DATE: February 28, 2013
By Jeffrey Javier
APS Foundation awards $250,000 grant to UA Biosphere 2
Serving as a vital STEM education and training resource for Arizona kindergarten through 12th grade teachers, the UA Biosphere 2 Arizona Center for STEM Teachers will create a new summer program with a $250,000 grant from Arizona Public Service.
APS Foundation Executive Director Julie Coleman will present the $250,000 check to B2 Institute Director Pierre Meystre at Biosphere 2 Saturday. APS Foundation members will also take a tour of the sprawling 3.14 acre facility, which contains various ecosystems enclosed in approximately 7.2 million cubic feet of sealed glass.
"We are pleased to be able to support the University of Arizona's Arizona Center for STEM Teachers program, as it enhances support to STEM teachers by developing strong content knowledge as well as the skills for translating this knowledge into the classroom," Coleman said.
Since 2009, Biosphere 2 ACST has provided professional and curriculum development for more than 500 K-12 STEM teachers. The center's goal is to help teachers incorporate STEM into their curriculum and create excitement for the sciences in their students.
Meystre said students with more opportunities for engaging in STEM education will better prepare them for college and a career. Helping teachers develop a STEM curriculum woven into a day's classwork is the first step.
The grant forges a new partnership between Biosphere 2 and APS. Together, they will develop this year's ACST summer program that brings together a group of 60 Arizona K-12 STEM teachers to spend an all-expense paid two week stay on the Biosphere 2 campus.
"APS is in a unique position to bring home the importance of STEM education using the platform of sustainable economic growth with limited natural resources," Meystre says.
During that time they will learn about Arizona's challenges for sustaining economic growth in an environment of limited resources, and develop grade-appropriate lesson plans centered on that issue.
APS volunteers will help shape the lectures, experiments and curriculum development with their insight and expertise in energy generation and management.
"The synergy between APS and Biosphere 2 and the combination of their resources has the unique potential to raise ACST to an extraordinary new level and significantly increase its impact on Arizona teachers and students," Meystre says.
The University of Arizona Foundation is a nonprofit corporation dedicated to advancing the University of Arizona. Managing an existing asset base of more than $600 million, the UA Foundation has helped generate more than $2 billion in private funding to support the University. Learn more about the Foundation at uafoundation.org.