MDOT Supports STEM

Jackson, Miss. As part of a continued effort to invest in the educational opportunities for the young people of Mississippi, the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) has launched a new STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) website aimed at increasing interest in careers in the transportation industry, specifically civil engineering.

To meet the needs of the changing workforce, many schools across the state have shifted their focus to STEM education programs. MDOT has responded to this shifting emphasis by developing, implementing and supporting multiple education outreach programs.

“Our new STEM education site is designed as a tool to raise awareness about the education outreach programs MDOT offers,” said MDOT Executive Director Melinda McGrath. “This site is a valuable resource for teachers, parents and students.”

This resource site focuses on MDOT’s two free STEM education programs, the Transportation and Civil Engineering (TRAC) program and the Roadways Into Developing Elementary Students (RIDES) program.

The STEM education site offers information for teachers on how the TRAC and RIDES programs can benefit their students. It also offers information on training sessions provided by MDOT at no cost to the teacher. Parents and students can also find information about the programs, and the steps necessary to get the programs implemented in their school.

In addition to information about the TRAC and RIDES programs, the new site also provides resources for other STEM-related opportunities in Mississippi, such as the Mississippi Summer Transportation Institute.

“A quality education is one of the most valuable tools a person has at their disposal,” said Mississippi Transportation Commissioners Dick Hall, Tom King and Mike Tagert in a joint statement. “Education opens the door to many opportunities later in life. MDOT is committed to maintaining and improving Mississippi’s transportation infrastructure by investing in educational opportunities for young people in our state.” 

This year, MDOT celebrates 100 years of service to the people of Mississippi. The TRAC and RIDES programs have been in schools across the state since 2004. Over the past 12 years, more than 2,000 teachers have been trained, and annually, more than 40,000 students receive STEM education through these programs.

“These programs are a way to get Mississippi students excited about careers in engineering and the transportation industry,” said McGrath. “MDOT is committed to helping shape the future leaders of the transportation industry.”

For more information about MDOT’s STEM education programs, visit



- See more at:


Chevron's Fuel Your School Program Expands to Support Nine Communities Across the U.S.

Chevron U.S.A. Inc. announced the expansion of its Fuel Your School program to nine communities this fall from two communities in 2011. Fuel Your School will provide useful funding for eligible classroom projects developed by public school teachers and posted to in the following communities:

-- Alameda and Contra Costa counties, California

-- Orange County, California

-- Kern County, California

-- Sacramento County, California

-- St. Tammany, Orleans and Plaquemines parishes, Louisiana

-- Jackson County, Mississippi

-- Multnomah County, Oregon

-- Harris County, Texas

-- Salt Lake and Davis counties, Utah

Chevron will donate $1 for every eight gallon or larger fill up from Oct. 1 to Oct. 31 at participating Chevron and Texaco stations in those communities, up to a total contribution of nearly $5 million.

"Educating today's students remains critical to our country's future, but America's schools face significant challenges and have fallen behind in science, technology, engineering and math," said Dale Walsh, president of Chevron Americas Products. "Fuel Your School provides teachers with essential tools and resources that help students learn, explore and get excited about STEM education to help prepare them for the jobs of tomorrow."

The program is an innovative collaboration with, an online charity to help students in need. All year, public school teachers across the U.S. post classroom project requests on, ranging from pencils to microscope slides and even live tarantulas for use with biology lessons.

"Teachers spend more than $350 of their own money every year on materials for their students," said Charles Best, CEO of "Our site enables public school teachers to post projects for funding from their community and companies like Chevron who want to improve students' education."

The lack of adequate school funding across the nation has become so dire that some teachers do not have basic supplies to help students complete their classroom assignments. During the last school year, public school teachers shared more than 100,000 requests on the website. One of those requests came from Ms. Lim-Breitbart, who teaches high school physics at Aspire California College Preparatory Academy in Berkeley, Calif., but lacked the resources to provide students with hands-on scientific activities. With the help of the Fuel Your School program, she and her students received digital thermometers and hot plates to use during physics lessons.

