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District Five GEMS Summer Camp receives $15,000 grant from Verizon

IRMO, SC - For the second consecutive year, Verizon Wireless will assist in making additional education opportunities possible in Lexington-Richland School District Five. One of the largest communication technology companies in the world presented a grant for $15,000 to The Center for Advanced Technical Studies (The Center) for the District Five GEMS (Girls in Energy, Medicine and Space) summer camp.

Last June, District Five held its inaugural GEMS camp. Sixty rising eighth and ninth grade girls selected from middle schools in District Five had the opportunity to get first-hand experience in STEM fields that they may choose as a future career. Campers took part in activities including engineering futuristic vehicles, hands-on lessons related to brain injuries, and science skills needed to successfully launch rockets. The camp was very successful. Everyone involved began immediately planning for the 2017 camp with the goal to make it even better. The Verizon grant goes a long way to funding this special opportunity.

Julie Smith, Director of External and Government Affairs with Verizon traveled from Atlanta to help make the check presentation. “One of our most important priorities at Verizon is STEM education for K-12 students, specifically with girls and encouraging them to be more involved in these types of programs,” said Smith. “For them to see these types of career possibilities and have hands-on experience at such a young age is something that we really enjoy supporting and why we choose to help fund GEMS.”

District Five Board of Trustees Secretary Ellen Baumgardner was pleased to see the continued funding of the GEMS summer camp. “It is very thrilling to see these students catch a vision for STEM. And, it is exciting to see companies like Verizon that want to be a part of The Center’s program offerings,” Baumgardner said. “We want to expose our students to different career paths. It is especially great to see our female students exposed to STEM careers.” Director at The Center Dr. Bob Couch added, “This grant will help introduce the girls into the STEM program and allows participants to spend a full day in each of the different experiences offered at the camp. They can build a robot—they can build a solar vehicle—so it is creating interest. But, it is also using their core knowledge and skill. We are thankful for Verizon’s partnership to allow these girls to grow and learn new things. We know the 2017 GEMS camp will be a great success.”

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