Our Story

About Van Andel Education Institute

Established by Jay and Betty Van Andel in 1996 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Van Andel Institute (VAI) is an independent nonprofit biomedical research and science education organization committed to improving the health and enhancing the lives of current and future generations. Van Andel Education Institute (VAEI), the education division of VAI, is dedicated to strengthening science education through programs that provide hands-on, inquiry-based learning opportunities across the educational spectrum, from elementary to high school to teachers. VAEI offers major scientific programs to engage students, teachers, and community members in science and promote science-related fields for all children, regardless of gender, race or socioeconomic status. 

Why Science?

More and more employers are looking for employees who have basic competence in science, technology, and mathematics. Yet numerous studies conclude that the United States is losing its preeminent position in science and technology in the world, and in a recent National Science Foundation survey, only 25 percent of the elementary school teachers participating reported that they felt qualified to teach science.

VAEI responds to the national need for stronger science and technology education to strengthen the United States’ world position in these areas. Our programs also help to meet future biomedical and health care employment needs in the local community as Grand Rapids, Michigan grows a “health mecca.”

Van Andel Research Institute works to eradicate disease to give hope to patients and their families. Van Andel Education Institute works to provide future scientists to continue to enhance lives through research.