WVU Faculty Member Profiled in HHMI Bulletin


MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Ann Chester, Ph.D., assistant vice president for health sciences for social justice at the Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center was featured in the HHMI Bulletin for her development of the Health Sciences and Technology Academy (HSTA) program.

The HHMI Bulletin is a quarterly research magazine published by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, a nonprofit medical research organization that employs hundreds of leading biomedical scientists working at the forefront of their fields.

Chester originally was a program coordinator in a federally funded campus program to draw minority and other under-represented undergraduates to WVU for careers in science, medicine, dentistry and pharmacy. When very few applicants from minority and under-represented populations applied to the program, she rethought her approach.

“I wanted to reach students at a younger age to turn their interest toward science,” Chester said. “The program had to reach back to the high schools and it had to be rooted in the communities it served.”

Partnering with university and community leaders, a plan for HSTA was made, including after-school science clubs and a summer program on the WVU campus where high school students could work in research labs and meet potential mentors.

Established in 1994 in Kanawha and McDowell counties, HSTA is now active in 26 of the state’s 55 counties, and has 124 community residents serving as members of volunteer governing boards.

Nearly 800 students and 80 teachers participate in local science clubs, an annual statewide research symposium and summer programs at WVU and other universities around the state.

In addition, 750 students have completed the program and are attending college, graduate or professional school. More than two-thirds of those students are the first in their families to attend college.

Just this spring, HSTA students earned 68 bachelor’s degrees, 10 master’s degrees and three doctorates. Emme Chapman from Hodam Mountain earned HSTA’s first medical degree.

The article in the HHMI Bulletin can be viewed at http://www.hhmi.org/bulletin/august2006/features/appleseeds.html.

HHMI has awarded three grants to HSTA, totaling more than one million dollars.

Through its grants programs and other activities, HHMI is helping to enhance science education at all levels and maintain the vigor of biomedical science worldwide.

The Institute is one of the world's largest philanthropies, with laboratories across the United States and grants programs throughout the world. Its headquarters and conference center are located in Chevy Chase, Maryland, near Washington, D.C. HHMI's endowment in fiscal year 2005 was approximately $14.8 billion.

- WVU -

For more information:
Steve Bovino, HSC News Service, (304) 293-7087

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