Bristol-Myers Squibb has announced more than $500,000 in new grants to more than a dozen educational institutions and organizations working to enhance the teaching and learning of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in K-12 schools and colleges in New Jersey.

In central New Jersey, which is home to three of the company’s six global research and development centers, the company focuses on promoting hands-on, inquiry-based learning activities that enable students to explore their interests in the sciences and science-related careers.

Bristol-Myers Squibb helps educators discover new ways of teaching biology, chemistry, genetics, robotics, engineering, alternative energy, and environmental science.

The Bristol-Myers Squibb Centers for Science Teaching and Learning at Rider University and at Montclair State University are the company’s signature investments in STEM education in New Jersey. These centers, which each work with more than a dozen school districts and private schools, are changing how in-service and pre-service K-12 educators learn to teach science and mathematics.

“To function in our rapidly changing world it is essential that high school graduates leave prepared to enter the workforce or pursue post-secondary education competent in fundamental scientific content as well as scientific reasoning and habits of mind,” says Kathleen M. Browne, outgoing director of Bristol-Myers Squibb Center for Science Teaching and Learning at Rider. “Engaging students in the practice of science and in the study of those practices is essential for effective learning. We have been fortunate to do so through generous funding from Bristol-Myers Squibb, the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation, and other foundations.”

In addition to emphasizing the use of the scientific method as a tool for inquiry and exploration, the centers help teachers develop deep content knowledge, understand how scientific concepts at various grade levels fit into a larger context for students as they progress from elementary school to high school, and employ instructional technology to improve learning outcomes.

The Rider and Montclair State centers also are working with the New Jersey Department of Education to help schools across the state prepare for the anticipated adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards.

“With our most recent grant from Bristol-Myers Squibb, we will be able to advance this work by guiding 15 districts through a gap analysis of their science programs as they prepare for the possible state adoption of the recently released national Next Generation Science Standards,” says Cathlene Leary-Elderkin, incoming director of the program at Rider. “These standards are designed to help students more effectively build knowledge of disciplinary core ideas, cross-cutting concepts, and science and engineering practices coherently through the grades.”

Other significant STEM grants support these programs in New Jersey:

Trenton Public Education Foundation — Expansion of a Robotics Technology program in place at Trenton Central High School to include the Trenton School District’s four elementary schools and four middle schools. The Robotics Technology program encourages students to discover and develop a passion for further study in the STEM areas and allows them to work side-by-side with mentors and professionals in STEM fields.

Boys & Girls Club of Trenton — Introductory and graduated STEM programs for underserved youths in the Club’s afterschool, summer camp and teen programs, including higher-level learning opportunities for Club members who plan to pursue careers in STEM-related fields. The project aligns with the Club’s strategic plan to increase the number of members that graduate from high school and enter a post-high school career path.

Stony Brook Millstone Watershed Association — A scholarship program for youths from Trenton to attend a weeklong session at the Watershed’s Environmental Education Day Camp to broaden their understanding of the environment and the need to protect it. The grant also funds an internship for a young adult from Trenton who will work with the students this summer.

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