NASA awards grant to SciTEC to support summer science camps
Louisiana Tech University’s Science and Technology Education Center (SciTEC) has been awarded a $50,000 grant by NASA’s Summer of Innovation program, which will allow Louisiana students in grades four through nine to attend non-residential academic summer camps on the Louisiana Tech campus, free of cost. SciTEC personnel, in collaboration with Louisiana Tech’s College of Education and Institute for Manufacturing, will also use the grant to develop and deliver 40 hours of NASA-related, science-based instruction for the summer’s eight camp sessions. “I am excited about the recent Summer of Innovation grant as it will greatly expand access to exciting STEM education programming to all students in our service area,” said Glenn Beer, director of SciTEC at Louisiana Tech. “The ability to offer these camps at no cost to participants will provide us with the opportunity to reach students who may not have the opportunity to participate is summer camp activities otherwise.” Students enrolled in the LA GEAR UP residential camp program will benefit from the grant as well. NASA-focused content will be incorporated into these camp curriculums, providing new opportunities and experiences in science and technology education. “Over 1400 fourth through ninth-grade students will be directly impacted by the awarding of these NASA funds,” said Lindsey Keith-Vincent, museum educator with Louisiana Tech’s IDEA Place. “Students in these residential and non-residential summer camps will also have the opportunity to tour our campus and become familiar with college life and career opportunities that come from the STEM areas of study that are discussed in the academic sessions.” The IDEA Place, a component of SciTEC, will coordinate and host each of the summer science camps. SciTEC is an active outreach program of Tech’s College of Education organized to serve the surrounding school systems and communities. It was established by the College to serve as an umbrella for a number of educational initiatives. NASA launched the Summer of Innovation program in 2010 in response to a national need for improvement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. The project is designed to improve the skills and enhance the engagement of American students in STEM. “Louisiana Tech’s proposal had a solid plan to engage underserved and underrepresented students in high quality STEM content in summer and extended learning experiences tailored to meet local needs through the infusion of NASA themes and content,” said Miranda Martin, education specialist with the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. The Summer of Innovation program also seeks to expand both the breadth and depth of school- and community-based partners’ ability to provide meaningful educational and exciting STEM experiences to students in the fourth through ninth grades that traditionally have been underrepresented in the STEM fields.