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The Desert Research Institute is proud to announce that the DRI Science Alive K-12 Outreach Program has been selected as one of several recipients of the first round of funding through Tesla’s new Nevada K-12 Education Investment Fund. This funding is an initial disbursement, part of a multi-year proposed plan Tesla has developed in partnership with DRI to invest in Nevada’s education system. 

Because of the proven success and expertise of DRI’s Science Alive K-12 Outreach Program in engaging students in STEM and training Nevada educators, Tesla has looked to DRI to help develop and implement a statewide professional development infrastructure for educators that will give Nevada students the chance to get excited about STEM early on in their education and give them the skills needed to success in a STEM career. 

“On behalf of everyone at the Desert Research Institute, we are honored to be a part of this important moment for Nevada students and we are tremendously proud that Tesla has looked to DRI to help develop and implement Nevada's teacher training infrastructure,” said DRI President Kristen Averyt, Ph.D. 

With an initial investment from Tesla of $263,924, the DRI Science Alive program staff will develop a statewide teacher professional development curriculum and onboarding process for new robotics programs in partnership with FIRST, the REC Foundation (VEX), Solar Roller, and the University of Nevada, Reno and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

In addition to coordinating teacher training, DRI will also be evaluating the effectiveness of robotics programs in student achievement and attitudes toward STEM.

“Our hope is that after implementing and evaluating this model of encouraging STEM engagement through robotics, we can improve upon current methods and ultimately develop best practices for all schools,” said Amelia Gulling, DRI’s K-12 STEM Education Manager. “If we find that this model is successful in Nevada, where we have some of the worst education rankings in the country, then it's the model that we need to use across the country.” 


Official Nevada Department of Education release: 

TESLA ANNOUNCES INITIAL $1.5M IN K-12 EDUCATION GRANTS

CARSON CITY, Nev. – As part of its commitment to contribute $37.5 million over five years to K-12 education in Nevada, Tesla announced an initial $1.5 million in funding grants at today’s Nevada Board of Education meeting. The goal of the investment is to encourage students of all backgrounds to consider a career in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) or sustainability, and to develop the next generation of engineers in Nevada.

“An integral part of our vision for the new Nevada economy is developing an educated workforce that meets the demands of the industries coming into our state,” said Gov. Brian Sandoval. “With this initial investment, even more students in Nevada will be exposed to STEM education and we are grateful to Tesla for their commitment to education in Nevada.”

Tesla announced the following education grants today: 

  • $315,550 to FIRST Nevada and $127,100 to Robotics Education and Competition Foundation (VEX) as part of a multi-year investment for the establishment of a quality robotics program at every school in Nevada.
  • $263,924 to the Desert Research Institute for the initial development of a statewide teacher training infrastructure focusing on robotics and STEM, with future collaboration in partnership with the University of Nevada, Reno and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
  • $262,700 to The Envirolution, Inc. for the Project ReCharge initiative, a STEM-based program which collaborates with community partners, school districts, teachers and students, to deliver hands-on education related to energy, sustainability, and project-based learning opportunities that empower students to make local schools and businesses more energy efficient.
  • $200,000 to Jobs for Nevada’s Graduates (JAG Nevada) to deliver mentoring, employability skills development, career association, job development, and job placement services to students across the state.  JAG Nevada will be developing a new Education to Employment pathway across Nevada industries, and expanding access to 20 percent more students with this first investment.
  • $154,083 to Sierra Nevada Journeys (SNJ) to foster students’ STEM passion and achievement at an early age.  SNJ will provide 250 scholarships for students in underserved communities to attend the Overnight Outdoor Learning program at Grizzly Creek Ranch, increase access to SNJ STEM programs to 900 additional students, and kickstart a new Girls in Engineering camp in partnership with Tesla team members.
  • $76,643 to Energetics Education, Inc. to pilot the Solar Rollers program in Washoe County. This initiative challenges high school teams to design, build, test and race sophisticated solar-powered radio-controlled cars while learning the fundamental concepts of a complete energy system.
  • $50,000 each to the Clark County and Washoe County School Districts as part of the establishment of multi-year special assignment roles in career technical education (CTE) offices to train and implement programming from within, while also supporting neighboring districts. 

“The demand for STEM jobs in Nevada will continue to grow dramatically over the next few years,” said JB Straubel, Tesla’s Chief Technology Officer. “That is why we’re investing in initiatives that inspire students to choose a career in STEM and sustainability and give them a foundation for success.”

Tesla selected these entities in collaboration with an advisory group comprised of Nevada education leaders, business leaders, non-profits and government officials. 

“Tesla’s commitment supports our vision of becoming the fastest improving state in the nation in education,” said Steve Canavero, Ph.D., Superintendent of Public Instruction. “Lofty goals such as these don’t materialize in a vacuum. In addition to the partners we have in our school districts and charter schools, we have also sought out partners in industry.  Tesla has been incredibly collaborative and thoughtful in providing us data and evidence based material that will help inform our decisions and their investment in the new Nevada economy.”

