King Foundation Awards Grant for Arkansas Science Festival

King Foundation Awards Grant for Arkansas Science Festival

08/10/2020

JONESBORO – The Carl B. & Florence E. King Foundation has awarded $35,000, designated for program support of the Arkansas Science Festival, to the Arkansas State University Foundation, Inc.

“We are thrilled and grateful to receive funding from the King Foundation in support of the Arkansas Science Festival (ASF). We look forward to hosting new and exciting events in October 2020,” stated ASF directors Dr. Anne A. Grippo, Dr. Amy R. Pearce and Dr. Karen Yanowitz in a joint statement.  All three are professors at Arkansas State University.

“This grant will help us develop virtual and socially-distanced STEM programs that all residents of Arkansas will be able to enjoy,” they added.  The King Foundation, located in Dallas, makes community and initiative grants in Arkansas, North Texas and West Texas.

Developing a more scientifically literate public is more important than ever, according to their grant proposal, and the need is especially significant in the Delta region.  STEM is an acronym that refers to the academic disciplines of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Although science festivals are becoming common in the United States, most are held in larger cities.  Residents of more rural area have fewer opportunities to attend. Largely because of this concern, the ASF program directors developed the first festival in 2014.

“With financial support from both A-State and the King Foundation, our vision is to greatly expand the Arkansas Science Festival’s impact on Arkansas, particularly Northeast Arkansas,” the directors added.

The festival’s leadership team wants to increase the number of students who stay engaged in STEM, as well as provide positive STEM experiences for adults who may have little formal education. The Arkansas Science Festival addresses these issues by allowing attendees to engage in meaningful informal science education activities led by scientists, educators, other professionals, and student volunteers.

Increasing the number of students active in STEM, as well as providing positive experiences with STEM for area adults who may have little formal education, are vital needs in the Delta region.

The ASF’s primary mission promoting more positive feelings toward STEM through opportunities for participants to engage in meaningful and hands-on experiences.  Attendees should feel a greater connection and have more confidence in their abilities to engage in STEM.

Another goal of the Science Festival is to formalize and promote educational experiences for A-State students contributing to the festival activities.  The festival directors rely heavily on student volunteers to develop and implement programming.  This provides additional educational and leadership experiences.

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