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Cornell program selects 10 fellows to teach in public schools in return for free tuition and stipend

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ITHACA, N.Y. -- A National Science Foundation (NSF)-supported program that employs Cornell University graduate students to teach in public schools in return for free tuition and financial support has selected 10 new fellows for the coming year.

The program, Cornell Scientific Inquiry Partnerships (CSIP), each year selects 10 Cornell graduate students to work with teachers in public K-12 schools, both teaching and developing curriculum materials, for 15 hours a week. In return, each fellow receives free Cornell tuition, plus an annual stipend of $21,500 (rising to $27,500 in 2003-2004) and paid health insurance. Recently the NSF renewed Cornell's funding for the program for a further three years.

Previous agency funds had gone to an earlier program, Cornell Environmental Inquiry Research Partnership (CEIRP). The two programs are almost identical, except that CEIRP's focus was on environmental science. CSIP, however, is open to students in all the scientific disciplines that the NSF supports.

Selected fellows have university teaching as part of their career goals. The program is designed to build teaching skills of future academics, notes Marianne Krasny, professor of natural resources, who is associated with CSIP. It also attempts to create a cadre of future academics who are supportive of K-12 outreach.

The new fellows' skills and interests, some of which will be taught in participating schools, range from chemoreception in the apple maggot fly and the geochemical workings of the Earth's interior to community economic development. Last year's fellows taught in schools that included Ithaca High School, Mynderse Academy High School, Seneca Falls, N.Y., and East High School, Rochester, N.Y.

Among the 10 fellows are two doctoral candidates who were selected last year as CEIRP fellows: Dan Arida (ecology and evolutionary biology) and Ellie Rice (plant breeding). The newly selected fellows are doctoral candidates Hammad N'Cho (city and regional planning), Catherine Oertel (chemistry and chemical biology), Shannon Olsson (neurobiology and behavior), Katherine Porter (geological sciences) and Jamie Skillen (natural resources); master's degree/Ph.D. students Tania Siemens (natural resources) and Deborah Sills (civil and environmental engineering); and master's student Steve Jessup (atmospheric science).

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