NEW YORK, Jan. 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- MetLife Foundation today announced five grants, totaling $1,175,000, awarded to science museums for innovative initiatives that engage youth in science learning. Through this grant program, MetLife Foundation is helping prepare a new generation of Americans for careers in science and technology by leveraging and expanding the resources of leading science museums that reach large and diverse populations. These museums have been selected for their leadership, excellence in educational programming, and the potential for replication and national impact of their proposed projects.
Scientific literacy provides a necessary foundation for all Americans to fully consider common national and global concerns, including health care, climate change, and national security, and it's paramount to maintaining the United States' technological leadership and competitive advantage. Despite its importance, student participation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics is declining, with science literacy of U.S. teenage students ranking 19th out of 29 among industrial nations, putting the U.S. at a distinct disadvantage. These five museums are committed to combating this trend by providing engaging opportunities for children and adults to learn about science and all its possibilities.
"We believe that science museums play a vital role in inspiring scientific inquiry and providing an interactive environment for learning and exploration," said Dennis White, president and CEO of MetLife Foundation. "We have a longstanding tradition of supporting science museums and initiatives that promote lifelong learning, and we are pleased to help meet the critical need to encourage and prepare our nation's youth to pursue careers in science and technology."
Grants were made to the following organizations:
- Exploratorium (San Francisco, Calif.) will pilot Public Tinkering Studios, a "first-of-its-kind space" for children, families, and teachers to come together and employ a range of science skills to design, create and construct a wide range of inventions. In addition, Studio staff will work with educators from science museums across the country to build a network of museums dedicated to promoting interactive science learning.
- Miami Science Museum (Miami, Fla.) will forge a major partnership with Big Brothers and Big Sisters to launch an innovative pilot program, Tripod, that brings together mentoring, science education, and support services for youth. Hands-on workshops will actively engage youth and mentors in the process of science, and real-world, outdoor environments will serve as living classrooms, engaging the entire family in science learning through field expeditions.
- Museum of Science and Industry (Chicago, Ill.) will partner with schools, community organizations, and the City of Chicago to extend science learning beyond the classroom by providing science-focused, innovative curricula and staff training to after-school programs. Teens will also be provided opportunities to develop job skills, expand their understanding of science, and consider science-related careers through a range of activities, including internships in the community.
- New York Hall of Science (Queens, N.Y.) will develop a new science inquiry program for students and teachers that will include field-trips, sequential hands-on workshops at the museum, and teacher professional development.
- Pacific Science Center (Seattle, Wash.) will expand its award-winning Discovery Corps program, which trains high school students through hands-on science learning and professional-development workshops, to inspire interest in science, math, and technology. Discovery Corps targets students from underserved areas, providing them with valuable job and leadership experience, as well as one-on-one mentoring.
About MetLife Foundation
MetLife Foundation was established by MetLife to continue the company's long tradition of corporate contributions and community involvement. Grants are made to support health, educational, civic and cultural organizations and programs. The Foundation contributes to arts and cultural organizations, with an emphasis on increasing opportunities for young people, reaching broad audiences through inclusive programming, and making arts more accessible for all people. For more information, please visit www.metlife.org.
SOURCE MetLife Foundation