In 2018, it is projected that 2.4 million jobs in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) will go unfilled. To help K-12 educators enhance their STEM curriculum and excite their students about these fields, the America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education program, sponsored by the Monsanto Fund, will once again provide farmers with the opportunity to nominate their local public schools for the chance to receive $10,000 or $25,000 grants.
Farmers can nominate their local school by visiting GrowRuralEducation.com. The process takes less than five minutes and has made a lasting impact in countless classrooms.
“Winning an America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education grant gave my students a lesson that they will remember for a lifetime,” said Vic Worthington, an eighth grade science and technology teacher at Rochelle Middle School in Rochelle, Illinois.
Worthington’s class received a $25,000 grant and used a portion of the funds to build a 3-D printer. After learning about how Jake Hubbard, a local Illinois farmer, lost his left arm in a farming accident, Worthington and his class spent an entire school year researching, designing, and building a prosthetic arm. In May 2017, the students presented Hubbard with the new prosthetic.
“When word spread about what our students were building, we had countless people in the community and even an engineer from Ohio pitch in to make this project a reality,” said Worthington.
As for Hubbard, the prosthetic gave him newfound mobility, including playing with and holding his young children. “It’s pretty heartwarming that the students would do that, especially for someone that they had never met before,” Hubbard said.
Farmers can nominate their school district from January 1 to April 2, 2018. After the school district receives a nomination, the Monsanto Fund will notify the district and encourage administrators and teachers to design a grant that enhances STEM education for their students.
Nominated school districts have until April 15, 2018 to submit a grant application describing their project. An advisory council composed of farmer leaders then reviews finalist applications and selects the winning school districts.
“Whether students plan to enroll in college or find a job after high school, it is important for them to have a STEM foundation,” said Al Mitchell, Monsanto Fund President. “Grow Rural Education provides farmers with a way to give back, and farmers that have nominated grant-winning districts are thrilled to see how $10,000 and $25,000 grants can transform a classroom.”
Since 2011, more than $14 million has been awarded to school districts through the Grow Rural Education program.