STEM educators often brim with ideas for innovative classroom projects, but their schools’ budgets rarely brim with cash for such extras. To help with project funding, FirstEnergy Corp. is again offering its STEM Classroom Grants program. We contacted Delores Jones, manager of community involvement at FirstEnergy, to share details about the grants program and the application process:
Q: Who may apply?
A: Educators (pre-kindergarten through grade 12) and youth-group leaders in Ohio communities served by our electric operating companies — Ohio Edison, The Illuminating Company, and Toledo Edison — as well as communities where we have facilities, i.e., along the Ohio River. A map of our service area is available at our website www.firstenergycorp.com/community/education.
Q: How many grants are available and for how much money?
A: Grants of up to $1,000 are available for each classroom project — and the emphasis is on classroom projects. There are no limits on the total number of grants available each year.
Q: Must the projects be electricity- or energy-related to be considered? Must they be STEM-related?
A: They don’t have to be electricity- or energy-related, but they must be STEM projects to be considered. Teachers are encouraged to be creative and interdisciplinary.
Q: Can you give examples of projects that won funding in the past?
A: A booklet containing examples of funded projects, “Bright Ideas for Educators,” is available for free downloading from our website. Also featured is a list of current grant recipients, who would be happy to share information on their projects.
Q: What, in general, does the application involve? Is there a fee to apply?
A: There is no fee to apply. The application was developed by educators for educators. They are educators and school administrators who make up the FirstEnergy Educational Advisory Council, and they are listed on our website. The information requested on the applications is no more than what educators are expected to include in preparing a lesson plan.
Q: Why is First Energy involved in STEM education?
A: Our workforce is heavily weighted on STEM education and skill sets. We’re helping to prepare future employees! We also want students, parents and teachers to learn to respect the power of electricity and to use it safely.
Q: Is there anything else our readers should know about these grants or the application process?
A: Please don’t wait until the last minute to submit applications! The deadline for the 2016-17 academic year is Friday, Sept. 23. For more information about the grants program and to download an application, visit www.firstenergycorp.com/community/education.