Fairmont State University receives grant through NASA WV Space Grant Consortium

Fairmont State University’s Department of Natural Sciences has been awarded $5,000 in grant funding from the NASA WV Space Grant Consortium: Professional Development in STEM grant program. 

The project, Re-Discovering CATS Cadre Experts, aims to invite 16 retired science teachers from the Coordinated and Thematic Science Program (Project CATS) to present sessions at the West Virginia Science Teacher Association (WVSTA) conference. Sessions in chemistry, physics, biology, earth and space science, and elementary science will be presented to a new generation of West Virginia science teachers. This grant will pay for the presenters’ registration and boarding fees. 

Deb Hemler, Chair of Fairmont State University’s Department of Natural Sciences and Professor of Geoscience will lead this project. “Project CATS trained 35 teachers — known as the Cadre Teachers — in enhanced science content, pedagogy, assessment and leadership,” said Hemler.  

“Many of those Cadre have retired from teaching so their travel to conferences is no longer supported and may be difficult on fixed incomes. To tap the expertise of these gifted, highly trained science teachers, we are providing a way to continue to engage them, so the next generation of teachers can benefit. This would not be possible without support from the WV Space Grant Consortium,” Hemler stated. 

Joshua Revels, Fairmont State’s Education Outreach Specialist at the Katherine Johnson NASA Independent Verification and Validation Education Resource Center and previous WVSTA President will assist Hemler on this project. 

“Our organization is excited to not only recognize these phenomenal educators but also to expand the breadth of the professionals attending WVSTA. Since 1984 WVSTA has specialized in bringing science teachers of all grade levels and backgrounds together to improve teaching practices,” said Revels. “Having the CATS Cadre involved at WVSTA has two major impacts: It invites recent members to work firsthand with vetted teaching methods and lessons while also strengthening the roots of science education throughout classrooms across West Virginia.” 

WV Space Grant Consortium is a NASA-sponsored organization comprised of WV academic institutions and corporate and scientific partners. WVSGC is dedicated to building research infrastructure and promoting STEM education in West Virginia.  

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