Since 2009, Savannah River Nuclear Solutions has donated over $500,000 to enhance local education through the annual SRNS Innovative Teaching Mini Grants program.
Over 100 educators from the greater Aiken-Augusta area recently gathered to be honored and receive grants ranging from $500 to $1,000.
“The grant proposals we receive annually meet important needs within our schools where funding sometimes falls short," said Stuart MacVean, SRNS president and CEO. "It's not unusual for these passionate and highly dedicated teachers to use their own resources to purchase supplies and educational tools. Where we can, we want to help, working in partnership with local school administrators."
More than 200 grant proposals were submitted by teachers from schools located in the counties of Aiken, Barnwell, Richmond and Columbia.
The program recognizes and supports projects that enhance elementary and middle school science, mathematics and technology programs.
Typically, the grants are used to purchase materials and hands-on kits such as: Making a Splash in Learning with Underwater Robotics; FUNdamental Fractions; Limitless Learning in 3-D; Raising Awareness of Our Environment; and Creating "Tasty Treats" with Math and Science.
"I think this is a great service that SRNS offers to the community," said Emily Hopkins, with Merriwether Elementary in North Augusta. "I know that teachers really appreciate it. Mini-grants provide so many wonderful and creative opportunities for the students, cultivating that love and passion for learning and science."
Educators from all Central Savannah River Area elementary and middle schools (public and private) are eligible to apply for the $50,000 in mini grants offered each year. Funding for the grants is provided through the parent companies of SRNS (Fluor Federal Services, Newport News Nuclear and Honeywell).
“This is always a special event for us,” said Gladys Moore, with SRNS education outreach. “Rewarding these hardworking, selfless teachers is important to us. It’s almost like Christmas morning for them.”
The primary goal of the extensive SRNS education outreach program is to enhance interest in science, mathematics, engineering and technology while supporting improvements in education by using the unique resources available at SRS. The SRNS management team believes business, industry, government and the academic community should work together as partners to improve educational opportunities for all students in our region.
"I really like mini grants because they permit all my students to get involved in a project," said Margaret Brown, a math teacher at Aiken Middle School. "That doesn't always happen, and everyone needs that hands-on experience, it's just not the same watching. It's amazing that SRNS is willing to do this for the students."
Savannah River Nuclear Solutions is a Fluor-led company whose members are Fluor Federal Services, Newport News Nuclear and Honeywell, responsible for the management and operations of the Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site, including the Savannah River National Laboratory, located near Aiken, South Carolina.