GAITHERSBURG, Md., Oct. 10, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Today STEM education nonprofit Learning Undefeated is announcing the award of three grants totaling $517,000 through the Department of Defense STEM (DoD STEM) program. Funding for three STEM education initiatives has been provided through the Defense STEM Education Consortium (DSEC), a collaborative partnership between academia, industry, not-for-profit organizations, and government that aims to broaden STEM literacy and develop a diverse and agile workforce to power the country’s innovative defense infrastructure. Learning Undefeated has been part of the DSEC consortium since 2020.
The grants support deep-impact STEM programming in Maryland and Texas, along with a new STEM equity teacher professional development series.
Emerging Leaders in Biotechnology Expands to Texas
Now in its fourth year, Learning Undefeated’s hands-on Emerging Leaders in Biotechnology program will expand to the San Antonio, Texas region in spring 2024 thanks to support from DoD STEM. Working with new regional partner Alamo STEM Ecosystem, Learning Undefeated will offer the fast-paced, hybrid program for women ages 14-22, introducing them to biotechnology topics and careers in an all-female-cohort environment.
Participants will gain advanced hands-on laboratory experience, meet and network with female luminaries from across the spectrum of STEM careers, and explore DoD STEM career opportunities. In addition to advanced biotechnology content, including synthetic biology and gene editing, the four-month program helps students succeed in STEM by increasing their science capital in the areas of knowledge, attitude, experiences, and social contacts and networks.
This is the fourth DoD STEM grant in support of Emerging Leaders in Biotechnology, which was purpose-designed in 2020 to encourage young Black and Latina women to explore high-growth military and civilian career areas in biotechnology. More than 100 female participants have already completed the program, and many return a second year to serve as mentors to the high school students.
Emerging Leaders in Biotechnology will run in San Antonio from March through July 2024. The program is free of charge for high school students, and college mentors receive a stipend. Learn more at https://www.learningundefeated.org/emerging-leaders-in-biotechnology/
Two DSEC Innovation Bloc Collaborations: Arizona & Maryland
In addition to the Emerging Leaders expansion, Learning Undefeated has received two additional awards through the DSEC Innovation Bloc, which strategically addresses programming gaps, expands reach, and strengthens DSEC alignment to evolving DoD priorities including building skills in support of critical technology areas to enhance technical capabilities for the future.
Alongside DSEC partners Alamo STEM Ecosystem (ASE), Arizona State University Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College (ASU MLFTC), and the Teaching Institute for Excellence in STEM (TIES), Learning Undefeated will offer intensive professional learning for teachers around equity and culturally relevant pedagogy for STEM. A new program for high school teachers in Maryland and Arizona, educator participants will develop and implement a STEM equity action plan and earn a microcredential in STEM equity. Learn more about this program.
During the 2023/24 school year, Learning Undefeated will also expand a collaboration with Baltimore-based Morgan State University (MSU) to engage more than 10,000 students and 50 pre-service teachers in meaningful STEM activities onboard the MXLab mobile laboratory. The project will feature new hands-on activities for high schoolers in the DoD critical technology areas of artificial intelligence (AI) and hypersonics.