FSU receives federal funding for science center, teacher program
Credit: Cumberland Times-News
FROSTBURG — Frostburg State University will receive $1.25 million through direct federal funding earmarked in the $1.7 trillion omnibus spending bill signed into law by President Joe Biden in December.
The funding, secured through U.S. Sens. Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin (both D-MD) and U.S. Rep. David Trone (D-MD), will provide $750,000 for the FSU Regional Science Center and $500,000 for the Maryland Accelerates Program.
“We are thankful for the support of Senators Cardin and Van Hollen and Congressman Trone,” said Ronald Nowaczyk, president of FSU. “Their continued dedication to Frostburg State University helps strengthen our commitment to education in Maryland and the regional development of Western Maryland.”
The Regional Science Center will provide hands-on space exploration simulations through the Challenger Learning Center, as well as robotics and coding programs for primarily middle-school-aged children in Allegany County and other regional school systems. The center will also display artifacts and personal photographs from space missions conducted by Richard Arnold II, a NASA astronaut and 1985 graduate of FSU. The center will provide a unique opportunity for students to experience STEM learning and provide an early look at STEM careers, school officials said.
“We are excited to bring this opportunity to build critical STEM and 21st-century skills necessary for the careers of tomorrow to the students of Western Maryland,” said Amy Hutcherson, coordinator for the Science Center.
The Maryland Accelerates Program is a teacher residency program that provides a living stipend for students in the Master of Arts in Teaching program and pairs them with mentor teachers at participating local schools so they can serve full time for a school year as a teacher resident and earn their master’s in teaching on an accelerated schedule.
The program allows future teachers to develop relationships in the community and encourages retention of teachers in the area, while also supporting staffing needs at the schools. Since its launch in 2019, 35 students have been enrolled in three cohorts, representing publics schools in Garrett, Washington and Frederick counties. The federal funds will help expand the program for additional cohorts and allow FSU to engage with other school systems for teacher resident placement.
“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to impact high-quality education for the population of Western Maryland, which often goes unnoticed, and beyond,” said Boyce Williams, dean of the Department of Education at FSU.
“Federal investments in STEM and teacher education are essential investments in the future of Maryland and our nation. I am proud we were able to request these funds specifically for such pivotal initiatives at Frostburg State,” said Cardin. “Team Maryland will continue to work to provide resources that will help Marylanders live, learn and grow in a way that best fits our local community needs.”
“Investing in STEM education is key to preparing our students for the jobs and the economy of the future. We delivered these funds directly to FSU to support its program to inspire students of all ages to pursue fulfilling careers in education and the sciences. These important efforts will open new doors of opportunity for our students and strengthen the economy of Western Maryland,” said Van Hollen, a member of the Appropriations Committee.
“Providing every Marylander an opportunity to succeed, especially in high-skill, sought-after trades like STEM, is a win-win for all of us. Not only will these programs help develop our country’s future leaders, but they will also create and fill jobs down the line in our state,” said Trone. “As a member of Congress, it is my mission to work with local leaders, listen to communities and deliver results. This federal funding does just that.”