COLUMBUS, Ohio (Aug. 30, 2017) – Battelle has expanded its support for quality science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education with a new announcement. Today, KIPP Columbus officially opened the Battelle Environmental Center on its 124-acre campus. Construction of the center was funded by $3 million grant from Battelle in 2014. Adding to that, Battelle announced a new, additional $1 million investment in the school.
The funding will expand programming to children, families and local school districts in Columbus, including those who do not attend KIPP. Some programs at the center will be facilitated by the PAST Foundation, a local non-profit nationally recognized for its expertise in out-of-classroom learning.
"Together, KIPP Columbus and the PAST Foundation will make this center a magnet for learning in the Linden community," said Dr. Jeff Wadsworth, President and CEO of Battelle. “We are proud to bring together two of our most trusted local partners in support of the Columbus community. Furthermore, Battelle’s leadership of the Ohio STEM Learning Network means schools around the state will be able to learn from the programs developed at this institution."
Under the new program, hundreds of students will have access to the Battelle Environmental Center through the school year and summer programs. Construction of the Battelle Environmental Center began in 2014, thanks to a $3 million grant from Battelle. The center takes advantage of acres of greenspace and a natural wetland on the KIPP Campus.
“We are extremely grateful for Battelle’s consistent engagement and support of our students. This generous, additional investment will enable the environmental program to benefit students and faculty far beyond KIPP’s campus,” said Hannah Powell, Executive Director of KIPP Columbus. “We want all kids to have the knowledge and skills necessary for success in college and life, and this inspired gift will help make this possible. Battelle’s generosity is inspiring more STEM discovery, leading to greater opportunities for students in the future.”
The afterschool and community programming at the center will be facilitated by the PAST Foundation. KIPP High School faculty will support PAST informal education programs, including the pilot of Environmental Design Challenges. Each design challenge will draw on the natural environment surrounding the Center. Students will explore the different habitats in the area, map features with cutting-edge drone technology, monitor species, and create the first student-led ecosystem audit of the KIPP campus.
“This year’s challenges will involve the entire 9th and 10th grade classes of the newly opened KIPP High,” said Dr. Annalies Corbin, President & CEO, PAST Foundation. “The ecosystem audit is intended to generate more questions creating a legacy of continuous inquiry that draws upon this unique outdoor learning lab and the Battelle Center to provide rich and robust learning for the whole community. We are thrilled with this partnership. Student programming is central to PAST’s origin and is what keeps us working tirelessly each day to make positive change in local communities.”
Every day, the people of Battelle apply science and technology to solving what matters most. At major technology centers and national laboratories around the world, Battelle conducts research and development, designs and manufactures products, and delivers critical services for government and commercial customers.
Battelle also manages a range of successful projects bringing quality STEM education to students including the Ohio STEM Learning Network, Tennessee STEM Innovation Network, and the national STEMx network.
Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio since its founding in 1929, Battelle serves the national security, health and life sciences, and energy and environmental industries. For more information, visit www.battelle.org.
KIPP (the Knowledge is Power Program) is a national network of free, open enrollment public schools with a track record of preparing students in underserved communities for success in college and life. Opened in Columbus in 2008, KIPP Columbus has provided access to a transformational education for hundreds of children. Through the support of the community, in 2014 KIPP debuted an expanded middle school and opened a new elementary school on a new campus in northeast Columbus. With the recent additions of an Early Learning Center and KIPP Columbus High, nearly 1,400 students from infants to 10th grade, are being served on KIPP's 124 acre campus. KIPP Columbus has a goal of reaching 2,000 infants and students Kindergarten through 12th grade by the end of the decade.
About the PAST Foundation
For over 17 years, PAST, a non-profit foundation, has been a leader in designing STEM education across the nation, bringing transdisciplinary problem-based learning to educators and experiential programs to students. Most notably, PAST was recently recognized by the U.S. Department of Education for its Excellence in Innovation in the STEM 2026 vision report. PAST was the only educational entity in Ohio to be included in this publication (full report).
PAST was also recognized in 2014, by CGI America and former President Bill Clinton for their outstanding work, and again in 2015 for their achievements in improving STEM education in rural America. In 2015, the PAST Innovation Lab was recognized by the White House Summit on High School Design.