New Science Education Program Responds to President's Call to Help Young People Excel in Science Astellas Launches Science WoRx Program Aimed to Ignite Students' Passion for Science and Cultivate the Next Generation of Scientists

DEERFIELD, Ill., May 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Today Astellas Pharma US, Inc. ("Astellas") announced the launch of "Science WoRx," a program designed to help science teachers inspire the next generation of scientists. The program features a hands-on education and mentoring program, an online resource portal and online networking communities. In addition, Science WoRx is hosting a competition, "Make My LabWoRx," inviting science teachers to submit their favorite original lesson plans for a chance to win lab equipment for their school.

Astellas' announcement follows the launch of President Obama's "Educate to Innovate" campaign, which signals a significant unmet need to improve students' performance in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects. Recent studies reveal that U.S. students are trailing behind other developed countries in science literacy. In the latest Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) comparison study, U.S. students ranked 21st out of 30 in science literacy among developed countries.(1)  

In addition, according to the Lemelsen-MIT Invention Index, approximately one-third of teens indicate that they are discouraged from pursuing a career in STEM fields because they do not know anyone who works in these fields or understand what people in these fields do.(2)

"Science WoRx was developed to address the critical need for more resources in the classroom. The future Nobel Laureates in chemistry and medicine are sitting in our classrooms," said Seigo Kashii, president and CEO of Astellas Pharma US, Inc. "Our hope is that Science WoRx will provide teachers with the support they need to help prepare the world's pipeline of future scientists."

A core component of Science WoRx is Science Pro, a Chicago-area, hands-on education and mentoring program that connects Astellas scientists with students in the classroom through live demonstrations on human health and science. To fully engage students, the Science Pros illustrate how the scientific method applies to everyday, practical situations and solutions.

"My interest in science began when I was a child. I am an example of the tremendous potential that science teachers have to inspire their students and create a lifelong interest in the subject," says Dr. Robert Kernstock, Principal Scientist, Clinical Pharmacology & Translational Science and Astellas Science Pro. "I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to support our local science teachers through Science WoRx, and take part in encouraging the next generation of scientists."  

In addition to Science Pro, Science WoRx offers teachers nationwide an online resource portal – ScienceWoRx.org – where science educators can find valuable information on human health and medicine and access resources from leading science education partners National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) and iBIO Institute, including lesson plans and classroom instruction resources. Digitally savvy teachers may join the Science WoRx online communities including Twitter and Facebook to connect with peers, exchange insights and learn about the latest science breakthroughs.

Headquartered in Deerfield, IL, Astellas' creation of the Science WoRx program in the U.S. represents one of the key initiatives the company is undertaking to support science education. Astellas has a longstanding tradition of support for science education, and is entering its third year of support for the NSTA's New Science Teacher Academy by sponsoring 15 local area science teachers to participate in the national, year-long professional development initiative. The program promotes quality science teaching by connecting new science teachers to a range of tools and resources, while providing the essential support needed to build a strong foundation for science in their classrooms.

For more information, teachers can visit www.ScienceWoRx.org, www.Facebook.com/ScienceWoRx and Science WoRx on Twitter @ScienceWoRx.

About Astellas

Astellas' culture and brand is committed to building community, helping others, encouraging integrity and inspiring people to make a difference, today, tomorrow and every day. Astellas Pharma US, Inc., located in Deerfield, Illinois, is a U.S. affiliate of Tokyo-based Astellas Pharma Inc. Astellas is a pharmaceutical company dedicated to improving the health of people around the world through the provision of innovative and reliable pharmaceutical products. The organization is committed to becoming a global category leader in focused areas by combining outstanding R&D and marketing capabilities. In the U.S., Astellas markets products in the areas of Anti-Infectives, Cardiology, Dermatology, Neuroscience, Transplant, and Urology. For more information about Astellas Pharma US, Inc., please visit our website at www.astellas.us.

(1) Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA): Science Competencies for Tomorrow's World, 2006. Available at: http://www.oecd.org/document/2/0,3343,en_32252351_32236191_39718850_1_1_1_1,00.html

(2) Massachusetts Institute of Technology 2009 Lemelsen-MIT Invention Index, MIT News "Teens prepared for math, science careers, yet lack mentors" January 7, 2009.  http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2009/lemelson-teens-0107.html

SOURCE Astellas Pharma US, Inc.



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