Tesla will be making continuing investments in existing initiatives, and regularly announcing new entities receiving funding on a quarterly basis, pending investment reviews. In addition to this K-12 investment, Tesla currently has a high school graduate apprenticeship, the Manufacturing Development Program, encouraging Nevadans to learn about manufacturing fundamentals in partnership with the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, and regularly hosts students and teachers at Gigafactory 1 near Sparks, Nev. Tesla’s mission is to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy. Tesla builds not only all-electric vehicles but also infinitely scalable clean energy generation and storage products. Entities interested in learning more about this investment and opportunities to partner with Tesla can reach out to educationprograms@tesla.com.

July 18, 2018 (Las Vegas, NV): Craig Rosen, Community Relations and Professional Development Administrator for DRI's Science Alive Program, was recently named a GE-Southwest Airlines Ambassador for the Building a STEM Leadership Alliance Summit in Orlando, Florida.

One of just 50 national education, business, and non-profit professionals chosen for the honor, Rosen was invited to collaborate with STEM leaders from around the country at the STEM Leadership Alliance Summit on July 8th through 11th. Their goal? To address current questions and challenges facing STEM education and create an agenda for meaningful change. 


"It was an honor to be among STEM thought leaders, education professionals, and industry advocates to explore how STEM education must be at the forefront of what is taught in our schools," Rosen said about his experience at the summit. "My hope for the future of education is that we find a way to turn our schools into centers for innovation where classrooms become laboratories for learning and exploration." 
 

As a key member of the Science Alive team, Rosen supports Nevada's PreK-12 educators in science-based, environmental education by facilitating teacher trainings and organizing educational outreach activities for DRI, including the annual May Science Be With You event, a Star Wars-themed celebration of science and technology held at DRI's Las Vegas campus.
 
 

Returning from the inspiring meeting with STEM leaders, Rosen is enthusiastic the prospects for STEM education, particularly in Nevada. "The end goal for education should be that those who graduate from our schools become engaged global citizens. I’m excited that DRI's Science Alive Program is playing a part in making this end goal a reality."
 
 

The STEM Leadership Alliance Summit brought together five leading STEM organizations and a select group of participants in leadership roles in STEM education. Leland Melvin, STEAM education advocate and former NASA Astronaut, spoke to summit attendees about cultivating passion and perseverance in students. 


Craig Rosen poses with Storm Troopers at DRI's May Science Be With You Event in May 2016. Credit: Dave Becker.Craig Rosen poses with Storm Troopers at DRI's May Science Be With You Event in May 2016. Credit: Dave Becker.

For more information on the Building a STEM Leadership Alliance Summit, visit http://www.nsta.org/conferences/stemleadership/welcome.aspx.  

 

For more information about DRI's Science Alive Program, visit https://sciencealive.dri.edu/.  



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The Desert Research Institute (DRI) is a recognized world leader in investigating the effects of natural and human-induced environmental change and advancing technologies aimed at assessing a changing planet. For more than 50 years DRI research faculty, students, and staff have applied scientific understanding to support the effective management of natural resources while meeting Nevada's needs for economic diversification and science-based educational opportunities. With campuses in Reno and Las Vegas, DRI serves as the non-profit environmental research arm of the Nevada System of Higher Education. For more information, please visit www.dri.edu. 
 



NV GREEN Alliance Names DRI Science Alive Administrator 2018 Environmental Hero at Awards Gala

May 22, 2018 (Las Vegas, NV) - Craig Rosen, Community Relations and Professional Development Administrator for DRI's Science Alive Program, was honored by the NV GREEN Alliance this weekend as the winner of the 2018 Rob Dorinson Environmental Hero Award. 

Winners of the 2018 GREEN Awards illuminate those paving the way, setting examples, creating change, innovating the future, and educating the next generations on how protect and foster sustainable living. The Rob Dorinson Environmental Hero Award specifically recognizes an individual who demonstrates dedication and an unflinching love of the environment and who paves the way to bring about awareness and change.

"Rob was committed to educating citizens and businesses on the importance of being green and making a difference in the quality of life in southern Nevada," Rosen said of the award's namesake. "I am honored to have been selected as this year’s winner and will continue to encourage educators to bring sustainability topics and lessons into their classrooms and inspire their students to be change-makers."

As a key member of the Science Alive team, Rosen facilitates STEAM teacher trainings for K-12 educators across Nevada and organizes educational outreach activities for DRI, including the annual May Science Be With You event, a Star Wars-themed celebration of science and technology held at DRI's Las Vegas campus.

The GREEN Alliance GREEN Awards Gala was held on Saturday May 19, 2018, at Opportunity Village in Las Vegas. Deborah Donaldson, founder and CEO of Superpowers 365 and motivational speaker, opened the ceremony with an inspirational message to the audience of sustainability leaders.

For more information on the GREEN Alliance, visit http://www.greenalliancenv.org/.

For more information about DRI's Science Alive Program, visit https://sciencealive.dri.edu/.

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The Desert Research Institute (DRI) is a recognized world leader in investigating the effects of natural and human-induced environmental change and advancing technologies aimed at assessing a changing planet. For more than 50 years DRI research faculty, students, and staff have applied scientific understanding to support the effective management of natural resources while meeting Nevada's needs for economic diversification and science-based educational opportunities. With campuses in Reno and Las Vegas, DRI serves as the non-profit environmental research arm of the Nevada System of Higher Education. For more information, please visit www.dri.edu.