WASHINGTON, D.C. (WSAZ) -- A $1 million grant has be awarded to Marshall University to start after schools programs for students in Kanawha, Cabell and Wayne Counties.
Senator Jay Rockefeller and Congressman Nick Rahall announced the grant Wednesday. It is a $1,174,800 National Science Foundation grant.
The program will teach science, technology, engineering and mathematics to students ages eight to 11.
"I am proud of all that Marshall University is doing to promote math and science learning for young students in southern West Virginia," said Rockefeller. "It's clear that math and science expertise is a route to many of the best paying jobs, and we need to get our students interested in these subjects at an early age. A world-class workforce that is equipped for the challenges of the 21st century will pay incredible dividends for this generation and future ones also."
"We must prepare our students in the classroom today for the workforce of tomorrow," said Rahall, a longtime supporter of STEM education and increased investments in research and development and workforce training as a means of creating jobs in West Virginia. "We must fire up our children's interest in science, math, and technology to keep our workforce globally competitive in the 21st Century; that is how we diversify our economy and ensure that our young people can build well-paying careers right here in their own backyards."
Dr. Tina Cartwright, an assistant professor of education at Marshall, is the principal investigator on the grant.
SCI-TALKS targets students at an age when building interest in science is critical for maintaining the natural curiosity that children have about the world around them," said Dr. Cartwright. "By building a safe learning environment outside the formal school day where student talk becomes a central lesson feature, both elementary students and elementary education college students will work together to improve student interest and learning in science, technology, engineering and math."
Cartwright's co-investigators include Dr. Todd Ensign of the NASA Independent Verification and Validation Facility in Fairmont, Dr. Brittan Hallar of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission's Division of Science and Research, and Dr. Brenda Wilson of West Virginia State University.
Dr. John Maher, Marshall's vice president for research, says the program will benefit teachers as well as students.