Robotics, Stem Education Get $50K Support from I&M Power

It has been a challenging year for the FIRST Robotics programming across Michigan’s Great Southwest after a glorious launch followed by curtailed events due to the pandemic, but the critical need for STEM education rolls on, and Indiana Michigan Power Company is helping achieve some of those goals with a series of g rants to schools across the region.

I&M, which is an operating company of American Electric Power (AEP), has presented grants totaling nearly $50,000 from AEP to 21 schools and organizations – including 10 in Southwest Michigan – to promote STEM education, critical to the robotics competitions.

Teachers and schools receiving the grants are located within the I&M service area or in communities with major I&M facilities.

Lesley Odom, I&M Community Affairs Manager, says, “I&M is critically aware of the need for strong STEM education programs,” and adds, “We are proud to help students and leaders of area teams as they pursue firsthand experiences in science and technology and explore career opportunities.”

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FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics grants are for teams of students who build robots to compete in local, regional and international events. Those grants range from $250 to $6,000, depending on the robotics program level. FIRST is a multi-national robotics competition that teams professionals and students to solve an engineering problem in an intense and competitive way. FIRST competitions are high-tech spectator sporting events demonstrating participants’ success in brainstorming, teamwork and meeting deadlines.

In Southwest Michigan, FIRST Robotics grants were awarded to:

  • Berrien Springs High School
  • Berrien Springs Middle School
  • Roosevelt Elementary School, Stevensville, Team 32996
  • Stewart Elementary School, Stevensville, Team 32995
  • Lakeshore High School, Stevensville, Team 4237
  • Lakeshore Middle School, Stevensville, Teams 9376 and 13527
  • Hollywood Elementary School, Stevensville, Team 34288
  • St. Joseph High School, St. Joseph, Team 3620
  • Three Rivers High School, Three Rivers, Team 5204
  • Buchanan High School, Buchanan, Team 5056

You can learn more about AEP educational grant programs at this link: