More great news today for the future of STEM-related careers. Veteran scientists and engineers will share their love of science and math with the next generation through a program known as REFOCUS. The program will train professionals to work with teachers in Clarke and six surrounding counties to provide regular science and math enrichment activities to students.
The program is meant to help students in K-12 understand math and science concepts and expose them to new STEM career choices for the future. The program is based on a program that’s been in place at UGA for the past 12 years. David Knauft, a professor of horticulture in the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, began a program called FOCUS in which UGA students studying STEM subjects were paired with elementary and middle school teachers in Clarke County.
REFOCUS will expand on the Project FOCUS framework, allowing science, technology, engineering and math mentors to be in even more Clarke County classrooms and in classrooms in surrounding counties.
"For quite some time, we have wanted to expand Project FOCUS to include graduate students, postdocs, faculty and retired scientists," said David Knauft, professor of horticulture in the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and STEM education advocate. "Thanks to this AAAS funding, we will be able to do so.
"Also, because these individuals have more flexible schedules, we hope to bring REFOCUS to nearby counties, something we haven't been able to do with Project FOCUS."
Another great example of collaboration, between disciplines at UGA and between UGA and area school systems. Knauft worked with the Clarke County School District; Julie Luft, the Athletic Association Professor of Mathematics and Science Education in the UGA College of Education; and Chuck Kutal, associate dean of the UGA Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, to secure a $14,800 grant from American Association for the Advancement of Science to help develop the REFOCUS program.
The REFOCUS project will start recruiting its first class of STEM mentors this summer and debut the program in Clarke County classrooms this fall.
To get involved in Project REFOCUS, contact Knauft email@example.com. For more information on Project FOCUS, see www.focus.uga.edu.