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Frontier donates to Marshall

Donation
Feb. 04, 2011 @ 11:04 PM

HUNTINGTON -- The June Harless Center for Rural Educational Research and Development received a $200,000 donation Friday from Frontier Communications to help advance a virtual S.T.E.M. Academy.

S.T.E.M., which stands for science, technology, engineering and math, is the main focus of the June Harless Center. Director Stan Maynard said the money will help address key problems facing West Virginia in providing virtual learning communities to teachers and students and also emphasize S.T.E.M. fields from Pre-K through 12th grade.

"We want to set a foundation for a virtual S.T.E.M. Academy," said Maynard, who helped incorporate science, technology, engineering and math into the Early Education Center for 3- and 4-year-olds in Corbly Hall.

Maynard, the former associate dean of the College of Education and Human Services, stepped down last year to focus his attention on the Harless Center and the Developmental Model School, which is housed in Kellogg Elementary and Vinson Middle School in West Huntington. He also has pursued funding through various foundations to assist in the opening of an elementary, middle and high school focused on a S.T.E.M. education on Marshall's campus.

This gift from Frontier, Maynard said, is a springboard to reaching that goal.

"It's the first step in developing an educational incubator at Marshall University," he said. "We want to be seen as the outreach vehicle for Marshall in those S.T.E.M. fields."

He mentioned particularly the rural counties that don't have experts in the S.T.E.M. fields down the street -- the way the Tri-State does through higher education and industry. These funds, he said, can provide the technology to bring the professional and the schools together.

"Marshall can't just be a provider of courses," he said. "It has to be a provider of solutions."

Dennis Bloss, the area general manager for Frontier, said the telecommunications provider has made a commitment to connect the far reaches of West Virginia to the Internet. But just as important is making sure there is an educational component to that.

"The June Harless Center and Marshall University have a clear and bold mission to provide West Virginia's young people with the skills they will need to compete globally in an economically competitive world," Bloss stated in a news release. "An academy that uses technology to support the teaching of science, math and other critical subjects is the right program at the right place at the right time.

"We're taking high speed Internet into rural areas it's never been before," Bloss added during the check presentation at Marshall University Foundation Hall, Home of the Erickson Alumni Center. "At Frontier, we firmly believe we'll be able to change the way we educate our children.

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