Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the nation’s largest network, is investing more than $100,000 in Indiana students to drive engagement and interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), with many of its grants serving underserved youth.
The foundation has established programs that enable students to explore in STEM in new ways, increase teachers’ efficiency in integrating technology into the classroom and create more personalized learning environments to help students succeed.
“Student interest and proficiency in STEM has been stagnant in the United States, especially among women and minorities, although 80 percent of all jobs over the next decade will require STEM skills,” says Aimee Novak, director of business sales for Verizon in Indiana. “That’s why we are focusing so much of our resources here in Indiana, to get students engaged.”
Verizon Foundation is funding the following initiatives:
- > BALL STATE UNIVERSITY FOUNDATION – MUNCIE, IND. – $15,000 – Ball State University’s goal is to encourage middle school girls in East Central Indiana to pursue challenging careers in STEM areas by engaging them in a powerful program of STEM exploration. The planned events include visits to its cutting-edge planetarium and summer science camp where girls will work in small collaborative teams.
- > PAUL HARDING JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL – FORT WAYNE, IND. – $20,000 – Paul Harding Junior High School plans to extend its robotics program to 290 students throughout the school day. Teachers will incorporate science-based activities across the curriculum to support students mastering critical 21st Century skills: technology, engineering and team-building skills through competitions.
- > INDY LEARNING CENTERS – INDIANA UNIVERSITY-PURDUE UNIVERSITY INDIANAPOLIS (IUPUI) – $30,000 – Indy Learning Centers at IUPUI partners with schools and community-based centers such as the Family, School and Neighborhood Engagement unit to bring IUPUI students on school sites to work with students in grades K-12. The one-on-one tutoring model not only leads to higher grades in STEM studies and literacy while improving college and career readiness, but also builds self-confidence, perseverance and character.
- > INDIANA SCHOOL FOR THE DEAF – INDIANAPOLIS – $20,000 – The Indiana School for the Deaf is offering a unique opportunity to its students to bring manufacturing prototyping to coursework that will feature solving engineering problems through product development and sales. Autodesk AutoCAD, Inventor 3D CAD, SketchUp, Blender and LightWave3D are being taught to create objects for virtual environments.
- > WASHINGTON IRVING SCHOOL 14 – INDIANAPOLIS – $20,000 – Washington Irving School is establishing Project Lead the Way curriculum allowing teachers in grades 2 through 6 to focus on STEM programming. With the help of STEM, the school aims to close the achievement gap for its students in state testing in science and offer enrichment programming after school hours.