Community Roots $5,000 STEM Grants Awarded to Area Schools
American Crystal visited Park Christian School in Moorhead today (Feb. 8, 2016) to present the school’s biology class with a check for $5,000 to support STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) learning in the classroom. The STEM grant program is being funded through the company’s Community Roots giving program, which the company has recently expanded to deepen its commitment and impact on the communities where its 2,000-plus employees live and work. This year, six STEM grants – worth a total of $30,000 – are being distributed to schools throughout American Crystal’s footprint.
Grant recipients were chosen through an application and review process that required schools to explain how the grant money would support a project that promotes creativity, critical thinking, communication and collaboration (the 4 Cs of STEM learning) among students. Park Christian School will use its grant award to purchase a specialized camera and video screen which can be mounted to a microscope and used to produce slides. The school’s 34-student biology class will use the equipment for a biology project dubbed “Enhancing the ‘Sweet Spot,’” which explores the process of mitosis. The grant award will also fund the cost of a printer and supplies to produce prints of microscopic images, as well as staining materials, slides and cover slips. As a result of the grant award and project, students will gain knowledge through the collaborative use of new technology and through communicating their discoveries via photos taken of the process.
Stephanie Sand, chemical analyst at American Crystal’s Moorhead factory, and Dominick Raedeke, a process engineer at the Drayton factory, were members of the grant selection committee. They visited Park Christian’s biology class to present the teacher, Nancy Schnabel, with a check and encourage students to embrace STEM-related learning. Stephanie shared how she uses STEM skills every day through analysis, journaling, communicating and teamwork. Dominick said he was proud to represent the company and happy to contribute to valuable education opportunities that will teach students skills they will use for the rest of their lives.
School officials and students were grateful to receive the financial support. Officials said the grant will make a noticeable impact on the science program and will be used for years to come. Students thanked American Crystal for the contribution and said they look forward to using the equipment.
Other schools selected to receive grants include Cavalier (N.D.) Public School, Climax-Shelly (Minn.) Public School, Grafton (N.D.) Public School, Hillsboro (N.D.) Public School and Stephen-Argyle (Minn.) Central School. Check presentations will be held each of the receiving schools within the next few weeks.