

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