Regardless of its size, gifts can generate meaningful impact through the STEM Education Center for students at UA Little Rock and for students and teachers working in Arkansas schools. Each year, we write for several grants through the Arkansas Department of Education, the Arkansas Department of Higher Education, and the Arkansas STEM Coalition. And, in the summers, we offer STEM camps to students and teachers to help support the work we do throughout the year. But annual giving from STEM related companies, endowments that provide funding forever, and gifts honoring loved ones, friends, and colleagues can establish a bedrock of support that enables the STEM Education Center to do it’s work more frequently, more effectively, and with greater impact. Below are projects that you or your company might consider supporting, either short-term or long-term organized by three of our four overarching goals. For more inquires and information about giving to the STEM Education Center, contact Michael Johnson, Director of Development, College of Education and Health Professions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Goal I. To conduct professional development that impacts STEM teaching and learning in student-focused educational environments.
Project IA. Math/Science Equipment Grants
Description: The STEM Education Center currently writes grants for $6,000 from the STEM Coalition through the Department of Higher Education annually to provide two elementary schools with $3,000 of math and/or science equipment and free professional development to learn how to implement and integrate the equipment into their curriculum. Additional gifts of $3,000 each could assist the STEM Education Center in meeting the needs of significantly more schools each year.
Project IB. Math/Science Summer Institutes
Cost: $15-20,000 (dependent upon the number of teachers participating)
Description: The STEM Education Center currently partners with Central Arkansas Water to host one-week professional development institutes for teachers at the elementary level and STEM teachers at the middle and high school level each summer ~ the Power of Water. The STEM Education Center is very interested in working with other STEM related agencies and industries to establish additional summer institutes focused around STEM aspects of the particular agency or industry.
Goal II. To collaborate with university personnel to impact STEM teaching and learning at the University, with emphasis on pre-service and in-service programs.
Project IIA. Innovative Learning Environments
Description: The STEM Education Center currently supports undergraduate students in the EAST Scholar program, the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) program, and education students working toward licensure as a teacher in the STEM fields and the middle and high school levels. New furniture for learning spaces in ETAS 125, ETAS 101, and 181 is desperately needed to create a more attractive and inviting environment in which students can collaborate, study, and explore.
Project IIB. 3-D/VR Tinkering Space
Description: The STEM Education Center currently houses two small tinkering spaces that focus on 3d scanning and printing as well as an Oculus virtual reality computer and recording studio. EAST students are currently working to establish interactive tinkering activities where UA Little Rock students can explore these technologies. Gifts focused on these areas could allow us to create tinkering spaces at the next level for UA Little Rock students.
Project IIC. VEX Robotics Team Support
Description: In its second year, the VEX Robotics Team provides the central Arkansas elementary, middle, and high school VEX teams and coaches a competition field to practice for tournament each year. In return for their support, monies made through the VEX Summer Camps help to offset cost for travel to tournaments in Tennessee, Oklahoma, and Texas. Support for the VEX Robotics Team would allow more team members to travel to more tournaments throughout the year.
Goal III. To collaborate with education service providers in higher education, the community, and Education Service Cooperatives to meet the STEM needs of K-12 schools.
Project IIIA. Scholarships for Summer VEX Camps
Description: The STEM Education Center currently offers roughly six VEX Robotics summer campus to students in grades 4-12. Camps cost $175 and enrollment is limited to 20/camp. To support more students from low income homes and underrepresented populations the STEM Education Center would like to offer scholarships to at least 25 percent of its campers.
Project IIIB. Girls STEM Conferences
Description: When grant funding was available through the STEM Coalition and Perkins federal grant monies, the STEM Education Center conducted one-day Girls STEM Conferences on the campus of UA Little Rock. With funding priorities changes, these monies are no longer available, but we are still interested in continuing to offer conferences, limit 100 girls, with 10 chaperones, providing lunch and snacks, to public, private, and charter school girls in grades 6, 7, 8, and 9. Our organizational model for these conferences provides girls with 3 different sessions to choose from starting at 9 am, breaking for lunch around 12, and wrapping up with a panel discussion about Women in STEM and then bus pick up at 2:30.
Project IIIC. A Day at the Museum
Description: In collaboration with the Museum of Discovery, the STEM Education Center seeks to host 250-300 girls in grades 5-7 for “A Day at the Museum”. On Mondays, when the Museum of Discovery is closed to the public, the STEM Education Center coordinates groups of 250-300 to visit the Museum under the supervision of school teachers, the STEM Education Center, and the Museum. Teachers are provided with pre-, during-, and after-activities to engage the girls in thinking about the STEM connections within each of the exhibits. Overall, the experience is designed to acclimate young girls about the fun and interesting aspects of STEM.