Oak Ridge Contractor UCOR Grants Fund 41 Projects in Local Schools

Oak Ridge cleanup contractor UCOR is awarding $45,000 in grants for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) projects benefiting 29 schools across the region

Since launching the grants program in 2012, UCOR has given $395,000 to support education, heighten awareness about STEM fields and help develop the next-generation workforce through the awards, known as mini grants.

UCOR’s environmental cleanup work relies heavily on workers in STEM fields. The company’s cleanup workforce of more than 2,200 people includes a large number of STEM professionals: chemical operators, electricians, engineers, industrial hygienists, nurses, project managers, radiation control technicians and more.

The company provides different dollar amounts for the three grant award categories. They are $750 for individual classroom projects, $1,000 for multi-classroom projects and $1,500 for whole school projects.

This year, the contractor awarded grants for 41 projects across elementary, middle and high schools with titles such as “Let's Get Cooking! Linking Science, Math, and Literature Through Cooking Experiences,” “Empowering Young Meteorologists” and “Wild About Manufacturing.”

Tiffany Logsdon, an elementary school teacher at Wynn Habersham Elementary School in Duff, Tennessee, said she was able to purchase several resources for her project, "Creating a STEAM inspired classroom."

STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, art and math.

A multi-year grant winner, Logsdon said, “The mini grants have been a huge blessing for me and my students.”

She’s been able to provide furniture for collaboration, resources for math and tablets to incorporate technology.

Janie Shanafield, from Jefferson Middle School in Oak Ridge, used her grant for the project, “Build Bigger,” which enables competitions for the school’s Lego League Team.

The school team was able to participate in the FIRST World Festival, where they were able to interact with other middle school students from over 50 countries. They also participated in an encore game where they were paired with teams from New Mexico and Maylasia to code a robot for a new game in a short amount of time.

Mark Buckner, robotics innovation design and manufacturing teacher at Oak Ridge High School, used grants to purchase some of the required tooling for computer-aided design and manufacturing experience.

A former research scientist who turned to teaching in retirement, Buckner has a classroom with a unique mix of equipment for students to create real-world solutions in which they design and make products for local businesses.

Oak Ridge Contractor’s Grants Fund 41 Projects in Local Schools | Department of Energy

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