The Tennessee Valley Authority, in partnership with Bicentennial Volunteers Inc., a TVA retiree organization, is awarding $1 million in grants to educators in public schools to develop science, technology, engineering, and math education projects across the Tennessee Valley.
“TVA is committed to supporting STEM education to help develop today’s students into tomorrow’s engineers, scientists and IT professionals,” said Jeannette Mills, TVA executive vice president and chief external relations officer. “It’s inspiring to be able to contribute to the innovators of the next generation."
The competitive STEM classroom grant program is operated in partnership with the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network managed by the Battelle organization. The program received 336 grant applications this year, and 233 were selected for funding. More than 106,000 students across the Valley will be directly impacted by the program.
“The Tennessee STEM Innovation Network is honored to partner with TVA in this exciting grant program to further STEM education endeavors across the state,” said Brandi Stroecker, network director. “This opportunity can make the difference for educators and students as they incorporate 21st century skills and real-world problem solving. It is a privilege to work with this partnership year after year and continue to serve the incredible educators of the Tennessee Valley.”
“Despite the continuing pandemic-related challenges that Valley teachers faced in 2021, they are focused on providing the best STEM education possible and have adjusted to new ways of teaching,” said TVA Community Engagement Senior Program Manager Rachel Crickmar. “I am proud of the partnerships we have built with these amazing educators across the Tennessee Valley, and we are pleased to provide some support through this program.”
Grants are awarded in urban and rural areas to meet the diverse needs of local communities. For example, Athens City Middle School, in McMinn County, and served by Athens Utilities Board, received a grant to help students learn about the importance of healthy water and food. The grant will help students become “greener” in their daily activities, with the investment of rain barrels to collect water and help the school’s community garden grow.
In Huntsville, served by Huntsville Utilities, Morris Middle School will create an outdoor classroom and living laboratory that will provide habitat for wildlife. The outdoor classroom will include hands-on learning activities to allow students to use multidisciplinary skills for math, science, social studies and language arts.
Teachers can 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 development, and community problem-solving. Schools that receive funding must receive their power from a local power company served by TVA.
In Edmonson County, Ky., Edmonson County High School, served by Warren RECC, received a grant last year to buy robotics equipment so students could learn robotic building and programming. This year’s grant will enable students to learn additional programming language and introduce the programmability of robots to perform tasks through the use of sensors. Students will also be introduced to the process of designing and manufacturing robotics parts using a 3D printer to solve problems.
A full list of the grant recipients can be found at www.tvastem.com.