COLUMBUS, Ohio, April 29, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The Army Educational Outreach Program (AEOP), in collaboration with Battelle, has awarded grants to eight organizations and technical associations to expand student participation in enriching science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) exploration and learning, particularly for underserved students. AEOP offers students and teachers Army-sponsored programs that effectively engage, inspire and attract the next generation of STEM talent.
Through AEOP's suite of programs, students from elementary school to college, representing all proficiency levels and ethnic, economic and academic backgrounds, participate in real-world experiences involving STEM disciplines. Scientists, technology experts, engineers and mathematicians, who act as mentors and guides, introduce students to the various opportunities in STEM fields through hands-on experiences and provide advice for technical skill development and career planning.
"By leveraging strong local networks, we will provide even more students with high-quality experiences that deepen their engagement with science and expose them to the wide variety and opportunity offered by STEM careers," said Jeffrey Singleton, Director of Basic Research, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Technology or ASA(ALT). "These partnerships will leverage critical programs already proven to help students reach their potential."
AEOP's new partners were selected specifically for their leadership in STEM learning and outreach to African-American, Hispanic, female and military-connected students. Together with these federal, academic and industry partners, the Army seeks to strategically work investments together so that its programs provide the highest quality experiences and contribute to an exceptionally prepared workforce. Bringing together the strongest thought and strategic partners also allows the Army's programs to better reflect the best of our diverse nation.
"Mentorship and hands-on learning opportunities allow students to step into the role of the engineer, inventor or scientist, and begin a path toward a future in STEM," said Aimee Kennedy, Vice President, Education, STEM Learning, & Philanthropy at Battelle. "Expanding these opportunities for students of all backgrounds and zip codes also ensures a more diverse pool of future innovators."
The grantees will each receive awards ranging from $45,000 to $52,000 to facilitate meaningful collaboration that will ultimately integrate with or enhance the suite of opportunities already offered by AEOP. Grants will be awarded on a rolling basis. First-round recipients include:
DC STEM Network, Carnegie Academy for Science Education (Washington, D.C.): The DC STEM Network will align its STEM Teacher Leader Cadre (STEM TLC), Network Ambassadors and digital communications to create a three-fold, comprehensive strategy to reach more than 3,000 D.C.-area students, parents and teachers.
EduCare Foundation (Van Nuys, Calif.): EduCare's STEM Pilot Project will serve at-‐risk, underserved middle and high school youth from ten Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) schools. EduCare's STEM Pilot Project is a unique project that builds the STEM proficiencies, skills, and knowledge of youth, while developing necessary life skills for youth to pursue and be successful in STEM careers. EduCare will create a comprehensive, coordinated STEM program that incorporates AEOP's Junior Solar Sprint (JSS), eCYBERMISSION, and Junior Science and Humanities Symposia (JSHS) programs. It serves as an introduction of AEOP and the beginning of a process of integrating the entire AEOP portfolio within LAUSD's after school STEM programming.
Harmony Public Schools (Houston, Texas): Harmony Public Schools is a network of high-performing K-12 public charter schools across Texas that operates 46 high-quality schools serving a diverse student population of 30,000: 61 percent of students receive free or reduced price lunch and 70 percent are under-represented minorities. Harmony plans to take part in an integrated suite of AEOP offerings with 400 students in grades 5-12, with the goal of training 40 STEM teachers to guide students to take part in AEOP programs and create awareness of STEM careers.
Research Foundation for the State University of New York - System Admin. (Albany, N.Y.): The State University of New York (SUNY) is planning to scale-up the highly successful AEOP eCYBERMISSION initiative in New York State through afterschool programs in collaboration with the New York Academy of Sciences and SUNY colleges and universities using the infrastructure established though the National Science Foundation- funded SUNY/New York Academy of Sciences Afterschool STEM Mentoring Program. SUNY will partner with the Academy to train SUNY graduate students in STEM programs to mentor middle school teams in three New York regions, New York City, Syracuse, and Utica, participating in eCYBERMISSION projects.
Society of Women Engineers (SWE) (Chicago, Ill.): SWE will support the expansion of its outreach programming for 5,000 K-12 girls nationwide and 750 K-12 STEM educators in order to engage, inspire and attract the next generation of talent in engineering and technology. While girls are traditionally underrepresented within STEM, and especially engineering, SWE is also committed to supporting girls from underserved communities. Through its existing and expanded programming, SWE will continue to work with organizations that provide services to underrepresented and underserved youth and will promote AEOP Programs (especially eCYBERMISSION, Camp Invention and RESET) to its students and teachers.
Tiger Woods Foundation (TWF) (Irvine, Calif.): TWF will enhance AEOP's programs, specifically UNITE, GEMS and JSHS, by promoting these and other AEOP programs to TWF's network of 10,000 students and 500 teachers nationwide. Through its award-winning STEM Professional Development Program, TWF projects serving 100,000 students over the next five years. TWF also has an extensive history of working with and serving the military through its programming at Marine Corps Base Quantico. In addition, with programs for underserved youth in Washington, D.C., Orange County, Calif., and Stuart, Fla., and a strategic plan to serve 1,000,000 students by 2020.
Sanford Research (Sioux Falls, S.D.): STEMwise Communities: Building STEM Literacy through Community Problem Based Learning and eCYBERMISSION will create a series of workshops across South Dakota to inform and build teacher confidence in the use of community Problem Based Learning (PBL) in their classrooms and to create lasting partnerships between STEM educators and professionals.
TechBridge (Oakland, Calif.): Techbridge will forge a powerful link between their after-school STEM education programs for girls in Oakland, California and the AEOP Research & Engineering Apprenticeships (REAP) at UC Berkeley, to give these underserved girls deeper exposure to STEM skills, careers and role models. Techbridge will engage 70 high school girls from low-income communities in a year-long after-school program and introduce them to a broad array of STEM disciplines.
About AEOP: The Army Educational Outreach Program (AEOP) is comprised of Army-sponsored research, education, competitions, internships, and practical experiences designed to engage and guide students and teachers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). From elementary school through graduate school, students at all levels, interests, ethnic, economic, and academic backgrounds are encouraged to participate in hands-on programs in STEM disciplines. More information is available at: www.usaeop.com.