The DNA Shoah Project Collaborates with Hewlett-Packard 'Innovations in Education' Grantee

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The University of Arizona's DNA Shoah Project will provide laboratory facilities and expertise to students participating in Palo Verde High School's Annealing Project, an interdisciplinary approach to teaching diversity and human identity. Tucson Unified School District's Palo Verde High Magnet School was one of only 25 schools in the United States to receive a grant from HP's 'Innovations in Education" program, designed to raise student achievement in math and science and increase awareness in high-tech college and career opportunities. The award brings $265,000 of technology, cash and professional services to the school and gives students the opportunity to experience state-of-the-art laboratory practices in the workplace.

The DNA Shoah Project's mission to reunite families torn apart by the Holocaust will be brought to life this fall in Palo Verde High Magnet School classrooms through a special project designed to combine cutting-edge genetics, computer technology and the humanities. Aptly entitled The Annealing Project, this educational collaboration is funded by a $265,000 HP Innovations in Education grant.

The DNA Shoah Project, a division of the University of Arizona's Arizona Research Laboratories, is a non-profit, humanitarian effort to build a database of genetic material from Holocaust survivors and their immediate descendants in an attempt to reunite families. The DNA Shoah Project's laboratory resources will make "citizen scientists" of the Palo Verde High Magnet students and enable them to participate in the hands-on analysis of DNA samples from Holocaust survivors. The DNA Shoah Project's multimedia curriculum, comprised of science-based learning activities mixed with Holocaust survivor testimonies, will bring lessons of the Holocaust into the high school's biology, mathematics and humanities classrooms. Annealing Project students will also assist with hands-on analyses of DNA samples from Holocaust survivors and learn to record valuable survivor interviews.

The Annealing Project uses an interdisciplinary approach to address issues of human identity, diversity and belonging. Biology, biotechnology and mathematics students will receive a real-world introduction to molecular genetics, forensics science and professional laboratory practices while they assist with DNA Shoah Project data analysis. English and social studies students will learn to take videotaped and recorded testimonies from Holocaust survivors, collecting material for an interactive, online archive and social network that will allow survivors to connect with one another from all over the world. Not only will Annealing Project students gain a technological literacy and marketable skills through these experiences, they will learn that the disparate members of their diverse student body are more alike than different.

Palo Verde Biology/Biotechnology teacher, Kevin Kehl, team leader for the Annealing Project, works with many students who are often the first high school graduates in their families and may be the first college attendees as well. Kehl sees the PVHS/DNA Shoah Project collaboration as an opportunity to "bridge the gap" that might otherwise exist between these students and a post-secondary learning environment and the grant from HP as one that will fundamentally redesign the student learning experience.

Worldwide, HP is investing more than $17 million in mobile technology, cash and professional development as part of the global 2009 HP Innovations in Education grant initiative. This initiative follows HP's five-year, $60 million investment in HP Technology for Teaching grants to more than 1,000 schools and universities in 41 countries. During the past 20 years, HP has contributed more than $1 billion in cash and equipment to schools, universities, community organizations and other nonprofit organizations around the world.

"Innovation is key to expanding education opportunity - and HP is privileged to collaborate with educators around the world who are committed to exploring the exciting possibilities that exist at the intersection of teaching, learning, and technology," said Jim Vanides, Worldwide Program Manager for HP Global Social Investments. "Emerging evidence from the last five years is very positive - excellent instruction combined with the right technologies is measurably improving student academic success."

More information about the 2009 HP Innovations in Education initiative and other global social investments is available at http://www.hp.com/go/grants

Kevin Kehl, Annealing Project team leader, can be emailed at kevin.kehl(at)tusd1(dot)org . More information on Palo Verde Magnet High School and its Science Department is available at http://edweb.tusd.k12.az.us/pvscience

About the DNA Shoah Project:

The DNA Shoah Project is a non-profit, humanitarian effort housed at the University of Arizona aiming to reunite families torn apart by the Holocaust. The Project is building a database of genetic material from survivors and their immediate descendants in an attempt to match displaced relatives and provide Shoah orphans and lost children with information about their biological families. There is no cost to participate. Donations are tax-deductible. Please visit http://www.dnashoah.org for additional information.

DNA Shoah Project Media Contact:
Lynn Davis
520-626-6203
lynn(at)dnashoah(dot)org
http://www.dnashoah.org/

DNA Shoah Education Coordinator:
Barbara Fransway
520-626-1672
bbf(at)email.arizona(dot)edu
http://www.dnashoah.org/

About Arizona Research Laboratories

The University of Arizona's Arizona Research Laboratories (ARL), comprises a group of researchers solving critical scientific problems and generating knowledge for the future. The organization's structure and values promote innovation through dynamic interdisciplinary collaborations. ARL has been a leader in interdisciplinary science and research for almost 30 years.

ARL Contact:
Michael Cusanovich, Ph.D.
Cusanovi(at)u.arizona(dot)edu
520-621-7533
http://www.arl.arizona.edu
PO Box 210077
Tucson, AZ 85721-0077

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