"[The] donation helped change our classroom from 'getting by' to 'doing real science' this year," said Lim-Breitbart. Students now believe that "science is a real option for them in the future."

Chevron partners with local communities, governments and non-profit organizations to increase learning opportunities for students and support the social and economic vitality of communities where the company has significant business operations. Chevron has contributed nearly $100 million for education in the U.S. over the past three years.

Since its inception in 2010, Fuel Your School has funded more than 3,000 classroom projects at nearly 600 schools, and the program has grown each year to support students in additional communities. Public school teachers and other educators are invited to post eligible projects starting on September 1 to, for possible funding as part of the Fuel Your School program.

Consumers can track the classroom projects in need of funding and see how much money is being earned for public schools in each city by visiting Donations earned through Fuel Your School will be used to fund eligible classroom projects from Oct. 2 through Nov. 30, 2012, or until funds generated by this program have been exhausted by eligible projects. Consumers and Chevron employees may also independently fund classroom projects on the website by making separate, individual donations.


Dow VP speaks on the critical need for strong STEM education

STARKVILLE, Miss.–A senior Dow Chemical Co. official led the March 6 Hunter Henry Lectureship at Mississippi State.


Don Taylor, vice president for Dow’s purchasing and supply chain organizations, will discuss the importance of STEM educations and careers. STEM is the popular acronym for the teaching of–and careers in–science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The talk included several stories about Mr. Taylor’s career path. The talk was followed by a reception for undergraduate students and a lunch with the faculty and the college and university administration.


Promoted to his current position last year, Taylor began his career with Dow in 1983 after receiving a chemical engineering degree from Clemson University. An international manufacturer, Dow has headquarters in Midland, Mich.


The lecture was made possible by the generous donation of 1950 alumnus Hunter Henry (1928-2011) and his family, who have also supported the student chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the Hunter Henry Chair, the Hunter Henry Scholars, and other important initiatives at Mississippi State University. Mr. Henry–like Taylor–began work with Dow shortly after receiving his degree.


Over a long business career and for years after retiring, Henry was a major supporter of his alma mater and, in 1988, was honored as its alumnus of the year. He was lead donor for the $12 million building on the western edge of campus that bears his name and houses offices of the MSU Foundation and Alumni Association. In 2001, he also was honored by MSU with an honorary doctorate in science.



NASA Selects Mississippi Teacher to be "Agent of Change" for STEM Education

GREENBELT, Md.Feb. 17, 2012 - Ashley Webb, a teacher at Desoto Central High School, Southaven, Mississippi, has been awarded an Endeavor Fellowship with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). NASA's Endeavor Science Teaching Certificate Project provides live, online training for educators working to earn a STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) certificate from Teachers College, Columbia University, N.Y.

"This year marks the acceptance of 51 new Endeavor fellows in Cohort 4," said Katherine Bender, Education Specialist and lead for the project at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. "The project is funded through NASA's Office of Education.  Implementation is through Glen Schuster and U.S. Satellite Laboratory, Rye, N.Y."

Teachers engage with education experts, NASA scientists, and with each other to carry back to the classroom a greater understanding of NASA discoveries, to impact student learning in real-world contexts, to inspire a next generation of explorers, scientists, engineers and astronauts.

"Endeavor offers educators research-based ways to bring relevant NASA and STEM discipline content to a school's curriculum.  The project helps educators to do this effectively," said Shelley Canright, Manager of Elementary, Secondary and e-Education at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "The 2012 cohort of educators from around the U.S. represents many of our nation's future leaders in science, mathematics and technology education."

The highly-competitive NASA Fellowship is a model for effectual improvements in teacher practice.  Endeavor is collaborating with the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, promoting effective strategies for teaching and learning.

The project was designed and is administered by the U.S. Satellite Laboratory Inc., of Rye, N.Y. Funding for the program is provided through the NASA Endeavor Teacher Fellowship Trust Fund, in tribute to the dedicated crew of the space shuttle Challenger.

For additional information about the Endeavor Science Teaching Certificate Project, visit:

For information about NASA education programs, visit: