Northrop Grumman Corporation today awarded a $1 million grant to George Mason University to support the Virginia Initiative for Science Teaching and Achievement (VISTA) program. The funding is the largest corporate donation to the program to date.
The five-year VISTA program focuses on high-need 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.
During a ceremony at the Mason Inn Conference Center and Hotel on Mason’s Fairfax Campus, Mike Papay, vice president, Cyber Initiatives, Northrop Grumman Information Systems presented a check to University President Alan G. Merten; Mark Ginsberg, dean of Mason’s College of Education and Human Development; Donna R. Sterling, director of the VISTA program; and Marc Broderick, vice president of University Development and Alumni Affairs.
“As a major technology employer in Virginia, we are committed to advancing STEM and reversing the trend of declining student interest in this discipline,” said Linda Mills, corporate vice president and president, Northrop Grumman Information Systems. “VISTA is an innovative way of making science and math fascinating to elementary students, particularly those in high-need areas, to inspire a new generation of high-tech professionals to fill the critical shortage we face as a nation. We are proud to support this initiative and applaud Virginia for its foresight in answering the call to build tomorrow’s highly skilled workforce.”
The funds will be used to support 200 elementary teachers who will participate in the program over a four-year period. The grant will provide a portion of the teachers’ stipend and enable them to participate in a four-week elementary and professional development science institute; receive a year of “in-class coaching” from a VISTA-trained coach; attend the statewide Virginia Association of Science Teachers conference; and receive in-class and online science materials and resources.
VISTA was founded to give science educators free, intensive professional development and training to help improve their students’ performance levels. Mason is the lead institution for 47 school districts, six universities and the Virginia Department of Education. VISTA’s goal is to advance science teaching and student learning throughout Virginia, especially in high-need schools. The initiative is funded by a five-year, $28.5 million grant from the United States Department of Education through the Investing in Innovation (i3) program, part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. It was awarded to Mason and its partners in 2010. For more on VISTA, go to http://vista.gmu.edu/.
Northrop Grumman and the Northrop Grumman Foundation support diverse and sustainable national-level programs that enhance the education experience for students and provide teachers with the training and tools they need to be successful in the classroom. Foundation initiatives include Eco Classroom, CyberPatriot, VEX Robotics, Sally Ride Science, U.S. Space Camp, Science Buddies, Great Minds in STEM and more. This week, Northrop Grumman issued its Corporate Responsibility Report for 2011 which details these programs and more. For more information about the Northrop Grumman Foundation, go to www.northropgrumman.com/foundation.
By Northrop Grumman Corporation
Tuesday, May 15, 2012