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Archive for Wednesday, August 17, 1994

LAB PLEDGES MONEY TO HASKELL

August 17, 1994

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Haskell officials look for relationships with outside organizations to boost funding needs that are not being met by Congress.

A government research lab in New Mexico has pledged about $110,000 this year to help Haskell Indian Nations University improve its math and science programs.

Sandia National Laboratories of Albuquerque, N.M., has endowed a one-year visiting professorship in mathematics at Haskell and will fund three half-time graduate teaching assistants from Kansas University, who will support instruction in math, physics and chemistry at Haskell in the 1994-95 academic year.

"There is a serious deficiency in science and engineering education in the United States," said William R. Dawes Jr., manager of education outreach at Sandia. "It's in our own best interest to assure that we have a well-qualified pool. We don't need everyone to become a scientist. But we do need everyone to have an appreciation for science."

Sandia and the Department of Energy's other national laboratories have focused on improving science, math and engineering education from kindergarten through college, Dawes said Tuesday during a visit to Haskell.

In particular, Dawes said, the national laboratories are trying to nurture math and science programs at colleges with large minority student bodies, which historically haven't been funded as well as larger universities such as KU.

"Our appropriated funds from the Bureau of Indian Affairs -- our budgets -- have not kept pace with the scope of our programs, our growing enrollment," said Dan Wildcat, chairman of Haskell's department of natural and social sciences. "That's why we're going after this -- to make up where we are falling short."

Wildcat said he hoped the relationship with Sandia would expand and that, eventually, Haskell would be included in a science and technology alliance of national laboratories and minority colleges.

Dawes said he'd like to see Sandia scientists spend sabbaticals of up to two years as visiting faculty members at Haskell.

Earlier this year Haskell and Sandia signed a memorandum of understanding that paved the way for expanding the relationship between the institutions.

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