On 14 July, Mary McKenna, a professor at Howard University and chair of the AIBS Human Resources Committee, addressed scholars at the Gates Millennium Scholars Graduate School Institute (www.gmsp.org). The Gates Millennium Scholars Program is managed by the United Negro College Fund and supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The program offers financial assistance to African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian/Pacific Islander American, and Hispanic American students, providing them with the opportunity to complete a college education. Students are encouraged to pursue a graduate degree program in a field in which their racial or ethnic groups are traditionally underrepresented. This year 100 scholars participated in five days of interactive workshops and activities designed to hone the knowledge and skills essential to the graduate school process.
McKenna presented information on AIBS's diversity programs and career options in biology. Many of the scholars are interested in the biological sciences, and AIBS will continue to foster connections with the program to encourage these promising students to pursue careers in biology.
The Environmental Careers Organization (ECO) places over 200 university students and recent graduates in summer internships with government agencies, nonprofit groups, and private companies across the country. On 25 July, ECO hosted a career skills workshop in Washington, DC, where interns met to learn about career opportunities, job hunting, interviewing, networking, and résumé-writing skills. AIBS Education and Outreach Program Associate Abraham Parker was one of the DC-area professionals who shared their experiences, tips, and strategies with the interns. Other participating representatives from the environmental and scientific communities were from organizations such as the Environmental Protection Agency, the American Fisheries Society, and the Jane Goodall Institute. The interns, who practiced the skills they had learned throughout the workshop in roundtable discussions with the panelists, expressed their gratitude for the opportunity to meet and talk with professionals in their fields of interest.
The AIBS Public Policy Office has stepped up its public response to the intelligent design movement following some headline-making comments by President Bush and a high-profile vote by the Kansas State Board of Education.
In August, the president suggested in an interview that it would be appropriate to teach the concept of intelligent design/creationism alongside the theory of evolution. This counters statements made by his science advisor, John Marburger III, who has called evolution the "cornerstone of modern biology" and maintains that "intelligent design is not a scientific concept."
A week later, the Kansas school board voted 6–4 to adopt science standards that question evolution and redefine science so that teachers could employ nonnaturalistic explanations of phenomena—such as intelligent design, which is not scientific because it cannot be tested. The standards will go through an external review panel before they become official, but observers expect the board to approve the standards in their current form this fall.
AIBS was quick to respond to these events. President Marvalee Wake remarked, "If we want our students to be able to compete in the global economy, if we want to attract the next generation into the sciences, we must make sure that we are teaching them science. We simply cannot begin to introduce nonscientific concepts into the science curriculum."
For more information, visit www.aibs.org/public-policy/teaching_evolution.html.
Original article in English
Spanish translations of previously posted articles