USAO receives Masonic Charity Foundation grant to support STEM programs

Masonic Charity Foundation of Oklahoma supporting STEM programs at USAO.
Masonic Charity Foundation of Oklahoma supporting STEM programs at USAO.

The University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma has received a $15,500 grant from the Masonic Charity Foundation of Oklahoma to support STEM programs at the university.

The grant will provide funding for a healthy summer camp for sixth- through eighth-grade students focusing on healthy meals and stress relief. Additionally, STEM workshops will be provided to middle schools, covering topics like human health, robotics energy and horticulture. The grant will also facilitate the purchase of a new telescope for astronomy events, enhancing community engagement.

"We are incredibly grateful to the Masonic Charity Foundation of Oklahoma for their generous grant,” said JP Audas, senior vice president for external relations. “This support will allow us to enhance our STEM offerings and provide invaluable opportunities for the community. We are excited about the impact these programs will have on our campus and beyond.”

USAO is currently working with teachers at several public schools in Grady County and surrounding areas to create STEM workshops at each school. The workshops cover topics including human health, robotics and engineering, energy development, and horticulture. Through the grant, USAO will be able to host an additional 10 workshops during the 2024 spring and fall semesters.

“We have already had some really fantastic success with our middle school STEM workshops, and this grant will allow us to continue bringing these resources to our community,” said Dr. Rachel Jones, dean of the school of science and physical education. “These programs help us inspire students at an age where they start thinking about what their futures may look like. They can see how truly not scary, but fun these fields can be.”

The grant will also provide funding for a summer residential camp for sixth- through eighth-grade students to explore how to embark on a healthy summer. The camp will train students in healthy food preparation that they can implement at home. Students will also be exposed to activities such as yoga and stretching that can help minimize stress and anxiety.

USAO frequently hosts astronomy-related outreach events, where attendees can learn the basics of astronomy. Through the grant, the School of Science & Physical Education will be able to purchase telescopes for astronomy outreach programs for students, faculty, staff and the wider public.

The Masonic Charity Foundation of Oklahoma provides a network of programs supporting the charitable and educational needs of Oklahomans from every walk of life while continuing their legacy of leadership and stewardship. They are the first organization to establish endowments at every publicly funded university and college in Oklahoma.

About the University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma

As Oklahoma’s liberal arts college, the University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma provides a distinctive education in the liberal arts and sciences, supporting both its interdisciplinary core curriculum and major fields of study with superior teaching. USAO fosters diversity of thought and practice to help students realize meaningful, purposeful and productive lives as global citizens in a rapidly-changing world.