Sonja Alexander Headquarters, Washington, DC (Phone: 202/358-1761

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April 5, 2000

E. Lyle Henderson The Widmeyer Baker Group, Washington, DC (Phone: 202/667-0901) Christopher Cason Spelman College, Atlanta, GA (Phone: 404/223-1482) RELEASE: 00-48 NATIONAL CONFERENCE ADDRESSES THE CHANGING FACES OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY NASA, in collaboration with the National Science Foundation (NSF), is working to bridge the gap while increasing opportunities in the new millennium for underrepresented students to compete for many of the best, most challenging jobs in science and technology fields. More than 200 promising students, faculty and administrators from the Model Institutions for Excellence (MIE) program will gather to highlight results from their own research in teaching science, engineering and mathematics (SEM) and to explore innovations advancing global technologies during the MIE fifth annual conference in Atlanta, GA, April 5-8, 2000, hosted by Spelman College. The event, titled "Models for Success: Preparing to Meet the SEM Challenges of the New Millennium," will take place at both Spelman College, 350 Spelman Lane, SW, and the Wyndham Atlanta Hotel, 160 Spring Street. The MIE program, an 11-year initiative, seeks to increase the number and quality of underrepresented populations earning science, engineering and mathematics degrees from institutions of higher education in the United States. "If our Nation is to compete effectively in the global marketplace, it must secure the necessary commitment from industry leaders to ensure that today¹s students are scientifically and mathematically literate, " says NASA Administrator Daniel S. Goldin. "We recognize the need for a diverse, highly skilled workforce to shepherd pioneering scientific research well into the millennium and beyond. It is only fitting that the scientific and technology communities invest now in programs like MIE to inspire inquisitive minds for future long-term gains." A conference highlight on Thursday, April 6, from 10 a.m. to

5 p.m. features NASA Astronaut Michael Anderson and a NASAsponsored symposium titled, "Fulfilling NASA's Challenges in the Millennium: Retooling Knowledge Bases, Preparing for Opportunities, and Making your Mark." The all-day activity is divided into three sessions and will present, through "live" interactive videoconferencing, cutting-edge research and theoretical approaches that address futuristic scientific challenges. Symposium presenters expect to reach over 2,000 students and faculty via technology. The symposium can be viewed via webcast over the Internet at: www.it.famu.edu/mie According to Dr. Albert Bridgewater, Program Director for the NSF, students must be properly positioned to pursue the best opportunities allowing them to make significant contributions and advances in the science, engineering and mathematics fields. The focal point of the 3-day forum showcases graduate and undergraduate student presenters from each of the MIE memberinstitutions who will share their research. The MIE partnering institutions include Bowie State University, Bowie, MD; Oglala Lakota College, Kyle, SD; Spelman College; Universidad Metropolitana, Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico; The University of Texas at El Paso; and Xavier University of Louisiana, New Orleans. "The MIE program is educating highly motivated students on a path toward success, and effectively changing the makeup of laboratories and research facilities to reflect the country¹s rich diversity," says George Reese, NASA Associate Administrator for Equal Opportunity Programs. "MIE is one of a few national initiatives specifically designed to nurture high-quality science, engineering and mathematics education that can be replicated at colleges and universities nationwide." More information about the MIE program is available on the Internet at: www.mieprogram.org -end-