High school teachers in rural parts of northeast Washington will be getting some extra training and tools to help introduce students to careers in water and natural resources thanks to a $224,873 National Science Foundation (NSF) grant Spokane Community College’s environmental science department received.
The goal of the grant is to introduce high school students to water and natural resources programs, specifically focused on Geographic Information System (GIS).
The three-year NSF grant that especially focuses on increasing awareness of Geographic Information System (GIS) careers will provide training to 12-15 high school teachers in Ferry, Stevens and Pend Oreille counties and support them as they introduce GIS activities in their classrooms. It will also help fund outreach to schools, including career awareness activities and GIS demonstrations.
The initial 12-15 teachers are expected to influence hundreds of high school students as they incorporate locally relevant geographic data and GIS activities.
In the third year of the grant, an Introduction to GIS course will begin to be offered at SCC’s Colville Center. High school students would be eligible to receive both college and high school credit from the course and it would also be open to other students in the community.
The need for environmental technicians and those with GIS skills is high in northeast Washington heavy in resource-based industries, such as forestry, agriculture, mining and public lands management. Introducing these skills to students in the area will give them a good foundation for pursing degrees, certificates and ultimately careers in environmental sciences.
“We are excited to provide even greater opportunities to the rural communities we serve,” said Jenni Martin, SCC vice president of instruction. “This grant will prepare the future workforce for these counties and will contribute to the overall economic well-being of the community. This partnership further expands our high school activity beyond our current Running Start and College in the High School programs.”
The project, called the Northeast Washington Geospatial Environmental Technician Education Project, is SCC’s first grant from the National Science Foundation.
About Spokane Community College
SCC is one of the largest community colleges in the state serving more than 20,000 students every year at its 150-acre campus in east Spokane and its centers in Colville, Inchelium, Ione, Newport and Republic. In addition to career/technical programs and liberal arts transfer degrees, SCC also provides adult basic education and English-as-a-second-language educational programs.
Note: Partial support for this work was provided by the National Science Foundation Scholarships in Science, Advanced Technology Education Program award under Award No. 1800981. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.