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Crow Education Partnership Gets Grant for Science Outreach

Montana State University recently received a grant for the Crow Education Partnership meant to enhance scientific opportunities for Native American students.
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The American Honda Foundation recently awarded a $48,667 grant to Montana State University for the Crow Education Partnership, a project to provide science enrichment activities for fourth-grade students in the Hardin School District on the Crow Indian Reservation in south-central Montana.

The grant will allow MSU to expand the project, which started as a pilot in June 2010 with a $15,000 grant from the NASA Astrobiology Institute.

"Outreach is an important part of MSU's mission, and this grant from the American Honda Foundation will help us continue to positively influence the lives of elementary students on Montana's reservations," said Melissa Dulin, director of corporate and foundation relations for the MSU Foundation. "Hands-on activities result in more excitement, interest and connection to science. These activities also connect students with the Crow lands and traditions so they can relate to the subject matter from a cultural perspective."

Dulin's office helped project personnel with the Crow Education Partnership apply for and win the grant, which was one of only eight grants awarded by the American Honda Foundation this quarter out of hundreds of proposals received. This is the second grant MSU has received from the American Honda Foundation.

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"Through grant giving, the American Honda Foundation seeks to develop youth in the areas of math, science, engineering, technology and literacy," said Alexandra Warnier, manager at American Honda Foundation. "We are proud to partner with Montana State University on its important contribution in this area and look forward to the impact and results that will be achieved."

The Crow Education Partnership is managed through the Department of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences in the College of Agriculture. A hybrid education model is used that incorporates hands-on science activities, field experiences, and video conferencing technology to share science discoveries from scientists and educators at MSU with fourth-grade students in the participating schools.

In addition to engaging students in inquiry-based science and exposing them to science as a career, the project offers outreach experiences to graduate students and early-career scientists, and provides curriculum-based activities and training for participating fourth-grade teachers. The project works with members of the Crow community to provide science information in a culturally appropriate way.