NASHVILLE, Tenn. ― The Tennessee Valley Authority, in partnership with Bicentennial Volunteers Incorporated, a TVA retiree organization, announced this week the award of $600,000 in grants to educators in public schools to develop science, technology, engineering, and math education projects all across the Tennessee Valley.
The competitive STEM classroom grant program, operated in partnership with Battelle Education, received more than 290 grant requests from across TVA’s seven state service territory.
“This is the second year we offered this program to the entire Valley and we saw a major increase in grant applications this year,” said Community Engagement Senior Program Manager Rachel Crickmar. “There is a demand in the Valley for workforce development through STEM education and I am proud of the way TVA and our retirees are responding to that demand.”
“Thanks to this continued support, students in six states will experience hands-on learning in new and exciting ways,” said Wes Hall, interim senior vice president for Education and Philanthropy at Battelle. “TVA and BVI are growing awareness of STEM education and its importance throughout the Valley.
Among the 142 grant awards is “Aquaponics Workforce” at Mount Juliet High School in Mount Juliet, Tennessee. Students will benefit from work-based learning with the aquaponics tanks. “Having funding for this versatile project is a great boost to our agriculture program,” said teacher Lindsay Nicholas. “Students will be setting rations and balances, weighing fish, monitoring nutrition, learning food processing and testing water and pH. Ag classes will also be keeping up with care and maintenance of the fish and water and will be learning to cycle fish manure to use as fertilizer for plants in the greenhouse. It truly is a project that every Ag class can have part in to learn how to manage a whole system.”
Another project that received funding is in rural Byrdstown, Tennessee, where first year math teacher, Maria Holt, is excited to answer the question she is often asked by students, “When will I ever use this math?” “Telling student the benefits of math and showing them are two different things. I’m excited that I will be able to purchase equipment to use for projects where students can see how math is used in some of the careers they might be interested in pursuing. Thanks to TVA and BVI, I now have the tools to increase students’ drive and motivation in mathematics.”
In New Albany, Mississippi, the vision of New Albany School District is "Preparing ALL for Success." That is what New Albany Middle School will be doing with their grant. The school plans to implement and “IMAGINE STEM Lab” that all students will rotate through on a weekly basis as part of their technology seminar classes. This project will allow all students of all academic abilities to have access to hands-on STEM learning.
Across the valley, educators submitted projects large and small, to further STEM education initiatives in the classroom.
“The projects were all across the STEM spectrum,” said Crickmar. “We had requests for traditional things like science lab and robotics equipment, but we also had projects where students are challenged with designing energy efficient housing and building prototypes of inventions created to assist senior citizens in their communities. We had a great cross-section of applications that were 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.
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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