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Round Rock campus awarded $1 million for STEM-for-all partnership

Texas+State+chemistry+students+work+in+the+stockroom+of+the+College+of+Science+and+Engineering+department+on+Friday%2C+Feb.+10%2C+2023%2C+in+Centennial+Hall.

Texas State chemistry students work in the stockroom of the College of Science and Engineering department on Friday, Feb. 10, 2023, in Centennial Hall.

Texas State President Kelly Damphousse and Texas Representative John Carter secured a $1 million funding grant for the Round Rock STEM-for-All Partnership and research initiative. The grant came from the 2022-2023 general appropriations bill of Texas.
The grant will go toward funding internships for teacher and student training, professional development sessions and more.
“This grant will be used greatly for a research component that is currently getting worked on,” Leslie Huling, director of the LBJ Institute for STEM Education and Research said. “It’s research for the workforce needs and figuring out what are the educational demands and needs are in order to provide positively for companies.”
Huling said more research needs to be done with the workforce not only for its needs but also for how they can make it better by using science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The research could fill in gaps or areas needing more attention to create a better overall workforce for the newer generations.
Huling said this money was not a need but was accepted by their sponsor, Texas Representative John Carter.
“The Texas congressmen essentially looked at their districts and each thought ‘what would benefit my district and help it go forward?’” Huling said. “So our sponsor, John Carter, was able to get the funds for us since they were available.” 
STEM-for-All’s plan is to help people of all ages think about themselves as science learners and perceive themselves as people who contributes to science.
The grant also impacts the lives of young student interns in a positive way. Aaron Yeh, a freshman at Westwood High School in Round Rock, is a student intern for the STEM-for-All program. He said that he is looking forward to seeing how the money will help his program.
“I think the money will help with materials and let the kids have a more immersive and hands-on experience,” Yeh said. “I feel like it is a significant contribution to help foster education in STEM, and it is absolutely doing its part in supporting education.”
Yeh enjoys knowing that he is part of a bigger picture for the world. As an intern, he is involved in building the drones that will be used at future STEM fairs and teaching students at Success High School in Round Rock how to fly the drones. 
“I really enjoy knowing that the work I’m helping do is going to help so many kids realize the potential they have in fields of STEM,” Yeh said. “I’m helping them build their careers based on something they love.”
In the STEM-for-All programs, students learn how math, science and technology help the world, why it is important that people study these subjects and what problems the world currently faces that need to be solved using STEM. Brainstorming ideas, and having critical thinking and problem-solving skills are just some of the things taught in the programs.
One of Yeh’s former teachers is also part of this program as a teacher intern. Ellen Lukasik, a math teacher at Success High School, is helping students learn more about STEM and what it can do for them and their community.
Lukasik said that she is very excited about these funds and what they will be used for.
“In some ways, this money is a relief,” Lukasik said. “I don’t know how we’re going to continue to do these things in the future without a little bit of funding support.”
Lukasik said the money hasn’t affected her directly, but if it went to where she is, the money would help with interaction, more STEM program awareness and having events to get more students involved.
Despite the $1 million grant, Lukasik said more funding will be needed later on.
“I think we need ongoing initiatives and continuing programs,” Lukasik said. “We’re going to have to continue to be innovative in our approaches, which, unfortunately, cost money.”
For more information on the STEM-for-All initiative visit its website.

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  • Texas State biology junior Caden Summers works on a project for the Wittliff Collections on Friday, Feb. 10, 2023, in Centennial Hall

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