New Leadership for Massachusetts Academy

Contact: WPI Media Relations, 508-831-5616

WORCESTER, Mass.-James Hamos of Shrewsbury, Mass., has been appointed director of the Massachusetts Academy of Mathematics and Science at WPI. In recent years, Hamos has been director of the Office of Science Education and an associate professor of cell biology at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center (UMMC). A native of Budapest, Hungary, Hamos earned a bachelor's degree in biology at the University of Pennsylvania and a doctorate in anatomy at Ohio State University. Previously a researcher on issues related to Alzheimer's disease and director of an Alzheimer's Disease Brain Donation Program, Hamos will continue to manage several grant-funded outreach efforts at UMMC while propelling the Massachusetts Academy into the forefront of education reform initiatives in the region.

Established in 1992 by the Massachusetts Legislature, the academy is a public high school on the WPI campus for students in grades 11 and 12 with exceptionally high aptitude in mathematics and science. "I hope to continue to expand access to the academy for students from all backgrounds," says Hamos. To date, the academy (which offers these students a unique opportunity to delve into these disciplines) has graduated 167 students from 65 Central Massachusetts cities and towns.

As director of UMMC's Office of Science Education, Hamos directed outreach efforts to support science education in the Worcester Public Schools and in school systems throughout the commonwealth. "As a career scientist, I have perceived that the scientific community has much to offer precollege science education," he says, "both in terms of scientists who enjoy demonstrating science to young students and in the fundamental sense that science as practiced in the laboratory is vastly different and exciting compared to the volumes of scientific facts that students are typically expected to master.

"My hope in coming to the academy is to work with educators and students in immersion experiences in mathematics and science that reveal the exploratory nature of these fields and their relationships to other disciplines. I hope, then, that the academy's incubator approach to novel education might impact secondary schools throughout the commonwealth."

Hamos will continue many of his duties at the UMMC Office of Science Education. "This arrangement is one WPI believes will greatly enrich mathematics and science education for grades K-12 in central Massachusetts," says Lance Schachterle, assistant provost for academic affairs.