LC receives STEM grant

Thursday May 3 2012

 

Lynchburg College is one of only 16 institutions nationwide to receive a Community Action Grant from the American Association of University Women to increase interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) among middle school girls in Lynchburg City Schools.

The $7,000 grant allows LC to partner with Hunton-Randolph Community Center and Lynchburg City Schools to provide STEM activities for middle school girls to increase their knowledge, skills, and interest in STEM fields and careers.

Activities will be held at the Hunton-Randolph Community Center (HRCC), Lynchburg College Campus, and selected Lynchburg City Schools.

The one-year grant will focus on sustainability with a "Girls Go Green 4 STEM" theme. It will begin with a weeklong camp in late Julyat the Hunton-Randolph center followed by monthly meetings for the participants as well as quarterly meetings for their families. Fifteen girls from underrepresented and underserved populations in Lynchburg will participate in the camp.

The camp will include a visit to Lynchburg Grows to study hydroponics, as lessons on solar and fuel cells, and Skype conversations with women in STEM fields.

"For Hunton itself this is an opportunity to carve out a unique niche in the community," said Dr. Dwight Williams, assistant professor of chemistry at LC, who developed the curriculum. "It's also a great opportunity for the LC School of Sciences to partner with a local organization."

Dr. Williams said the first group of girls will be selected based on teacher recommendations. They hope to enlist some girls from Dunbar Middle School who are already interested in STEM subjects to serve as peer role models. Dr. Williams will also recruit female science students from local colleges to serve as mentors and teachers in the program.

Subsequent monthly STEM enrichment activities will further challenge the girls to participate in a national sustainability competition for middle-schoolers, "Go Green Manufacturing," sponsored by the Technology Student Association (http://www.tsaweb.org/middle-school-competitions). 

The third component of the program will involve the girls and their families, who will be invited to attend quarterly presentations by female STEM professionals on the Lynchburg College campus. 

Before the camp gets under way, Lynchburg's Gamma Iota Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. will be working with the students so they have a chance to become a cohesive group.

Located in inner-city Lynchburg, the Hunton-Randolph's mission is to provide educational, enrichment, and recreational programs to families. In addition to homework assistance, several effective programs are offered for adults and boys; however, cheerleading is currently the only focused program offered to girls. 

The STEM project director is Paula Lichiello, assistant dean of LC Graduate Studies. The project lead teacher is Dr. Williams. They will be working with David Moseley, HRCC Board President, and Pat Price, interim director of LC's Center for Community Development and Social Justice to implement and continue the project.

For more information, contact Dr. Dwight Williams at 544-8376 or williams.d@lynchburg.edu.