Columbia city council set to devote thousands to STEM education

9 months 1 week 23 hours ago Sunday, March 04 2018 Mar 4, 2018 Sunday, March 04, 2018 6:34:00 PM CST March 04, 2018 in News
By: Eva Cheng, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA - Students at Columbia Public Schools may start to see more learning opportunities at their schools if the city council approves a resolution Monday night. 

The council will vote on whether to put $35,000 towards the Columbia STEM Alliance in order to support fields in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The money would help the alliance expand its programs. 

Barry Dalton, community relations specialist for the Public Works Department, said the department recognized a need to support education in STEM-related subjects at local schools. 

“We feel like investing in young people, particularly in the areas of engineering, and of course science, math and technology — which are often underserved — will pay dividends in the long run not just for public works, which depends upon engineering and technology, but the city and community as a whole,” he said.  

Last September, President Donald Trump signed a presidential memorandum directing the Education Department to invest at least $200 million each year to promote STEM education nationwide.  

Trump said in the memo, “Today, too many of our Nation’s K-12 and post-secondary students lack access to high-quality STEM education, and thus are at risk of being shut out from some of the most attractive job options in the growing United States economy.”

Bill Moore is the president of the Columbia STEM Alliance. He said the alliance is volunteer-driven and has relied solely on private donations. He said the city’s grant would allow the volunteers to develop activities like field trips, coding summer camps, robotics tournaments and other in-class and extracurricular activities.

Moore said the alliance has also been working to get microcomputers into the hands of about 1,800 middle schoolers to teach them about coding and programming. He said after completing a set of coursework provided by a UK-based program, the kids would receive a “micro:bit” — a piece of hardware product they could take home to start their own hands-on projects.

As a retired 3M executive with a background in engineering, Moore said the future looks bright for people pursuing STEM careers.

“They are usually well-paying jobs. There are exciting industries that are growing. So the opportunity is there, and the gap is there,” he said.

According to New American Economy, STEM fields before the year 2024 would be “adding almost 800,000 new jobs and growing 37 percent faster than the U.S. economy as a whole.” 

Kate McKenzie is an industrial technology teacher at Jefferson Middle School. She also co-coaches the Fantastic LEGO Ladies, an all-girl competitive robotics team, for fourth through eighth graders. 

McKenzie said the alliance is a group of community and business leaders in Columbia that have helped her team grow. She said the alliance volunteers have “a big-picture view” of the STEM industry across the city.

“They are looking at STEM integration from all different perspectives—not just educational robotics, but also in terms of what jobs are gonna be available when these kids graduate, what skills do they need when they graduate,” she said.

McKenzie said it would be “a good thing” for the alliance to manage the grant, as its programs could help prepare kids for the local job market.

“Sixty percent of high school graduates in Columbia stay in Columbia, and they need to have good jobs,” she said. “There are companies here who need good employees.”

Kevin Gillis is a bioengineering professor at MU. He also mentors a high school-level robotics team, the Army Ants. He said although the $35,000 grant is not enormous, it’s an important step the city is taking.

“Because it really is a sign, a symbol of the commitment of the City of Columbia to STEM education that will hopefully promote local industry and private donors to also kick in,” Gillis said.

