Area United Way gets $25,000 STEM grant

Alicia Bell, Executive Director of UWCMC, left, and UTSI representative Carole Thomas, STEM Pro-gram Manager, show off the STEMmobile from Tennessee Tech that they plan to use at during Middle School Innovators weeks. UWCMC recently received a $25,000 grant from LaunchTN, and as a result, both groups will be bring the STEM tech to every school in Coffee and Moore Counties. –Photo submitted

STAFF REPORT The United Way of Coffee and Moore Counties (UWCMC) has been named as one of 13 LaunchTN grant winners from across the state.

Alicia Bell, Executive Director of UWCMC, left, and UTSI representative Carole Thomas, STEM Pro-gram Manager, show off the STEMmobile from Tennessee Tech that they plan to use at during Middle School Innovators weeks. UWCMC recently received a $25,000 grant from LaunchTN, and as a result, both groups will be bring the STEM tech to every school in Coffee and Moore Counties. –Photo submitted

UWCMC was fully funded with a $25,000 grant from LaunchTN, and as a result, the United Way will be working closely with UTSI to bring STEM education programs to every school in Coffee and Moore Counties. The grant will fund 15 STEM education programs in our elementary schools and three seminars in our high schools, according to Alicia Bell, Executive Director of UWCMC. It will also cover the cost of the Innovators weeks in our middle schools, Bell said, explaining that during that time, they hope to have every middle school student in Coffee and Moore Counties have access to Tennessee Tech’s STEMmobile. TTU student ambassador programs in the classroom, and other activities, are all coordinated by UTSI. Finally, this grant will pay for three Better World Pitch Competitions in area high schools, Bell said. These pitch competitions encourage students to use their STEM skills to create solutions to world problems. They will present their ideas to a panel of current STEM professionals and the top three winners will receive scholarships. All grantees will be using their awards to run entrepreneurial or workforce development programs. Last week, when the funding was announced, United Way and UTSI had preliminary meetings with every high school to start planning the Pitch Competitions. UTSI is also in the process of reaching out to the middle and elementary schools to start planning their programs, Bell explained. “We want to build programs that are as effective for students as possible, so we are individualizing programs for each school that wishes to participate,” Bell said. “If any administrators or teachers have questions and suggestions, please reach out to United Way.” Bell can be contacted at 931-455-5678 or email her at cmcunitedway@gmail.com.