Pioneer Valley STEMNET receives state grant

The Pioneer Valley Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Regional Network (PVSTEMNET), headed by UMass Amherst, has received a $261,966 grant from the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education. This is phase two of a grant from the Pipeline Fund for the improvement of science, technology, engineering and math education for teachers and students of pre-school through college.

A planning grant of $10,000 was awarded to PVSTEMNET by the Pipeline Fund in June.

The new grant will help fund three summer institutes for teachers of grades 4-8 as well as high school teachers, and two sets of academic year seminars for teachers of kindergarten through grade 12.

The grant will also fund a mapping project that organizes career and educational options into a guide book of pathways for parents, guidance counselors, teachers and students as well as three engineering and technology career fairs.

Two new summer camps at Springfield College and Greenfield Community College and Saturday Explorations in Science and Engineering for middle school students are planned.

According to Allan Feldman, principle investigator of PVSTEMNET and professor in the School of Education, "The network has been funded and is a reality. There is a synergistic effect in having all these institutions and organizations working together, not only to respond effectively to existing needs, but to develop new initiatives to improve STEM education."

The Pipeline Fund was established by the state to increase the number of qualified STEM teachers and attract more students to STEM subjects. The fund‚s goal is to serve as a pipeline to produce more highly qualified scientists and engineers and to fuel the economy in Massachusetts.

Members of the network include: the Amherst-Pelham, Gateway and Hampden- Wilbraham regional school districts; public schools in Belchertown, Chicopee,
Easthampton, Holyoke, Palmer and Springfield; the Diocese of Springfield Catholic Schools; Cathedral High School and Orange Elementary School. Also: Elms College, Greenfield Community College, Holyoke Community College, Smith College, Springfield College, Springfield Technical Community College, Western New England College and Westfield State College. Also: the Five College Public School Partnership, Hampshire Educational Collaborative, Center for Learning, Teaching and School Change; Center for Youth Development and Education; Center for Computer-Based Instructional Technology; Partners for a Healthier Community; Scientific Reasoning Research Institute; the UMass Engineering Research Center for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere; the UMass Physics Education Research Group, STEM Education Institute, MassNanoTech. Also: the Baystate Health System, Tech 21 Consortium, Tri-County Tech Prep Consortium; the Regional Education and Business Alliance; the Franklin Hampshire Regional Employment Board; the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission; the Regional Technology Corporation; and the Western Massachusetts Electric Company.