SEATTLE, March 6, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Sixth-graders in Cheney will run tests on the community water supply and present their findings to city officials. Students at Rainier Beach High School in Seattle will travel to the Olympic Peninsula to work on the Elwha Dam removal project. And middle school girls in the Spokane area will build a programmable robot to learn practical applications for math.
The projects are among 14 around the state chosen to receive the third wave of Entrepreneur Award grants from Washington STEM, a nonprofit dedicated to advancing science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education across the state. With this round of investments, Washington STEM is now impacting more than 500 teachers and 16,000 students across the state.
"I had a D in science and didn't do much studying, but working with my high school partner helped me work harder," said Everett Greene-Maddelena, an eighth-grader at Markishtum Middle School in Neah Bay who was involved in a 2011 Washington-STEM project. "We also got to go on a research ship and learn about cool stuff, like the tribe's work cleaning sand with mushrooms. I now have a B in science and think I am ready for high school." Growing student success and enthusiasm for STEM has already helped Neah Bay students win $70,000 in a national Samsung Solve for Tomorrow contest. The students have a chance to win more in the contest's final round.
While Washington ranks first in the nation in the concentration of STEM jobs, too few of its students are prepared to pursue STEM degrees and take the jobs our state generates. This disparity stretches back to our elementary schools, where Washington kids typically receive two hours or less of science instruction a week.
"STEM isn't just for scientists and engineers, it's the best ticket to a good job in today's market and virtually the only ticket to a good job in the economy of the future," said Carolyn Landel, Chief Program Officer at Washington STEM. "Entrepreneur Awards celebrate the commitment and innovative spirit of Washington educators who strive to ensure that all kids are prepared to succeed."
Washington STEM Entrepreneur Award grants support breakthrough ideas and promising approaches in STEM education. The one-year investments encourage teachers to take risks, pilot new ideas, and generate promising practices that can be used around the state. Applications for the next round of Entrepreneur Award investments are due May 3.
For those interested in pursuing multi-year STEM projects that develop or expand innovative interventions in STEM, Washington STEM is also opening applications for its second round of Portfolio Awards with letters of inquiry due March 23. To learn more about Entrepreneur and Portfolio Awards, go to www.washingtonstem.org/grantee-application.asp
"My female students use to think that building robots was just for boys," said, Dave Neale, a seventh-grade science and automation and robotics teacher and lead of the Team GEAR Heads, an all-girl robotics club at Mountainside Middle School in Colbert that will be supported by an Entrepreneur Award. "Our club makes it cool for girls to be into math and science."
A complete list of Washington STEM's round three Entrepreneur Award investments can be found online at www.washingtonstem.org/investments.asp
About Washington STEM: Washington STEM is a statewide nonprofit dedicated to advancing innovation, equity, and excellence in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education. Launched in March 2011, Washington STEM partners with education, business, and community leaders to bridge opportunities in education and economy that reimagine STEM education for all students, starting with those most underserved and underrepresented in STEM fields. Learn more at www.washingtonstem.org, join the conversation at Facebook, or follow STEM on Twitter @washingtonstem.
SOURCE Washington STEM