UCOR Boosts Grants for Region’s STEM Education

Source: EM Update | Vol. 14, Issue 19; Contributor: Shannon Potter | May 17, 2022

Tiffany Logsdon, a math teacher at Campbell County’s Wynn Habersham Elementary School, used grant funds from EM Oak Ridge contractor UCOR to conduct “Hands-on Math – Engaging Each Learner,” a project that adds tactile tools to classroom learning stations.

EM Oak Ridge contractor UCOR has awarded grants to make many ideas possible, from new classroom learning spaces that foster collaboration to opportunities for students to engineer happier fairytale endings by helping design a house that can’t be blown down and build a chair that Goldilocks can’t break.

This year, UCOR gave $40,000 in grants for 38 science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) projects in 28 regional schools. It marked the largest amount the company has awarded since it began its grants program 10 years ago. It also reflects an increase in the dollar amount for the three award categories: $750 for individual classroom projects, $1,000 for multi-classroom projects and $1,500 for whole school projects.

“We are happy to increase our commitment to local STEM education this year,” UCOR President and CEO Ken Rueter said. “Putting more money toward our STEM mini-grants program underscores how much we value the communities in which our workers live and work. It also showcases our commitment to workforce development in our region, building strong STEM skills in the next generation.”

Since 2012, UCOR has bestowed grants totaling $270,000 for STEM projects to K-12 schools in a nine-county region to help teachers heighten students’ awareness of careers in technical fields.

The latest grants went to projects in grade levels from elementary to high school, with titles such as “Hidden Figures – Coding Across the Curriculum,” “Kinders Under Construction {STEM style},” “We Soar When We Explore,” and “Exploring Newton’s Laws.”

Tiffany Logsdon, a math teacher at Campbell County’s Wynn Habersham Elementary School, said the funding for her project, “Hands-on Math – Engaging Each Learner,” allows her “to dream of the classroom I want and be able to bring it to life for my students.”

Logsdon will use the funding to add tactile tools in classroom learning stations to help students see math as fun and engaging.

“When you bring a subject to life, it becomes more of an experience and allows the students to explore their own learning and build confidence in the subject,” Logsdon said.

With the help of a grant from UCOR, students at Knoxville Jewish Day School welcomed 250 residents of Summit Towers, an apartment community for older and disabled people, back to their homes with bags of fresh fruit after they were displaced by a fire.

From calculating the cost and amount of materials needed, to writing emails requesting donations of fruit and bags, to packing and delivering, the students successfully organized and oversaw the entire project.