Washington Gas gifts Virginia Tech $430,000 for STEM education
Partnership to support 10 high school courses in Northern Virginia
Washington Gas gifted Virginia Tech $430,000 to help increase pathways into higher education in STEM disciplines, the university announced Monday.
“Washington Gas is honored to partner with Virginia Tech and promote STEM education across the commonwealth of Virginia. Together, our program will help shape future generations of students and workers exploring energy in school studies or as an occupation,” Washington Gas President Blue Jenkins said in a statement.
The two entities will provide professional learning programs for career and technical education and other science, technology, engineering and math teachers and administrators. The programs will help them develop and implement 10 energy-focused high school courses in their school divisions. Eight of the new courses were designed by representatives from the energy industry, community colleges, nonprofits, James Madison University and Virginia Tech under the Virginia Department of Education’s leadership.
Students can participate in any two or more of the courses to prepare for college engineering programs while achieving industry certifications.
Tech’s Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Diversity and its School of Education will support the STEM outreach program. The program builds on Tech’s Qualcomm Thinkabit Lab in Northern Virginia, which has hosted more than 20,000 students and teachers since 2016.
“The Washington Gas leaders have already helped to expand our programs and outreach. We know the outcomes and impacts over the next three years will only grow,” said Jim Egenrieder, founding director of the Virginia Tech Thinkabit Lab and the leader of the College of Engineering’s STEM education outreach in the D.C. area, in a statement. “
Tech has also begun developing energy-related tech modules for elementary and middle school and developed new STEM initiatives and youth leadership programs supporting Alexandria, Arlington, Falls Church and Fairfax County schools.