GV Receives Funding to Boost Statewide STEM Programs – Grand Valley Lanthorn

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Governor Gretchen Whitmer recently announced that as part of efforts to expand Michigan K-12 Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education, Grand Valley State University will be one of three institutions to receive an annual grant for the next five years.

MiSTEM, a government advisory council, was formed in 2019 to make K-12 STEM education more accessible and better prepare students for in-demand STEM careers.

To do this, the advisory board divided the state into 16 different regions, each with a district center responsible for providing STEM learning opportunities in their district.

Since the GVSU Regional Mathematics and Science Center is currently one of 16 district centers, it will be responsible for allocating grant funds awarded to the university throughout the region.

Next to Kalamazoo Regional Educational Services Agency and Washtenaw Middle School District, GVSU, received approximately $900,000.

The money awarded to GVSU is specifically intended to expand access to high-quality computing experiences for students across the region.

“The Regional Math and Science Center has always been a place where we support our K-12 educators and students,” said Kris Pachla, Director of the Regional Math and Science Center. “We’re building on this rich history of supporting K-12 educators and students by being a space for gathering and collaboration within the network.”

Coupled with the huge growth projections over the next decade for STEM-based professions, this grant could help position Michigan as a world leader in STEM education and careers.

“STEM education opportunities are critical as we prepare Michigan’s youth for high-tech, high-skilled careers that will serve as the backbone of Michigan’s economy,” Governor Gretchen Whitmer said in a statement. Press release. “These investments are critical to ensuring our schools have the funds necessary to help every Michigander reach their full potential.”

Currently, the GVSU Regional Center for Mathematics and Science is developing a four-year strategic plan for how each region of the MiSTEM network will be supported by the grant.

To do this, the Regional Center for Mathematics and Science has assembled a team of STEM and education experts to ensure that each MiSTEM region has the resources to meet their specific needs.

“There are statewide activities that we will coordinate and fund,” Pachla said. “It’s things like the Computer Science Professional Learning Network for K-12 educators and students…doing big conferences for the State of Michigan to outline what’s going on in computer science or organize a development professional to understand how we are infusing computing into the elementary classroom.”

The initial goals of the team are to provide professional development for computer science teachers and to increase access to computer science education for K-12 students.

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