UCOR Increases STEM Mini-Grants for Area Schools to $40,000

Source: UCOR | Release | May 4, 2022

In recognition of National Teacher Appreciation Week, UCOR announces it has added $10,000 to the company’s 2022 Mini-Grants program. This year’s $40,000 funds 38 science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) projects in 28 regional schools.

Since 2012, UCOR, an Amentum-led partnership with Jacobs, has awarded grants totaling $270,000 to K-12 schools for STEM projects. UCOR annually awards these mini-grants to help teachers in a nine-county region to heighten students’ awareness of technical fields.

This year, dollar amounts for the three award categories were also increased: $750 for individual classroom projects, $1,000 for multi-classroom projects, and $1,500 for whole school projects. Grants were awarded for projects across all levels (elementary, middle, junior high, and high school) with titles such as

  • If You Take Away the Otter: understanding ecosystems, food webs, and trophic cascade (Glenwood Elementary)
  • Exploring Newton’s Laws (Robertsville Middle)
  • AFJROTC Model Rocketry (Heritage High)

(A full list of projects is below).

Tiffany Logsdon, a math teacher at Campbell County’s Wynn Habersham Elementary, said that the funding for her project allows her “to dream of the classroom I want and be able to bring it to life for my students.” Logsdon’s “Hands-on Math – Engaging Each Learner” project lets her add tactile tools in classroom learning stations to help students “see math as fun and engaging.” Logsdon added, “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.”

Award recipient Sharon Parks teaches language arts at Midway Middle School in Roane County. Her “Hidden Figures—Coding Across the Curriculum” project will help students “connect the academic and career aspects of S.T.E.M. to obstacles in life, overcoming challenges, and going after their academic and career goals without letting anyone or anything hold them back.”

“We are happy to increase our commitment to local STEM education this year. 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,” said UCOR President and CEO Ken Rueter.

The company’s cleanup workforce, nearly 2,000 strong, includes a large number of STEM professionals: engineers, industrial hygienists, chemical operators, nurses, project managers, electricians, and more.

UCOR accepted applications from teachers in March. A team of UCOR professionals reviewed the submissions (which were made anonymous for the process) before making grant awards.

UCOR is the DOE Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management’s lead environmental cleanup partner. After safely removing the last of the legacy facilities from East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP)—the former Oak Ridge Gaseous Diffusion Plant—the company’s highly trained workforce is removing unused, contaminated facilities at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Y-12 National Security Complex, while continuing remedial actions at ETTP. UCOR’s nearly 2,000 workers are dedicated to safely reducing environmental risk and to helping the DOE Office of Science and the National Nuclear Security Administration continue their missions. Learn more about the company at UCOR.com.

Anderson County (6)

  • Ligia Boundy, Clinton High School, From Phase Shifts to Asymptotes: Graphing Functions Using the TI-84
  • Amy Haney, with Amanda Powers, Jimmy Davis, and Karen Campbell, Clinton High School, Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality for All
  • Nicole Hood, Lake City Middle School, A Hood for Ms. Hood
  • Jana Payne, Claxton Elementary School, 3-D Printer
  • Jennifer Rodabaugh, Claxton Elementary School, Apply to Fly
  • Brandon Ward, Claxton Elementary School, Cougar Putt-Putt Makespace

Blount County (2)

  • Lt. Col. Jeff Coggin, with MSgt. Rob Davis, Heritage High School, AFJROTC Model Rocketry
  • Renee Powell, Lanier Elementary School, Coding Cool Robots

Campbell County (2)

  • Tiffany Logsdon, Wynn Habersham Elementary, Hands-on Math – Engaging each Learner
  • Jessica Moore, Wynn Habersham Elementary, Hands-on Math

Knox County (7)

  • Timothy Cathcart, Bearden High School, Under-desk Exercise Bikes
  • Timothy Green, Farragut High School, Nintendo Labo Project: Integrating STEM and SEL Instruction Through Problem Based Learning
  • Cheri Reznicek, Bearden High School, Practicing Biotech Lab Skills- Learning to Micropipette
  • Brooke Haskins, Stanford Eisenberg Knoxville Jewish Day School, Built-In Maker Space
  • Katie Lusk, Stanford Eisenberg Knoxville Jewish Day School, We Soar When We Explore
  • Jessica Vose, Stanford Eisenberg Knoxville Jewish Day School, Compost for a Healthier Planet
  • Jessica Vose, Stanford Eisenberg Knoxville Jewish Day School, Chicken Egg Incubating Project

Maryville City Schools (1)

  • Dr. Andrew Hebert, Maryville Junior High School, Pressure’s On!

Morgan County (3)

  • Margie Branstetter, Petros Joyner School, Blast Off to STEM!
  • Erin Miller, Oakdale School, Engineering Innovative Solutions to Rain Runoff
  • Susanne Pemberton, Coalfield School, Spark STEM Learning with Circuitry Fun!

Oak Ridge City Schools (6)

  • Amelia Bell, with Maddie Middleton, Glenwood Elementary School, If You Take Away the Otter: understanding ecosystems, food webs, and trophic cascade
  • Dr. Kristy Hutson, Oak Ridge High School, Helping “Hands”
  • Bryson Leftwich, Robertsville Middle School, Exploring Newton’s Laws
  • Jean Phillips, with Heather Henderlight, Willow Brook Elementary School, Logitech Crayon Styluses for Kindergarten and First Grade Students
  • Janie Shanafield, with Theresa Davis and Lexie Scott, Jefferson Middle School, Spike it!
  • Kolbi Sherrod, Glenwood Elementary School, Building Thinking Classrooms in Mathematics

Oneida Special School District (1)

  • Donna Tompkins, with Lora Wilson, Oneida Elementary School, If You Build It, They Will Come

Roane County (6)

  • Pete Goepfert, Midtown Education Center, Drivable Electric Rover
  • Carly Harrison, Dyllis Springs Elementary School, Kinders Under Construction {STEM style}
  • Carly Harrison, Dyllis Springs Elementary School, Sensory Pathway
  • Stacey Hauck, with Anne Marie Snyder, Cherokee Middle School, Moving to the Future with Spike
  • Sharon Parks, with Katie McKee, Midway Middle School, Hidden Figures- Coding Across the Curriculum
  • Heather Robinette, Ridge View Elementary School, Dash for Success

Scott County (2)

  • Anita Harness, Fairview Elementary School, C. S. I.- Center of Student Investigators 
  • Joy Perry, Huntsville Middle School, Growing Students into the Next Century

Union County (2)

  • Sarah Maness, Horace Maynard Middle School, Building Learners to Leaders
  • Jennifer Smith, Big Ridge Elementary School, Building a Solid Foundation in STEM