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Students to Travel to Kennedy Space Center as Part of Graceland TRIO ETS Grant


Press Release

January 28, 2020

TRIO Educational Talent Search logo and the Graceland University Higdon Administration Building

LAMONI, IOWA – The Graceland University Educational Talent Search (ETS) program is the recipient of a $40,000 grant for supplemental STEM funding from the United States Department of Education.

The grant was written to increase ETS participants’ awareness of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields with a particular focus on computer science. The goal will be to develop students’ proficiency in the use of computer applications and to transition the participants from users of technology to developers of technology. This experience is available for ETS participants from 9-12 grade.

Throughout the grant period, activities will include building a team of students to attend a summer camp at Graceland (Summer 2020), where students will gain hands-on learning experiences building and programming robots, and learning basic rocketry. The experience will also feature a four-day adventure to Kennedy Space Center in Florida to participate in STEM-related activities such as astronaut training, Mars Base 1, shuttle launch experiences and a travel to Mars experience.

Julie Neas, Graceland’s ETS director, said ETS program employees are excited about the opportunities their students will gain due to this award.

“This funding will allow ETS participants to experience STEM education in fun and interactive ways,” Neas explained. “We can’t wait to watch students’ interest and awareness of technology increase through inquiry-based learning opportunities.”

Graceland’s ETS program identifies and assists students (grades six through 12) who have the potential to succeed in higher education. The program provides academic, career and financial counseling to its participants. The goal of ETS is to increase the number of first-generation students who complete high school and enroll in and complete their postsecondary education. ETS serves the following Iowa school districts: Central Decatur, Chariton, Diagonal, Lamoni and Mount Ayr. It also serves the following Missouri school districts: Cainsville, Ridgeway and South Harrison.

The Educational Talent Search program is 100% federally funded by the U.S. Department of Education.

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