ORONO, Maine — The National Science foundation has awarded the University of Maine a nearly $2 million grant to promote science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education in rural Maine schools, Maine’s Congressional delegation announced Friday.

“The grant will support 22 fellowships for recent STEM graduates or current STEM professionals to further their knowledge base and become certified STEM teachers in rural, high-need Maine schools,” U.S. Sens. Angus King and Susan Collins said in a joint statement.

The funding supports the Maine Center for Research in STEM Education (RiSE Center), a coalition of teachers, university staff and students who research best practices for teaching and learning in STEM disciplines. The center works with teachers across the state to bring these best practices into their classrooms.

The fellows will receive two years of mentoring and professional development before transitioning into STEM leadership development.

“This grant will help empower our next generation of STEM educators as they work to equip rural Maine students with the skills they need to succeed in the 21st Century,” Collins and King said.

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