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Air Products Foundation Supports Da Vinci Science Center Student STEM Programs

NEWS FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Caroline Scutt, caroline.scutt@nulldavincisciencecenter.org

ALLENTOWN, PA. March 8, 2021 – The Da Vinci Science Center is pleased to announce a grant award of $20,000 from the Air Products Foundation in support of two programs created to engage students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).  

The Women in Science and Engineering or WISE Initiative and the Science Inquiry Fund both represent the Da Vinci Science Center’s commitment to connecting marginalized students to greater opportunities for STEM education and awareness of potential careers in STEM fields.  

A recent study revealed that despite women holding 49% of all jobs in the Lehigh Valley region, they represent only 29% of the STEM workforce and have the lowest representation in engineering and computer and mathematical sciences, where much of the STEM job growth is occurring.  The Women in Science and Engineering or WISE Initiative was established to create a supportive networking environment and an ecosystem for women in STEM including career and mentorship programs for girls to learn about STEM careers and meet women who work in those fields. Ensuring that girls from underrepresented and underserved communities have access to these programs is a priority for the science center. 

In the words of one excited middle schooler, “When I see other women scientists it makes me feel happy, excited and it’s fun.”  

The second student opportunity supported by this grant is the Science Inquiry Fund, which provides a scholarship to low income students so that they are able to have access to STEM learning opportunities such as field trips, camps, science clubs and shows. The fund targets area schools where over 40% of students participate in the free or reduced lunch program. In addition, the FUND supports Teacher Professional Development in STEM, providing them with training and tools to help improve the academic performance of underserved students and raise their awareness of the increasing array of STEM careers they could pursue.   

“This grant is an investment in the work the Da Vinci Science center does around STEM education and outreach to ensure that underrepresented students have access to outstanding learning and networking experiences that could potentially lead to careers in STEM fields,” explained Laurie Hackett Community Relations. “This work is strongly aligned with the Air Products Foundation’s mission to support organizations that are focused on building stronger, more equitable communities, and that starts with engaging our young people.” 

“The ongoing pandemic has exacerbated the need for these programs because low income students face greater barriers to rich science experiences, explained Lin Erickson, Executive Director and CEO of Da Vinci Science Center. “Our team met the challenges created by the pandemic by developing virtual programs that continue to engage, educate and connect our students, teachers and female professionals in STEM. We appreciate the Air Products Foundation’s support of these programs at a time when the importance of STEM is underscored more than ever.”  

More than 2,000 underserved students will continue to have access to these programs thanks to the Air Products Foundation’s commitment to STEM education and ensuring access for all students. 

About the Da Vinci Science Center
The Da Vinci Science Center is a national award-winning science center that has brought science to life and lives to science since 1992. Da Vinci Science Center experiences make science fun and approachable, helping to connect people of all ages and backgrounds with the wonders of science. An independent nonprofit organization with IRS 501(c)(3) status, the Da Vinci Science Center engages more than 150,000 participants annually with its exhibits, programs, events, and partnerships.

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