WHIPPANY, N.J., April 27, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- As the nation celebrates National Volunteer Week, Bayer today said that it will blast through its goal of providing 1 million hands-on science experiences to children in the United States by the year 2020. Since announcing the five-year goal in 2015, which then-President Obama highlighted during remarks on the White House lawn, Bayer has provided an astounding 555,634 engaging science experiences to U.S. students with the goal of stirring the next generation of scientists and innovators.
"When we first announced our five-year commitment, we knew it was an ambitious goal," said Phil Blake, President of Bayer U.S. "But we were ready for the challenge. We understood the positive impact that hands-on science learning has on students. Thanks to the hard work and dedication of our U.S. employees, we are showing students that science is all around them; that it can be fun; and that it doesn't have to be intimidating."
Blake said achieving the goal, which was timed to the 20th anniversary of Bayer's award-winning Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) initiative, Making Science Make Sense® (MSMS), became a top priority for the company and has driven its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) efforts.
MSMS, which advances science literacy across the U.S. through hands-on, inquiry-based learning, employee volunteerism, community partnerships and public education, was instrumental in helping the company reach the halfway mark. Bayer employees throughout New Jersey, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Missouri, Kansas, California, Texas, Minnesota and West Virginia, and all across the nation have visited classrooms and fairs conducting experiments and encouraging students to pursue careers in science. Today, MSMS benefits thousands of students through science experiments such as "Sticky-Icky," "Balloon Skewers," "Ice Cream Chemistry," and the ever popular, crowd-pleasing "Alka-Rockets." These experiments can be found at makingsciencemakesense.com.
"Students learn science by doing science," is often the mantra of Dr. Mae C. Jemison, the first African-American woman to go into space and chief ambassador of MSMS since the program was formalized in 1995.
In addition to MSMS, Blake said the company's collaboration with National PTA has been instrumental in helping Bayer get closer to the 1 million mark.
In 2015, the National PTA and Bayer USA Foundation launched a national effort to engage entire families in STEM education by delivering 100,000 hands-on STEM experiences – both in schools and at home – by 2018. The effort led to National PTA's creation of the STEM Plus Families initiative, of which Bayer is the founding and presenting sponsor, along with sponsors Mathnasium and Microsoft. The premise of STEM Plus Families is that including families as meaningful partners is critical to improve STEM education and bridge the STEM gap.
"For more than 20 years, Bayer has provided high-quality, meaningful STEM experiences to children through its Making Science Make Sense initiative," said Laura Bay, president of National PTA. "National PTA is thrilled to collaborate with Bayer to increase access to STEM experiences for all students and inspire the next generation of STEM professionals by engaging entire families in STEM education."
Additional programs instrumental in keeping Bayer on track to providing 1 million science learning experiences by 2020 were other Bayer USA Foundation grantees including:
- A $500,000 grant to ASSET STEM Education which supports STEM education improvement. ASSET equips educators to facilitate hands-on, student-driven learning through inquiry-based teacher professional development and research-based instructional materials for students throughout 15 states impacting 2,500 educators and more than 150,000 students. This funding also provides access to ASSET's program for under-resourced schools and organizations.
One grateful teacher explained, "Through the materials provided to us, kids are able to see science come to life and they actually touch and feel it."
- A $200,000 grant to Students 2 Science, a model program in New Jersey that bridges the needs of the public and private sectors by providing an authentic, state-of-the-art laboratory experience complete with modern instrumentation and professional scientists.
"Our partnership with Bayer has been tremendously successful," said Dr. Paul A. Winslow, president and co-founder, Students 2 Science. "Over the past three years, our students, many of whom are from underserved districts in New Jersey, have conducted over 42,000 hands-on experiments that encourage critical thinking, problem- and project-based learning, and career exploration in STEM fields. We look forward to continuing our collaboration with Bayer in improving scientific literacy through the United States and preparing our next generation of STEM leaders and innovators."
- A $150,000 grant to create a new children's exhibit focused on pollinators to open in 2018 within the National Agricultural Center & Hall of Fame in Bonner Springs, Kan.
"Agriculture is faced with many challenges and we need to develop the next generation of STEM leaders to solve those issues," said Dawn Gabel, executive director of the National Agriculture Center & Hall of Fame. "Through our partnership with Bayer, we have the support we need to engage children in exciting, hands-on opportunities that teach them about how our food grows."
- A $105,000 grant to Project Lead The Way (PLTW), which provides a transformative learning experience for K-12 students and teachers across the U.S. by creating an engaging, hands-on classroom environment that empowers students to develop the in-demand knowledge and skills they need to thrive in our evolving world. The funding supports the PLTW Biomedical Science high school program.
"Thanks to Bayer's support and generosity, thousands of students will have the opportunity to experience PLTW's transformative Biomedical Science program and develop the knowledge and skills to thrive in college and their careers," said PLTW Senior Vice President and Chief Partnerships Officer Rex Bolinger. "We are extremely grateful for their support and leadership which will impact students for years to come."
- A $75,000 grant to the foundation of the East Bay Economic Development Association (EDA) to scale and replicate CIRCLe Labs at the East Oakland YMCA and other pilot sites in California. The grant also provides resources to coordinate STEM career access and awareness in the region. It includes operational support to develop a formal STEM implementation plan and communications strategies; early childhood math literacy programs; neighborhood CIRCLe Labs where STEM professionals work with teachers, non-profit organizations and community leaders to promote STEM education and careers; and opportunities for employer-led and employer-influenced engagement for students to STEM-related skill development, internships, jobs and careers.
- A $75,000 grant to Level Playing Field Institute to support the Berkeley, Stanford and Sacramento Summer Math and Science Honors Academy (SMASH) programs that prepare underrepresented high school students for college studies, degrees, and careers in STEM fields.
Level Playing Field Institute's CEO Eli Kennedy noted, "The past 14 years of SMASH programming has proven that hands-on, in-depth, experiential STEM learning not only inspires young people to choose STEM majors and STEM careers, but also inspires them to 'design the future' and find innovative solutions for their communities' most pressing problems."
Bayer: Science For A Better Life
Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the Life Science fields of health care and agriculture. Its products and services are designed to benefit people and improve their quality of life. At the same time, the Group aims to create value through innovation, growth and high earning power. Bayer is committed to the principles of sustainable development and to its social and ethical responsibilities as a corporate citizen. In fiscal 2016, the Group employed around 115,200 people and had sales of EUR 46.8 billion. Capital expenditures amounted to EUR 2.6 billion, R&D expenses to EUR 4.7 billion. These figures include those for the high-tech polymers business, which was floated on the stock market as an independent company named Covestro on October 6, 2015. For more information, go to www.bayer.us.
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