Misericordia Awarded Pasmart Advancing Computer Science and Stem Education Grant

Misericordia University is among 42 organizations across the Commonwealth to be awarded funding through the 2021-22 PAsmart Advancing Computer Science and STEM Education Grants Program. The university was awarded a grant in the amount of $375,750 in response to their proposal, “Teach STEM!: Strengthening the STEM Pipeline by increasing the number of culturally-responsive Computer Science and STEM teachers in Luzerne County.”

Launched by Governor Tom Wolf, PAsmart is an initiative of the Pennsylvania Department of Education. PAsmart strategically invests resources in education and training opportunities to support Pennsylvania’s economic growth now and in the future. According to the PAsmart website, over the next decade, most of the better paying jobs in Pennsylvania will require some form of education or training after high school, especially in the fast-growing fields of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and computer science.

“The success of our initiative is predicated on the collaboration amongst valued regional stakeholders such as the Greater Wyoming Valley Chamber of Commerce. Joining us in this partnership are Luzerne Intermediate Unit-18 and the Luzerne/Schuylkill Workforce Development Board. Each of these organizations possess a unique, yet interconnected role focused toward alleviating the extreme teacher shortage, particularly in the secondary STEM field, that is impacting the quality of learning experienced by our young students spanning the county,” said Colleen Duffy, Ed.D., chairperson, Teacher Education Department and director of Graduate Teacher Education at Misericordia University.

Additionally, through distinct partner-driven offerings such as new certification programs and professional development courses, the program looks to effectively reverse declining enrollment in teacher preparation programs. These efforts will supplement the STEM workforce pipeline by growing student interest in pursuing CS/STEM majors and careers.

Since 2018, the Wolf Administration has secured $60 million and strategically invested in education and workforce development through PAsmart. The Pennsylvania Workforce Development Board provided initial recommendations and approved the framework for the funding priorities.

Targeted and Advancing PAsmart grants support high-quality STEM and computer science learning and professional development opportunities to communities across Pennsylvania, including within early learning centers, libraries, out-of-school time providers, career and technical centers, post-secondary institutions, and K-12 schools. The department awarded a total of 438 PAsmart grants since the 2018-19 school year.

Misericordia University was founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1924, in Dallas, Pennsylvania. It is Luzerne County’s oldest four-year college offering 37 degree programs in three academic colleges, including Health Sciences and Education, Arts and Sciences, and Business. Faculty at Misericordia are accomplished scholars and educators who prepare students to emerge into a challenging society as ethical leaders, through challenging academic standards and high levels of engagement with students, including research, service to others, and career preparation.

University of Scranton Students Receive STEM Summer Research Awards

Sanofi Summer Research Awards to Student Impact Banner
Five University of Scranton Students received Excellence in STEM Program Sanofi US Summer Research Awards, which provided support for the students’ independent research projects. From left: Olivia Sander ’23, Elisa Yanni ’22, Michael Quinnan ’23 and Victoria Caruso ’22. Award recipient Nia Long is absent from photo.

Five University of Scranton students received Excellence in STEM Program Sanofi US Summer Research Awards, which provided support for the students’ independent research projects.

The University students who received the Excellence in STEM Sanofi US Summer Research Awards are: Victoria Caruso ’22, Freehold, New Jersey; Nia Long ’22, East Stroudsburg; Michael Quinnan ’23, Shavertown; Olivia Sander ’23, Macungie; and Elisa Yanni ’22, Scranton.

Caruso is majoring in biology at Scranton. She is working with her faculty mentor Amelia Randich, Ph.D., assistant professor of biology, on her research project entitled “Growth of diverse Alphaproteobacteria.”

Long is majoring in neuroscience at Scranton. She is working with her faculty mentor Marc Seid, Ph.D., associate professor of biology, on her research project entitled “Effects of chronic exposure to synthetic hydraulic fracturing solution on brain morphology in adult ants (Formica sp.)”

Quinnan is majoring in biomathematics at Scranton. He is working with his faculty mentor Amelia Randich Ph.D., assistant professor of biology, on his research project entitled “Characterizing Alphaproteobacteria and their cellular morphology.”

Sander is majoring in neuroscience at Scranton. She is working with her faculty mentor Rob Waldeck, Ph.D., associate professor and director of the neuroscience program, on her research project entitled “The telencephalon’s influence on startle response plasticity in goldfish.”

Yanni is majoring in neuroscience at Scranton. She is working with her faculty mentor Marc Seid, Ph.D., associate professor of biology, on her research project entitled “The effect of sleep deprivation on learning in Camponotus floridanus.”

Faculty members at Scranton often include undergraduate students in their academic projects. The University’s Faculty Student Research Program also supports undergraduate student participation in research. In addition, students participating in the University’s Honors Program and the Magis Honors Program in STEM work with faculty mentors on research projects.

Sanofi is a global pharmaceutical company that is involved in the research, development, marketing and manufacturing of various medicines and vaccines. Every year, Sanofi offers multiple grants to nonprofit organizations and educational institutions that are working to advance participation in STEM fields.

Lackawanna College Receives $5,000 Grant to Support STEM-Focused Summer Camp

Lackawanna College has received a $5,000 Business Education Partnership (BEP) grant from the Lackawanna County Workforce Development Board (WDB) to support the FIRST LEGO League: Robot Game Camp, a STEM-focused, hands-on summer camp for Scranton School District students in grades six through nine.

