The University of Texas Health Center at Tyler
The school bus comes to a halt, and the students look out of the windows with great anticipation. As soon as the door opens, they scramble off of the bus and run toward the winding stream. At first glance, you might think they plan to skip rocks or splash through the cool water; instead they are armed with science equipment and a creative, enthusiastic teacher named Cynthia Ward.
Cynthia is the head of the science department at Hallsville High School in Hallsville, Texas. She teaches grades 9-12 and recently received her master's degree from the Environment Science program directed by The University of Texas Health Center at Tyler (UTHCT) in partnership with Stephen F. Austin State University. Cynthia has been able to take what she learned in her graduate courses and bring it alive in her high school science classes.
"One of the things we explored in the Environmental Science program was pollution and its impact on our world," says Ward. "I learned a great deal and knew it would be a subject that would interest my high school students; we are studying water pollution and will be monitoring and testing three nearby streams for pollution levels."
Ward and other recent graduates of UTHCT's Environmental Sciences program are benefiting from a Health Center endowment - the Jesse H. Jones Distinguished Professorship in Occupational Health Sciences, held by Jeffrey Levin, M.D., professor and chair of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. This endowment is invested in the Long Term Fund.
"Through the philanthropic commitment of Mr. Jones and the Houston Endowment, we have been able to create an endowment that has at its core the purpose of creating an opportunity at all educational levels for students to learn about environmental issues and concerns," says Dr. Levin.
Funds from the Jesse H. Jones endowment were initially allocated to the Occupational Medicine Residency Program at UTHCT. The funds have been recently used to help support the expansion of the Environmental Sciences program - a program that reaches the entire educational spectrum from K-12 to undergraduate, graduate, and post-graduate levels. According to Dr. Levin, "One of the goals and a long-term challenge of the program is to prepare adults and children to become better stewards of our environment."
From the classroom to the real world, the Jesse H. Jones endowment at The University of Texas Health Center at Tyler makes a real impact in communities throughout East Texas.