June 10, 2021
Virginia Commonwealth University and Universidad El Bosque in Bogotá, Colombia, are one of 10 university teams announced as the newest grant recipients in the 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund competition. The goal of the fund is to create partnerships between universities to provide students with access to new exchange and training programs to be better prepared for today’s workforce.
VCU’s Global Education Office and School of Education will work with its international partner university to increase collaboration, innovation and information sharing in science, technology, engineering and math education for Colombian and U.S. students.
“This project provides an opportunity for VCU to build a partnership with Universidad El Bosque in Colombia and to help future teachers learn from each other through the innovative curriculum and intercultural exchange,” said Jill Blondin, Ph.D., executive director of the Global Education Office.
The program will consist of an online course and in-person instruction on STEM education and language support. A total of 12 students, six from each university, will be selected to participate in the program.
“Research has consistently shown the relationship between children’s early years’ experience in STEM learning and their later STEM achievements and overall school success, particularly for children from underrepresented minority groups with limited resources,” said Yaoying Xu, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Counseling and Special Education in the VCU School of Education. “Culturally responsive STEM education needs to be incorporated into pre-service teacher education programs as culturally relevant contexts to promote meaningful STEM knowledge and skills for the next generation of learners.”
The 100K Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund is a public-private collaboration among the U.S. Department of State, Partners of the Americas, companies, foundations and academic networks to support innovative partnerships and training programs between the United States and the rest of the Western Hemisphere.
This is VCU’s fifth grant awarded by the 100K Innovation Fund.
“This 100K Innovation Fund grant opportunity received the highest number of proposals in a single-country competition in the history of the initiative, a clear example of the existing close relationship between the United States and Colombia,” said Philip S. Goldberg, U.S. ambassador to Colombia.
“This call is an example of our conviction that education is the most important powerhouse of development, and that the improvement of conditions and capacities in the higher-education system guarantees a future in which young people, through knowledge, learning, exchange and experiences, constitute agents of change in society, in our country and in the Americas as a whole,” said Manuel Acevedo Jaramillo, president of the Colombian Institute of Educational Loans and Studies Abroad.
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