BOSTON (WWLP) – Western New England University (WNEU) is one of four institutions that have been awarded grants to expand Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programs.

Over $1-million will fund initiatives for students by providing hands-on curriculum and teacher professional development, helping nearly 30,000 students in low-income school districts and more than 450 teachers across the state. 

“In Massachusetts, STEM industries are thriving, and we must support the development of a skilled talent pipeline and provide more students with skills and knowledge in science, technology, engineering and math that will lead them toward rewarding careers,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Lt. Governor Polito and the STEM Advisory Council have worked diligently to expand access to STEM learning to all students across the Commonwealth, and these grants will continue those critical efforts.” 

“These STEM programs provide teachers with valuable training and resources to ensure students are engaged with their lessons. These programs create invaluable experiences for students before they go on to higher education or careers,” said Secretary of Education James Peyser. “We are very appreciative of the higher education institutions and curriculum partners that work along with us to expand STEM learning opportunities for all students.” 

The following organizations received grants: 

Western New England University – $279, 681: Western New England University collaborates with Spark Photonics Foundation to provide teacher training for SparkAlpha, a project-based learning program which engages students and teachers with optics, photonics, and advanced manufacturing. The grant will support middle and high schools in Springfield. 

Museum of Science, Boston – $224,631: EiE®, the Museum of Science (MOS) provides curriculum in engineering and computer science that helps to develop foundational skills in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) for students from pre-K-8. EiE makes engineering and computer science relevant, accessible, and inclusive for all students, particularly those who are underserved, underrepresented, or underperforming in STEM disciplines. This grant will support EiE implementation at 12 schools in Massachusetts. The Museum of Science will provide teacher professional development for approximately 180 teachers that will impact 6,300 students.

OpenSciEd Equitable Instruction (OEI) Initiative at Boston College – $196,482: In partnership with One8 and MassSTEM Hub, the OEI Initiative will support 40 school districts with professional development and training to implement the three-year OpenSciEd curriculum, which consists of 18 units across grades 6-8. Approximately 228 teachers will receive training, which will reach more than 18,400 students.

Worcester Polytechnic Institute – $299,669: MassFirst Robotics  will work with its partners, LEGO and REV Robotics, to make robot kits and engaging curriculum that builds year-to-year in a connected program across all middle school grades. The curriculum also provides a pathway to continue robotics in grades 9-12 and participate in after-school programs.  The grant will support 36 middle school teachers to engage 2,500 students.