LAURINBURG – Scotland County schools have been awarded a grant for $166,458 for science enrichment outside the classroom, educators said Tuesday.
The grant come from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund Student Science Enrichment Program. The fund supports hands-on teaching and learning for K-12 students across North Carolina. Since the program’s inception in 1996, BWF has awarded 227 grants totaling $34.1 million to organizations that reach nearly 50,000 North Carolina students.
Nonprofit organizations, including universities, colleges, public/private schools, museums, and community organizations are eligible to apply for the grant. Activities must take place outside of the school day including after school programs, year-round experiences, Saturday academies, clubs or summer camps.
The Scotland County grant is one of 13 across the state paid for by the enrichment program.
“For two decades, the Burroughs Wellcome Fund has supported informal science education in North Carolina,” said Fund President John Burris. “By supporting creative STEM education projects outside of the classroom we hope to inspire students to engage in science and for some to pursue a STEM career.”
Meredith Bounds, the spokesperson for the Scotland County school district, said the local award will be used over a three-year period to support the ‘Passport to STEM Summer Camp’ and ‘Saturday Science Journey’.
The projects will provide more than 200 at-risk, rising fifth-grade students the opportunity to strengthen and improve their academic knowledge by previewing, viewing, and reviewing those STEM concepts that the district’s students typically struggle with.
“We are very excited about the STEM summer camp and Saturday enrichment projects,” Superintendent Ron Hargrave said. “Opportunities like the ones that the Burroughs Wellcome Fund support allow us to capture our students’ attention as early as possible and get them excited about STEM.”
Hargrave added that economic indicators point to growth in STEM-related careers over the next 20 years.
“We are doing our students a disservice if we don’t start preparing them now for the world and workforce that they will face when they graduate,” Hargrave said.
Forbes magazine agreed, saying that for those “looking to earn serious paychecks right off the bat, engineering and computer science-related jobs are the way to go.”
The magazine listed drilling engineer as one of the top jobs with a median pay of $113,900. By comparison, the overall median pay for this group — professionals with a bachelor’s degree and three years or less of experience — in all fields in the U.S. is $43,400.