Last week, Pennsylvania Representative Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA) and Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) successfully advanced and secured an FY23 Community Project Funding (CPF) grant in the amount of $716,000 to support an important project entitled West Chester University Moon Shot: I Want to STEM!
The I Want to STEM! initiative is linked directly to WCUPA’s high-profile Moon Shot for Equity mission, which is dedicated to closing equity gaps in student success and defying systemic barriers by 2030 so all WCU students can excel.
During the spring of 2022, a non-partisan panel of 14 community leaders in Pennsylvania’s Sixth Congressional District reviewed 42 applications and recommended select projects to Representative Houlahan for funding through CPF. The West Chester University Moon Shot: I Want to STEM! project emerged as one of 15 offered to the House Committee on Appropriations for funding consideration. The House Committee on Appropriations approved all 15 projects submitted by Representative Houlahan’s office and full funding was secured on December 23 following a vote in the House.
Led by WCUPA’s Associate Professor of Physics and Engineering, Dr. Brandon J. Mitchell and designed by the University’s College of the Sciences and Mathematics Center for STEM Inclusion and the Center for Nanomaterials, the I Want to STEM! initiative is a comprehensive outreach, research, and mentorship program that will guide students successfully from elementary school to a bachelor’s degree in STEM.
The program will establish a chain of mentorship between grades 3-12 students, undergraduates, and faculty/industry partners. The project, which has the potential to serve as a dynamic model for addressing achievement gaps, has been intentionally designed to expand K-12 STEM engagement for students in grades 3-12 who are of color and low income, as well as to improve college STEM retention by increasing financial assistance and building a sense of community for college students at WCU who are of color and low income.
MNA is looking forward to serving as the external evaluators of the grant. More to come!