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July 26, 2018– Northern Kentucky University’s Center for Integrative Natural Science and Mathematics (CINSAM) continues its Next Generation STEM Classroom Project 2.0 (NextGen STEM Project) with a $200,000 a cumulative investment from the Duke Energy Foundation. The grant has supported educating middle school teachers over the past three years through the NextGen STEM Project. STEM focuses on science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
STEM Teachers Teachers participating in the Summer Institute

As part of this project, 24 NextGen STEM Fellows from across northern Kentucky attended CINSAM’s Summer Institute to develop teacher leaders in STEM. The institute, led by CINSAM’s master teachers Ella Bowling and Amber Carter, was first developed last year as part of CINSAM’s year round NextGen STEM Project.

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

The NextGen STEM Project 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 our 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,” said Madhura Kulkarni, CINSAM director.

The teachers who attended last year’s Summer Institute returned to mentor the current fellows, and graduates of the NextGen program serve STEM ambassadors in their local districts.

NTSA pic Danielle Zink, Amber Carter and Ella Bowling at the NSTA Conference

Danielle Zink, a fourth grade teacher with Ludlow Schools, first attended a CINSAM program in 2011. She continued to participate in CINSAM professional development activities and was part of the NKU fellows program. Zink, now a teacher trainer for her district, won a scholarship to the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) conference earlier this year.

“The benefit from the fellows program is having the opportunity to learn from other teachers. It’s a struggle for educators to write the lesson plans and design the experiments,” said Zink. “CINSAM has STEM experiment kits that teachers can borrow. In each kit, you have all the equipment and supplies needed for the learning activity, and you get the lesson plans that are designed to fit state standards. Removing one hurdle is a huge step in getting teachers to embrace STEM activities in the classroom.”

CINSAM educators also travel to area school districts to provide professional development for teachers in their classrooms. For more information on the CINSAM Next Gen STEM Classroom, visit its website.

About The Next Generation STEM Classroom Project 2.0/ CINSAM: 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 further investments from the Duke Energy Foundation and the Toyota USA Foundation. 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 30,000 students.

CINSAM was established in 2000 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

About The Duke Energy Foundation: The Duke Energy Foundation provides philanthropic support to address the needs of communities where its customers live and work. The foundation contributes more than $33 million annually in charitable gifts. The foundation’s education focus spans kindergarten to career – particularly science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) – as well as early childhood literacy and workforce development. The foundation also supports environmental projects and community impact initiatives, including arts and culture. Duke Energy employees and retirees actively contribute to their communities as volunteers and leaders with a wide variety of nonprofit organizations. Duke Energy is committed to building on its legacy of community service. For more information, visit

About NKU:  Northern Kentucky University is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2018! Founded in 1968, we are a growing metropolitan university of more than 14,000 students served by more than 2,000 faculty and staff on a thriving suburban campus near Cincinnati. Located in the quiet suburb of Highland Heights, Kentucky—just seven miles southeast of Cincinnati—we have become a leader in Greater Cincinnati and Kentucky by providing a private school education for a fraction of the cost. While we are one of the fastest growing universities in Kentucky, our professors still know our students' names. For more information on our 50th, visit