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UNC-CH bus brings mobile lab, high-tech science focus to underserved N.C. schools

CHAPEL HILL -- The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill next week will launch a new traveling science laboratory that will bring the latest technology and teaching tools to North Carolina schools lacking science resources.

A custom-built 40-foot, 26,000-pound bus -- emblazoned with the slogan "The Best Thing in Science Education to Hit the Road" -- is full of state-of-the-art science and technology equipment for wet laboratory experiments, Internet exploration and carefully honed curriculum materials. The bus will begin its treks across the state in the coming weeks in a project that is among the first of its kind nationwide.

The science bus grew from the work of the Partnership for Minority Advancement in the Biomolecular Sciences, a consortium begun more than a decade ago by UNC-CH that includes seven historically minority universities. The UNC-CH-based consortium introduces biomolecular science into public school and college classrooms across the state in response to growing national concerns about a science teacher shortage, a decline in the number of Americans pursuing graduate degrees in science and a lack of diversity within the science professions.

Glaxo Wellcome Inc. awarded the university a five-year, $1.6 million grant to build the bus, equip it and support operations.

"This exciting outreach effort lies at the core of the university's public service and teaching missions and beautifully highlights our commitment to enhance education in North Carolina," said Interim Chancellor William O. McCoy. "The traveling science laboratory advances already strong links between the university and our state's schools as well as with longtime benefactor and collaborator Glaxo Wellcome.

"By partnering together, both the university and Glaxo Wellcome hope to share the thrill of discovery in new ways that will foster diversity within the scientific professions," McCoy said. "Science increasingly plays a major role in fueling the North Caroli
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Contact: Mike McFarland
mike_mcfarland@unc.edu
919-962-8593
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
5-Apr-2000


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