BU receives $15K grant from Alcoa Foundation

For immediate release: Sept. 27, 2012

BLOOMSBURG — Bloomsburg University’s College of Science and Technology and the Bloomsburg University Foundation recently received a $15,000 grant from the Alcoa Foundation in support of science and engineering summer camps for middle and high school students. Founded more than 50 years ago, the Alcoa Foundation contributed $30 million nationally last year toward programs that encourage “environment, empowerment, education and sustainable design.”

Math and Science Summer Experience With the help of this grant, BU hopes to reach out to more middle and high school students and encourage their interests in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects, according to John Polhill, assistant dean of the College of Science and Technology. The Alcoa Foundation helped support last summer’s camps and, because of reduced participation fees, more students were able to attend the camps, including those who have great financial need.

Polhill explained these programs promote academic and personal growth. “Friendships are made between people from different school districts with a common appreciation for math and science,” he said. “Hopefully this camp will help them develop as lifelong learners.”

Alcoa Foundation In addition to getting children excited about STEM subjects, the camps benefit BU students. Future teachers gain experience assisting with classes, and some sessions are taught entirely by BU students. University students have served as co-director and assisted Polhill with the administrative aspects of organizing the camp.

Student helpers can also give participants one-on-one attention, which session leaders are not always able to do. “The BU students and kids make a connection that is really great to witness,” said Polhill. “They add to the fun, help make things go smoothly and help guide the campers.”

Bloomsburg University is one of 14 universities in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. BU serves approximately 10,000 students, offering comprehensive programs of study in the colleges of Education, Business, Liberal Arts and Science and Technology.