A financial gift from a corporation will allow a Hardin County high school to offer a curriculum designed to help students excel in the STEM fields.
Dow Corning Corporation announced Monday that it’s donating $25,000 to implement the Project Lead The Way program at John Hardin High School. Project Lead the Way is a non-profit effort that designs programs related to science, technology, engineering, and math that are used in over 5,000 schools in the country.
Hardin County Schools spokesman John Wright says Project Lead the Way will open doors for students who excel in the program.
“North Hardin, John Hardin, and Central Hardin engineering students will now get the prerequisites that they need at their home high schools that will allow them to go to our new Hardin County Schools’ Early College and Career Center that opens in August.”
WKU is part of a collaborative effort to increase the number of minority students pursuing degrees in the so-called “STEM” fields.
WKU and eight other higher education institutions in the commonwealth and West Virginia have been awarded a five-year, $ 2.5 million National Science Foundation grant that will primarily focus on undergraduates seeking diplomas in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
WKU’s Associate Vice President for Retention and Student Services, Joelle Davis Carter, says she hopes some of the school’s grant money will be used to create a “summer bridge” program.
“This would be an opportunity for prospective college students to come to campus a little earlier, maybe five weeks earlier, stay on campus, and participate in reiterations of math and science,” she told WKU Public Radio.
WKU has been awarded a $150,000 grant to support early childhood education.
The funding from the PNC Foundation will be used to produce videos that will expose children to the STEM disciplines: science, technology, engineering, and math. The videos will be distributed to places such as libraries, housing authorities, and preschools in Kentucky and Tennessee.
"The hardest thing about changing the number of scientists, engineers, and mathematicians in Kentucky relates to the fact that unless you stimulate interest early and students are really prepared to be successful when they go to college in those areas, then it's not going to happen," said Dr. Julia Roberts, executive director of the Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science at WKU.
Kentucky will need to fill 74,000 STEM jobs by 2018, yet only 12 percent of bachelor’s degrees conferred in the state are in STEM fields.