Florida Tech NSF Grant Supports STEM Studies in Brevard County High Schools

MELBOURNE, FLA.—A $225,000 National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to Georgios Anagnostopoulos, associate professor with the Florida Institute of Technology College of Engineering, has begun to help underserved high schools in Brevard County. The grant supports mathematics teachers through the NSF’s AEGIS RET (Research Experiences for Teachers) program. A partnership with University of Central Florida, which received its own funding, the program also helps public schools in Orange, Seminole and Osceola counties.

“The AEGIS RET program’s intellectual focus is the field of signal and image processing, a perennially popular electrical engineering field. This field, because of its many everyday applications, is ideal to convey important mathematics and science concepts to teachers and K-12 students,” said Anagnostopoulos.

According to the NSF, the goal of the RET program is to “help build long-term collaborative partnerships between K-12 science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) teachers, community college faculty and the NSF university research community by involving the teachers and community college faculty in engineering and computer science research, and helping them translate their research experiences and new knowledge into classroom activities.”

The two universities began last spring with UCF hosting four mathematics teachers and Florida Tech hosting Becky Dowell, a mathematics teacher at Titusville High School in Brevard County. Her mentors were Veton Kepuska, associate professor, and Jacob Zurasky a master’s degree student, both from the Florida Tech Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. In the implementation phase this fall, Dowell will introduce the new plans developed last spring into her classroom.

“In the next phase, we intend to involve and host many more teachers at

Florida Tech. Recruitment will commence next February,” said Anagnostopoulos. He added that “The AEGIS RET program, over three years, is expected to directly influence a total of 39 teachers from schools with large populations of underrepresented groups. Each teacher is projected to impact 150 of these students annually.”

The joint Florida Tech-UCF proposal for the program was one of eight proposals funded by the NSF out of 56 submissions in 2012.

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