The NCSU Libraries has been awarded a $35,000 grant from The Pentair Foundation to support STEM-related programming and instruction for underrepresented groups at NC State. The grant helps establish a new “Pentair Fellows” program through which graduate students will develop and teach free workshops on STEM tools and technologies, lowering NC State students’ barriers of entry into STEM fields. The grant also sponsors the Libraries’ successful Making Space series of public talks and workshops advocating for women in STEM fields.
“I am privileged to work for a company that recognizes the importance of investing in institutions like NC State and the NCSU Libraries, in particular,” says Brian Boothe, engineering manager for Pentair Aquatic Systems and Friends of the Library Board President. “Pentair has had a physical presence on Centennial Campus since 2011 and has been engaged with the University through numerous research affiliations and student projects since 2008. Knowing that a strong library system is the cornerstone of any world class research institution, it’s no surprise that Pentair’s interest in the long-term growth of NC State is a leading priority.”
The Pentair Foundation grant devotes $20,000 to create the "Pentair Fellows" program. Graduate student fellows at the Libraries will develop a curriculum for workshops they will teach on STEM tools and technologies. Free to NC State students, these Libraries workshops seek to address knowledge and skills gaps that often deter student from pursuing STEM fields. The workshops will cover both basic tech and tools, such as Excel and project management, and emergent ones like Python, Tableau, 3D printing and virtual/augmented reality. The Fellows will also create parallel online tutorials for students to access remotely when studying abroad, working on internships in the field, or otherwise unable to attend in person.
The grant will support NC State’s land grant mission by serving students from all backgrounds. “Particular focus will be given to creating free workshops where students will be exposed to design, programming, analytics and immersive technologies,” Boothe notes. “Our intention is to make these technologies accessible to a broad audience, encouraging students from all gender and socio-economic backgrounds to pursue STEM fields of study.”
The grant also includes $15,000 to sponsor the Libraries’ Making Space series, which most recently hosted GitHub’s February Keeney in mid-November. The series is currently in its second year. Pentair’s funding will support series costs, as well as transportation and materials costs for high school students to attend workshops during the summer months. The mission of Making Space is to raise awareness among women about access to tools and technology, lower barriers of entry for first-time users of makerspaces and serve as networking opportunities for women in the NC State community.
"The Libraries is excited about the unique support that The Pentair Foundation is giving to NC State students through this generous grant,” says David Woodbury, Associate Head of Learning Spaces & Services at the Libraries. “Pentair's commitment to innovative instruction and programming lowers the bar to access the technologies and spaces that our students need going forward. They're a perfect partner for the NCSU Libraries."
About Pentair plc and The Pentair Foundation
Pentair plc (www.pentair.com) delivers industry-leading products, services and solutions for its customers’ diverse needs in water and other fluids, thermal management and equipment protection. A diversified global manufacturer, Pentair employs approximately 28,000 people worldwide and aims to improve the quality of life of people around the world by helping its customers produce more food, energy, and efficiencies from each drop of water, while protecting people and the environment.
Established in 1998, the Pentair Foundation has donated over $55 million to philanthropic causes, strengthening the communities in which it operates, and providing safe, clean water to 3 million people around the world. The Pentair Foundation focuses its philanthropic efforts to help provide greater access to clean, safe water and food, invest in sustainable agriculture to increase food production, promote STEM education, and support the communities where Pentair employees live and work.