Duke Energy Foundation invests $300,000 in STEM in Indiana

The science education nonprofit Duke Energy Foundation has awarded more than $300,000 in grants to 24 K-12 programs across Indiana in an effort to strengthen science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education programs and to address learning loss during COVID-19, the organization announced this month.

According to a press release, the funding will go towards summer reading and STEM programs for low-income and underserved students at Clark, Daviess, Hamilton, Hendricks, Henry, Howard, Huntington, Jefferson, Johnson, Knox, Lawrence , Monroe, Morgan, Ripley, Shelby, Tippecanoe and Vigo counties. The funding will provide students with equipment and materials for courses focusing on artificial intelligence, robotics and coding, as well as 3D printers for engineering courses, among other uses.

“Our educators and students face tremendous teaching and learning challenges as we emerge from the pandemic,” Stan Pinegar, president of Duke Energy Indiana, said in a public statement. “It’s more important than ever to support and invest in opportunities for our children in the communities we serve so they can thrive and reach their full potential.”

Over the past three years, according to the announcement, the foundation has awarded more than $1.1 million to nonprofit educational organizations throughout Indiana. Speaking on behalf of the Maker Youth Foundation, one of this year’s recipients, founder Kim Brand said the funding will help them expand programming to reach more students than ever before.

“Through fun, hands-on activities, we try to inspire kids to adopt a ‘maker’s mindset,’ or the belief that they can learn to do anything,” Brand said in a public statement. “Our mission is to help them develop timeless skills like curiosity, collaboration and problem solving that will set them on the path to success.”

Other recipients this year include:

  • Hanover College in Jefferson County, which will use $15,000 for its STEM enrichment program, aimed at increasing college enrollment among underserved high school graduates and introducing them to STEM careers.

  • Indiana State University (statewide), which received $40,000 to support Indiana State University’s Power of Reading and Power of Math Summits, where teachers can learn from nationally recognized experts on “new techniques and research to help improve teaching and student outcomes in kindergarten through 12th grade.

  • Ivy Tech Foundation in Vigo County, using $10,000 to facilitate the annual Cob and Cog competition held on the Terre Haute campus of Ivy Tech Community College, encouraging high school students to solve STEM-related challenges that require “problem-solving, teamwork, strong communication efficiency and ingenuity.

  • Kokomo School Corporation in Howard County, which won $20,000 for her summer READ UP with STEM! Discovery program for students entering K-3 to encourage them to read about STEM-related topics over the summer.

  • The Maker Youth Foundation of Hamilton County received $27,230 for its “Saturn Program: A Renewable Energy Mobile Field Experience and Design Challenge,” which teaches high school students in Hamilton County about renewable energy technologies.

  • Mitchell Community Schools of Lawrence County received $14,274 for advanced digital fabrication and STEM programming supplies at Shoals Middle School, Burris Elementary School, and Orleans Elementary School, such as a dye-sublimation printer and heat press; a laser engraving and cutting machine; and microelectronic kits.
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