(SAN ANTONIO, TX). (April 22, 2021) The Texas Biomedical Forum and the V.H. Memorial Foundation have selected a sole recipient for the annual Science Education Awards for the 2020-2021 school year. The winner is Huy Hoang, Chemistry teacher from St. Mary’s Hall. Hoang will use the funds to purchase new aquaponics systems for students at the school.
Through the new program designed by Hoang, students will participate in research and collaboration as well as the construction of systems and ongoing data collection. They will learn about the similarities and differences between aquaponics and traditional forms of agriculture, comparing the impact of each on the environment.
“As the human population continues to grow rapidly and the life expectancy of humans increases due to modern advances, we are expected to run out of arable land and drinking water on Earth to provide food and sustain the human population in the near future,” Hoang said. “Aquaponics serves as a viable alternative to grow both animals and plants in a sustainable way and at higher yields while also decreasing our carbon footprint so that we do not deplete all of Earth’s natural resources.”
The $2,000 award, funded equally by the Biomedical Forum and the McNutt Foundation, will cover the purchase and maintenance of smaller versions of larger, commercial aquaponics systems. Students will apply knowledge gained from the classroom to create their systems to include fish as well as plants and will use scientific methods to optimize the life and growth of both, building their critical thinking and problem solving skills at the same time.
“The Science Education Award Program has given me the opportunity to give my students the chance to see science in action to come up with solutions to problems the world is facing today,” Hoang said. “Science is real, applicable, and interesting, and I am very grateful and happy that this program is giving my students and I the opportunity to delve deeper in to science in new and exciting ways.”
The Forum recently celebrated its 50th anniversary, raising critical resources each year to support the work of the Texas Biomedical Research Institute. The awards for teacher proposals by the two organizations have totaled over $400,000 over the history of the Science Education Awards program.
Beginning with the 2021-2022 school year, awards will go to college scholarships for students.. Through a partnership with the Bexar County Scholarship Clearing House, students will for the first time have the opportunity to apply. The new Science Education Award Scholarships will be one-time, merit-based awards each ranging from $500 to $20,000. Awards for each year may total $40,000. A successful applicant must be a senior graduating from a Bexar County or contiguous county High School, must have a GPA of 3.5 or better and must intend to pursue a college curriculum directed towards a degree in Science. Applications can be submitted in conjunction with the Minnie Stevens Piper Foundation () and will be due in November of 2021.
Since 1970, the women of the Texas Biomedical Forum have been working to educate the South Texas community about the groundbreaking work that is ongoing at the Texas Biomedical Research Institute through community relations, volunteer services and fundraising. The V.H. McNutt Foundation supports research and education in the sciences, and has partnered with the Forum for approximately thirty years.