Early this year, Battelle announced MakerMinded was coming to Ohio. In MakerMinded, students complete interactive lessons where they learn about STEM and manufacturing, earning points for their school. The program is the Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow (LIFT), a national manufacturing institute. But that's just the start. Last Wednesday, I learned two of Battelle's long-term partners in STEM are bringing more opportunity to Ohio.
A joint team from Columbus State Community College just won a three-year, $800,000+ award from the National Science Foundation. Under the award, the team will create an Additive Manufacturing Summer Institute.
Through this institute:
- High school students will explore advanced manufacturing careers.
- Teachers work together on new professional development to embed additive manufacturing content into their classrooms.
- Columbus State will connect experiences at the institute to the college's manufacturing engineering technology courses.
Let me be clear: National Science Foundation support is a big deal. Education makes up only 8% of the organization's award budget. Foundation grants are also highly competitive. In the education area, acceptance rates range from 18-20%. The project team (led by Trevor Warfield, Danny Byas and Christopher Brandon) deserve serious respect of this win.
Battelle was proud to support their application, and I've included our formal letter of support here. I'm happy to share why I was so excited to see this idea put forward:
- Advanced manufacturing is a huge deal to this state. We're definitely going to be talking to the team about including their project in the MakerMinded competition and sharing this through the Ohio STEM Learning Network.
- The program will reach students in high school, when career decisions are still somewhat malleable.
- Here's a big one: The program's connected to college. One of the key differentiators in a good STEM school is a focus on "what's next" for students. How is whatever you're doing in the classroom getting you the credits you'll need in college? Or the skills you need to impress a boss.
About the Author
Dr. Aimee Kennedy is Senior Vice President for Education, STEM Learning and Philanthropy. She directs Battelle’s efforts to foster innovative schools that prepare students for tomorrow’s career and college environment. Founded on the conviction that rigorous, hands-on learning should be available to every child, these efforts include Metro Early College, the Ohio STEM Learning Network, the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network, and the national STEMx network.