Monsanto Funds New Summer Science Program at Coker College

For more information, contact Barb Steadman - 843.857.4199

HARTSVILLE, S.C. – Oct. 11, 2011 – Coker College Professor of Biology Joseph Flaherty has been awarded a grant from the Monsanto Fund to support his proposal to develop a summer program in science for local high school students and their teachers.

The award will be presented during a courtyard ceremony at 9:15 a.m. on Nov. 10 in front of Coker's Davidson Hall.

“Monsanto’s commitment to enhancing local educational opportunities in Hartsville represents not only a timely response to the skyrocketing demand for science and technology skills in the workplace, but also a fundamental appreciation of the locally available resources to meet that demand,” said Coker College Board of Trustees Chair Goz Segars.

“Coker College is eager to engage students and teachers in the current science research of its faculty and grateful to Monsanto for providing the funding necessary to make the necessary training possible,” Segars said.

Recently promoted as the founding director of undergraduate research at Coker, Flaherty sees independent laboratory research at the undergraduate level as essential for future scientists, medical doctors and science teachers.

“The vision for this particular project involves broadening otherwise rare opportunities for students and teachers to learn technologically-advanced skills in the rapidly changing discipline of scientific research,” explained Flaherty.

“It brings me much joy and excitement to receive support from the Monsanto Fund to enrich our community by engaging our next generation of innovators.  I look forward to this program fostering important working relationships between students and learning professionals from local high schools and Coker College,” Flaherty said.

“Monsanto is proud to provide support for such a worthwhile science project with Coker College,” said Dawn Fraser, Monsanto cotton breeder and Hartsville site manager.  “Projects such as this provide a great foundation for students and high school teachers to gain an understanding and appreciation for cutting-edge scientific research.”

The grant from Monsanto will provide paid summer internships, beginning in 2012, for area high school students interested in learning about cutting-edge research in science to work alongside Coker College students who are collaborating with faculty in an active, university-level research program.

Additionally, local high school teachers will be offered a professional development opportunity through a week-long science workshop to be held at Coker this summer.  The grant provides a stipend for the participating teachers and offsets the costs associated with the planned activities that will give participants hands-on training in the latest procedures in modern scientific research.

Last year Flaherty, who was recently awarded a highly competitive $500,000 National Science Foundation grant to support new undergraduate biology research, was a finalist for the Governor’s Distinguished Professor of the Year award, and in 2009 he received the Excellence in Teaching Award from South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities.  Flaherty received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from North Carolina State University and his doctorate from Purdue University.

Established in 1964 as the philanthropic arm of Monsanto, the Monsanto Fund works to substantially and meaningfully improve people’s lives by strengthening both farming communities and the communities where we live and work.  Projects supported by the Monsanto Funds include educational initiatives designed to enrich K-12 school programs as well as wide-ranging efforts to assist nonprofit organizations that are working to meet critical needs such as food security, sanitation and public safety.

Photo:  Coker College Professor of Biology and Director of Undergraduate Research Joseph Flaherty.



Coker College readies undergraduates for personal and professional success through a distinctive four-year program that emphasizes a practical application of the liberal arts as well as hands-on and discussion-based learning within and beyond the classroom. Coker is ranked among the “Best Colleges” in the South by U.S. News & World Report as well as The Princeton Review. Located in Hartsville, S.C., Coker is within two hours of the cultural, financial and recreational resources of Charlotte, Columbia, Charleston and Myrtle Beach.


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