KOKOMO, Ind. — Indiana University Kokomo received a $20,000 Duke Energy Foundation grant, which will provide science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) programming for more than 1,000 children and their families.
Leah Nellis, dean of the School of Education, said the funding will be used for family STEM events at Elwood Haynes and Boulevard elementary schools, both in the Kokomo School Corporation.
It’s all about encouraging exploration of STEM activities and skills, in a family setting,” said Nellis. “It’s important for the children to see their parents coming to school, and demonstrating how important their education is.”
Jan Halperin, vice chancellor for university advancement, commended Duke Energy for its dedication to the community.
We are grateful for the continued partnership IU Kokomo has with the Duke Energy Foundation and Kokomo Schools,” said Halperin, adding that they also contributed to the Scripps Spelling Bee the campus hosted.
Duke Energy has been a valuable supporter for us in our mission of raising the level of educational attainment in north central Indiana,” she said. “We appreciate their investment in our community.”
The Duke Energy Foundation supports education from early childhood to adults planning to enhance their job skills, and this program fits that mission, according to Kevin Johnston, Duke Energy government and community relations manager.
There’s a definite need for more STEM education,” said Johnston. “Students, teachers, and parents need to be thinking about getting involved in those activities, and about careers in those fields, and it’s never too early to start. Maybe this program will spark an interest in this area, which is why we wanted to support it.”
Faculty and staff at Elwood Haynes already hosted their family STEM night, while Boulevard’s is being planned. The event included hands-on activity stations throughout the school, as well as dinner for all who attended.
IU Kokomo also will host an event in April for students and parents from both schools. Nellis noted that future teachers in the EdSAC student organization will be involved, both in planning and in leading activities, gaining valuable real-world teaching experience in teaching and connecting with children’s families.
Community engagement in general is important,” she said. “Assisting with programs like this help our students understand and appreciate what schools in our area are focusing on, what they are trying to accomplish, and what they are integrating into the curriculum for their students. It also shows them how they can connect with families and encourage them to learn alongside their children.”
Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.