U of M Awarded NSF Grant for the Memphis Virtual STEM Academy
The University of Memphis, in collaboration with the Shelby County Schools district,
received a grant award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the amount of
$1,342,970 to support the Memphis Virtual STEM Academy at East High School. Two University
of Memphis faculty, Dr. Alfred Hall, Assistant Professor in the department of Instruction Curriculum Leadership, and
Dr. Stephanie Ivey, Associate Professor in the department of Civil Engineering, are serving as the PI
and Co-PI of the project.
|Dr. Alfred Hall
||Dr. Stephanie Ivey
The grant award is part of NSF’s Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and
Teachers (ITEST) program and recognizes the Virtual STEM Academy as an innovative,
pre-engineering Strategies project for high school students (grades 9 – 12).
The Virtual STEM Academy investigates the implementation of an online STEM curriculum
that provides students with self-paced modules, as well as face-to-face STEM laboratory
projects and field experiences designed to help students understand pre-engineering
concepts and principles and develop an interest in and motivation to pursue STEM careers.
This strategy provides high quality STEM educational opportunities to diverse populations
of students attending high schools that are unable to offer an equivalent program
of study due to inadequate laboratory facilities and/or the absence of highly effective
STEM teachers. This strategy is also unique from the standpoint that it draws from
the experiences of a team of engineers-turned-educators and provides them with innovative
opportunities to collectively implement a virtual STEM curriculum and design/implement
STEM laboratory and field experiences for high school students.
The goal of the Memphis Virtual STEM Academy drives the project to design, implement,
and evaluate an intervention that supports student engagement in authentic, relevant
experiences that reflect the skills, knowledge, and practices represented in the STEM
and Information and Computer Technology (ICT) workforce and motivates students to
pursue STEM and ICT career trajectories.
This project is designed to create broader impacts locally, regionally, and nationally
in K-12 and higher education environments by addressing some of the challenges faced
by large, urban school districts in their efforts to offer STEM programs of study
with limited resources (human and fiscal) and/or student interest at one particular
school. The model developed by the Memphis Virtual STEM Academy will demonstrate how
an innovative approach that leverages existing resources can be used to create a unique
learning opportunity for students without having them transfer to a magnet school.
The findings from this project will not only support the efforts of large, urban districts
but may also be relevant to small, rural school districts that face similar challenges.
For more information contact Stephanie Ivey <firstname.lastname@example.org>.