Del Valle High School science teacher Ramon Benavides, a , was one of 100 middle- and high-school science educators in the U.S. to receive a STEM research kit worth about $1,000 to help students conduct scientific research outside the classroom from the Society for Science and the Public.
This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the STEM Research Grants program was adapted to provide teachers the necessary tools for effective at-home learning.
In order to help educators adjust to their continually shifting environment and to maximize the money being spent, the Society purchased resources in bulk and developed multiple kits for educators to choose from.
“In the last 10 months, STEM teachers have had to completely overhaul learning. It has been particularly difficult to move hands-on research and project-based learning, such as science labs, to a virtual environment without the appropriate equipment and materials,” said Maya Ajmera, President and CEO of the Society for Science & the Public and Publisher of Science News.
“By providing teachers and students with STEM research kits and equipment, we hope to accelerate STEM learning and spark a curiosity in science and engineering topics, despite current circumstances,” Ajmera said.
Benavides, who also serves as an adjunct professor at El Paso Community College, is the son of migrant farmworkers who initially dropped out of school to help support their families, but later became educators. He followed in his parents’ footsteps and became an educator himself, working at Ysleta ISD for 10 years.
Benavides is in the process of earning a doctorate in Educational Leadership at Texas Tech University and hopes his research on STEM opportunities among socioeconomically disadvantaged students can spark a change – not just among students, but teachers, educational leaders, and policymakers.