For the second time in two years, the Arizona Public Service Foundation has awarded New Mexico State University’s STEM Outreach Center a generous grant that will provide hundreds of students in Farmington, New Mexico, with after-school extended science, technology, engineering and mathematics education programs.
The APS Foundation, which is the charitable arm of the Arizona Public Service Company, recently awarded a $140,000 grant to the STEM Outreach Center, which is based at NMSU’s College of Education. In 2015, the STEM Outreach Center received a $137,000 grant from the APS Foundation to establish STEM-related after-school programs for Farmington students in grades 3 through 8. As of July 2016, STEM programs in Farmington reached 476 students, and 29 teachers were trained to deliver the programs.
The recently awarded grant will allow the center to extend the after-school programs to a total of 1,280 elementary and middle school students in the Farmington Municipal Schools, and provide professional development for about 60 teachers.
“It’s wonderful to receive this funding to provide high-quality STEM after school programs to students in northern New Mexico,” said Susan Brown, director of the STEM Outreach Center.
The grant allows the STEM Outreach Center to continue to provide two after school programs, “DiMA,” or Digital Media Academy, and “COUNT,” or Creating Opportunities Using Numerical Thinking. DiMA reduces the “digital divide” by introducing students to technology and showing them it is a powerful tool they can use to create and learn, while COUNT helps students overcome math anxiety by showing them the math in their everyday lives.
After-school programs have proven especially successful for minority and low-income populations traditionally underrepresented in the STEM fields. Student demographics for the Farmington district include 62.2 percent minority populations and 55 percent of the Farmington district is low income. The programs the APS Foundation supports in Farmington have allowed students to further explore math and science, and work together on projects.
“Susan Brown is one of our most active and successful champions for STEM programs in public schools in New Mexico,” said NMSU Chancellor Garrey Carruthers. “This grant, gained through the active participation of Farmington Public Schools and Susan Brown, is a renewal of work started with APS. Renewals are significant because they indicate success. Thank you very much Arizona Public Service for continuing to foster STEM education.”
The APS Foundation supports projects that help educators increase content knowledge in STEM subjects as well as the ability to transfer this knowledge effectively to students.
“As a foundation, we have continued to focus our support on STEM programs like DiMA and COUNT to show our youth that these subjects are not only applicable in their everyday lives, but will be very valuable to them as they continue their education and eventually enter an ever- changing workforce,” said Tina Marie Tentori, executive director of the APS Foundation. “Through our ongoing partnership, New Mexico State University has shown their commitment to improving the next generations educational opportunities and we are elated to be a part of that.”
The STEM Outreach Center continues to provide several after-school and summer programs to students in the Gadsden, Las Cruces, Hatch, Deming and Carlsbad school districts. The center also provides teacher professional development in the STEM fields.