A Contract for Education

This past year saw the Departments of Energy and
Education form an unprecedented contract in response to a major educational
goal set forth by President Clinton and the nation's governors. The goal calls
for "American students to be the first in the world in mathematics and
science." At the first joint meeting of the two agencies in September, LBL
Director Charles V. Shank was named a co-chair of the committee charged with
developing strategies under which the Department of Energy's national
laboratories and the Department of Education's regional education laboratories
can work together to help attain that goal.    

At LBL, education has long been a vital component of our mission. Each year, nearly a thousand graduate and undergraduate students from the adjacent University of California's Berkeley campus come here to participate in research projects. More than 200 senior staff scientists at LBL hold faculty appointments at UCB, and LBL also has collaborations with other UCB campuses and with the California State University and community college system.

However, LBL's educational efforts are not limited to only college level students. In recent years, the Laboratory has been at the forefront of new science education programs that reach out to school children of all ages, supplying scientific training to Bay Area school districts and providing local teachers with up-to-date knowledge and methods for teaching math and science.

Through its Center for Science and Engineering Education (CSEE), LBL has been the lead laboratory in the highly acclaimed Bay Area Science and Technology Education Collaboration (BASTEC). Established in 1990, BASTEC is a cooperative effort on the part of the Oakland Unified School District and a number of educational and research institutions, community organizations, and businesses. This past year, BASTEC won recognition from the Quality Education for Minorities organization at a national conference on math and science education for students of color in Washington D.C.

LBL also co-sponsored, along with the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy, a program called the "National Teacher Enhancement Project." Twenty San Francisco Bay Area science teachers participated in the project's first year where the focus was on environmental studies, specifically groundwater contamination. The program included trips for teachers to LBL laboratories, plus workshops and lectures led by distinguished researchers in the field.

With their teacher and interpreter Terry Viall looking on, students from the California State School for the Deaf find out about some of the super-cool tricks researchers can perform with liquid nitrogen. LBL hosted more than 250 children for Daughters to Work Day 1995, one of the many education programs supported by the Laboratory.

Also, for the second year, the Laboratory joined other employers throughout the United States in sponsoring "Take Our Daughters to Work Day." More than 200 children participated in this event, the first educational activity of LBL's Center for Science and Engineering Education designed for children of LBL employees. The young guests spent the day participating in a range of activities that included holding transgenic mice, donning fire-fighting outfits, witnessing the power of a PET scanner's electromagnetic field, and making a geological inspection of LBL's famous Hill.

These are just a few of the many ways LBL is honoring its commitment to science education.

--Lynn Yarris

Return to Highlights Table of Contents