Boeing Funds VISTA Program to Promote STEM Education

Posted: March 23, 2012 at 12:00 pm, Last Updated: July 31, 2012 at 10:40 am

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By Catherine Probst

From left: Carol Daugherty, Mason director of corporate and foundation relations: Lianne Stein, vice president, Global Corporate Citizenship, Boeing Company; Mark R. Ginsberg, dean, College of Education and Human Development; Donna R. Sterling, principal investigator, VISTA; Dale Rainville, manager, Global Corporate Citizenship, Boeing Company; Wendy M. Frazier, co-principal investigator, VISTA. Photo by Evan Cantwell

In support of Mason’s efforts to promote education in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), The Boeing Company will provide $225,000 over a three-year period to the Virginia Initiative for Science Teaching and Achievement (VISTA).

Lianne Stein, vice president for global corporate citizenship at Boeing, recently visited Mason and presented the gift to Mason Provost Peter Stearns; Mark Ginsberg, dean of the College of Education and Human Development (CEHD); and Donna R. Sterling, director of the VISTA program.

“We greatly appreciate Boeing’s investment in a program that has the potential to impact nearly every student in the Commonwealth of Virginia,” says Ginsberg. “With their support, we will be better able to build an infrastructure for effective science teaching and learning that will prepare students for successful careers in the STEM fields.”

The five-year VISTA program focuses on high-need (high-poverty, high-minority) schools to improve science teaching and student learning throughout Virginia. VISTA is dedicated to professional development and research in science for elementary teachers and secondary teachers, science coordinators and university science education faculty.

In addition, VISTA will expand upon and validate prior research and active-learning programs conducted within CEHD and Mason’s Center for Restructuring Education in Science and Technology (CREST) over the past 15 years.

The project is a partnership that includes 47 Virginia school districts, six universities and the Virginia Department of Education. University partners are the College of William and Mary, Virginia Commonwealth University, University of Virginia, Virginia Tech and James Madison University. The project is funded primarily by a $28.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education through the Investing in Innovation (i3) program with additional corporate and private support, including the contributions of The Boeing Company.

“Mason’s VISTA initiative to enhance science teaching and student learning across Virginia is the type of program that is important to continued innovation and economic growth,” says Stein. “This program will help provide students with some of the critical skills needed for the jobs of today and tomorrow.”

In addition to presenting the gift, Boeing representatives learned more about the VISTA program and visited a science lab where VISTA students and teachers work together in a classroom setting.

The Boeing Company is the world’s largest aerospace company and leading manufacturer of commercial jetliners and defense, space and security systems. A top U.S. exporter, the company supports airlines and U.S. and allied government customers in 150 countries.

Write to Colleen Kearney Rich at ckearney@gmu.edu

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