CSO Blog

Elected advocates for STEM and innovation in schools and communities.
June 13, 2017 //

Dow grant helps SVSU create Science Officers

Author: Kelly Greene

Saginaw Valley State University hopes to send students back to their K-12 schools to serve as leaders and “chief science officers” when the new school year begins in the fall.

Modeled after a similar program that has proven successful in Arizona, middle and high school students are elected by their peers to be a “chief science officer” and then are empowered to influence a wide range of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) opportunities in their schools and communities. The goal is to have students take an active role in increasing student interest in the STEM fields and ultimately create a diverse pipeline of STEM leaders.

The university received a $40,000 grant from The Dow Chemical Co. Foundation to run the community-minded pilot program at middle schools and high schools in Bay, Midland and Saginaw counties for the 2017-18 school year.

An SVSU student explains water quality testing techniques to students from Carrollton High School.

“We are proud to collaborate with our longtime partner SVSU to bring the chief science officer program to the Great Lakes Bay Region,” said Rob Vallentine, president of The Dow Chemical Company Foundation. “This program will empower students and educators to be local STEM leaders, who by sharing their knowledge in our community will create a multiplier effect of more young people getting excited about and prepared in STEM subjects, and hopefully interested in pursuing STEM careers.”

The funds will support up to two students and a teacher mentor from each participating school to attend a two-day summer institute that will bring middle school and high school students to SVSU on Aug. 22-23. About 50 students are expected to participate for the upcoming year.

Money from the grant also is set aside to provide mini-grants of up to $250 to support the “chief science officers” who develop plans for STEM projects to serve their school or community. Adrianne Cole, STEM Program manager at SVSU, will oversee the program in the Great Lakes Bay Region.

Several local schools already have registered to participate:

• Bay City Public Schools (Handy and Western middle schools; Central and Western high schools)

• Bridgeport-Spaulding Community Schools (Atkins Middle School and Bridgeport High School)

• Bangor Township Schools (John Glenn High School)

• Carrollton Public Schools (middle school and high school)

• Freeland Community Schools (middle school and high school)

• Midland Public Schools (Jefferson and Northeast middle schools; H.H. Dow and Midland high schools)

• Swan Valley Schools (high school)

• Saginaw Township Community Schools (Heritage High School and White Pine Middle School)

• Valley Lutheran High School

Additional schools that are interested in joining the program should contact Cole at 989-964-4058, or acole@svsu.edu

The Chief Science Officer Initiative is supported by the U.S. Department of Technology. For more on the program, visit https://chiefscienceofficers.org/