The Journal Gazette
Friday, February 21, 2020 1:00 am

PFW gets $300,000 for STEAM training

ASHLEY SLOBODA | The Journal Gazette

Purdue University Fort Wayne is offering training opportunities for middle and high school teachers who want to bring STEAM education to their northeast Indiana classrooms thanks to a $300,000 grant announced Thursday from the AEP Foundation.

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

The grant will support summer professional development sessions for 46 teachers over three years, said Jeff Nowak, a professor of STEAM education in the College of Professional Studies.

“This is something big,” Nowak said to those gathered at the Mastodon Alumni Center. “All told, they're going to impact well over 10,000 students when you consider the number of students that they have in the classroom.”

The AEP Foundation is funded by American Electric Power and its utility operating units, including Indiana Michigan Power.

The foundation and I&M are enthusiastic supporters of STEAM education, said Toby Thomas, I&M president and chief operating officer.

“We're counting on these students to be engineers and scientists of tomorrow, achieving breakthroughs in things that we can't even fathom today,” Thomas said.

Through Project EZ: Green STEAM Tech, teachers will learn about green energy technologies and robotics through hands-on activities and the implementation of best practices.

David Broerman, a Paul Harding Junior High School teacher, would have benefited from such training.

He worked through pitfalls while guiding the school's robotics team, he said. He noted the group placed first this year – his fifth season – in research and development at the state competition.

The grant constitutes almost 70% of the total funding for Project EZ; the university will cover the rest, according to Purdue Fort Wayne.

“This grant is a magnificent example of what can be accomplished when a public university is supported by private contributions,” said Ronald Elsenbaumer, Purdue Fort Wayne chancellor.

The six-week sessions will be open to 15 middle school teachers this summer, 15 high school teachers next summer and eight middle and eight high school teachers in 2022, Nowak said.

Those interested in applying for this summer session may contact Nowak at or 260-481-6960.

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