Battelle and the U.S. Army are working together to promote STEM education for students from kindergarten through grad school. In late 2015, Battelle was selected to lead the Army Educational Outreach Program (AEOP), an innovative initiative aimed at improving science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) literacy, awareness and interest among students at all levels.
Under the cooperative agreement, which could last up to 2025, Battelle will lead a team of educational partners and provide communication, program evaluation, outreach and program management support. The consortium, which includes Education First, Widmeyer Communications, MetriKs Amérique, Purdue University, the Academy of Applied Sciences, National Science Teachers Association, Technology Student Association and Tennessee Technological University, supports a variety of programs for students and educators. Current programs include STEM competitions, camps and other opportunities to participate in hands-on STEM activities, apprenticeships for high school and college students and scholarship programs for students entering STEM fields. Many of these programs are focused on building awareness and career pathways for students who are traditionally underserved and underrepresented in STEM fields.
Across 2016, the new consortium:
- Streamlined shared services
- Implemented a strategic communications plan
- Convened a national search for new program partners who could expand AEOP's participation.
Battelle and the U.S. Army share an interest in and commitment to developing STEM literacy among the population at large and interest in STEM careers among today’s students. The DoD requires a scientifically and technically literate force in order to fulfill its mission. Battelle also has an interest in developing new STEM talent to support our many research programs.
Battelle has a long history of supporting STEM education initiatives, including the Ohio STEM Learning Network, the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network, STEMx and innovative schools such as Metro Early College High School, a STEM-focused school in Columbus, Ohio. David Burns, Battelle’s Director of STEM Innovation Networks and the Program Manager for AEOP, says, “Our education initiatives started with a single high school 10 years ago that impacted fewer than 100 students. Since then, we’ve grown our outreach initiatives and now run three STEM education networks reaching thousands of kids. The U.S. Army’s AEOP initiative will allow us to expand our reach to tens of thousands more students of all ages.”
AEOP currently reaches more than 36,000 participants. Under Battelle’s leadership, the program aims to grow to 47,000 participants within three years and 68,000 participants by 2025. This short video provides more information about Battelle’s involvement in AEOP.
Current programs supported by AEOP include:
- Apprenticeship programs that provide high school and college students with real world, hands-on research experiences in Army research laboratories and universities
- Gains in the Education of Mathematics and Science, a summer STEM enrichment program for students in grades 5-12 held at participating Army research laboratories for one to four weeks during the summer
- Camp Invention, which prepares underserved students at the elementary school level to be competitive for STEM studies and the Army Educational Outreach Program pipeline of STEM opportunities
- UNITE, a four- to six-week pre-collegiate summer program hosted at higher education institutions for talented high school students from groups historically underserved and underrepresented in STEM areas
- Research Experiences for STEM Educators and Teachers, designed to provide teachers and educators from “high need” areas with summer research experiences at participating Army laboratories
- Junior Solar Sprint, a solar car competition for students in grades 5-8 in which teams design, build and race solar electric vehicles
- eCYBERMISSION, a virtual learning experience for students in grades 6-9 across the United States, its territories and Department of Defense Educational Activity school sites
- Junior Science & Humanities Symposium, a tri-service program that promotes original research in STEM at the high school level and publicly recognizes students for outstanding research achievements
Battelle is already developing plans to expand the opportunities supported by AEOP and get more students involved. “This is a natural extension of our long-standing commitment to STEM education,” says Burns. “The program has the enthusiastic support of the entire management team. We are very pleased to be working with the U.S. Army to nurture the next generation of STEM talent.”