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Bayer USA Foundation Awards $279,000 Grant to Exemplary STEM Education Diversity Program

Submitted by: Bayer

Categories: Academia, Philanthropy & Corporate Contributions

Posted: Dec 11, 2008 – 10:45 AM EST


Grant to MESA Expands Reach of Bayer's Making Science Make Sense Program in Bay Area

Dec. 11 /CSRwire/ - PITTSBURGH,PA. - December 11, 2008 - Reaffirming its longstanding commitment to help strengthen science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and bring more women and minorities into STEM fields, the Bayer USA Foundation today awarded a $279,000 grant over three years to the nationally lauded Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) program to help educationally disadvantaged students in the San Francisco Bay area to achieve and succeed in these subjects.

The grant was made on the same day Bayer Corporation hosted its second national STEM Education Diversity Forum, this one in San Francisco, which was designed to help STEM company executives get involved in pre-college education programs that are helping to build a strong and diverse STEM workforce pipeline.

Titled "Bridging the Diversity Gap: Introducing STEM Industries to K-12 Best Practice Programs," the forum showcased for San Francisco Bay- and Silicon Valley-area STEM industry leaders a number of exemplary STEM education programs that have a proven track record of helping girls and underrepresented minorities to participate and achieve in STEM.

With this latest grant to MESA, Bayer USA Foundation has significantly expanded throughout the San Francisco Bay area Making Science Make Sense(R), Bayer's company-wide initiative that advances science literacy across the United States through hands-on, inquiry-based science learning, employee volunteerism and public education.

The MESA grant reinforces Bayer's commitment and leadership role in science education and workforce development within the Bay Area. Bayer employs more than 2,000, making it the second largest biotech employer in the Bay Area. In 2008, Bayer and the Bayer USA Foundation's giving to West Coast causes totaled more than $400,000, making it one of the leading community contributors to initiatives that support science education, workforce development, environmental protection, patient association support, and community development projects.

"As the philanthropic arm of Bayer Corporation, the Bayer USA Foundation is strategically aligned to support our corporate social responsibility initiatives, notably Making Science Make Sense and Bayer’s concerted efforts to attract more girls and underrepresented minority students to science, technology, engineering and math careers. In this we share a common cause with MESA," said Greg Babe, President and CEO of Bayer Corporation and Chairman of the Bayer USA Foundation. "As the face of America changes and other companies increase their own investments in STEM, as a country, as a company and as individuals, we must more aggressively tap the talents of all of our citizens in the name of continued innovation and competitiveness."

The new Bayer USA Foundation grant to MESA will establish and sustain a MESA Center in the East Bay region of California. The center will serve some 11,000 underserved middle and high school students in 53 schools in six districts with a rigorous hands-on math/science curriculum and college/career preparation program proven to increase their chances of achieving high goals academically and professionally, as well as making positive, lifelong contributions to their communities.

The grant will support day-to-day operations to deliver MESA's academic preparation services in math and science. These include curriculum development, general assistance, teacher training, materials and supplies, food and travel.

"We view our investment in the new MESA Center as an excellent complement to Biotech Partners, the hands-on biotechnology school-to-career program for high-school and community-college students we created with the City of Berkeley in 1993. Our hope is that we can attract many of our MESA students to this nationally recognized biotechnology education program," said Joerg Heidrich, SVP and Global Head of Product Supply—Biotech and Berkeley Site Head.

"We are enormously grateful to Bayer and the Bayer USA Foundation for this most generous support," said Dr. Oscar Porter, Executive Director, California MESA. "At MESA, our two most critical keys to success have been our hands-on approach to the real-world learning of science and mathematics, as well as our ability to look at and treat students as individuals and work with them accordingly so they can succeed."

Dr. Porter added that, as with all MESA Centers, the new East Bay Center will provide comprehensive college and career preparation; study skills and leadership development; visits to college campuses; development of an individual academic plan for each student; SAT/PSAT test preparation; and parent, community and corporate-involvement opportunities.

MESA's East Bay Center will also give students a chance to participate in MESA's annual Engineering Design Academy and Competition (MESA Days) through which students build scale model machines and devices that correspond to the grade level-appropriate subject matter and that conform to state standards.

