County educators receive $25,000 in grants for STEM

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Regional Opportunity Initiatives (ROI) awarded Washington County Community Foundation a $25,000 grant for Out-of-School STEM Learning.

The purpose of the program is to partner with local schools and organizations to create inspiring STEM learning environments for youth.

Dennis Tankersley, teacher at West Washington Jr/Sr High School, is the recipient of a $3,200 grant for the Skills USA After-School STEM Program. The 12-student group will create two teams of six for the RoboRescue Challenge. The robotics materials will be reused for future competitions and by integrating them into the Principles of Engineering class at West Washington Jr/Sr High School. Tankersley will also receive $300 for competition fees.

The school has competed in the RoboRescue Challenge the past two years thanks to community donations and sponsors by local businesses.

Anna Endris has received a $3,358.88 grant for a Coding Club at East Washington Middle School. Students will participate in coding activities through Code.org, Scratch, and Sphero EDU while collaborating with peers as they work on project designed to challenge their minds and grow their interest in STEM fields.

Emily Johnson and Crystal Mikels will be expanding their STEM Club to include a BSE Circuit Breakers Robotics Club at Bradie Shrum Elementary School thanks to a grant of $7,559.40. The new club is available to third and fourth grade students and will be used as a stepping stone for STEM learning and to enhance a long love of STEM learning. Johnson and Mikels will both receive $300 to travel to competitions for the robotics club.

Greg McCurdy may add teacher at the “School of Rock” to his resume. McCurdy’s Salem High School Guitar Club will be purchasing guitar building kits for members to use to build guitars. The project borrows some of the procedures and knowledge included in STEM introduction and Advanced Manufacturing. The $4,500 grant will allow each student to successfully finish and assemble an electric guitar.

John Calhoun, Salem High School chemistry and physics teacher, has been awarded a $4,500 grant for the creation of a MakerSpace at Salem High School. He plans to transform an unused classroom into a MakerSpace and purchase equipment such as a 3D printer, among other items, for use in the space.

Each school corporation in Washington County will receive $430 to send educators to the HASTI conference for Science teachers.

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