Writer: Adriana M. Chavez, 575-646-1957, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Arizona Public Service Foundation has awarded funding to the STEM Outreach Center at New Mexico State University to continue funding its successful out-of-school-time extended science, technology, engineering and mathematics education programs in Farmington, New Mexico.
The APS Foundation, which is the charitable arm of the Arizona Public Service Company, recently awarded a $50,000 grant to the NMSU Foundation to support 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. And in 2017, the APS Foundation awarded a $140,000 grant to the STEM Outreach Center to extend the out-of-school-time 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.
“We are thrilled to work with the Farmington School District because the administration, teachers, students and families are so receptive to providing high-quality out-of-school-time STEM opportunities in their community,” said Susan Brown, interim dean of the NMSU College of Education.
The newest grant will allow the STEM Outreach Center to continue its programs at six sites, benefitting 19 teachers and 370 students. The center offers the 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.
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.
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.