AT&T grants EPS $25,000 for STEM proceeds


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Natalia Mora, Memorial Staff Writer

Holding potential to feed the curious minds of the engineers, researchers and problem-solvers, AT&T Oklahoma funded a $25,000 grant towards the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) program of K-12 Edmond Public Schools, benefitting over 7,000 students.

“To receive $25,000 for a grant that will benefit all three high schools is highly impactful and we’re very appreciative,” said Edmond Public Schools (EPS) executive director Lori Dickinson Black. “We hope that this will be reflective of more confidence from the corporate community to funding more initiatives in EPS in the future.”

The grant was made possible by AT&T external affairs area manager and Edmond Area Chamber of Commerce executive committee vice chair Jan Moran, who advocated for science initiatives throughout the process. EPS was notified of the grant in June, shortly followed by the end of the 2017-18 fiscal year.

The grant’s proceeds are formally assigned to expanding IGNITE Innovation and Technology, a STEM program driven by a community of programmers, engineers and entrepreneurs that hold assemblies for discussing ideas, concepts and innovations in the field, and opening opportunities for students to participate in its activities.

“This could help support our STEM departments and district STEM competitions among high schools,” said Edmond Memorial principal Anthony Rose. “It could fund makerspaces, robotics competitions, STEM initiatives and field trips to STEM locations.”

With the financial aid of AT&T Oklahoma, EPS high schools will pave the way towards funding expenditures such as equipment, training, camps, curriculum, competitions, field trips and numerous other STEM tools. The program awaits multiple avenues for education.

“Employers are looking for students that can communicate, work in groups and solve problems,” Rose said.  “They want students to be comfortable with understanding engineering and design as a process.”

Rose also expressed interest in shifting the STEM-oriented curriculum to project-based learning, as opposed to rigorous and systematic test-based preparation. These classes, according to Next Generation Science Standards, hold a substantial focus on performance expectations, to which students should be rigorously solving problems in order to perform their mastery and development through projects, models and presentations.

The grant is intended to augment the student’s capabilities in this performance through providing financial means for interactive equipment, programs and models, opening up new opportunities for all aspiring Edmond STEM students by funding a better tomorrow.