About California MESA

Established in 1970 as a partnership between the Lawrence Hall of Science at the University of California Berkeley and Oakland Technical High School, MESA supports educationally disadvantaged students so they can excel in math and science studies and graduate with degrees in engineering, science or technology. MESA delivers its curriculum to students throughout the educational pipeline in various environments, including MESA classes during the school day, after school and on weekends.

MESA has received national recognition for its success. It has been named as one of the most innovative public programs in the country by Innovations in American Government, a project of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and the Ford Foundation. MESA is a winner of the Presidential Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring. It is the largest consortium of programs to receive National Science Foundation scholarships earmarked to support community college students who transfer to four-year institutions. California MESA is the model for similar academic preparation programs in seven other states, which together are known as MESA USA.

Of California MESA high school graduates who are African-American, Hispanic American and Native American, 29 percent are eligible for admission to a University of California campus. This eligibility rate is much higher than the statewide rate of 6.2 percent for African-American and 6.5 percent for Hispanic Americans. Of California MESA high school graduates overall, 57 percent go on to post-secondary education as math, science and/or engineering majors.

About Making Science Make Sense in Berkeley

Making Science Make Sense (MSMS) is Bayer's award-winning, company-wide initiative that advances science literacy through hands-on, inquiry-based science learning, employee volunteerism and public education. Bayer and MSMS have been honored with numerous national and regional awards, including two presidential awards – the Ron Brown Award for Corporate Leadership in 2006 and the President's Service Award in 2000 – and most recently the National Science Board's 2008 Public Service Award.

Currently, Bayer's Berkeley site is one of 12 Bayer sites around the country that operate local MSMS programs, which together represent a national volunteer corps of more than 1,000 employees.

In Berkeley, Bayer sponsors a variety of hands-on science education initiatives for elementary, middle, high school and community college students. For example:

  • With a $150,000 grant in 1997, Bayer funded the Bayer Youth Science Lab at Rosa Parks Elementary School in West Berkeley, and continues to support hands-on learning in the lab with grants and employee volunteers. The lab has helped qualify Rosa Parks as a federal environmental and science magnet school.

  • Employees regularly bring hands-on science into local classrooms.

  • Bayer supports local science fairs with cash donations; employees also serve as judges and mentors.

  • Bayer spearheaded in 1992 the creation of a unique hands-on biotechnology school-to-work program for high-school and community-college students called Biotech Partners (formerly BBEI, Inc.), which has since become a national model.

  • The MSMS program also includes partnerships with area science centers, such as the Lawrence Hall of Science, San Francisco Exploratorium, Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose and Chabot to bring hands-on science to thousands of students and their families.
About Bayer USA Foundation

The Bayer USA Foundation is an endowed 501(c)(3) entity and is the primary source of Bayer Corporation's philanthropy in the United States. With a programmatic focus on the environment and sustainability; education and workforce development; arts and culture; and health and human services, the foundation creates and supports organizations that improve communities in which Bayer employees live and work, as well as society at large. The Bayer USA Foundation is one of three Bayer foundations worldwide, including the Bayer Science & Education Foundation and the Bayer Cares Foundation.

About Bayer Corporation

Bayer Corporation, headquartered in Pittsburgh, is a subsidiary of Bayer AG, an international health care, nutrition and high-tech materials group based in Leverkusen, Germany. In North America, Bayer had 2007 net sales of 8.1 billion euros and employed 16,800 at year-end. Bayer's three subgroups, Bayer HealthCare, Bayer CropScience and Bayer MaterialScience, improve people's lives through a broad range of essential products that help diagnose, prevent and treat diseases; protect crops and enhance yields; and advance automobile safety and durability.

Forward-Looking Statements
This news release contains forward-looking statements based on current assumptions and forecasts made by Bayer Group management. Various known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors could lead to material differences between the actual future results, financial situation, development or performance of the company and the estimates given here. These factors include those discussed in our annual and interim reports filed with the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. The company assumes no liability whatsoever to update these forward-looking statements or to conform them to future events or developments.

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