National Defense Industrial Association, Tennessee Valley Chapter donates $5,000 to education project

HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology has received a $5,000 donation from the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) Tennessee Valley Chapter (TVC) to fund an educational video series to help teachers address content included in the recently adopted 2015 Alabama Course of Study: Science. The National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) is America’s leading defense industry association promoting national security.

The course of study, which goes into effect the 2016-2017 school year, includes many new in-depth genetics concepts that are too new for textbooks. To provide teachers with the detailed genetics information they will need to teach the new standards, the HudsonAlpha education team proposed a video series teachers can use in the classroom.

The video series will focus on the Encyclopedia of DNA Elements (ENCODE), HapMap (a multi-country effort to identify and catalog genetic similarities and differences in human beings) and the 1000 Genomes Project. The videos will explain each of these projects and help students understand the project background, goals and the project findings. Each video will feature HudsonAlpha researchers talking about their contributions to these projects, some of which are still in progress.

“This video project will enable HudsonAlpha to give teachers the resources they need to explain complex genetics concepts to students,” said Jennifer Carden, a member of the HudsonAlpha educational outreach team. “We are grateful for this donation which allows us to take on this project.”

HudsonAlpha’s education programs work to inspire and train future scientists through hands-on classroom modules, digital applications, field trips and summer experiences for educators and students. In 2015, the HudsonAlpha education team reached more than 727,000 people.

“NDIA-TVC is focused on supporting a strong defense industrial base in the Tennessee Valley and we do that in several ways, one of which is supporting educational programs in our community,” said Patty Popour, president of NDIA-TVC. “This project fits perfectly with what we are trying to accomplish as an organization. We invest in science, technology, engineering, and math programs (STEM) with a broad impact and measurable results that inspire our local students. We hope our students will choose to stay in this community and consider careers in STEM and other fields related to national defense.”

NDIA-TVC is based in Huntsville and supports the national defense industry in North Alabama, South Tennessee, and North Mississippi. Suzanne Norris, NDIA-TVC vice president of education programs, said one of the goals of the organization is to ensure the organization’s investments benefit students in local communities.

“Our board is really excited about this project,” said Norris. “We wanted to financially support this work because we know these videos need to be produced soon so they’ll be in the hands of our teachers for the 2016-2017 school year.

“One reason we are so enthusiastic about supporting this project is because HudsonAlpha has such a great track record supporting students and teachers in the state of Alabama. HudsonAlpha believes that education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire. We agree that lighting a fire in the hearts and minds of students will inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers in our region.”