More News

Grid
List
JEFFERSON CITY- Charges have been filed in the fatal shooting of 19-year old Nilez Nichols in Jefferson City. Prosecutors... More >>
1 day ago Monday, December 10 2018 Dec 10, 2018 Monday, December 10, 2018 2:20:00 PM CST December 10, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The holiday period is a busy time for scams targeting shoppers, according to Michelle Gleba, Regional Director for... More >>
1 day ago Monday, December 10 2018 Dec 10, 2018 Monday, December 10, 2018 1:04:00 PM CST December 10, 2018 in News
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A massive tuba ensemble has smashed a Guinness World Record in Kansas City and spread... More >>
1 day ago Monday, December 10 2018 Dec 10, 2018 Monday, December 10, 2018 12:07:00 PM CST December 10, 2018 in News
STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN- University of Missouri Professor Emeritus George Smith officially accepted his portion of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry Monday.... More >>
1 day ago Monday, December 10 2018 Dec 10, 2018 Monday, December 10, 2018 11:18:00 AM CST December 10, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA — Police arrested Missouri defensive end Tre Williams early Sunday following a reported domestic incident. According to the... More >>
1 day ago Monday, December 10 2018 Dec 10, 2018 Monday, December 10, 2018 10:39:00 AM CST December 10, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Those struggling to afford holiday gifts for their loved ones may still have options. Registration ends today for... More >>
1 day ago Monday, December 10 2018 Dec 10, 2018 Monday, December 10, 2018 3:27:53 AM CST December 10, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Columbia firefighters responded to a fire at Columbia Crossing Apartments on Towne Drive late Sunday night. Division... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, December 09 2018 Dec 9, 2018 Sunday, December 09, 2018 11:30:00 PM CST December 09, 2018 in News
(CNN) -- Treacherous driving conditions and canceled flights could keep residents stuck at home for days as a nasty mix... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, December 09 2018 Dec 9, 2018 Sunday, December 09, 2018 6:25:00 PM CST December 09, 2018 in News
OSAGE BEACH – A dog groomer in Osage Beach has made it a mission to train service dogs after she... More >>
2 days ago Sunday, December 09 2018 Dec 9, 2018 Sunday, December 09, 2018 2:08:00 PM CST December 09, 2018 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — University of Missouri faculty members are raising concerns that the system's move to offer buyouts to... More >>
2 days ago Sunday, December 09 2018 Dec 9, 2018 Sunday, December 09, 2018 11:47:00 AM CST December 09, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Officers with the Columbia Police Department responded to a shots fired call inside the Steak ‘n Shake on... More >>
2 days ago Sunday, December 09 2018 Dec 9, 2018 Sunday, December 09, 2018 10:38:00 AM CST December 09, 2018 in News
JAMESTOWN - Grace United Methodist Church held its seasonal music recital on Sunday featuring a 117-year-old historic church organ. ... More >>
2 days ago Sunday, December 09 2018 Dec 9, 2018 Sunday, December 09, 2018 9:58:00 AM CST December 09, 2018 in News
FULTON - Fulton police officers responded to the Fulton Medical Center regarding a possible assault early Sunday morning. According... More >>
2 days ago Sunday, December 09 2018 Dec 9, 2018 Sunday, December 09, 2018 9:00:00 AM CST December 09, 2018 in News
CALLAWAY COUNTY - A Kansas City woman was arrested Saturday and charged with multiple felony counts of possession of a... More >>
2 days ago Sunday, December 09 2018 Dec 9, 2018 Sunday, December 09, 2018 7:30:00 AM CST December 09, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - All weekend the Central Missouri Humane Society is encouraging people to come adopt animals. The humane society has... More >>
2 days ago Saturday, December 08 2018 Dec 8, 2018 Saturday, December 08, 2018 9:35:00 PM CST December 08, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The Down Syndrome Guild of Central Missouri had its first learning seminar in Columbia on Saturday. The seminar... More >>
2 days ago Saturday, December 08 2018 Dec 8, 2018 Saturday, December 08, 2018 9:33:00 PM CST December 08, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The Columbia teen who was killed in a crash Saturday morning was a senior at Christian Fellowship School,... More >>
2 days ago Saturday, December 08 2018 Dec 8, 2018 Saturday, December 08, 2018 8:55:00 PM CST December 08, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - Karis Church in northwest Columbia held its third annual Affordable Christmas event early Saturday morning. This is... More >>
2 days ago Saturday, December 08 2018 Dec 8, 2018 Saturday, December 08, 2018 6:40:00 PM CST December 08, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 51°
5pm 52°
6pm 49°
7pm 47°
8pm 46°