Dominion Energy Supports STEM Education at CofC

The College of Charleston Foundation on Friday, Oct. 26, 2018, announced a $10,000 grant from the Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation, the nonprofit arm of Dominion Energy, to fund Elementary Engineers and the Charleston STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) Festival.

Students conduct an experiment at an Elementary Engineers camp last summer.

With the help of partners like Dominion Energy, the College’s Grice Marine Lab and the Historic Charleston Foundation, the College of Charleston Elementary Engineers program reinforces STEM learning amongst primary school students and supports teacher training. During the summer program, students get the opportunity to conduct hands-on experiments and go on field trips with the aim of fostering an interest in sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics.

“This year marks the third consecutive year that Dominion Energy has generously funded the efforts of College of Charleston’s Elementary Engineers to advance STEM teaching and learning through year-round support of teachers and youth in the Charleston area,” says Rachael James, director of the College’s Afterschool & Summer Learning Resource Center. “As a direct result of Dominion’s funding, Elementary Engineers has trained more than 60 elementary teachers on a nationally renowned engineering curriculum, exposed more than 1,300 kindergarten-fifth-grade youth to hands-on, real-world engineering challenges and created 14 weeks of summer STEM programming for low-income youth in downtown Charleston. This year Elementary Engineers is looking forward to using Dominion funds to empower even more teachers and youth to be engaged and interested in STEM activities and careers.”

The sixth annual Charleston STEM Festival will be held on March 9, 2019, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Exchange Park in Ladson. More than 80 exhibitors will have hands-on activities, live performances, interactive demonstrations and family-oriented entertainment. The festival aims to increase awareness of the role of STEM in society and promote responsible science in the region.

“Dominion Energy’s support helps create a foundation of learning for our future leaders in the STEM fields,” says Mini Narayanan, director of the Lowcountry Hall of Science and Math at the College. “At the upcoming STEM Festival, we are excited about attracting elementary students to a STEM education and making the public aware of STEM activities and how they impact their daily lives.”

“We believe deeply in programs like Elementary Engineers and the Charleston STEM Festival,” says Kristen Beckham, external affairs representative for Dominion Energy. “As a company, we are committed to investing in and improving our communities, and we see tremendous value in getting young people excited about science, math and engineering.”