Rutgers Initiative to Help Disadvantaged Children

Posted on June 8, 2009  Comments (0)

Praise for ambitious Rutgers initiative to help disadvantaged youths

It’s been a year since Rutgers University launched one of the country’s most ambitious education experiments, a campaign to change the fortunes of urban teenagers

Adolescents, their parents and public school administrators uniformly praise the Future Scholars Program. Last June, the initiative started 200 disadvantaged seventh-graders along a five-year path of summer workshops, tutoring, social support and cultural outings. Their reward if they keep a B average and meet other requirements: a full ride to Rutgers.

The Rutgers Future Scholars Program is not targeting science, it focuses on all academic areas.

The goal of the Rutgers Future Scholars program is to increase the numbers of academically ambitious high school graduates who come from low-income backgrounds, help them meet the standards to be admitted to colleges and universities, and then provide tuition funding to those who are admitted and choose to attend Rutgers University.

By improving educational opportunities, in general, more disadvantaged children will have the opportunity to become scientists and engineers. They are highlighting what recent high school graduates from the Camden school are doing, such as Aspiring Physician, Stem Cell Researcher, Rutgers-Camden Student

Most students don’t conduct stem-cell research and sit on a national board with a $3 million budget. Tej Nuthulaganti isn’t like most students.

After earning his undergraduate degree in biology from Rutgers-Camden in 2007, Tej is on track to earn his graduate degree in biology this May, thanks to the five-year combined bachelor and master degree program in biology at Rutgers-Camden.

For the past two years the 2003 graduate of Highland High School has been working with Daniel Shain, an associate professor of biology at Rutgers-Camden and one of the nation’s leading experts on leech research. Nuthulaganti has furthered Shain’s research on identifying key genes that are pivotal in the stem cell formation in the leech, which gives a simple model system for more complicated research. Their research could be beneficial in the early detection of cancerous cells.

In addition to presenting his research at major conferences, including one at the University of California-Berkeley, Nuthulaganti has also made sure that his fellow students who are considering careers in medicine also have a forum to ask questions and think deeply about what kinds of doctors they’d like to be.

There are many great programs underway that are aimed at improving education performance. And this seems like another good effort.

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