Collaboration Boosts Science Education

Monsanto Fund News Release

Students at Molokai High School will have new learning opportunities to boost their science education, thanks to a community collaboration that’s helping the school acquire new classroom equipment and establish summer internships at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.

Through the efforts of MHS alumnus and BYU Associate Professor John S. K. Kauwe, Ph.D., together with a $20,000 educational grant from the philanthropic Monsanto Fund, MHS students will enhance their education in genetics and the scientific research process, aided by new science lab equipment at the school and summer internships at BYU.

Dr. Kauwe graduated from Molokai High in 1996 as its valedictorian, and is today an internationally recognized researcher specializing in Alzheimer’s disease genetics. After earning his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at BYU, he completed his Ph.D. at Washington University in St. Louis. For the past several years, he has been working with Molokai High School to advance the school’s science education program and encourage students to pursue careers in science.

“Since my graduation from MHS 20 years ago, I’ve found many opportunities to come back and work with the students. It’s clear that the talent, capabilities, and potential of our students continue to grow,” Kauwe said. “MHS has excellent leadership and faculty and a legacy of successful education in the sciences. This grant provides a unique opportunity to build that legacy. Thanks to the Monsanto Fund, MHS students will have access to the newest technologies for genetics research, and I’m confident these experiences will motivate MHS students to study biology and prepare them for success in college.”

With the Monsanto Fund grant, MHS will acquire centrifuges, incubators, microscopes and other lab equipment. The grant will also allow four MHS students an opportunity to spend four weeks at Kauwe’s research lab at BYU, gaining first-hand experience in lab work and basic bioinformatics (the science of collecting and analyzing complex biological data). Both the new equipment and training for MHS teachers are expected to benefit MHS students for years to come.

“As a scientist myself, I applaud Dr. Kauwe and Molokai High’s efforts to keep raising the bar of excellence in science education,” said John Purcell, Ph.D., Monsanto Hawaii Business Lead. “The learning experience that Dr. Kauwe and BYU are offering to Molokai students is a fabulous opportunity, and we wish them tremendous success.”

“Molokai High has a growing community of friends and alumni who are uniting to support our students in all of their endeavors,” Kauwe said. I’m grateful to be part of that community and look forward to the continued success of our students and the school.”

The Monsanto Fund, the philanthropic arm of the Monsanto Company, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening the farm communities where farmers and Monsanto Company employees live and work. Visit the Monsanto Fund at monsantofund.org.


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