Blasker Grant a "Vote of Confidence" for TSRI Internship
By Mika Ono
At a ceremony at the San Diego Natural History Museum on
July 10, The San Diego Foundation awarded The Scripps Research
Institute (TSRI) $50,000 to support its Summer Research Internship
Program. The award, a Blasker grant which represents a $12,000
increase over last year's funding, will support 15 local high
school students and five undergraduates in TSRI labs next
"I would like to thank the foundation for its generosity,"
says Keith McKeown, TSRI's vice president for communications
and public relations. "The increase is a real vote of confidence
for our outreach program."
Communications Specialist and Outreach Coordinator Jennifer
O'Sullivan adds, "Working at TSRI, being a member of a lab,
and contributing in some way to a research project can be
a life changing experience. The additional funding will enable
us to make this experience available to more students."
The Summer Research Internship Program is one component
of TSRI's Education Outreach Program, which aims to promote
and improve science literacy, enhance science teachers' professional
development, and inspire students to pursue careers in the
life sciences. Special emphasis is placed on selecting students
from cultures and ethnic backgrounds traditionally underrepresented
in the sciences. This year, the summer program drew 120 applications
for 28 positions.
"The high quality of applicants makes the selection process
very difficult," notes O'Sullivan.
Since the outreach program's inception in 1993, 289 high
school students, 34 science teachers, and 82 undergraduates
have participated in summer internships at TSRI. Since 1995,
more than 1,000 teachers have attended the Contemporary Issues
in Bioscience seminar, and in the past three years more than
1,500 high school students have attended the half-day educational
The mission of the San Diego Foundation is to improve the
quality of life in San Diego communities by promoting and
increasing responsible and effective philanthropy. Its Blasker-Rose-Miah
Fund was established to "nurture and develop unique and innovative
discoveries and experiences that may benefit all mankind,
and to support and encourage individuals with high potential
in the scientific, engineering, and medical fields to reach
their full potential."
Other sources of funding for the Education Outreach Program
have included: the Samuel H. and Katherine W. French Fund
and the Maurice J. Masserini Charitable Trust, both administered
by Wells Fargo Bank; the San Diego Workforce Partnership,
which funds 10 to 15 internships each year through the Neighborhood
House Association; the Joseph Drown Foundation; the Carl E.
Wynn Foundation; and the Bank of America Foundation. In addition,
private contributions have been received from philanthropists
Robert Wallace; George and Patsy Conrades; and Oliver and
Endowment funding for the outreach program includes gifts
from TSRI Trustee John Diekman and his wife Susan Diekman;
The William Randolph Hearst Foundation; and the Arthur Vining
TSRI Communications Specialist Jennifer
O'Sullivan (left) poses with San Diego Foundation Science
& Technology Working Group members Joe Farrage and Lori Fleet
Martin, after accepting a Blasker grant for TSRI's Summer
Research Internship Program. Photo
by Roz Hodgins.