Run by the Continuing Education department, the program will run Aug. 2 – August 6, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Students will work in teams and engage in a friendly competition to build and program LEGO robots to accomplish tasks and meet challenges. These unique challenge missions will provide students with hands-on experiences that relate to a variety of STEM occupations, such as engineering, coding and information technology, architecture, manufacturing and logistics, the trades, and technician positions.

“Lackawanna College supports the community through youth programming and activities that encourage growth and active learning,” said Bridget Duggan, Lackawanna College Youth Program Coordinator. “Through this grant, we are able to provide accessible opportunities to Scranton School District students that get them excited about the STEM field. Partnerships like this are extremely valuable to everyone involved.”

The college has opened registration to Scranton School District students for the FIRST LEGO League: Robot Game Camp. The program will be available free of charge with 15 spots available.

This project is funded, in part, under an Agreement with money allocated by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, through the Lackawanna County WDB, and its Fiscal Agent, Lackawanna County.

For more information and to register your child for the FIRST LEGO League: Robot Game Camp at Lackawanna College, call Bridget Duggan at (570) 961-7883 or email dugganb@lackawanna.edu.

Johnson College Now Enrolling Middle and High School Students in On-Campus STEM Energy Outreach Program

Johnson College is now enrolling middle and high school students in its STEM Energy Outreach Program being held on-campus, on Monday, June 7, 2021, from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. This program introduces students to green, renewable energy through solar concepts using an interactive, hands-on demonstration. For more information and to register visit, https://forms.gle/jTNphmJzbzMR9dSc7 or email Dr. Kellyn Williams, Chief Academic Officer at Johnson College, at knolan@johnson.edu. Space is limited. The STEM Energy Outreach Program is made possible by a grant from the PPL Foundation.

Students will participate in the interactive learning experience by assembling K’nex Education Renewable Energy sets with Johnson College Chief Academic Officer Dr. Kellyn Williams. The completed K’nex kits will be shared with other schools as part of future Johnson College STEM Outreach Programs. 

The PPL Foundation awards annual grants through a competitive application and review process. Through strategic partnerships, the Foundation: supports organizations working to create vibrant, sustainable communities, promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion; and empowers each citizen to fulfill her or his potential. 

For additional information on Johnson College, please call 1-800-2-WE-WORK, email enroll@johnson.edu, or visit Johnson.edu.

Keystone College Receives PA Smart Grant for Youth “STEM” Initiative

Keystone College has received a state grant to develop several technology programs for regional elementary and high school students.

The $378,150 grant is part of Governor Tom Wolf’s $10.8 million PAsmart initiative to expand access to computer science and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education for Pennsylvania students.

Keystone’s grant will focus on developing computer science, information technology, and 3-D printing for elementary and high school students. Specific school districts involved will be announced soon.  

High school students included in the Keystone initiative will have an opportunity for dual enrollment and to attain certifications in Python coding and/or SOLIDWORKS 3-D printing. The certifications can be used as resume builders to join the workforce after high school and the dual enrollment credits can be applied toward higher education opportunities.

Elementary students will be engaged in glass blowing and ceramic classes. They will learn about materials science and how it relates to the creation of those art forms. The PAsmart grant also includes funding for technology and software and instructor stipends.

“We are extremely grateful to Governor Wolf to be included in the PAsmart initiative,” said Keystone College President Tracy L. Brundage, Ph.D. “The education programs we develop will help local students obtain valuable training. Whether they decide to continue their education after high school, or enter the workforce directly, these programs are critical for young people to develop the necessary skills to be successful in their careers and in their lives.”   

“Workers in all types of jobs increasingly need to use computers and technology,” said Governor Wolf. “In order to meet that demand, I launched PAsmart in 2018 to expand science and technology education. These grants will help our schools and communities to expand STEM and computer science education. That will strengthen our workforce, so businesses can grow, and workers have good jobs that can support a family.”

Keystone offers more than 40 undergraduate and graduate degree options in liberal arts and science-based programs in business, communications, education, natural science, environmental science, and social sciences. Located 15 minutes from Scranton, Pa. and two hours from New York City and Philadelphia, Keystone is known for small class sizes and individual attention focused on student success through internships, research, and community involvement.

Johnson College Receives $5,000 from Fidelity Bank through Pennsylvania’s EITC Program

Recently, Dr. Katie Leonard, President & CEO at Johnson College visited Fidelity Bank in Dunmore to receive a $5,000 check in support of the College’s STEM Outreach and Industry Fast Track Program from Michael J. Pacyna, Jr, Executive Vice President and Chief Business Development Officer at Fidelity Bank and Daniel J. Santaniello, President and Chief Executive Officer at Fidelity Bank,.

Fidelity Bank donated to Johnson College as part of Pennsylvania’s Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) Program, which is administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development.

Through its STEM Outreach, Johnson College utilizes its experience in providing industry-focused technical education to expand its outreach to elementary, middle, and high school students. The outreach raises awareness of the benefits of STEM education and the possibilities of achieving economic independence through employment in a STEM career field.

Johnson College’s Industry Fast Track program offers high school students an opportunity to enroll simultaneously in secondary and post-secondary coursework at Johnson College. The course meets state requirements for high school graduation while providing introductory level college courses.

For additional information on Johnson College, please call 1-800-2-WE-WORK, email enroll@johnson.edu, or visit Johnson.edu.