Smithville Elementary Chosen by TVA for STEM Grant

March 8, 2024
By: Dwayne Page

Smithville Elementary is one of 343 schools to be awarded a grant from the Tennessee Valley Authority, in partnership with Bicentennial Volunteers, Inc., a TVA retiree organization, to develop science, technology, engineering, and math education programs for students that will inspire interest in STEM-related fields.

Citing specific projects or programs they hope to implement, educators from across TVA’s seven-state region applied for grants of up to $5,000.

“This grant will help us offer hands-on activities and programs for students that develop skills that can help solve real-world problems,” said Beth Cantrell, the computer teacher who wrote the grant application. “We know that opportunities in STEM fields are the jobs of the future and TVA’s commitment to STEM education will allow us to begin preparing our students for those careers.”

Schools who are awarded grants must receive their power from a local power company served by TVA. Smithville Elementary is served by Smithville Electric System.

Smithville Elementary will use the grant to introduce students to a wide variety of STEM careers and provide them with opportunities to learn about these careers. This will be accomplished through the use of picture books and a vast selection of STEM learning materials, including legos, picasso tiles, real world STEM kits, architecture kits, chain reaction kits, roller coaster designer kits, and many other items. Students will interact with these materials to experiment and use critical thinking skills to create new things and develop their own ideas as they explore a variety of careers. Students will take on the roles of various careers as they problem solve and become successful at a variety of challenges. The materials will be available to every student in the school.

“TVA is committed to supporting schools and educators who are inspiring an interest in STEM education in students across the Valley, as we know our young people will design and build the energy systems of the future,” said Jeannette Mills, TVA executive vice president and chief external relations officer. “Providing resources and access to STEM education is key to inspiring innovation and we’re proud to contribute to the next generation’s visionaries.”

Since 2018, TVA and BVI have awarded nearly $6 million in STEM grants to support local education.

A full list of grant recipients, and information on how to apply for a future STEM grant can be found at

(Pictured with Ms. Beth Cantrell are Rachel Crickmar representing TVA and Richie Knowles representing Smithville Electric System.)

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