Purdue program for Native American students wins Cooke Foundation grant

March 31, 2015  


WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Project HOPE+, a Purdue University College of Education program that brings Native American students to campus for a residential summer program, has been awarded a $200,000 grant from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation.

The grant will allow 65 sixth- through 12th-grade students to attend the STEM-focused camp, which is part of the Gifted Education Resource Institute's Summer Residential Program.

Project HOPE+ (Having Opportunities Promotes Excellence) was started four years ago with support from the Cooke Foundation. Partner districts in the program are Navajo Nation, Standing Rock Reservation, Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe and Red Lake Band of Ojibwe.

At the GERI camp, the Native American students will join about 500 others from across the United States and from around the world, said Marcia Gentry, a professor in the Department of Educational Studies and director of GERI.

"As I watch students from these reservations and around the world interact and develop friendships and connections while taking challenging courses, I think about how they are the future and how their connections may lead to world peace as well as innovations in STEM and related fields," Gentry said.

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation is dedicated to advancing the education of exceptionally promising students who have financial need. In addition to providing students both counseling and financial support from middle school to graduate school, the foundation provides grants for noteworthy and innovative initiatives that support high-performing, low-income students.

"We are squandering the talents of millions of students who would pursue successful and influential careers in STEM fields if only they had educational opportunities that prepared them early on," said Harold O. Levy, Cooke Foundation executive director. "The Cooke Foundation is tackling this monumental waste by supporting organizations and programs that will put low-income middle and high school students on the path to studying STEM in college and beyond. "

Founded in 2000, the foundation has awarded more than $130 million in scholarships to almost 1,900 students and more than $80 million in grants.

Writer: Judith Barra Austin, 765-494-2432, jbaustin@purdue.edu

Source: Marcia Gentry, 765-496-3721, mgentry@purdue.edu

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