For Jack Weyland, a physics professor at Ricks College in Rexburg, Idaho, summer has become the most rewarding season of the year. During his vacation, he spends several weeks teaching science classes to American Indian youngsters at a camp run by the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology in Rapid City, S.D. The camp is funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation as part of a program launched in 1992.

"There are a couple of reasons I do this," says Weyland, 53. "First, it's really exciting. It's a way for me get into their culture.

"And there are some objective reasons for doing it. There's been a demographic shift in the country. There needs to be a larger percentage of minority students encouraged to go into science and engineering."

Hoping to foster more interest in the sciences among United States youth in general, particularly among minorities, NSF...

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