Ingalls calls it "an investment in our children's future." On Friday, the Pascagoula shipyard handed out more than $70,000 in grants to schools in Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana. The grants can inspire students who hope to land technical and engineering jobs at Ingalls.
Educators were all smiles Friday morning as they accepted checks from the president of Ingalls Shipbuilding. In all, 19 schools and organizations received STEM grants. The checks ranged from $1,000 to $15,000.
The grants total $70,500. About $36,000 will support Mississippi school projects that spark excitement in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.
"What we're doing with this is get them started young, get them saying: "Hey science is cool. Technology is cool." And that it's something they want to do later on in life," said Andrew Gunkel, Gulfport High Engineering & Science Teacher.
For instance, East Central High students want to develop a prototype of a solar dry heat sterilizer so medical missionaries can use them in third world countries. And St. Patrick Catholic High School wants to encourage more children to participate in its robotics program.
"It helps us sustain our program so we can continue the program year after year. We are part of FIRST robotics, which is an expensive program," said Debbie Worrel, St. Patrick Science Teacher.
"I worked for Ingalls for almost 10 years, so I know what it's like to be on the inside. For them to now come back into the community and to donate to the district that I'm in, it makes me feel great," said Nikki Cunningham, Moss Point Schools STEM Instructor.
And Ingalls wants to show its commitment to inspire the next generation of shipbuilders with strong technical and engineering skills.
"We have to make investments in human capital and this is our human capital 10 years from now," said Irwin Edenzon, Ingalls Shipbuilding President. "We'd love for these folks to come and work at the shipyard."
"It's fantastic," said Gunkel. "Glad to see that businesses are involved and concerned with the community in which they reside. It's not just about making money, it's about giving back."
This is the fourth year that Ingalls has given out STEM grants. The amount is $10,000 more than last year.
The 2012 STEM grants include:
D'Iberville High School - $5,000 to purchase software and other STEM-related materials to help give students a basic understanding of STEM subjects and how they relate to career choices.
East Central High School - $2,500 to help students conduct a working prototype of a solar dry heat sterilizer that can be deployed with a local medical or dental missionary group to aid with sanitary conditions in under-developed countries.
East Central Middle School - $1,000 to allow students to participate in a BEST Robotics (Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology) competition.
Gulfport School District - $4,500 to implement RACE for Success (Robotics and Community Education) in grades 5-12. The program is a collaboration of electricity, robotics and the problem-solving process.
Jackson County Chamber of Commerce - $5,000 to be used for scholarships presented during the annual Explosion of Excellence.
Moss Point Schools - $5,000 for ninth-grade students to engage in more hands-on activities in STEM disciplines. Students will also be encouraged to attend various job-shadowing events. (An additional $1,000 for a robotics competition was previously awarded.)
Pascagoula Schools - $5,000 to go toward the installation of a WeatherBug station in the Family Interactive Center. The station will be monitored by science and math students and will provide real-time data, which can be used to alert the community of impending inclement weather conditions.
Resurrection Catholic School - $2,500 to help seventh-grade students explore design, using an interactive 2D CAD program to create bridges and other structures.
St. Martin High School - $2,500 to be used as part of the Plant Now, Harvest Later program. Students will landscape undeveloped land, incorporating all the elements of science, engineering, technology and math.
St. Patrick Catholic High School - $2,000 to allow students to participate in a FIRST Robotics Competition.
Alabama School of Math and Science - $2,500 to be used to support students in FIRST Robotics Competitions.
Daphne High School - $2,500 to be used to purchase CAD software that will be used by students in pre-engineering and pre-architectural programs.
Jubilee BEST Robotics - $5,000 to be used for sponsorship of BEST Game Day 2012
Mobile Area Education Foundation - $2,500 to be used to support students attending engineering camps.
Mobile County Public Schools - $2,500 to be used to purchase supplies needed to implement engineering design challenges in all seventh-grade science and math classes.
St. Vincent DePaul Catholic School - $1,000 to allow students to participate in a BEST Robotics (Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology) competition.
Theodore High School - $2,500 to help students build a robot for Robots for Design in the Mobile Schools. Students will then write an essay on its function and purpose.
Greater New Orleans schools - $15,000 to provide two weeks of hands-on science training for greater New Orleans high school teachers.
North Shore High School - $1,000 previously awarded for a FIRST Robotics Competition.
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