The Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) received another boost today for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education with a $20,000 grant from the Arizona Community Foundation (ACF).
TGen's Pathogen Genomics Division (TGen North) in Flagstaff secured the grant for the research institute's TGen2School program. At TGen North, some of the world's top experts study disease-causing microorganisms, including everything from valley fever to MRSA and even anthrax and plague.
TGen2School is a business-school initiative developed by David Engelthaler, TGen North's Director of Programs and Operations. Engelthaler is a key STEM education leader in Flagstaff, which in 2012 was declared America's first STEM Community.
"Arizonans are rallying around these efforts to promote the skills students will need in the 21st century," Engelthaler said. "The recognition of these efforts by ACF and others encourages innovative approaches to STEM education. The genetic research we do at TGen encompasses all aspects of STEM - from Science through Math - so TGen is an ideal place to help lead Arizona towards STEM literacy."
The ACF grant comes on the heels of a $20,000 grant from the APS Foundation to help expand the TGen2School initiative by providing science kits and teacher instruction promoting STEM education.
The TGen2School initiative includes professional development instruction for Flagstaff area teachers about the Bio-SEEK: Bio-Science Education Enrichments Kits Program. Five sessions are planned at TGen North, 3051 W. Shamrell Blvd., southeast of Interstate 17 and the exit to the Flagstaff Pulliam Airport.
The first five professional development classes are scheduled for: Oct. 12, DNA Model & Genetics; Nov. 2, DNA Extraction & Genetics; Dec. 7, Microbiology; Jan. 11, Molecular Biology; and Feb. 1, Bioinformatics. Classes will run from 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Refreshments will be provided, and participating teachers will receive a $75 gift card.
To register for one of the classes, please contact Zsuzsi Kovacs, TGen North's STEM Education Coordinator, at [email protected] or 928-226-6359. Tours of TGen North for schools and other groups also may be arranged by appointment with Kovacs.
"These are ideal tools that teachers can use to convey complex concepts in ways students can easily absorb, and it lessens the burden on the pocketbooks of teachers," Kovacs said. "These kits are built on next-generation science standards and bioscience basics that students need to succeed in the genome-age."
The newly developed science kits will be provided at no charge through a checkout system available to teachers who have attended the professional training. The goal is improved overall scientific literacy, and a better-prepared bioscience workforce.
In addition to the $20,000 for TGen North, ACF also gave $15,000 to the Northern Arizona Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology (NACET), a Flagstaff business incubator that promotes STEM education, and $10,000 for a Flagstaff STEM education coordinator.
The three grants were facilitated with assistance from ACF's regional affiliate, the Flagstaff Community Foundation. They were awarded as part of ACF's new Arizona Venture Fund for Quality Education, a multi-faceted initiative that unites several education-focused charitable funds to make investments that achieve greater impact and scale. STEM education is a primary focus of the Venture Fund.
"Now, more than ever, Arizona needs to promote STEM education, which will not only better prepare students for the genome-age, but will in the long run help improve Arizona's health care and economy," said Steven Seleznow, President and CEO of the Arizona Community Foundation.
With more than 1,300 charitable funds under management and five offices across Arizona, ACF provides flexible giving options for donors, major funding for non-profits and students, and leadership around key community issues.
"Mobilizing the STEM workforce requires considerable collaboration between the private and public sectors. Strategic and dedicated inputs from STEM-related businesses and non-profits, such as the TGen2School initiative, are critical to increase both key knowledge and keen interest among youth today," said Mindy Bell, Flagstaff's STEM City coordinator.
Source: The Translational Genomics Research Institute