TDS awards Utah Tech University a $15,000 grant for K-12 STEM Outreach Center
Program helps high school students become passionate about science
TDS Telecommunications LLC (TDS®) has awarded Utah Tech University $15,000 to its K-12 STEM Outreach Center to encourage students to pursue STEM-related careers. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. The Utah Tech Prep and STEM Girls program will use the money to buy digital microscopes, an air powered rocket launcher, Micro:Bits, and snap circuit electronic exploration kits. These programs have a proven track record of success.
A Washington City, Utah mother said a Utah Tech program provided “endless possibilities” for her two sons and turned them from struggling high school students into thriving ones who are passionate about science.
“The STEM programs at Utah Tech provided the window of opportunity for my sons to be challenged,” Ida Thompson from Washington City said with her voice cracking with emotion. “My oldest son struggles socially in high school, but when he found this group of friends at Utah Tech, who also loved technology, suddenly he had a purpose. This program has changed the course of my children’s lives. It really was a lifesaver for them.”
“Students love the technology units we have at Utah Tech and the exploration kits will allow us to include motion, lights, sounds, and sensors into their projects,” said Jessica Davis, Director of STEM Outreach at Utah Tech. “Micro:Bits will help us to take the next step and make the connection between coding and creating.”
Ida’s oldest son Aiden, 17, praised the teachers and the smaller classrooms that fits with his learning style. “I found I enjoy engineering and solving problems,” said Aiden. “The attention to detail in the coursework was amazing. I now know what I what to do in the future.”
TDS’ Associate Manager of Field Marketing Wendi Bulkley, who nominated the program for TDS’ internal DE&I Community STEM Fund grant, said she is pleased the local provider of telecommunications services can support Utah Tech and its STEM programs. “These courses foster an interest in technology and engineering for future first-generation college students as well as low-income and underrepresented students in STEM fields.”
While STEM education is growing in the United States, over the next 10 years the demand for scientists and engineers is expected to increase by four times the rate of other occupations.
Through programs like this one at Utah Tech, Eric Pedersen, Dean of the College of Science, Engineering and Technology, believes young people in our community can acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to fill the coming shortage of workers in STEM fields in our very own backyard, all while “having so much fun they won’t realize they’re learning! Many thanks to TDS for helping us reach the next generation of STEM learners.”