NFC $1.1 Million National Science Foundation Grant

Strengthening Partnerships, STEM Training and Research 

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$1.1 Million National Science Foundation GrantMADISON, FL - North Florida College received a $1.1 million federal grant award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) in April to develop engaging, age appropriate STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) design learning experiences for rural middle school students. The three-year grant specifically focuses on middle school students in rural Hamilton, Jefferson, Lafayette, Madison, Suwannee and Taylor counties. 

Partnered with area educators and STEM professionals, NFC’s mission for the program is to promote greater awareness of STEM pathways, to increase readiness of area students for STEM post-secondary study, and to build student skills and confidence in exploring STEM training and careers. 

The research will involve a collaborative team including area middle school teachers in the design phase, review phase and implementation phase. Design workshops began in early October at NFC.

Once implemented, the STEM SEALs program - which stands for STEM Sea, Air and Land - will invite middle school students to participate in engineering challenges on the NFC campus. Each student will design and build their own robot and, equipped with a microcomputer, learn how to remotely control and move the robot on water, air or land. Students will learn how to attach actuators and sensors to the robotic vehicle in preparation for a final STEM SEALs competition at NFC in summer 2020. 

“The NFC STEM SEALs program provides an exceptional opportunity to teachers and students in our district,” said NFC professor Dr. Guenter Maresch, the grants principal investigator. “The grant funding allows NFC to raise the educational experience while providing creative learning incentives that expose middle school students and teachers to practical applications of the science and mathematics curriculum. I applaud NFC’s faculty for helping secure this federal-level grant and bringing this exciting initiative to our community and students.” 

Ultimately, the research completed at NFC will be used to strengthen STEM training and share the program’s best practices with other colleges and schools