NKU CINSAM Expands STEM Teacher Training with Duke Energy Foundation Grant

CINSAM/ Duke Energy Check Presentation

Northern Kentucky University’s Center for Integrative Natural Science and Mathematics (CINSAM) announces a $75,000 grant from the Duke Energy Foundation to support educating middle school teachers as part of the Next Generation STEM Classroom Project 2.0 (NextGen STEM Project). STEM focuses on science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

As part of this project, 20 “NextGen STEM Fellows” from across Northern Kentucky recently attended CINSAM’s first Summer Institute to develop teacher leaders in STEM. The institute was led by CINSAM’s master teachers, Ella Bowling and Amber Carter.

“The Duke Energy Foundations is pleased to support programs, like the Summer Institute, that enhance our local schools by training teachers to educate other teachers on STEM,” said Casey, Ruschman, Duke Energy Foundation Manager. “Duke Energy realizes how important STEM training is for our educators, students and community.”

The Summer Institute is a new element in CINSAM’s year round NextGen STEM Project. CINSAM educators travel to area school districts to provide professional development for teachers in the districts’ own classrooms. The program is state standards and incorporates best practices in science, technology, engineering and mathematics teaching and learning at the elementary and middle school levels.

“CINSAM has a great platform for modeling what phenomena based learning looks like in the classroom and how to get our students actively engaged in a way that supports their learning and relates to the world around them. I’m excited to see the impact that this will have on my students and our community,” said Brittany Leslie, Gray Middle School Teacher and NextGen STEM Fellow.

The NextGen STEM Project was piloted in Boone and Kenton Counties during the 2012-13 school year and scaled up initially through a grant from the Toyota USA Foundation. The program was expanded at the middle school level through a 2016 grant of $75,000 from the Duke Energy Foundation. Duke Energy has continued its support for the further development of the NextGen STEM Project 2.0 at the middle school level with the additional contribution of $75,000.

“I have been working with CINSAM for 11 years.  Over the years, the program has gone through many changes, but one constant has always been keeping the teacher first,” said Kris Gordon, Williamstown Junior High School Teacher and NextGen STEM Fellow. “The school districts and educators served by this group are greatly impacted by the donors’ generosity. Thank you, CINSAM, Duke Energy, and Toyota, for your commitment to education.”

The NextGen STEM Project now serves 20 districts in Northern Kentucky impacting nearly 1,000 in-service teachers, 200 pre-service teachers and reaches more than 50,000 students.


About The Next Generation STEM Classroom Project 2.0

The Next Generation STEM Classroom Project 2.0 models best practices for teachers from school districts throughout Kentucky. The program involves teaching a STEM lesson to a class of students with teachers from multiple grade levels observing around the room. After this “Fishbowl” class, the teachers meet with CINSAM staff for a “RECAP” breakdown of the lesson to reflect on their observations and explore ways to apply lessons learned to their own teaching.


About The Duke Energy Foundation

The Duke Energy Foundation annually provides more than $30 million in charitable grants, with a focus on three areas: Kindergarten to career, the environment and community impact. Their education funding focuses on STEM skills, childhood reading proficiency and workforce development. The Foundation invests in high-performing, sustainable programs and initiatives that contribute to our goal of helping build a diverse workforce of the future. For additional information about the Duke Energy Foundation, please visit https://www.duke-energy.com/community/duke-energy-foundation.



CINSAM was established 17 years ago by Kentucky’s Council on Postsecondary Education as NKU’s Program of Distinction. Its mission is to promote enthusiasm, excellence, and equity in education at pre-school through undergraduate levels by advancing and integrating teaching, learning, and scholarship in the STEM disciplines. For more information, please visit cinsam.nku.edu.