University of New Mexico professors and researchers have been awarded funding from the National Institutes of Health to implement a science enrichment program for several middle schools in rural New Mexico.
The funding will be doled out over five years and will target both tribal and predominantly Hispanic schools.
The university says there's a steady decline in the number of American Indian and Hispanic students graduating with science and engineering degrees.
Professor Shiraz Mishra says lower representation in the sciences coupled with a higher burden of chronic diseases among these two populations poses a "serious national challenge."
The program will include nutrition and physical activity components along with health and science fairs, web-based activities aimed at boosting critical thinking, mentoring and professional development for teachers.