BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) – 10 middle school teachers from eight states are currently taking part in the National STEM Scholar Program on Western Kentucky University’s Campus.
The program was created in partnership between the National Stem Cell Foundation and the Gatton Academy of Math and Science.
Ten teachers are selected each year from a national pool of applicants based solely on the description of a big idea challenge project.
Selected projects are chosen based on the impact in middle school classrooms where research shows lifelong stem career decisions are being made.
“What we know is that the biggest influence on a student choosing to pursue STEM courses in high school and beyond into college, and technical school is the middle school science teacher. If you don’t get these kids excited about science, by the time they’re in middle school, you’ve lost them, they are not going to major in those courses in college, and they’re not going to take them in high school. So our goal is to inspire the middle school science students and we do that by helping their teachers,” says Dr. Paula Grisanti, the CEO of the STEM Cell Foundation.
“It’s super important that we have people who are passionate about these subjects who can engage the students and get them involved with things that are hands-on to keep them interested in studying science. Even if they don’t choose a career in science, technology, engineering, or math, continuing to study, the subjects leave so many doors open for them,” adds Michelle Lucas, CEO of Higher Orbits and a former astronaut instructor with NASA.
By June 2023, National Stem Scholars will have directly and indirectly impacted more than 83,000 middle school students in the U.S.
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