BY MARGOT SCHRIRE – HONOLULU — The College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR), at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa has received $20,000 from the Monsanto Fund, a private foundation and the philanthropic arm of Monsanto Company, to support salaries and materials for “Gene-ius Day.” Gene-ius Day is a special program that introduces students from grade 4 through 12 to basic genetics and the function of DNA.
“CTAHR is pleased to team up with the Monsanto Fund to build a shared learning experience about basic genetics,” said Dr. Ania Wieczorek, founder and director of Gene-ius Day and associate specialist in Biotechnology, Biotechnology Outreach Program (CTAHR). “A primary goal of the Gene-ius Day Program is to build a strong understanding of basic genetics at the elementary school level so that teachers are able to present increasingly complex biotechnology topics in the upper grades.”
“We’re thrilled the Monsanto Fund is able to support Gene-ius Day, which not only teaches science, but encourages students to imagine themselves as scientists,” said Dr. Fred Perlak, vice president of research and business operations for Monsanto Hawaii, and an award-winning microbiologist. “Monsanto is proud to employ thousands of scientists and other talented employees who use science and technology in their daily work. I hope many of the students who participate in Gene-ius Day will go on to pursue great careers in the sciences.”
The Monsanto Fund has provided a number of grants to schools and environmental nonprofits in Hawai‘i in support of science education and conservation efforts. Monsanto Hawai‘i additionally offers scholarships to students pursuing post-secondary degrees in science and agricultural technologies, and sponsors science fairs and other educational programs.
Monsanto’s farm stations in Hawai‘i work to develop better-quality seeds that will help farmers grow yield sustainably so the farmers can be successful; produce healthier foods, better animal feeds and more fiber; and help reduce agriculture’s impact on our environment. The company recently completed a new employee building and 69,000 square foot seed facility at its Kunia Research Station on O‘ahu.
For more information on how you can support CTAHR, please contact Leslie Lewis at (808) 956-9702 or Leslie.Lewis@uhfoundation.org. You can also make a give online https://www.uhfoundation.org/GivetoCTAHR.