Camarillo, Calif., Sept 2, 2011 - A grant obtained from NASA by CSU Channel Islands (CI) will help engage Ventura County high school students in the science behind global climate change.

CI Science Education Professor Dr. Bob Bleicher secured the $593,000 grant to help biology and earth sciences teachers incorporate NASA climate change data, research and curriculum into their classrooms. Teachers at eight schools in the Oxnard Union, Ventura Unified and Santa Paula Union High School Districts will receive professional development and resources under the grant.

“The goal is for students to be able to interact with the best climate research tools available from NASA and form their own arguments and conclusions about climate change,” said Bleicher. “Our hope is that we get more students excited about pursuing higher education and careers in science.”

CI was one of only 14 institutions across the nation awarded the funding through NASA’s Minority University Research and Education Program. The first-time grant targets schools with a high percentage of Hispanic students, who are underrepresented in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The grant supports professional development for up to 20 teachers over two years at all six schools in the Oxnard Union High School District and at Ventura and Santa Paula High Schools. It includes honorariums for the teachers; instruction from nationally recognized experts on climate science; access to NASA satellite data and resources; printed and online support materials and lesson plans; on-site instructional assistance; and a two-day global climate change summer camp for students. The teacher instruction and student summer camp will begin in the summer before the 2012-2013 school year.

“It’s our commitment at CI to work collaboratively with our local school partners to energize natural curiosity in high school students,” Bleicher said. “By bringing this NASA program to our local high schools, we hope we can support teacher leadership and ongoing professional development at their school sites and also excite students about science and higher education.”

For more information on the grant, contact Dr. Bleicher at bob.bleicher@csuci.edu. For more information on NASA’s education programs, visit www.nasa.gov/education.

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About California State University Channel Islands
CSU Channel Islands (CI) is the only four-year, public university in Ventura County and is known for its interdisciplinary, multicultural and international perspectives, and its emphasis on experiential and service learning. CI's strong academic programs focus on business, sciences, liberal studies, teaching credentials, and innovative master's degrees. Students benefit from individual attention, up-to-date technology, and classroom instruction augmented by outstanding faculty research. CI has been designated by the U.S. Department of Education as a Hispanic-Serving Institution and is committed to serving students of all backgrounds from the region and beyond. Connect with and learn more about CI by visiting CI's Social Media.