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Merck: History and Organizational Information

After in-depth research on science education reform, Merck & Co., Inc. established the Merck Institute for Science Education in 1992 to coordinate and focus Merck's precollege science education efforts. Merck's Board of Directors mandated this 10-year, $20 million initiative to improve the quality of science teaching during the formative years of kindergarten through eighth grade. The Institute receives its funding through the Merck Company Foundation.

In establishing the Institute, the company undertook a national search-to identify and recruit a director capable of leading this effort. The decision was made to actively seek not only a scientist with proven leadership ability, but also an accomplished teacher with extensive experience in education.

Dr. Carlo Parravano was chosen as the first director of the Institute. When he was selected, he was Professor of Chemistry and Chair of the Division of Natural Sciences at the State University of New York in Purchase, and also Director of the Center for Mathematics and Science Education there. The Center sponsored summer and weekend professional development programs for teachers and science programs for students. Throughout his long involvement in pre-college education reform initiatives, Dr. Parravano was awarded numerous grants, among them awards from the National Science Foundation and the DeWitt Wallace Reader's Digest Fund.

Since his appointment to the Institute, Dr. Parravano has recruited staff with special expertise in education and science. Among them are individuals with advanced degrees in science and extensive experience in conducting workshops for elementary teachers, a professional development specialist, and a technical professional formerly employed in the Merck Research Laboratories.

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