Idaho National Laboratory awards STEM grants to Idaho schools

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The following is a news release from Idaho National Laboratory.

IDAHO FALLS — Five east Idaho schools have been awarded an Ultimate STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) grant, worth up to $10,000, to enhance and supplement their STEM learning courtesy of Idaho National Laboratory. In addition, three Extreme Classroom Makeover grants worth up to $5,000 were awarded in southeast Idaho. Statewide, nine STEM Mini grants worth up to $500 were awarded.

Educators from both public and private schools across the state apply and compete each year for INL STEM grants, which are awarded based on the plan, idea or classroom needs to bolster STEM education. The money can be used to purchase equipment and materials for classrooms.

“Too often, educators and administrators are not aware of the funding opportunities available in their own backyard,” said Amy Lientz, INL’s director of Partnerships, Engagement and Technology Deployment. “This type of funding allows for furthering student interest in STEM careers and helps to grow our talent pipeline, enabling a sustainable future workforce.”

“Getting students excited about STEM is critical to the future of INL, Idaho and the nation as a whole,” Lientz said. “Today’s students are tomorrow’s scientists, engineers and technicians. Grants like these provide our teachers with the tools and resources they need to educate, prepare and spark student interest in STEM careers, and give them hands-on experience in STEM subjects that spark their passion for STEM that can drive innovation.”

The Ultimate STEM grants, Extreme Classroom Makeover grants and STEM Mini grants are part of INL’s effort to boost STEM education in Idaho. Funding for the grants comes from Battelle Energy Alliance, a nonprofit organization that operates the lab for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

Ultimate STEM Grant recipients are:

1. Michelle Heaton, head of school at the Teton Valley Community School, $4,200 for a 3D printer and a recycling program that will be implemented at the school.
2. Tena Runcorn, a STEM educator from Temple View Elementary School, $7,000 to create a STEM lab.
3. Jeffrey Stratter, from the Salmon Public Library, $5,000 to help make the public library into a STEM lab for local students.
4. Rondee Owens, a science, math and technology teacher from Parker-Egin Elementary School, $1,494.92 for a school weather station.
5. Randy Jensen, a STEM educator from American Falls, $9,883 to create a hybrid maker space for elementary, middle and high school students who participate in the after-school program.

Classroom Makeover Grant recipients are:

1. Teri Peters, a STEM teacher from Filer Elementary School, $4,985.55 to create a STEM cart for use at family STEM nights and other events.
2. Joshua Smith, a math teacher at Hillcrest High School, $4,795 to purchase a classroom set of graphing calculators.
3. Shelly Wallentine, a science instructor at Paris Elementary School, $3,264.26 for a classroom set of microscopes for kindergarteners through fifth-graders.

This year’s STEM Mini Grant recipients are:

Idaho Falls/eastern Idaho

Sherry Yancey, a science teacher at Aberdeen Middle School, $500 for materials so that Harriman State Park can be used as an outdoor classroom.

Sandra Dunn, a physics educator at Compass Academy, $494.75 for physics equipment.

Kaleen Flaherty, a STEM and reading teacher with Bridgewater Elementary School, $463 for coding and design reading materials for students.

Kristie Andersen, a science and technology instructor at Paris Elementary School, $463.80 to purchase materials used in broadcasting over the school public announcement system.

Twin Falls/Magic Valley

Sari Jayo, a STEM educator at Sawtooth Elementary School, $500 to fund the school science fair and other activities.

Erika Meadows, a general education instructor at American Falls Hillcrest Elementary School, $300.01 for black lights to be used with the math curriculum.

Boise/Treasure Valley

Karen Sather, at STEM teacher with Cole Valley Christian School, $470.10 to purchase materials for a Maglev Train.

Adria David, a science and math instructor at Lowell Elementary School, $487 for materials to be used at a family STEM night.

Sonia Galaviz, a STEM educator with Garfield Elementary School, $169.61 for materials that will be used at a monthly STEM camp.

Gina Kwid, an engineering teacher with the Galileo STEM Academy in Eagle, $500 for robotics kits used in an after-school coding program.

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