News from Montgomery College

900 Hungerford Drive, Suite 200, Rockville, MD 20850 

Date: August 7, 2002 (02-43)
Contact: Dave Willingham, 240-567-7970; Pager: 301-930-0972
               Steve Simon, 240-567-7952

Burgeoning Grants Program Gives Montgomery College Students
“That Something Extra”
Grant Money Since‘99 Totals Almost $8,000,000

            If Montgomery College sophomore-to-be Carine Nadem wrote the familiar back-to-school paper on “How I Spent My Summer,” it certainly wouldn’t be a recounting of beaches and parties.  Instead, it would tell of her experiences while doing quality control testing for a biomedical firm in Gaithersburg, MD under a grant from the National Institutes of Health.

            In many ways, it really beats surf and sand, according to the 20-year-old Seneca Valley High School grad.  “I feel important and I feel people depend on me,” says Carine of her summer internship at Quality Biological Inc., during which she’s involved in responsible work on her own.  She says the grant is “very beneficial because it helps me get experience and helps the company because of the work I do.”

            Dr. Ron Brown, Director of Research and Development for Quality Biological, echoes Carine’s thought, saying her activities help free up managers in his quality control operation for other duties.

            Brown admits his staff members were hesitant at first when Carine and fellow M.C. student Maria Triantas joined the company as interns.  “But now they’re elated at how technically capable Maria and Carine are and how quickly they’ve caught on.”  Brown says this speaks well for the selection process under the Bridges to the Baccalaureate grant, which also funds internship placements at Celera and TIGR, among other vanguard biotechnology companies.           

The $662,486 grant serves high-potential students from underrepresented minorities who want to pursue careers in the biomedical sciences.  It is one of many highly-competitive federal grants that Montgomery College has won since fiscal year 1999; grants which have brought the College $7,975,712 in new dollars.

            “Almost by definition, grants add something innovative and needed to the College,” says Director of Grants Barbara Burke. “They enhance the quality of instruction for students and provide opportunities for intellectual renewal to faculty.”

One of the more recent grants awarded to the College is the $760,000 Student Support Services (TRIO) grant from the U.S. Department of Education.  It provides intensive academic counseling, tutoring, and career development for 160 low-income, first-generation students, a direct and tangible benefit to students.

Another U.S. Education Department grant, Teaching American History, exemplifies the way grants not only benefit the College, but help establish and strengthen its partnerships.  Burke and her colleague, Robert Cullinane, worked with Montgomery County Public Schools to win the $1,000,000 grant.  It widened the College’s existing partnership with the Smithsonian Institution to include MCPS, thereby linking the three institutions to improve the teaching of American history.  (Montgomery College is the only post-secondary educational institution that offers both student internships and faculty fellowships with the Smithsonian). 

Cullinane says Teaching American History fits in with one of the College’s guiding principals in seeking grants, which is to “increase the intellectual capital of Montgomery College by linking it with think tanks, museums, and research institutions in Washington, D.C.”

            The recent success in winning grants is something new for Montgomery College, which only starting pursuing them during the mid-1990’s.  “In the future, the plan is to build on the foundation we’ve laid in grants to date,” says Burke.

            Meanwhile, Carine Nadem is getting ready to wind up her internship at Quality Biological and return to her studies in biochemistry at Montgomery College.  Eventually, she intends to go to medical school and become a physician.

            When she’s receiving that M.D. degree, Nadem knows she will thank Burke and Cullinane for a small part of it, the hands-on experience that came from her internship under the Bridges to the Baccalaureate grant.   

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