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Engineering Fundamentals Department receives $20,000 grant

Susan Barry, President & CEO of The Community Foundation of Louisville, presents representatives from Speed School's Department of Engineering Fundamentals with a $20,000 grant. Pictured from left are Gary Rivoli, Judi Cooper, Department Chair Patricia Ralston, Melinda Townsend, Speed School Dean Mickey Wilhelm and Susan Barry.J.B. Speed School of Engineering received a grant from the Community Foundation of Louisville new Louisville Excellence in Action Program (LEAP), which recognizes outstanding programs in Louisville Metro that have a proven track record of success, but need additional funding to leap forward with improved or expanded services.

The LEAP grants were awarded to 12 organizations totaling $250,000.

Speed School's Department of Engineering Fundamentals will use the $20,000 grant in partnership with Jefferson County Public Schools to provide "Engineering is Elementary" to 150 elementary students to encourage interest in science, technology, engineering and math.

Speed School has taken proactive steps to educate young students with interest and ability in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) starting at the elementary level. By focusing on STEM initiatives at the elementary level, ideally, a pipeline is created that will funnel students from elementary to middle school and high school. The beginning of this endeavor is the Engineering is Elementary (EIE) program.

"Students who are demonstrating difficulty with basic elementary math and science skills are encourage to enroll in the EIE program to improve their skills," Outreach Director Gary Rivoli said. "Our object is to increase their interest and understanding in problem solving skills and to reduce negative perceptions of math and science."

Rivoli said minority and female students are particularly encouraged to participate in the EIE program.

EIE is unique in that it engages young children with partnerships throughout the Louisville community. While partnering with JCPS, the program capitalizes on the natural fascination and exploration personalities of children. The program engages the community by hosting classroom visits from the industry professionals creating lasting partnerships including the Army Corp of Engineers and Louisville Water Company. Field trips enhance the experiences and have included trips to the Louisville Science Center and water treatment facilities. EIE is the starting point for continued interest in math and science.

To learn more about Speed School's Engineering is Elementary program, email Gary Rivoli.

Read more about the 2009 LEAP grant recipients.

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