Chemistry Wins Funds for Fellowships

Michael Seele
Chronicle Editor

The Chemistry Department has won a major grant from the US Department of Education to establish 15 graduate assistant fellowships for the training of future science educators.

The grant provides $350,000 for five fellowships in each of the next three years. Under the innovative program, students would be allowed to take one year off from teaching duties. The program also includes use of the Internet and new methods of chemistry education. According to Asst. Prof. John Fourkas (Chemistry), the proposal received the highest score of any chemistry proposal submitted to the DOE.

"We needed to convince the DOE of the quality of the department, of the University and of the research facilities," Fourkas, the proposal's writer, said. "And of our ability to train graduate students for academic careers."

The first five students are now enrolled under the fellowships, Fourkas said, adding that the program has attracted "the best graduate class we've ever had," as measured by undergraduate records, GRE scores and passage rates of qualifying exams administered by the department.

The fellowships are available only to US citizens and are geared to women and minorities, Fourkas said, adding that four of the five initial fellowship winners are women.

He said he hopes to involve the School of Education in the effort and to take advantage of the numerous academic opportunities in the Boston area.

Said Prof. Paul Davidovits, the department chairman, "This grant is extremely important to the development of the department. It has made it more attractive for top graduate students to come into the department and has had a notable effect on the quality of the incoming students."

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