For Immediate Release
Contact: Chris Caldwell
UCOR awards $40,000 in STEM education mini-grants
Oak Ridge, Tenn., May 11, 2023 – United Cleanup Oak Ridge (UCOR) has awarded $40,000 in mini-grants to East Tennessee teachers in 28 schools. The grants will fund K-12 school projects in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, as well as related classes.
This is UCOR’s first round of mini-grant awards under its new Oak Ridge Reservation Cleanup Contract with the Department of Energy. Under its previous contract—involving the cleanup of East Tennessee Technology Park—UCOR awarded $310,000 in STEM mini-grants. UCOR is continuing the annual program to support teachers in a nine-county region who work to heighten student awareness of STEM and related fields.
“I am excited every year to see the types of projects teachers are doing in their classrooms to promote STEM learning,” said UCOR Community Outreach and Workforce Development Coordinator Shannon Potter, “Getting and keeping students engaged in the STEM fields is important to UCOR’s goal to build a pipeline of future cleanup workers.”
This year, 36 UCOR mini-grants went to elementary, middle, junior high, and high school projects such as:
- Bringing the Weather to Us (Midtown Elementary, Roane County)
This grant supports elementary student understanding of the local environment by allowing them to study weather on their own playground. They will create a weather station to observe, collect, and record data.
- As a MATTER of fact: let’s investigate (Huntsville Middle, Scott County)
This grant will enable fifth-grade students to conduct 12 different scientific investigations to identify and classify the three states of matter — observing, exploring, and measuring solids, liquids, and gases.
- From seed to plate: using ecosystem dynamics to teach social/emotional learning (Farragut High, Knox County)
This grant helps bring STEM into social/emotional learning to enhance self and social awareness, decision making, and relationship building. The high school students will learn ecosystem dynamics through the lens of organic gardening (growing ingredients), ultimately learning to cook what they grow.
(A full list of projects is available here).
UCOR’s environmental cleanup work relies heavily on workers in the STEM fields. The company’s 2,100-plus cleanup workforce includes many STEM professionals: chemical operators, electricians, engineers, industrial hygienists, nurses, project managers, radiation control technicians, and more.
The company accepted applications from teachers in March. A team of UCOR professionals reviewed the submissions (which were made anonymous for the process) before making grant awards. More information about the UCOR mini-grant program is available from the UCOR website: ucor.com/minigrants/.
UCOR is the DOE Oak Ridge Office of Environmental Management’s lead environmental cleanup contractor. The company’s 2,100+ workers are dedicated to safely reducing environmental risk on the Oak Ridge Reservation while helping DOE’s Office of Science and the National Nuclear Security Administration continue their important missions. Learn more about the company at UCOR.com.
UCOR NR 2023-7