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Sonja Alexander

Headquarters, Washington, DC April 5, 2000

(Phone: 202/358-1761)

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



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

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 NASA-
sponsored 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:

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 member-
institutions 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: