TVA partnership awards $1 million in STEM grants to local schools

Published 1:51 pm Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

KNOXVILLE ― The Tennessee Valley Authority, in partnership with Bicentennial Volunteers Inc., a TVA retiree organization, is awarding $1 million in grants to educators in public schools to develop science, technology, engineering, and math education projects across the Tennessee Valley.

“TVA is focused on supporting clean-energy technologies and STEM education that helps today’s students develop the skills needed to work in these careers,” said Jeannette Mills, TVA executive vice president and chief external relations officer. “Innovation is the key to success, and it’s inspiring to contribute to the next generation’s visionaries.”

The competitive STEM classroom grant program is operated in partnership with the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network managed by the Battelle organization. The program received 458 grant applications this year, and 238 were selected for funding. This year, the program will support about 136,000 students across seven states with hands-on STEM activities.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“The Tennessee STEM Innovation Network is honored to partner with TVA in this exciting grant program to further STEM education endeavors across the state,” said Gretchen Brown, operations director. “This opportunity can make the difference for educators and students as they incorporate 21st-century skills and real-world problem-solving. It is a privilege to work with this partnership year after year and continue to serve the incredible educators of the Tennessee Valley.”

Grants are awarded in urban and rural areas to meet the diverse needs of local communities. For example, Cold Springs Elementary, in Bremen, Ala., served by Cullman Electric Cooperative, will create an outdoor classroom for enhanced learning. The outdoor learning experience will include raised bed gardens, animal habitats, water filtration systems, and weather stations that will provide students with hands-on environmental science experiences.

In Elkton, Ky., served by Pennyrile RECC, Todd County Central High School will expand its Unmanned Aviation Systems curriculum by purchasing new drones and accessories. Students will learn about aviation, build flight plans, and take the FAA Part-107 exam to earn a drone pilot license.

In Chattanooga, Tennessee, Normal Park Museum Magnet School, served by EPB, will use grant funding to buy materials for students to construct sustainable building models. In partnership with GreenSpaces Chattanooga, students will be tasked with taking an undeveloped plot of land and designing a building that will function as a part of a sustainable city. Throughout the project, students will better understand the interconnectedness between science and math and learn about engineering and architecture careers.

Grants up to $5,000 were awarded in a competitive process, and preference was given to grant applications that explored TVA’s primary areas of focus: environment, energy, economic development, and community problem-solving. Any school that receives their power from a local power company served by TVA was eligible to apply.

Since 2018, TVA/BVI has provided nearly $5 million in STEM grants supporting nearly 600,000 students.

“Supporting education and ensuring students have a solid STEM background is critical to our children’s future no matter what career path they take,” said TVA Public and Community Engagement Program Manager Trina Gallman. “I am proud of the partnerships we have built to help these educators inspire their students through the STEM activities this program will provide.”

A full list of the grant recipients can be found at

The Tennessee Valley Authority is a corporate agency of the United States that provides electricity for business customers and local power companies serving nearly 10 million people in parts of seven southeastern states. TVA receives no taxpayer funding, deriving virtually all of its revenues from sales of electricity. In addition to operating and investing its revenues in its electric system, TVA provides flood control, navigation and land management for the Tennessee River system and assists local power companies and state and local governments with economic development and job creation.