LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 20, 2009) − An engineer for General Electric Corp. has directed a $25,000 company donation to a University of Kentucky program to help science teachers at Bryan Station High School develop innovative teaching methods.
Venkatakrishnan "Venkat" Natarajan, director of appliance research and development for GE's Consumer & Industrial Division, received the company's 2009 Edison Award, which permits recipients to choose research projects at any university for the $25,000 prize. The award stemmed from Natarajan's leadership in developing GE's "Smart-Grid" appliances. Only 10 of these prestigious awards are given by GE worldwide.
"I'm excited by the opportunities for learning that this grant will make available to you and students just like you," Natarajan told a group of Bryan Station students at a check-presentation ceremony.
The UK program that received the award is the Partnership Enhancement Project (PEP), which establishes a collaboration between UK and local teachers to enhance teaching skills and students' academic performance. The program helps teachers identify special needs and teaching approaches that can address the needs of the students they teach and partner with UK Outreach professors to address these needs.
The program is headed by John Yopp, UK's associate provost for educational partnerships, and coordinated by Barbara Shoemaker. Yopp and Shoemaker will be working with David Helms, science supervisor for Fayette County Public Schools; Gladys Peoples, principal at Bryan Station High School; and Carlos Verdecchia, chair of the high school's science department.
The PEP program grew out of the Appalachian Math and Science Partnership Program, a $24 million initiative funded in 2002 by the National Science Foundation to promote the development of enhanced teaching methods in science and math at all grade levels. The program is largely restricted to school districts in central Appalachia, but corporate partnerships and funding support permit its introduction into other districts.