Utah Governor Signs STEM Education Legislation at UVU
May 16, 2014
For Immediate Release
University Marketing & Communications: Melinda Colton, 801-863-6807
Gov. Gary Herbert was at Utah Valley University May 15 signing legislation that appropriates $20 million to enhance science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education in Utah.
Students from Orem Elementary School who take part in an after-school robotics program coached by UVU education majors surrounded the governor as he signed the bill. The students’ robots include Lego’s Mindstorm sets, including programmable robotics construction kits and software that allow students to first build a robot and then configure its behavior. Building the robot includes basic engineering and math application principles and hands-on application of STEM subjects.
UVU’s School of Education has teamed up with the Alpine School District and a local business, Learning Through Robotics, to offer a 10-week robotics program designed to open young minds to the boundless opportunities available to them in the STEM fields.
More than 500 elementary school students from 15 schools attend one of the numerous sessions once a week coached by a dozen UVU elementary education majors. The fifth- and sixth-grade students showed their robots to Herbert prior to the ceremonial signing of HB150 sponsored by Rep. Val Peterson and Sen. Steve Urquhart.
This educational partnership encourages elementary students to build their interest in STEM subjects and careers and also helps UVU education majors gain more practical experience teaching children in STEM subjects.
“We need an educated labor force that has the skills that are demanded in the marketplace,” Herbert said. “STEM education is important for sustaining growth. …This legislation will help us reach new heights and new levels as we prepare the workforce of tomorrow.”
UVU President Matthew S. Holland noted that HB150 is near to his heart because his daughter Grace was one of the Orem Elementary students who participated in the after-school program. He said UVU educators “recognize there is a demand for workers with STEM-related skills and higher education is working to respond to those market needs.”
Rep. Peterson, who also serves as vice president of finance and administration at UVU, said this legislation is a necessary investment to prepare students for careers in a global economy.