WRAIR and Northwestern High School Sign Educational Partnership Agreement
WRAIR investing in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education improvement.
On the early morning of 25 January 2012, four students from the Navy Junior ROTC program at Northwestern High School presented the Colors. Following opening remarks, the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) Commander,
Colonel Erickson, and Northwestern High School principal, Mr. Batenga, signed an Educational Partnership Agreement (EPA) confirming the continuation of a unique STEM program developed by WRAIR at Northwestern High School.
Increasing STEM education in public schools is on everyone's "must do" list, but the means by which to adequately provide the necessary tools to schools isn't always easy. For this partnership, expertise,
funding and know-how have come together for the benefit of students and STEM. Like Northwestern High School, our U.S. schools have budget constraints, limited equipment and sometimes too few hands and minds to bring STEM
alive for students and teachers. EPAs are opportunities for schools to work with the Department of Defense and other government and private institutions invested in STEM disciplines to mutually benefit education,
advance education research and help our schools.
WRAIR is in a unique position to sign an EPA with Northwestern High School. In addition to being the premier biomedical research institute of the Department of Defense, WRAIR is dedicated to training future scientists, engineers,
and mathematicians through continuing support from the Army Educational Outreach Program (www.usaeop.com), the National Defense Education Program and a Science Education Partnership
Award (SEPA) from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). These funding partners support the development and implementation of new ways to teach STEM in our nation’s classrooms where, in this case, college-age , near-peer
mentors guide hands-on, real experiments for the benefit of both students and teachers. A "near-peer mentor" is a recent graduate or undergraduate in a STEM discipline working at WRAIR with enthusiasm and talent in teaching STEM.
Near-peer mentors lead laboratory lessons in the Institute's teaching laboratory or in nearby schools. By using the latest technology and curriculum developed by expert scientists that is paced to what students are learning in their
classrooms, students achieve a fuller comprehension of STEM topics by connecting the classroom content to real science experiments.
Present at the ceremony were students who participated in the near-peer mentor-led laboratory courses, teachers and faculty of Northwestern High School, Assistant Principal Ms. Jennifer Love, Principal Edgar Batenga,
and Prince George's County School Board Member Mrs. Amber Waller. From the WRAIR, Colonel Ralph Erickson, Dr. Debra Yourick, Dr. Margery Anderson, Dr. Leda Cummings, and near-peer mentors Jona Caridha and Aldo Nascimento were present.