HHMI Grant (2012-2016)

The newest HHMI grant initiative (2012-2016, $1 million) seeks to make science more accessible to all students, to retain more students in STEM areas, to provide transferable skills to those students who seek other majors and to develop their scientific curiosity, literacy, creativity and the confidence to speak knowledgeably about science issues.

This is the most technologically savvy student generation we have ever encountered, so the center-piece of our newest initiative is the Integrative and Quantitative Science Center (IQ Center), a newly renovated space within the Science Center Library that will create innovative learning capabilities in a technology- and instrument-rich teaching and research environment. All STEM departments have been involved in the design of the IQ Center. Key features include: sophisticated instrumentation and computational power; technology-rich teaching and meeting spaces; a full-time IQ Center manager/coordinator; and integration with library resources. Training sessions for faculty will encourage incorporation of evidence-based best practices for pedagogy, and will foster cross-disciplinary and quantitative approaches to inspire creativity and problem solving in teaching and research. Our program will use IQ Center facilities to promote course-based research methodologies, enhanced use of technology in inquiry-based courses, and encourage research collaborations. We will expand our two-year HHMI Fellows program to include research opportunities in Science and Math, particularly those opportunities that are interdisciplinary and collaborative. In addition, we will provide enhanced extracurricular program elements for students to develop broad leadership potential in the context of science, e.g. as IQ Center Leaders; in student-led discussion groups; as peer mentors; in student-run organizations; in community outreach to enhance the potential for W&L graduates to become not just participants, but leaders in science.

The members of the Advisory Committee are Helen I'Anson, Program Director and Biology/Neuroscience; Robert Humston, Biology/Environmental Studies; Fred LaRiviere, Chemistry; Simon Levy, Computer Science; Chris Connors, Geology; Carrie Finch, Mathematics; Jon Erickson, Physics and Engineering/Neuroscience; and Bob Stewart, Psychology/Neuroscience.

HHMI, a nonprofit medical research organization, is dedicated to discovering and disseminating new knowledge in the basic life sciences. Established in 1953 by the aviator and industrialist Howard Hughes, HHMI is one of the largest philanthropies in the world, with an endowment of $14.8 billion in 2005.