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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Johns Hopkins and Howard team to train scientists


Nanomaterials scientists at The Johns Hopkins University are teaming with colleagues at Howard University and Prince George's Community College to attract and train materials scientists from underrepresented minority groups, especially African-Americans.

Called the Partnership for Research and Education in Materials, or PREM, the collaboration will involve undergraduates in world-class research at Johns Hopkins on the properties of nanomaterials, materials made of structures on the order of a billionth of a meter in size.

"The goal is for this partnership to increase the number of minorities who pursue careers in materials research, engineering and related fields, including physics and chemistry," said Daniel Reich of Johns Hopkins, co-principal investigator of PREM and a professor in the Krieger School's Henry A. Rowland Department of Physics and Astronomy. "We'll do this on several levels, all of which include the sharing of our resources — both intellectual and in terms of research infrastructure — with those at the other institutions."

PREM will receive $2.75 million over five years and is one of six new such partnerships receiving a total of $15.4 million from the National Science Foundation.

The Johns Hopkins scientists are members of the Johns Hopkins University Materials Research Science and Engineering Center, an NSF-funded center that supports interdisciplinary research on advanced magnetic nanomaterials. The PREM program will have three basic components: bringing researchers at Johns Hopkins and Howard University together for collaborative research; offering Howard undergraduates the opportunity to perform research internships at Johns Hopkins; and developing new courses for students at Prince George's Community College.

In fact, there will be particular emphasis on reaching out to undergraduate students from underrepresented minority groups at all three institutions.

"One of the key things we are keeping in mind is that if students are going to be attracted to careers in the sciences and in engineering, they need to experience research in these fields as undergraduates," Reich said.

The PREM at Johns Hopkins, Howard University and PGCC is one of six such new collaborations. The others are California State and Princeton universities; Jackson State University and the University of California, Santa Barbara; Norfolk State and Cornell universities; Tuskegee and Cornell universities; and the University of New Mexico and Harvard University.

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