Science, technology, engineering and mathematic education programs in the College of Education and Human Services at West Virginia University have received significant enhancements from private gifts through the WVU Foundation’s State of Minds Campaign and WVU upgrades to learning facilities.
The private gifts of approximately $500,000 will support STEM-related scholarships and introduce innovative technology in the CEHS professional development school classrooms in northern West Virginia while the new STEM learning laboratory classroom (renovation of classrooms costing approximately $500,000) in Allen Hall improves classroom science teaching and technology integration as it expands curriculum offerings.
The Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation in Pittsburgh has provided a two-year award of over $200,000 to CEHS for the launching of the Mountaineer Educational Community Robotics, Education and Technology Empowerment Center. The MECC is a satellite facility working in partnership with Carnegie Mellon University’s Community Robotics, Education and Technology Empowerment Center. CREATE explores socially meaningful innovation and deployment of robotic technologies through experiential learning applications. WVU is the newest member of the CMU CREATE Lab which includes Marshall University and West Liberty University in West Virginia, and Carlow University in Pennsylvania.
Dr. Jeffrey Carver, director of STEM education initiatives for CEHS, sees, “a real potential in this partnership when we bring together five universities in two states to work together toward the common good of getting technology and support that can enhance student learning experiences into the hands of teachers and students in the schools.”
To help lead the program, MECC will recruit a doctorial level student pursuing studies in engineering and education technology principles, practices and pedagogy. Endowed scholarship support will be provided from the newly established Amerigo S. Cappellari Engineering Education Scholarship. Established by the Cappellari family, the purpose reflects the academic life of the namesake Amerigo Severino Cappellari, who completed WVU degrees in education (1939) and civil engineering (1943). Cappelari worked in the Southern West Virginia coal surface mining industry for 40 years. His wife of 66 years, Rose Mary Cappellari, graduated in business from WVU in 1942. Both are deceased.
“We are grateful to the Cappellari family for this generous gift. It will support students who are going to lead education in a new way and provide a STEM focus that will impact learners for generations,” said Dr. Lynne Schrum, dean of WVU’s College of Education and Human Services. “Our goal is to make sure that more students understand the intersection and importance of these fields for the country’s future.”
WVU’s MECC will be housed in a newly designed STEM learning laboratory classroom in Allen Hall. The laboratory offers a learning environment with computer technologies and traditional hands-on experimental learning stations. Outreach for MECC will begin in Morgantown professional development school sites at North Elementary School, Suncrest Middle School, the WVU Child Development Center and in a partnership with the Children’s Discovery Museum of West Virginia.
The initial focus will be on biological education demonstrations, robotics and the arts, and remote environmental sensing with the intent to expand to other STEM related educational projects to enhance students’ interests in STEM disciplines. One of the lab’s most innovative projects will allow visual exploration of space and time through a GigaPan Time Machine. North Elementary will use its existing garden based learning curriculum and employ the time elapsed technology to document how plants sprout, grow and flower.
The Children’s Discovery Museum of West Virginia will partner to develop an “Arts & Bots” station and a Children’s Innovation Project. Plans are to bring classes of elementary aged students to the museum for curriculum based science and other informal education related activities.
For more information about the CREATE Lab visit: http://www.cmucreatelab.org/
The grants were made in conjunction with A State of Minds: The Campaign for West Virginia’s University. The $750-million comprehensive campaign being conducted by the WVU Foundation on behalf of the University runs through December 2015.
CONTACT: Christie Zachary, College of Education and Human Services
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