STEM Education Comes Alive for Students Thanks to Philanthropy

Written by: developer

More Than 1,000 Students Benefit from Donors Generosity

Thanks to three generous gifts, the Space Foundation recently offered “Discover ScholarTrips,” or scholarships, to various Colorado schools to experience a field trip to the Discovery Center. Located in Colorado Springs, the Discovery Center is the region’s first and only space, science and technology attraction, offering a full complement of STEM-related courses for PreK-12 students. STEM subjects are science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Each Discover ScholarTrip covered the students’ admission fee and a subsidy for bus costs, one of the biggest obstacles that teachers face — transportation funds to get their students out of the classroom to experience exciting and engaging field trips such as those to the Discovery Center. This funding structure addresses the more and more frequent problem of lack of funding for field trips, alleviates the budgetary restrictions regarding how schools can spend money and helps ease the burden on the parents of students who often end up absorbing the cost.

Funding from several donors has provided three Discover ScholarTrips offerings. A gift from the Pikes Peak Regional Council of El Pomar Foundation provided scholarships to schools designated as “Title 1” in El Paso, Teller, southern Douglas and northern Pueblo counties.  

A generous gift from Northrop Grumman Corporation funded scholarships for rural schools in Colorado. The third Discover ScholarTrip offering was funded by the proceeds from the Space Foundation’s Space & Science Fiction Costume Ball and was designated for Space Foundation Teacher Liaison schools in Colorado.

After an application process, a total of 30 Discover ScholarTrips were awarded, serving more than 1,000 kindergartners through high school students in just a three month time period. Each scholarship recipient chooses from a list of current courses that align with their academic needs. Examples of courses currently offered include Reasons for the Seasons, Newton’s Rockets, Soil Seekers, Tour of the Solar System, Electric Earth, Wacky Weather, Shake Rattle and Roll and You’ve Got Guts.  

Field trips consist of a presentation in the Northrop Grumman Science Center featuring Science On a Sphere® and a hands-on demonstration activity, both taught by Space Foundation Educational Specialists, all of whom hold master’s degrees in education. Students also tour the El Pomar Space Gallery, full of space artifacts and memorabilia.

The Space Foundation’s Discover ScholarTrips address a lack of proficiency and interest in STEM subjects. The Space Foundation seeks to make STEM subjects not only interactive for students and teachers, but also fun, in order to spark student interest in STEM, with the goal of igniting a flame within future scientists and engineers.

For more information on funding Discover ScholarTrips, please call Development at 719-576-8000, or email [email protected].

This article is part of Space Watch: May 2014 (Volume: 13, Issue: 5).