Northern Panhandle schools awarded grants for STEAM programs

More than a dozen schools in the Northern Panhandle and Belmont County were among 43 school districts across West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania to be awarded more than a quarter-million dollars in grants this week for STEAM programs.

The Innovation Grants program, through a partnership led by Chevron, EQT and the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, is in its third year and encourages school districts in primarily rural communities to develop engaging programs and curriculum with innovation and design serving as the driving force behind science, technology, engineering, arts and math.

“Small grants like these are incredibly valuable in tapping the creativity of frontline teachers working with community partners,” said James Denova, vice president of the Benedum foundation.

“There are a lot of inspiring ideas out there, but they are often overlooked by large scale top-down projects. In many ways, the grassroots approach to IU1’s innovation grants democratize reform in public education.”

Since 2017, the Chevron and Benedum Foundation-led initiative has awarded more than $500,000 in grants to schools across the region, with EQT’s support expanding the program this year.

“We strive to identify opportunities that impact the communities we serve in meaningful ways,” said Ellen Rossi, EQT foundation manager. “Education is a core focus of the EQT Foundation and we’re proud to partner with Chevron on this truly innovative program that expands curriculum and gets students excited to learn.”

A total of 18 projects in 10 West Virginia county school districts — Brooke, Hancock, Harrison, Marshall, Monongalia, Ohio, Preston, Randolph, Tucker and Upshur — will receive a combined $107,500 for projects related to robotics, coding, 3D printing and engineering. In Ohio, 12 projects in five school districts in Belmont County will receive a combined $63,800 for projects aimed at engineering, robotics and girls in STEAM. Pennsylvania will have 13 projects in 12 school districts across Washington, Greene and Fayette counties funded, receiving a combined $87,900 for initiatives aimed at topics including coding, robotics, STEM and music.

“We’re committed to supporting the communities where we’re privileged to operate, and we hope these grants help spark an interest and prepare students with the science and math skills critical to in-demand energy and advanced manufacturing careers,” said Trip Oliver, manager of policy, government and public affairs at Chevron Appalachia.


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