Grant to promote STEM applications in high needs schools

Project includes solar race car competition for Richmond Metro students

Headshots of (from left) Dr. Elizabeth Edmondson and Ms. Suzanne Kirk.
From left: Dr. Elizabeth Edmondson and Ms. Suzanne Kirk.

The VCU School of Education and College of Engineering have received a $50,000 one-year grant from the Army Educational Outreach Program (AEOP) to engage students from high needs schools in the Richmond Metro region in the Junior Solar Sprint Jumpstart and Challenge programs.

As part of the project, teachers recruited from Richmond area schools will participate in a one-day professional development session that will prepare them to facilitate the building and racing of solar cars by students. Teachers will then bring the students and their cars to a racing competition on VCU Solar Jumpstart and Challenge Day.

The School of Education’s Dr. Elizabeth Edmondson will serve as co-principal investigator for the project, along with Jenilee Stanley-Shanks, director of government and community outreach at the College of Engineering. Ms. Suzanne Kirk will serve as the project director.

“Our goal is to have as diverse a group of students participating as possible so that all students have an opportunity to learn about Army opportunities,” said Edmondson.

Those opportunities include eCYBERMISSION, a web-based science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) competition that enables students to recognize the real-life applications of STEM.

For the VCU racing competition, soldiers from nearby Fort Lee and Fort A.P. Hill will be recruited to serve as assistants/mentors for schools and to assist with the race. Pre- and post-data will be collected from teachers and students to measure the impact of the project on content understanding, beliefs and perceptions.