WASHINGTON, Feb. 16, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Society for Science & the Public has received a $250,000 grant from Alcoa Foundation to provide funding for the 2016-2017 Advocate Grant program. The Advocate Grant program is designed to provide support to underrepresented and socioeconomically challenged students across the U.S. who have conducted scientific or engineering research projects, and encourage them to take the next step by submitting their research to a scientific research competition. The funding is designed to expand the number of advocates and students participating in the program as part of a larger goal to increase outreach to underserved communities and diversity within science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) competitions.
Funding from Alcoa Foundation will provide comprehensive support to twenty individuals (such as a teacher, counselor, or mentor) who agree to serve as an advocate for a group of three to five underrepresented students. This program includes a $3,000 grant to each advocate, an opportunity to meet and interact with their cohort both in-person and throughout the program duration, and ongoing training and support from the Society.
The funding expands a two-year pilot program currently in progress, which began with a $100,000 commitment from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation and a matching $100,000 commitment from the Society. The pilot called for the selection of 10 advocates in 2015 and 10 in 2016. Funds from Alcoa Foundation will support an additional 20 slots for advocates to the 2016-2017 program, bringing the total number of advocates to 30 for the program year.
"At the Society, we are committed to expanding the talent pipeline for underserved students to showcase their research," said Maya Ajmera, President and CEO of Society for Science & the Public and publisher of Science News. "We are thrilled to expand our relationship with Alcoa Foundation in support of such a valuable goal and our shared belief that the personalized support advocates provide is vital to encouraging more students to pursue their interests in STEM."
"The Advocate Grant program at Society for Science & the Public strongly aligns with Alcoa Foundation's strategy of increasing student access to STEM opportunities that will help them prepare for their careers," said Ryan Kish, Program Manager, Alcoa Foundation. "Supporting advocates is a great way to contribute to student success, individual confidence, and the building of the future STEM workforce."
The advocates selected will represent organizations that reach an underserved and socio-economically challenged student population who may need additional support in preparing their existing science research projects for competition.
Completing the application process to enter a competition inspires confidence in a student's scientific abilities, provides experience in writing a scientific research paper and offers a stage to present their work to peers, scientists and the public. In addition to building scientific research experience, the monetary awards can improve chances of being accepted into college and help ease the financial burden of post-secondary education. Engaging underrepresented students and diversifying the pool of participants in STEM competitions leads to more career scientists from low-income populations.
In addition to providing grants for advocates, this commitment also includes funds for program evaluation, an in-person convention for the advocates, training, and support. Alcoa Foundation also provides separate funding to the Society for student awards and outreach at educational competitions.
Applications for the Advocate Grant program open on March 1, 2016. For more information or to sign up to be notified when the application opens: https://member.societyforscience.org/ssp-advocate-grant--2016
Society for Science & the Public is one of the nation's oldest non-profit membership organizations dedicated to public engagement in science and science education. Established in 1921, the Society is a leading advocate for the understanding and appreciation of science and the vital role it plays in human advancement. Through its acclaimed education competitions, including the Intel Science Talent Search, the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, and the Broadcom MASTERS, and its award-winning publications, Science News and Science News for Students, the Society is committed to inform, educate, and inspire. The Society reaches more than 15 million people online each year, has more than four million followers across its social media channels, and recognizes more than 50,000 alumni of its competitions. The Society is supported each year by about 90,000 subscribing members and donors as well as by leading corporations, foundations, and other institutions.
About Alcoa Foundation
Alcoa Foundation is one of the largest corporate foundations in the U.S., with assets of approximately $480 million. Founded 64 years ago, Alcoa Foundation has invested more than $635 million in communities worldwide. In 2015, Alcoa Foundation contributed more than $22 million to nonprofit organizations throughout the world, building innovative partnerships to improve the environment and educate tomorrow's leaders for careers in manufacturing and engineering. The work of Alcoa Foundation is further enhanced by Alcoa's thousands of employee volunteers who share their talents and time to make a difference in the communities where Alcoa operates. Through the Company's signature Month of Service program, in 2015, 47 percent of Alcoa employees took part in 1,000 events across 24 countries, benefiting more than 300,000 people and 400 nonprofit organizations. For more information, visit alcoafoundation.com and follow @AlcoaFoundation on Twitter.
SOURCE Society for Science & the Public