Powering a Passion for STEM

A Lasting Impact

Researchers at Oregon State University in Corvallis recently announced a major breakthrough in the effort to help wildlife more safely coexist with wind power generation. Using a combination of vibration sensors and cameras, the researchers have found ways to project visual deterrents that get birds to change course when they’re coming too close to a turbine.

That’s what a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education looks like in action: Skilled professionals drawing on a lifetime of learning to solve problems and make the world better for everyone. Which is why we’re committed to helping the next generation of scientists get the training they need today to help solve a new set of challenges, tomorrow. Oregon State University, Oregon Tech and other schools help foster a passion for STEM in countless individuals – some of whom are the first in their families to earn college degrees. We’re pleased to make grants through the Pacific Power Foundation to fund programs and scholarships for first-generation college students that help turn a passion for science into a rewarding career pathway.

Of course, a love of learning doesn’t start with a college scholarship. That’s why we’re investing in STEM education at all grade levels.

In the Seaside School District grant last year, we helped purchase Kindle Fire tablets loaded with school textbooks and educational software. The tablets helped improve student learning, and they gave kids hands-on experience with open-ended science learning tools.

By helping kids explore science outside of a classroom, our partner organizations are sparking interests that will grow for years to come.

And then there’s the High Desert Museum in Bend, that offers free day-long programs for elementary students to engage in hands-on science. The exhibits – Fired Up About Oregon’s Forests, Desert Waters, and Energy and the Environment – funded in part by grants from our foundation, inspired one participating student to say: “I learned so much about energy and solar panels. You convinced me to want to be an engineer and build new stuff.”

Music to our ears.

By helping kids explore science outside of a classroom, our partner organizations are sparking interests that will grow for years to come – laying the groundwork for the next generation of scientists and engineers. As an energy company that’s dedicated to advancing the next hundred years of innovation, those highly educated professionals aren’t just a nice-to-have. They’re our future employees, the people who will help us find new ways to deliver the cleanest, most affordable and reliable energy possible.

The way we see it, that’s how investments in STEM work. Well-educated young people go on to create good, satisfying careers. They help their local economies thrive and help build strong communities. And they bring fresh thinking to big questions.

That’s a future we can all believe in.

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