Massachusetts Department of Higher Education Announces 2015 STEM @Scale Awards
$643,000 Awarded to Expand 11 Projects Proven to Boost Student Interest, Ability in Science, Technology, Engineering & Math
Contact: Sarah Mealey
MA Department of Higher Education
BOSTON – Friday, February 13, 2015 – Eleven college and school-based programs proven to spark student interest and prowess in science, technology, engineering and math—the so-called STEM fields—have been awarded more than $643,000 through the Commonwealth’s @Scale program, the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education announced today.
Among the projects chosen for support, based in part on their ability to be scaled up in other regions of the state and secure private funds to match investment by taxpayers, are Quinsigamond Community College’s Advanced Robotics Initiative (ARI), which engages Worcester Public School students in after-school robotics engineering challenges; Science from Scientists, which sends trained scientists into classrooms to conduct hands-on lab activity; and the STEM Pathways to Prosperity Project, which will give students at all nine of the Commonwealth’s state universities clear routes into STEM careers. Projects selected for @Scale endorsement are designed for easy replication and scale-up while also demonstrating success in achieving student performance outcomes.
“By replicating successful models across our Commonwealth, the @Scale program creates opportunities for students of all ages, backgrounds and interests to pursue careers in STEM fields,” said Congressman Joseph Kennedy III, Honorary Co-Chair of the Massachusetts STEM Advisory Council. “Each of these projects has developed an innovative approach to STEM education, and the funds provided by @Scale will help guide their efforts as they train their students for the jobs of today and tomorrow.”
“Continued public-private partnerships are critical for advancing STEM education and growing the Massachusetts innovation economy for the future,” said Dr. Jeffrey Leiden, Chairman, President and CEO, Vertex Pharmaceuticals and Co-Chair of the Massachusetts STEM Advisory Council.
Among the @Scale success stories:
- Ninety-five percent of Worcester public school students taking part Quinsigamond’s ARI program say they plan to go to college; 82% of that group plan on pursuing STEM-related careers for which state employers have a critical need. Both rates are higher than the Worcester Public Schools district averages and the state averages.
- Science from Scientists has expanded its reach from three schools to 27, and has 49 additional schools on the waiting list to participate.
- Strengthening Pre-K Mathematics Teaching and Learning: A Boston K1DSCollaboration between the Boston Public Schools and Boston community-based organizations is expanding from serving 225 low-income pre-K students in 14 classrooms in 10 community-based organizations (Year 1) to serving 405 students in 23 classrooms in 15 community-based organizations (Year 2).
“The @Scale grants represent a dynamic new model for funding education projects,” said Higher Education Commissioner Richard Freeland. “We are using state dollars to leverage contributions by private industry, a team effort that will help us meet the state’s goal of increasing student preparation for STEM careers.”
For every state dollar, @Scale projects must to secure additional funding from the private sector. Among the companies that have provided matches are Microsoft, Verizon, EMC, and Corning, which provided a match of $20,000 for MassBioEd’s BioTeach program, which provides professional development grants.
“Corning Incorporated Foundation targets educational programs and projects that will impact the greatest number of people over the longest period of time,” said Karen C. Martin, President, Corning Incorporated Foundation. “The BioTeach program offers a unique combination of life sciences curricula, equipment grants and, importantly, teacher professional development and mentoring, which ensures student success and aligns very well with the Foundation’s mission.”
A complete list of @Scale projects chosen by members of the Massachusetts STEM Advisory Council can be found here.
The Massachusetts STEM Advisory Council launched the @Scale initiative in 2012 in response to calls from educators and funders for a cohesive system of projects to support the state’s objectives in teaching and learning about STEM. For more information about @Scale and the work of the Council, please visit the STEM Nexus website.