Cindy Bither
Administrative Assistant
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Lexington, VA 24450

VMI Joins Statewide Virginia STEAM Initiative

LEXINGTON, Va., Nov. 26, 2012 – Virginia Military Institute and the Virginia Science Technology Engineering and Applied Mathematics (STEAM) Academy are forming a strategic partnership to address critical education needs in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

VMI is joining with three other state colleges and universities in a partnership with the Virginia STEAM Academy and in the proposed statewide initiative to establish a public residential academy with an eventual enrollment of approximately 1,000 students in grades 9 through 12, as well as a summer residential academy for highly able students in grades 6 through 8. Other institutions that have signed agreements are Virginia Tech, Old Dominion University, and Norfolk State University.

Academy leaders have identified Fort Monroe in Hampton, Va., as a potential location for the school.

“VMI and Virginia STEAM are committed to an enduring and fruitful partnership,” said Academy co-founders Judy Stewart and M. Caroline Martin. “Already we have benefited from participating in VMI’s STEM Conference series and receiving input from a professor of mathematics to the STEAM Academy student learning standards. We could not purchase this level of collaboration and dedicated human capital expertise. It is a valued gift.”

Leaders at the Institute and Academy recently signed a memorandum of understanding calling for VMI’s faculty to assist in grant writing and in developing curriculum for the proposed academy, which is scheduled to open in 2014.

“We're excited about the collaboration of the Applied Mathematics program at VMI and the Virginia STEAM Academy,” said Col. Troy Siemers, head of VMI’s Department of Applied Mathematics and Computer Science.

“Many political and educational leaders in our state and nationally worry about the implications of declining abilities among students to master subjects in the sciences, technology, engineering, and applied mathematics,” he said. “This partnership gives VMI the opportunity to contribute to a demanding curriculum at the Virginia STEAM Academy, to help mentor students through summer projects involving real-world scenarios, and to nurture talented students for the academic rigors they will face in college in these important fields.”

The inaugural summer camp for middle school students is set for the summer of 2013. The residential academy for high school students is scheduled to receive its first freshman class in 2014.