WESTFORD -- Nashoba Valley Technical High School is one of 35 Massachusetts educational facilities to receive a share of nearly $3.3 million in grants to support programs in life sciences.
Nashoba Tech received $100,000 from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, which for the third year in a row has awarded more than 30 grants worth more than $3 million.
This is the second consecutive year Nashoba Tech has received a grant. Last year, it received $96,665.
The grants are intended to boost the teaching of science, technology, engineering and mathematics -- or STEM -- throughout the state.
"Continuing to invest in STEM education in our schools will create new jobs and opportunities for the next generation of students and leaders in our economy," said Gov. Deval Patrick, who announced the grants along with the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center in December. "By partnering with the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, these investments will allow students to gain more hands-on experience in the classroom, further engaging them in STEM fields that will get them excited about future careers in our innovative industries."
Gabriella White, Nashoba Tech's academic and testing coordinator, said this year's grant will further enhance and broaden the Engineering Academy that Nashoba Tech created with last year's grant money.
"We are very excited and grateful we received this grant for the second year in a row," White said. "The instructors and students are looking forward to the increased opportunities it will provide in the STEM fields."
Nashoba Tech Superintendent Dr. Judith L. Klimkiewicz said that with the grant, the state recognizes what she and other vocational-technical administrators already know.
"The science fields are the fields that are projected to be the most needed career pathways for the 21st century," Klimkiewicz said. "They have the highest projections for future job growth."
She said that with Nashoba Tech lying in the Route 495 technological and engineering belt, it is crucial that the school continue to grow its engineering opportunities.
"Once again, we are expanding our offerings and opportunities for our students, as well as our equipment," she said.
White said Nashoba Tech's Engineering Technology program will likely add a second, more up-to-date robotic arm.
"They have a robotic arm, but this one is completely modern," she said. "Students will be able to receive national certification in the use of the robotic arm. We're also working to get an industry-size 3D printer, the one they use in industry, as well as some new laptops."
"Students will be able to take the laptops offsite to a work site," Klimkiewicz said.
The Engineering Academy at Nashoba Tech, created this school year, is a selective program to which students must apply and be accepted. Students accepted to the academy are clustered into a wing of the building, where they are also taught a specialized curriculum of Science, Math and English.
The expectation is that the academy will provide an intensive, hands-on education in several aspects of engineering, and open the doors to engineering colleges. Partnerships are being fostered with several engineering schools to develop articulation agreements.