OpenFiction [Blog]

Dow and MIT announce multiyear collaboration for innovative educational outreach

Additional content to be added to MIT OpenCourseWare’s Highlights for High School site

CAMBRIDGE, MA — The Dow Chemical Company announced today the establishment of the MIT-Dow Outreach Fund designed to develop and support the science and engineering careers of underrepresented minorities and women.

The fund, a five-year, $2 million commitment from The Dow Chemical Company, will support the advancement of the shared goals of both Dow and MIT to support science education throughout the entire pipeline, beginning with high school science teachers and their students and following through to undergraduate and graduate education in chemistry, chemical engineering and materials science. The establishment of this Outreach Program comes as Dow celebrates the International Year of Chemistry and the importance of the chemical sciences and as MIT celebrates its 150th anniversary.

“Dow and MIT understand that motivated, passionate students are the key to the future of innovation,” remarked Theresa Kotanchek, herself a PhD chemical engineer and the Vice President of Sustainable Technologies and Innovation Sourcing at Dow. “Dow is fully committed to championing the Chemistry, Chemical Engineering and Materials Science departments at MIT as we work together to provide opportunity for the best and brightest students to excel in the field,” she added.

The first program goal of the Dow-MIT Outreach Program is the development of resources aimed at inspiring interest in the physical sciences, particularly chemistry, among high school students and teachers worldwide. The materials will be made available through MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW) and the MIT Highlights for High School portal.

The second goal expands on a program that has already seen outstanding success: the Dow-MIT ACCESS (A Community in Chemical Engineering Select Symposium). The ACCESS program, initiated in 2009, is a weekend of workshops, talks, tours and interaction created for select underrepresented minority undergraduates in the U.S. The purpose of the program is to introduce these students to the exciting possibilities of graduate-level education in engineering and is based on Dow’s highly successful BEST program, which offers a similar experience for graduate students wishing to explore industrial careers in science and engineering. The new Dow Outreach gift will allow expansion of the program from the original Department of Chemical Engineering, led by Klavs F. Jensen, Warren K. Lewis Professor of Chemical Engineering and department head, to the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, led by Edwin L. Thomas, Morris Cohen Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, and the Department of Chemistry.

Finally, the multiyear gift will establish three Dow Graduate Fellowships to be offered on a competitive basis to outstanding underrepresented minorities and women entering their first year of graduate education in chemistry, chemical engineering or materials science at MIT. Each of the three departments will award one first-year fellowship for each of the five years of the program for a total of 15 fellowship awards.

MIT Department of Chemistry Head and John C. Sheehan Professor of Chemistry, Sylvia Ceyer, noted the enhanced opportunity the program brings, and said, “Dow and MIT are united in their recognition of the fundamental need to fully engage underrepresented minorities in the fields of science and technology. This program will identify the most promising students at a variety of stages along the educational pipeline and will help them to achieve their full potential as scientists and engineers. We are so pleased to have the opportunity to positively impact the future of American science and technology in this way.”

About Dow

Dow (NYSE: Dow) combines the power of science and technology with the “Human Element” to passionately innovate what is essential to human progress. The Company connects chemistry and innovation with the principles of sustainability to help address many of the world’s most challenging problems such as the need for clean water, renewable energy generation and conservation, and increasing agricultural productivity. Dow’s diversified industry-leading portfolio of specialty chemical, advanced materials, agrosciences and plastics businesses deliver a broad range of technology-based products and solutions to customers in approximately 160 countries and in high growth sectors such as electronics, water, energy, coatings and agriculture. In 2010, Dow had annual sales of $53.7 billion and employed approximately 50,000 people worldwide. The Company’s more than 5,000 products are manufactured at 188 sites in 35 countries across the globe. References to “Dow” or the “Company” mean The Dow Chemical Company and its consolidated subsidiaries unless otherwise expressly noted. More information about Dow can be found at http://www.dow.com.

About Highlights for High School

Launched in 2007, Highlights for High School iorganizes more than 70 introductory level courses from the OCW site, and indexes over 2,600 individual resources to the AP curricula for calculus, physics and biology, helping United States AP students and educators to find resources quickly. Highlights also includes dozens of demonstrations, competitions and other activities from MIT classes that show how fun and challenging science and technology subjects can be, inspiring the next generation of US engineers and scientists.

About MIT OpenCourseWare

MIT OpenCourseWare makes the materials used in the teaching of substantially all of MIT’s undergraduate and graduate courses—more than 2,000 in all—available on the Web, free of charge, to any user in the world. OCW receives an average of 1.5 million web site visits per month from more than 215 countries and territories worldwide. To date, more than 100 million individuals have accessed OCW materials.

About MIT

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a co-educational, privately endowed research university, is dedicated to advancing knowledge and educating students in science, technology, and other areas of scholarship that will best serve the nation and the world in the 21st century. The Institute has more than 1,000 faculty members and 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students.

MIT’s commitment to innovation has led to a host of scientific breakthroughs and technological advances, in fields ranging from aeronautics to computing to cancer research. 76 alumni, faculty, researchers and staff have won Nobel Prizes.

As MIT celebrates its 150th anniversary (the Institute was founded in 1861), it remains committed to generating, disseminating, and preserving knowledge, and to working with others to help solve some of the world’s most pressing challenges.

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