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June 21, 2024

Maine Delegation Announces Nearly $1.3 Million to Support STEM Programs in Rural Maine

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King and Representatives Chellie Pingree and Jared Golden announced that the Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance (MMSA) has been awarded $1,299,377 in funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to launch the Rural Energy Futures (REF) project. Through the REF program, 8th-grade students in rural communities across the state will learn math while exploring local energy issues.

“This funding will help prepare the next generation of Maine students for future careers in critical STEM industries, particularly the energy sector,” the Delegation said. “Providing students with the knowledge of opportunities that will be available to them to live and work in Maine is essential for maintaining a robust local economy while ensuring that our state remains a leader in innovative energy technologies.”

“Supporting students as they engage in discussions with people in their own neighborhoods about energy projects and career opportunities will build capacity and understanding from the ground up to ensure our communities move toward energy solutions that work for them. This project will serve as a model for other rural areas, demonstrating how to harness local knowledge and build community strength around novel technologies and futures,” said MMSA Executive Director Dr. Ruth Kermish-Allen.

Specifically, this funding will support the creation of a middle school math curriculum focused on clean energy development, involving 48 teachers and 720 students across 12 rural schools. The curriculum will enhance STEM competencies, local knowledge, and career awareness, while actively supporting the NSF priority of developing a capable energy workforce.

Leading this work at MMSA are Principal Investigator Dr. Heidi Cian, and Co-Principal Investigators Dr. Ruth Kermish-Allen, Alexandria Brasili, and Hannah Lakin. In addition to the team at MMSA, key partners include the Roux Institute at Northeastern University, the Governor's Energy Office, and rural middle school educators across Maine.


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