New STEM Center Opens on SUU Campus

Published: July 27, 2020 | Author: Kierstin Pitcher-Holloway | Read Time: 2 minutes

Southern Utah University STEM CenterThe STEM Center for Teaching & Learning at Southern Utah University engages thousands of students in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) activities every year. Now, after six years of working with the southern Utah community to create opportunities for children to learn, the STEM Center is opening a physical space on SUU’s campus.

The new center will be located on the third floor of the Mark and Julie Svoboda Geoscience Building and houses a professional development workshop space and Lending Library.

“While there will always be a very mobile component to what we do, it was really hard to operate without a home base,” said Elaine Vickers, STEM Center director. “Now, with a beautiful new space in the Geosciences Building, we'll be able to work more efficiently with our team, hold professional development classes for local teachers, bring kids in for workshops, and finally have a home on campus for our extensive STEM library. It's going to be amazing.”

The STEM Lending Library was created to enable rural teachers to borrow much-needed STEM equipment to supplement their curriculum. Currently the library consists of over 800 items. These items include robotics kits, computers, Chromebooks, programming and coding equipment, snap circuits, infrared cameras, Vernier sensors, and a variety of science tools.

“Rather than putting the burden on individual schools or teachers to purchase equipment, we're here to help make it as easy as possible for teachers to share resources and to put whatever we can within their reach,” said Vickers.

The new library system has made borrowing from the lending library easy. Teachers simply need to register on the STEM library website or email the center at to receive the link. Once registered, teachers can browse and reserve items to be delivered to local schools twice a month. Teachers are also encouraged to reach out to the STEM Center for additional items they may need as they incorporate new science standards into their lessons.

“Our new space not only provides room for our current items but now we have consumable items that teachers can check out and not worry about returning,” said Charlene Busch, STEM projects coordinator. “They won't have to spend their own money to provide engaging science lessons.”

Though the STEM Center is expanding its mission will stay the same.

“I'm always asking myself whether we're doing a good job representing a broad range of topics,” said Vickers. “And whether our programs and projects are reaching kids from all sorts of backgrounds, including and especially underrepresented populations.”

Since its founding in 2014, the SUU STEM Center for Teaching and Learning has been committed to bringing STEM to southern Utah through outreach events, professional development, and high-quality STEM programming.

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