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The Student News Site of University of North Alabama

The Flor-Ala

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The Flor-Ala

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New STEM center created for children of the Shoals

New+STEM+center+created+for+children+of+the+Shoals
Whitney Veazey

The Tennessee Valley Authority and the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation partnered together to bring STEM education to children of the Shoals. 

The $1.1 million partnership is intended to give students access to tools and curriculum for enhanced education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. On Jan. 9, TVA representatives joined students who are a part of The Rescue Me Project (RMP) for a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new STEM center. 

The RMP is a nonprofit organization in Sheffield that provides hope to local children through educational curriculum, mentoring, and other services. The grant for the center will provide the RMP with six chromebooks, a tech tub to store computers, and a 3D printer, as well as other equipment and materials related to STEM. 

This STEM center is not the first of its kind. The Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation partnered with TVA and has opened 27 STEM centers in states across the south, such as Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. With the addition of these centers, children all over the south will be able to engage in STEM education, providing them with enhanced opportunities for potential careers in the future.

“I believe that we can do a lot of good things on our own, but with dedicated partners we can achieve great things,” said Cal Ripken, Jr. earlier this year at the first STEM center opening. “Our partnership with Tennessee Valley Authority is evidence of that.” 

TVA is thrilled to be a part of this project, and they look forward to taking part in providing children with STEM-based resources. 

“We’re excited to partner with the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation to help provide opportunities for children across our region,” said TVA Executive Vice President and Chief External Relations Officer Jeannette Mills. “Our commitment to STEM has always been at the heart of TVA’s mission, and this new initiative gives us the chance to make an even more tangible impact and investment on the future of the STEM workforce.” 

In particular, TVA is excited to bring a STEM center to the Shoals because of the opportunities for advancement it provides to local children. 

“The quality of life we have in North Alabama, it takes partnership, investment and a view for the future… and that’s exactly what they’re doing right here at The Rescue Me Project,” said TVA Southern Regional Vice President Jared Mitchem. “So, the kids who are here in the STEM lab are picking up skills and learning things that they’ll be able to apply on the job someday. They’ll be able to do things we haven’t even imagined yet.”

The RMP is appreciative of the efforts of TVA and the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation, and they look forward to seeing their students succeed further through this act of generosity.

“We’re very grateful because the community has come and gotten involved with the RMP for so many years,” said RMP Founder and President Dewayne Malone. “To be able to take it to another level with the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation and TVA, for them to invest and be a part of this STEM lab and bring it to us, it’s been a huge blessing to us and the students are excited for it as well.”

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About the Contributors
Kelley Peters, Managing Editor
Kelley is a junior from Tupelo, Miss. who is majoring in English literature with a minor in applied linguistics. She is currently Managing Editor for The Flor-Ala. She has loved reading for as long as she can remember, which developed her love of storytelling and the English language. Her career goal is to become an English professor at a university. She was previously a volunteer writer in the Fall of 2021, became a Staff Writer in January of 2022 and moved to being News Editor in January of 2023.
Whitney Veazey, Chief Photographer
Whitney is a sophomore from Greenville, Ala. She is working towards a BFA with a concentration in photography. Whitney started at The Flor-Ala in Fall 2022 as a staff writer/photographer and is currently serving as chief photographer.

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