Battelle support for education in Charlottesville grows with donations, broadening purpose

After SchoolBattelle sees a direct corollary between early science education and workforce development in Charlottesville. That’s why its charitable giving spans from support for preschoolers to middle-schoolers and—through scholarships— to students on the cusp their of professional science careers.

Local Battelle officials will soon begin distributing $80,000 to support eight local programs for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education in Central Virginia. That’s in addition to hours of volunteer time also focused on getting children ready for school, introducing them to science and engineering in elementary school, and encouraging that interest into middle and high school and beyond.

“We take a holistic approach to investment in workforce development in Virginia, specifically in the STEM disciplines,” said Adrian Felts, Manager of Battelle’s Charlottesville Operations. “We do this by partnering with local schools and community organizations that work to develop a regional approach to delivering STEM education to urban and rural students.”

The donations go toward funding everything from early childhood education to science fairs to computer mentoring programs and student scholarships—all critical parts of the complex goal of supporting education in STEM fields with the intent of building a strong workforce for the future.

A program newly supported by Battelle this year is an effort with Charlottesville City Schools called Engineering is Elementary that will impact more than 2,400 students. The program provides a combination of literacy and diversity hands-on activities that appeal to young students, especially those who may not have succeeded using the traditional STEM curriculum.

Another with strong regional impact, which Battelle is supporting for a second year, is the iSTEM Regional Geospatial Technology Course for STEM Teachers. The curriculum will introduce and train about 3,000 students from all socio-economic backgrounds in the interdisciplinary application of geospatial technologies.

Battelle is the world’s largest independent research and development organization with offices around the world. It has had offices in Charlottesville since the mid-1990s and currently has about 65 analysts, scientists and engineers providing solutions and services in support of chemical, biological and radiological defense.

“One of Battelle’s founding principles is to use science for the benefit of mankind, not only on a global basis, but to do so in the communities where we live and work,” Felts said.

The funding goes toward the following programs and projects in 2015:

  • The Virginia Piedmont Regional Science Fair where the sixth annual Battelle Innovation Award will be bestowed on what is judged to be the most innovative project.
  • The Virginia State Science and Engineering Fair where 300 high school students from around the state compete.
  • Charlottesville City Schools Engineering is Elementary
  • Environmental Studies Academy for Albemarle County Schools
  • Charlottesville Scholarship Program
  • Smart Beginnings, Pre-K School Readiness
  • iSTEM Regional Geospatial Technology Course for STEM Teachers
  • Computers4Kids, a non-profit after-school technology mentoring program for disadvantaged youth.

Every day, the people of Battelle apply science and technology to solving what matters most. At major technology centers and national laboratories around the world, Battelle conducts research and development, designs and manufactures products, and delivers critical services for government and commercial customers. Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio since its founding in 1929, Battelle makes the world better by commercializing technology, giving back to our communities, and supporting science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. For more information, visit www.battelle.org.

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