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For Release: April 3, 2002

Barbara L. Kakiris, InDyne, Inc.
Media Relations Office

Lori J. Rachul
Media Relations Office

Sylvia Alvarez
Press Office
The University of Puerto Rico

New Grants Prove That Education is a Common Language

¿Hablas Español? The Minority University Research Education Division and Office of Equal Opportunity Programs at NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC and the Minority University Research Education Programs Office at NASA's Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, prove that they do as they forge new educational partnerships by awarding two grants to The University of Puerto Rico, San Juan, Puerto Rico.

"It's exciting to encourage technical knowledge and advancement in the upcoming workforce, especially when our efforts touch students who are interested in NASA's work and want to advance the Agency's progress," said Robert Romero, Glenn's Minority University Research Education Programs lead and interim chief, Equal Opportunities Program Office. "Their enthusiasm is contagious and NASA Glenn is happy to be a part of it."

NASA will award the grants today during a formal ceremony hosted by Brad Weiner, director of the Puerto Rico Space Grant Consortium, at the university's Resource Center for Science and Engineering, located on the Rio Piedras campus. Officials from NASA and The University of Puerto Rico, principal investigators and students will be on hand to commemorate the new partnership.

The grants, worth approximately $100 thousand each during the '02 fiscal year, go to programs that support NASA's mission and vision:

Mathematics Science and Technology Circles: A Pilot has two main objectives: (1) to increase the number of students from Western Puerto Rican public intermediate and high schools who are prepared to succeed in university math, science and technology courses and (2) to develop an effective model for increasing the number of mathematically and scientifically competent students at high-risk schools. The pilot entails a system with more accountability for teacher preparation and more recognition of student accomplishment. Principal investigator is Dr. Betty Ramirez, department of mathematics, The University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez campus.

Training for Excellence on Nanotechnology Education and Research has three main objectives: to strengthen the research environment of the University of Puerto Rico and its faculty and student capabilities; to increase the number of students involved in space research and other NASA related disciplines; and to develop an appropriate nanotechnology curriculum including material written in English and Spanish. Principal investigator is Dr. Carlos Cabrera, department of chemistry, The University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras campus.

"The University of Puerto Rico identifies strongly with NASA's evolving mission because the key disciplines on which the Agency focuses echo the academic path the university is pursuing," said Dr. Manuel Gomez, vice president for research and academic affairs, University of Puerto Rico. "Future success lies in developing cutting-edge technology, and the quality of our efforts will be enriched through these grants."

More information on NASA's Minority University Research Education Division is available on the Internet:

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