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02-06-2004

Clarkson And St. Lawrence Awarded Nearly $2 Million By National Science Foundation To Increase Science, Mathematics, Engineering And Technology Skills Of Area K-12 Students

Continuing funding of a program titled “K-12 Project-Based Learning Partnership Program,” the National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded nearly $2 million to Clarkson and St. Lawrence universities over the next four years. The grant funding will expand and continue the programs presently funded by NSF and the GE Foundation, the philanthropic foundation of the General Electric Company. The grant expands Clarkson’s Project-Based Learning Partnership Program, created by Clarkson University Professor Susan E. Powers, and St. Lawrence University’s Teaching Scholar Partnership Program, led by St. Lawrence principal investigator Assistant Professor of Education Esther Oey.

The NSF grant will allow the universities to fund graduate and advanced undergraduate teaching fellowships. In collaboration with classroom teachers and university faculty, the team of teaching fellows will develop course curricula and hone their teaching skills over the summer. The student/teachers will then be putting their knowledge to work in area classrooms over the following school year. Courses will emphasize the development and application of learning and skills in math, science, engineering and technology concepts. 

“It’s a community effort that benefits all participants,” said Oey. “The school districts and teachers gain support for teaching math, science and technology; the secondary students learn math, science and technology in authentic ways; and the undergraduate and graduate students experience the joy of helping young people increase their enthusiasm about their subject areas, develop valuable communication skills and refine their own content knowledge and skills in the real-life application of teaching.” 

Powers and Oey are joined in the new program by Clarkson Mathematics and Computer Science Professor Peter Turner. “My main contribution in the expanded program,” says Turner, “will be to incorporate a much stronger mathematical and computational component to the projects. This will enhance the whole math, science and technology experience for both the teaching fellows and the students.”  

The NSF grant supports efforts to increase the academic achievement of female and underrepresented middle- and high-school students in an attempt to get them interested in math and the sciences early on. University students involved with the program over recent years have developed curricula in “Engineering for the Environment” and “Energy and the Environment.” 

Preliminary plans for the 2004 -2005 program focus on Renewable Energy, Solid Waste, and Water Quality. The two universities are recruiting graduate and undergraduate students interested in developing teaching experience and expertise in transferring science and technology in the classroom. Students will work next year in partnership with teachers from several local school districts, including Canton, Colton-Pierrepont, Edwards-Knox, Heuvelton, Lisbon, Norwood-Norfolk, Parishville-Hopkinton, Potsdam, and Salmon River.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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