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Foundation receives grant for students to experience ‘STEM@Work’

By Staff | Jan 6, 2021

Students in the grades K-5 in the School District of Lee County will benefit from a statewide investment by AT&T this year, one that seeks to increase understanding of how classroom curriculum translates into STEM — science, technology, engineering and math — careers.

For the 10th consecutive year, AT&T is working with the Consortium of Florida Education Foundations to provide experiential learning opportunities for students statewide through “STEM@Work.” Real-world application of STEM education concepts, problem-solving and critical thinking skills will all be key elements of the 42 separate projects to be organized and funded through consortium member local education foundations, including the Foundation for Lee County Public Schools.

When area schools were transitioning to distance learning plans last spring, the Lee school district and Florida Gulf Coast University’s Whitaker Center for STEM Education collaborated on a pilot program that provided 150 “Do it yourself” STEM kits to students at Tortuga Preserve Elementary School.

This project — STEM Kits for STEM Cadets — will provide 400 kits to elementary students. The Lee County foundation will use the requested funds to purchase kit materials. School district staff and FGCU staff and students will then assemble and distribute the kits to students from Face to Face and Lee Home Connect learning models across 18 classrooms. They will be used to increase engagement and interest in STEM activities and motivate students to participate in regional STEM competitions.

In addition to the kits, FGCU students will provide virtual mentorship opportunities to students who would like to enter a STEM project into an upcoming competition, such as the Suncoast Credit Union Elementary Science Expo in May.

This year’s statewide grant brings the total investment by AT&T over 10 years to nearly $1 million. More than 75,000 students have been directly impacted through 476 projects involving 950 local workplace partners in 51 school districts throughout Florida.