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New Boehringer Ingelheim Science Quest Mobile Laboratory Brings Hands-On Science Education to Priority Connecticut Elementary Schools
Date:4/22/2010

HARTFORD, Conn., April 22 /PRNewswire/ -- Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Connecticut United for Research Excellence, Inc. (CURE) today announced the launch of Boehringer Ingelheim Science Quest, a comprehensive initiative designed to bring hands-on science education directly to the Connecticut elementary schools that need it most.  

A centerpiece of the effort is the Boehringer Ingelheim Science Quest mobile laboratory – a high-tech science classroom on wheels – that will visit priority school districts across the state.  The program also will include tools and resources to facilitate science instruction in the classroom and encourage family involvement in science together at home.  

The future of science education is a growing concern nationwide.  According to the 2005 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) study, 37 percent of fourth grade students lacked a basic level of science proficiency.  The need among Connecticut elementary school students is particularly acute, especially among those from lower-income families.  In fact, a December 2009 report by the Connecticut State Department of Education found that fifth-grade students eligible for free and reduced-price meals scored 44 percent lower than non-eligible students in science performance on the 2008 Connecticut Mastery Test, a statewide education assessment test.

The Boehringer Ingelheim Science Quest mobile laboratory will bring science to life by creating an interactive and hands-on experience.  Beginning at Shelter Rock Elementary school on May 17 in Danbury, the mobile laboratory will be making the first of its visits to Connecticut schools. Currently scheduled stops are the Mahan School in Norwich, the Park City Magnet School in Bridgeport, the Bernard School in New Haven, the Annie Fisher STEM Magnet School in Hartford, the Holmes School in New Britain, the Winthrop Elementary School in New London, and the Walsch School in Waterbury.  The program will focus on Connecticut's priority school districts with the greatest academic need, as defined by the State Department of Education.

"For 125 years, Boehringer Ingelheim has been committed to improving the lives of patients and their families through the discovery of innovative science," said Jim Baxter, senior vice president of development at Boehringer Ingelheim. "A priority for Boehringer Ingelheim is to further science education and help extend the learning process into the homes and families of the students, in hopes of building a strong pipeline of scientists for the next 125 years. Through the Boehringer Ingelheim Science Quest initiative, we hope to encourage a passion for science in children beginning at an early age."

"CURE has focused on bringing the highest level of science education to students around Connecticut through a variety of education initiatives," said Paul Pescatello, president and CEO at CURE.  "Programs like the Boehringer Ingelheim Science Quest are an investment in the future, helping prepare Connecticut children early on for careers in science and technology that will continue to drive our state's economic engine in the coming decades."

The official launch of the Science Quest mobile laboratory takes place today in Hartford.  Dr. Thomas Steitz – the 2009 Nobel Prize Winner in Chemistry – and state officials will be on site to experience first-hand what the mobile laboratory will bring to schools around Connecticut.  Dr. Steitz will lead a science experiment aboard the new vehicle.

On May 17, Boehringer Ingelheim and CURE will host the official dedication ceremony of the Science Quest mobile laboratory at Shelter Rock Elementary school in Danbury.  Mark McQuillan, Connecticut Commissioner of Education, and executives from both Boehringer Ingelheim and CURE will be on hand for the ribbon cutting ceremony, followed by students conducting experiments on the mobile laboratory.  

About BioScience Explorations

CURE BioScience Explorations, an award-winning service of CURE (Connecticut United for Research Excellence), includes three main programs:

  • Boehringer Ingelheim Science Quest focuses on improving elementary science education through a mobile laboratory and equipment loan program, together with related science curriculum and teacher training.
  • The CURE BioBus focuses on improving science education for students in grades 4-12 utilizing a mobile science laboratory, together with bioscience curricula and teacher training.
  • CURE BioConnection focuses on improving middle and high school science via an equipment loan program, together with relevant bioscience curricula and teacher training.

The programs, which are offered free of charge thanks to the continuing support of sponsors, have made more than 445 school visits, reached more than 60,000 students, and trained more than 775 teachers since 2001.

About CURE

CURE (Connecticut United for Research Excellence, Inc.) is a member-supported coalition of educational and research institutions, biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, and other businesses supporting BioScience in the state of Connecticut. It is dedicated to promoting the growth and increased public understanding of biomedical research and science (http://curenet.org).

About Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc., based in Ridgefield, CT, is the largest U.S. subsidiary of Boehringer Ingelheim Corporation (Ridgefield, CT) and a member of the Boehringer Ingelheim group of companies.

The Boehringer Ingelheim group is one of the world's 20 leading pharmaceutical companies. Headquartered in Ingelheim, Germany, it operates globally with 142 affiliates in 50 countries and more than 41,500 employees. Since it was founded in 1885, the family-owned company has been committed to researching, developing, manufacturing and marketing novel products of high therapeutic value for human and veterinary medicine.

In 2009, Boehringer Ingelheim posted net sales of US $17.7 billion (12.7 billion euro) while spending 21% of net sales in its largest business segment, Prescription Medicines, on research and development.

For more information, please visit http://us.boehringer-ingelheim.com


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SOURCE Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
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