NASHVILLE, Tenn. ― The Tennessee Valley Authority, in partnership with Bicentennial Volunteers Incorporated (a TVA retiree organization), announced this week the award of over $580,000 in grants to educators in public schools to develop STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education projects all across the Tennessee Valley.
The competitive 2018 Mini-Grant Program, operated in partnership with Battelle Education, opened on Dec. 7, 2018, and received more than 240 grant requests from across TVA’s seven-state service territory.
“When we kicked this grant program off, we weren’t sure what to expect,” said Community Relations Program Manager Rachel Crickmar. “Needless to say, it’s not just Tennessee Valley Authority that understands that excellence in education is the key to our future. We were surprised at how many grant applications we received, but it goes to show there is a demand in the Valley for workforce development through STEM education. I am proud that our retirees are partnering with us to respond to that demand.”
Among the 161 grant awards was “The Copper Basin Environment, Ecosystem, and Food Project” at Copper Basin Elementary school in Copperhill, Tennessee. Students will focus on understanding the local environment and ecosystem to create and maintain adequate ecosystems and environments for crop and plant growth. The grant will allow fifth and sixth grade students to utilize the tools necessary to conduct a multi-semester study of the local environment including testing soil and water samples to determine nutrient content and analyzing the data to compare against the best methods of regularly producing high yields of food.
Another project that received funding is in Memphis, Tennessee, where students at Havenview Middle School will be exploring STEM career options by participating in learning activities that directly connect to the responsibilities of a crime scene investigator, forensic anthropologist, forensic pathologist, and a forensic engineer.
“Every teacher needs something different to take learning in their classroom to the next level,” said Aimee Kennedy, senior vice-president for Education and Philanthropy at Battelle Education. “Through the TVA’s generosity, educators all over the Tennessee Valley get to choose just what they need to expand STEM for their students.”
Across the Valley, educators submitted projects large and small, to further their STEM education initiatives in the classroom.
“The projects were all across the STEM spectrum,” said Crickmar. “We had entries for things like safety goggles for science labs, but we also had projects like engineering and building solar powered drones. It was a great cross-section of projects, very representative of life in the Valley.”
The competitive grant program provided teachers an opportunity to apply for funding up to $5,000 and preference was given to grant applications that explored TVA’s primary areas of focus: environment, energy, economic and career development and community problem solving. Schools who receive grant funding must receive their power from a TVA distributor.
“The goal of the program was to help further STEM education across the Valley,” said Crickmar. “We knew this program would be popular and competitive and now we’re are looking forward to seeing the impact these projects have.”
A full list of the grant recipients can be found at www.tvastem.com.
The Tennessee Valley Authority is a corporate agency of the United States that provides electricity for business customers and local power companies serving nearly 10 million people in parts of seven southeastern states. TVA receives no taxpayer funding, deriving virtually all of its revenues from sales of electricity. In addition to operating and investing its revenues in its electric system, TVA provides flood control, navigation and land management for the Tennessee River system and assists local power companies and state and local governments with economic development and job creation.
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