Microscope Donation Helping Students Get a Bigger Picture of STEM
UHD Contributes 11 Microscopes to Wilchester Elementary
By Mike Emery
Students at Wilchester Elementary School will get a bigger picture of STEM education after a recent donation of 11 microscopes from the University of Houston-Downtown’s College of Sciences & Technology.
This gift to Wilchester (part of Spring Branch Independent School District) was made possible following a conversation between Mehdi Esmaeiliyan, UHD Natural Sciences Lab Manager and Instructor and Amanda Dikdan, Family Engagement Liaison at Wilchester Elementary School.
“At some point, Amanda told me that their 5th graders are utilizing microscopes, but most of them were broken,” said Esmaeiliyan. “I told her that I would find out whether UHD could donate some of our used microscopes to her institution. I spoke to Dr. Rachna Sadana, Chair of Natural Sciences, and she was very happy and supportive of this idea.”
Esmaeiliyan and Sadana identified 11 microscopes (with one attached to a camera) to provide to the students at Wilchester Elementary.
“Our teachers and students were so excited to receive such high powered scopes to enhance their curriculum. We feel like we won the lottery,” Dikdan said. “Our students will benefit immensely from this donation for years to come.”
According to Dikdan, the microscopes will enhance the science curriculum at Wilchester and also support students’ projects in the school’s annual science fair.
Assisting with the donation was UHD Property Manager Paul Tiechnor.
“It is very rewarding to see our equipment put to good use by more students,” he said.
According to Sadana, the microscopes are just one example of how UHD and the Department of Natural Sciences promote science to Houston-area students. Likewise, the gift complements UHD’s culture of supporting the community through projects, initiatives and donations such as the one to Wilchester and recent contributions of gloves and lab coats to Methodist Hospital at the onset of COVID-19.
“We hope that hands-on experience with these microscopes will enhance students' interest in science,” she said. “All of us look forward to recruiting these young scientists to UHD in the coming years and preparing them for the STEM workforce.”
The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is the second-largest university in Houston and has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974. As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive, four-year university led by President Loren J. Blanchard. Annually, UHD educates approximately 14,000 students, boasts more than 66,000 alumni, and offers 45 bachelor’s degrees, 12 master’s degrees, and 19 online programs within four colleges: Marilyn Davies College of Business, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Public Service, and College of Sciences and Technology. UHD has one of the lowest tuition rates in Texas.
U.S. News and World Report ranked UHD among the nation’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Applied Administration and Best Online Master’s Programs in Criminal Justice, as well as a Top Performer in Social Mobility. The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse ranked UHD one of the best colleges in the U.S. for its 2024 rankings, with notable distinctions: No. 1 for diversity (tied) and No. 3 for student experience. The University is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, a Minority-Serving Institution, and a Military Friendly School. For more information on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit uhd.edu.