Idaho STEM Action Center Wins $50,000 Grant for Mentorship Program
By Lex Nelson
The Idaho STEM Action Center, an agency added to the Governor's Office in 2015 to give Idaho students more access to and guidance in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields, announced today that it is one of eight winners of the US2020 STEM Coalition Challenge. The challenge, which is a nationwide competition that rewards programs bringing STEM "mentoring and maker-centered learning" to underserved students, splits $1 million in cash and support among chosen STEM-related agencies, companies and nonprofits. The Idaho STEM Action Center is slated to receive a $50,000 cash award.
Angela Hemingway, executive director of the center, said the bulk of the funds will go toward expanding the STEM Action Center Mentorship Portal, an online initiative that pairs STEM mentors and teachers with students across the state, particularly in rural areas, for work on specific STEM projects.
"It's kind of like this matchmaking system that allows the mentor and student to connect," said Hemingway. "...It really is a chance for the mentor to be in the comfort of their own office and [for example] engage with a student from Challis while the engineer is sitting right here in Micron. "
The Idaho STEM Action Center competed with more than 90 other applicants for the award, representing 82 communities in 35 different states nationwide. Other recipients include The Promise Zone Coalition/SRS Community Reuse Region in Allendale, South Carolina; the Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Partnership in Buffalo, New York; Project Exploration in Chicago; the Greater Cincinnati STEM Collaborative in Cincinnati; the Columbia Gorge STEM Hub in The Dalles, Oregon; Remake Learning in Pittsburgh; and DC STEM in Washington, D.C.
Esra Ozer, Arconic Foundation president and a US2020 STEM Coalition Challenge sponsor, said in a press release that the Idaho STEM Action Center "represents the very best of organizations dedicated to bringing STEM to students who might otherwise not have access and insight into how STEM can positively shape their futures."