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Rural Participation Project

Access to STEM education is vital to the future success of students. But opportunities to receive that education are limited outside of the major metropolitan areas of North Carolina. It is for that reason, NC Science Olympiad embarked on creating a new project to support STEM education for rural students and communities.

The project launched last year thanks to the support of The Duke Energy Foundation. We are excited to announce that the project was funded again for the 2020 tournament season. So, what does the project do exactly?

It provides rural and rookie participants with scholarships to attend NCSO: (1) Coaches' Clinic (2) Regional Tournament (3) State Tournament. Scholarships are available to ALL three divisions, with the exception of the State Tournament. Only teams qualifying for States will be considered. Applications for the upcoming season open in August 2019. 

 The launch of the project was a great success, providing many rural teams with a chance to participate in NCSO. Their stories are indicative of the power of STEM education and the need to fund project's like ours. Here are their stories:      

Weathering the Storm

Mrs. Lowry-Jones of Robeson County applied for a Regional Tournament Scholarship due to hardship, “our school is a Title I school that was drastically impacted by flooding due to hurricanes. We lost valuable time and worked diligently to make up for loss of learning opportunities in and out of the classroom.” Making up for that lost time included getting her students involved in extracurricular learning opportunities like Science Olympiad.

But barriers, mentioned above, prevented her from providing those opportunities until she applied for a Rural Participation Project scholarship, “because we were afforded the scholarship, we were able to provide transportation to and from competition, and to ensure that ALL team members were able to participate in the regional tournament.” Her story is a great example of how the Rural Participation Project helps under-served

"Because we were afforded the scholarship, we were able to provide transportation to and from competition, and to ensure that ALL team members were able to participate in the regional tournament"

communities overcome barriers to participate in Science Olympiad. Speaking on her gratitude she stated, “Thank you for helping to inspire our boys and girls to be curious about STEM, Science Olympiad, our need was great and you made a way!!! Thanks for making the impossible happen for our Union Chapel Tigers' Science Olympiad Team! Hats Off!”

RURAL PARTICIPATION PROJECT REPORT

Counties in dark green received scholarships.

Scholarship Impact

"We are a small, rural school in a low income area with nearly 70% of our student population eligible for free and reduced school lunches. Without this scholarship, many of the students who had earned a bid to the state competition would have been forced to give up their field trip due to the financial burden it created for their family."

"I was a first year coach and had no idea what I was doing. We went to regionals and walked away with almost 30 medals!"

"We would have not been able to participate if we had not received the scholarship. We had never been to the event in the past. It was a great event for the students to see other students competing, to feel see what they need to do next time, and to plan for improvement for next year."