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OC Wins $129,000 Washington STEM Grant

Olympic College recently received a grant from Washington STEM, a statewide nonprofit dedicated to improving education in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).  Historically, Washington STEM grants have focused on K-12 students. For the first time ever, the Olympic College grant will extend benefits to community college students, encouraging them to transfer into STEM fields at a university level. Olympic College is the first community college to receive the grant’s Portfolio Award, which is a multi-year project that develops or expands STEM education innovations.

Olympic College students typically have few opportunities to engage in the kinds of experiential hands-on learning – internships, externships and research – that help lead students at traditional four-year colleges to success. This deficiency contributes to high dropout rates in STEM subjects during students’ first years in community college.  Over a period of two years, a $128,964 investment from Washington STEM will help Olympic College in Bremerton develop a STEM-focused model for experiential learning tailored to community college students.

“We are very excited to be chosen for this award. Our community college students can now gain direct experience in STEM fields that will provide a ‘real world’ context to their academic courses and keep them motivated through the completion of their associate degree and beyond. Investment at the community college level is essential to recruit, retain, and adequately prepare students for STEM as they transition from high school, to a community college, and on to a four-year college or university,” said Dr. Jodi Carson, Program Director for the MESA program at Olympic College.

With the historic focus on K-12 students, Washington STEM has invested $4.1 million across the state, impacting over 24,000 students and 800 teachers to date. To see a full list of Washington STEM investments, please visit

http://washingtonstem.org/investments.asp

The latest round of investments from Washington STEM were divided into two types: small entrepreneur awards designed to let educators and researchers try new ideas for improving STEM education and larger portfolio awards aimed at spreading proven strategies across the state.

“We’re supporting innovative educators and researchers as they develop new techniques for teaching science, technology, engineering and math, said Patrick D’Amelio, CEO of Washington STEM. “And we’re taking the very best of those STEM practices and positioning them to scale up so all kids can benefit.”

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