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Polytechnic University Receives $3 Million National Science Foundation Grant

Grant Will Be Used to Bring Graduate Students’ Research in Mechatronics and Robotics to Middle Schools

Polytechnic University, New York’s leading engineering, science, technology and management university, today announced that it has received a $3 million grant from the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Teaching Fellows in K-12 Education (GK-12) Program. This program supports graduate fellowships and training in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

“NSF knows how key a strong STEM education is and will be for the sustained competitiveness of the U.S. in the global market,” said Sonia Ortega, GK-12 program director at NSF. “We believe working with Polytechnic University on this grant is the perfect fit with its ties to local schools and our shared dedication to innovation.”

Working with six New York City middle schools and their faculties, college professors, and graduate fellows, Polytechnic University will:

  • broaden graduate engineering education and provide Fellows with teaching, communication, management, and team building skills;
  • engage middle school students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics studies through mechatronics-enabled science labs and robotics competitions;
  • develop human resources by enabling GK–12 Fellows to develop a deeper understanding of STEM concepts and the process of knowledge building; and
  • provide technology literacy and professional development to teachers

“Strength in STEM education is critical, not just in New York but across the nation,” said Vikram Kapila, associate professor of mechanical engineering and the principal investigator (PI) for the grant. “This grant will allow Polytechnic University Fellows to connect their research with societal needs, become stronger scientists and engineers, and in the process, help improve STEM education at the middle school level.”

“Polytechnic University has a long history of commitment to STEM education and innovation at all academic levels because it provides an avenue by which students can pursue higher education and professional careers,” said Noel Kriftcher, executive director of Polytechnic University’s David Packard Center for Technology and Educational Alliances and a co-PI for the grant.

”We look forward to leading the effort to improve student achievement in local schools by enhancing their STEM curricula and expanding their teachers’ knowledge,” said Professor Magued Iskander, a co-PI on the grant.

Through hands-on scientific experiments, mechatronics-enabled science labs, and robotics-based lesson plans, Polytechnic Fellows will ultimately integrate their mechatronics and robotics-focused education and research into middle school curriculum.