Ingalls gives away $108,000 to Gulf Coast schools

Sixth grade gifted students at Ocean Springs Upper Elementary School are learning to build bridges with toothpicks.
Sixth grade gifted students at Ocean Springs Upper Elementary School are learning to build bridges with toothpicks.

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - One school wants to build a buggy and race it over a simulated lunar surface. Another school plans to use a drone to explore under the sea. Those projects can be expensive. But they're no longer just a dream, thanks to grants from Ingalls worth nearly $108,000.

Sixth grade gifted students at Ocean Springs Upper Elementary School are learning to build bridges with toothpicks. In a few weeks though, they will get some new supplies to construct even larger structures, like roller coasters and rockets. On Friday, their teacher received a $4,998 grant from Ingalls Shipbuilding to purchase K'Nex kits for the class.

"Oh, it's so exciting! I'm thinking of all the opportunities for my students to have," said Roma Flowers.

Twenty-four other schools and educational organizations in South Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana also received checks. The amounts ranged from $1,500 to $15,000. The president of Ingalls called it a wise investment.

"This is one of the things that brings me great joy, because this really means some of these kids will have an opportunity to do things that they would not otherwise have an opportunity to do," said Ingalls Shipbuilding President Irwin Edenzon.

The money will fund STEM-related projects to prepare students for college or careers that require skills in science, technology, engineering and math. Most schools will use their grants to design and build robots. Other projects seemed more unusual.

For instance, Ocean Springs High students will extract DNA for genetics research. Students at Resurrection Catholic High School in Pascagoula will dissect frogs and other animals without having to touch them.

"It's a Promethean board set up with software that is virtual dissection. So I think they'll enjoy that," said Principal Kay McKenna.

And the Hancock County Career and Technology Center received $3,000 to purchase a 3-D printer.

"The 3-D printer basically creates that object in real time. It started in the space station and it's just come to earth and now it's come to Hancock County. It gives students the opportunity to use something that they would never have the opportunity with the budgets in Mississippi that we have," said Polymer Science Instructor Joel Myrick.

By giving students the tools they need now, Ingalls is building a foundation for a skilled workforce and future leaders.

"Whether as a ship builder, whether it's Toyota, whether they go to work at Google or Apple, what we want to do is give them what they need to be successful," said Edenzon.

The largest check, totaling $15,000, went to fund a summer STEM academy for teachers in New Orleans. Since the STEM grants at Ingalls started six years ago, the company has awarded more than $500,000 to fund school projects.

Mississippi's 2014 STEM grant recipients, with amounts awarded listed, include:

East Central High School
Students will build and race a pedal-driven buggy over a simulated lunar surface. Students will be involved in the whole process of designing, prototyping, redesigning, manufacturing, assembly and process management. The buggy will be entered in a competition. $4,401

East Central Middle School
School will purchase software and other STEM-related materials to allow students to compete in Boosting Engineering Science and Technology (BEST) robotics competitions. $1,500

Gulfport High School
School will purchase STEM-related materials to allow a team of students to design and build robots to compete in robotics competitions. $2,500

Hancock County Career and Technical Center
Engineering students will create robots using math, design, electronics, programming, mechanics and other aspects of engineering. $4,631

Hancock County Career and Technical Center
Students are trained on a CAD (computer-aided design) program working with NASA. This grant will enable them to purchase a 3D printer which will allow students to plan, design and create objects without the need to send their files to Houston for processing. $2,999

Hancock County Career Technical Center
Students will use kits to build models that demonstrate core objectives associated with STEM. Models include experiments and activities that investigate solar energy, wind and water energy, renewable energy and other projects demonstrating concepts in sustainability. $1,700

Long Beach School District Gifted Program
Gifted students in grades 2-6 will be trained to be STEM peer tutors and mentors. Students will use various materials to design bridges and submersibles, clean oil spills and other engineering design projects. $5,000

Moss Point Career and Technical Education Center
Teams of students will construct and program robots from kits to perform specified tasks. Students will enhance their skills in construction, programming, teamwork, collaboration, logical thinking and communication. $4,938

Moss Point Career and Technical Education Center
Equipment will be procured to supplement previously purchased robotics kits. Students will build robots so they may compete in a state competition at Mississippi State University. Students will learn engineering and math concepts in the construction of the robots. $3,160

North Gulfport 7th Grade
Students will explore and study underwater environments using an underwater drone that is remotely controlled from a computer. This project will provide a community forum where members from all over the world can help each other use innovation to solve problems. $3,931

Ocean Springs High School
Students will extract their DNA and determine their genotype of the tasting gene. Project is designed to transition between understanding inheritance patterns and the basic structure and function of DNA. $5,000

Ocean Springs High School
Students will set up a patient care simulation lab with electronic medical records, trauma and medical patient mannequins, and automated electronic defibrillators. They will conduct patient care assessments and administer procedures. $4,962

Ocean Springs High School
STEM teachers will equip three classrooms to be used for STEM-based robotics instruction. Students will program computers and robots, use sensors and alter programs based on external data, report how robotics have changed the workplace environment and examine various mathematical principles. $4,919

Ocean Springs Upper Elementary
Students will work in teams to design and build structures such as roller coasters, bridges, amusement parks and rockets. Students will demonstrate their projects during the school's annual Space Day. $4,998

Pecan Park Elementary (Ocean Springs)
School will purchase science lab equipment which will allow students to participate in hands-on activities and demonstrate their ability to think and act as scientists through active investigations. $4,469

Reeves Elementary School (Long Beach)
This project will provide materials to students for fun, engaging engineering challenges that allow students in grades 1-3 to apply science knowledge in real-life problem solving. Each unit will be introduced by a story book about a child somewhere in the world who solves a problem through engineering. $4,977

Resurrection Catholic Middle/High School (Pascagoula)
Students will do virtual dissections using computer software. Students will be able to dissect frogs, earthworms or other animals without ever touching a real animal. This project will involve students in biology, zoology and anatomy and physiology. $4,890

St. Patrick Catholic High School
Thirty students will travel to Natchez to compete in the regional competition. There will be 25 events ranging from engineering and technology, biologic fundamentals, chemistry and space science. $2,900

Vancleave High School
Students will graph and analyze real-time data. They will collect data from moving objects, immediately graph the motion and then use that data for analysis. The students will use Dynamics Tracks with photo gates, force sensors and motion detectors. $4,968

Vancleave High School
Funds will be used to purchase laptops and software to access online science and mathematics activities and to bring science into the classroom virtually. $3,116

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