On June 13, 2017, Regional Coordinator of Magnolia Midlands GYSTC Erin Youmans presented the MMGSYTC Honey Bee Grant Project at the Georgia Power Environmental Laboratory in Smyrna. Kenny Griffin, Board Chair of MMGYSTC and local office manager for Swainsboro and Metter, and Dr. Jimmy Wedincamp, Dean of the School of Mathematics and Natural Sciences at East Georgia State College, also joined Youmans in her presentation.
This is year two of the grant and will allow the honey bee project to continue for another year. As a part of this project, the EGSC’s Bobcat Apiary will be featured as part of MMGYSTC’s Family Nights around the area. Also, as part of this grant, a honey bee website featuring information for both teachers and students will be launched, as well as the purchase of more educational materials and several Lego Mindstorms EV3’s for the MMGYSTC Center at EGSC.
Youmans presented her vision of addressing a real world problem—the loss of the honey bees—in conjunction with helping students see a connection with STEM related fields. She shared her Pollinator Garden Challenge that was done with area middle school students and other ongoing honey bee projects. After presenting, Youmans was awarded first place and an additional $3,000 for her project for the second year.
The innovative grant project exhibits innovative solutions to address real world problems in Georgia. These projects are designed to engage and empower students to solve problems in their communities while being introduced to STEM-related careers. Magnolia Midlands GYSTC is part of the non-profit organization GYSTC, Inc. founded in 1989. The mission of GYSTC, Inc. is to increase interest and enthusiasm for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics as subjects for serious study particularly among elementary and middle school students, teachers, and parents in typically underserved areas of the state. Magnolia Midlands GYSTC is located at East Georgia State College’s Swainsboro campus.