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Navarro Research and Engineering Inc., Announces Community Commitment Grant Award Winners

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Third year of grant program provides almost 16K to five area schools

Navarro Research and Engineering Inc., Environmental Program Services contractor to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Environmental Management (EM), announced five Nevada applicants have been awarded classroom funding through the company’s Community Commitment Grant Program. The grant program, in its third year, was created to support educational activities related to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) in communities near the Nevada National Security Sites (NNSS).

Navarro received a record number of applications this year. Of the grants selected, four of the five will be fully funded for the requested amounts. In total, Navarro will award nearly $16,000 this year for the advancement of STEM learning throughout Nevada. This brings the total investment since the inception of this grant to just over $37K.

“We continue to grow our community grant program each year,” said Dr. Susana Navarro, President, CEO, and founder of Navarro. “As the owner of a small business focused on the STEM field, I know the importance of a strong STEM education. When visiting last year’s grant recipient schools, I came away more committed than ever to see this grant match the excitement, passion, and growth these children shared in their classrooms.”

Robert Boehlecke, Program Manager for the DOE EM Nevada Program, noted Navarro’s support for educating the next generation of technical experts. “One of the priorities of our Program is community outreach. We see this grant program and its impact here in Nevada classrooms as vital in that effort.”

The schools receiving funding for the 2024 calendar year are Tonopah Middle School in Tonopah, New Horizons Academy, Walter Bracken STEAM Academy, and Montessori Visions Academy in Las Vegas, and Lake Mead Christian Academy in Henderson.

This year’s grant funding will support a variety of STEM initiatives. Tonopah will use the grant to establish a dynamic STEM makerspace that will serve as a hands-on learning area where students can explore and experiment with STEM resources. It will contain 3D printers, robots, and other equipment.

“We are very grateful to Navarro,” said Tonopah teacher Jessica Blackburn. “Being in a rural area, access to advanced STEM resources is often limited for our students. This is a crucial opportunity to provide them the tools to learn, flourish, and tap into their unlimited potential.”

Walter Bracken STEAM Academy will use its grant to purchase Bee Bots, which is an interactive technology that will integrate with literacy skills. “The use of technology has a tremendous impact on student achievement. Students learn to write better, express themselves more clearly, and understand material with faster recall.” said Kristin Erickson, Walter Bracken magnet coordinator. “Utilizing advanced technologies is a motivator for students, as it engages students and fosters creativity and critical thinking. “At Walter Bracken STEAM Academy, kindergarten through fifth grade students who are interested in science, technology, engineering, and math come from varied backgrounds. Staff operate under the firm belief that all students should be afforded a quality education and that all students can achieve. The Bee Bot technology will be a wide-reaching enhancement to the educational experience of our students that we can use year after year.”

New Horizons Academy will utilize the grant to expand their robotics program and allow the class to be lengthened from one to two semesters. New Horizons Academy is a K-12, private, non-profit school, celebrating 50 years in the community this year. New Horizons strives to provide hands-on learning opportunities for its diverse student body to help support and accentuate student learning in STEM.  In this light, New Horizons Academy is proud to be a recipient of the Navarro STEM Grant.  “Some of our students with differing and unique learning needs thrive in the STEM world and are truly able to find levels of success in our Robotics program that they do not always find in the traditional academic world.  We could not be happier for our students to have the financial support of the Navarro STEM Grant,” said New Horizons Academy Principal, Kirsten Lopez.

Montessori Visions Academy will use its funding to support the purchase of Cubelets for grades 1-3. The introductory robotics curriculum is tailored for younger children. The school is excited to have them engage with these materials to help support their STEAM education. As Dr. Montessori said, “The hand is the instrument of intelligence. The child needs to manipulate objects and to gain experience by touching and handling.”  (The 1946 London Lectures).

Lake Mead Christian Academy will apply its grant to help build a new greenhouse at the school. “This grant will give our students a hands-on opportunity to learn outside of the classroom while connecting faith, science, and sustainability in a tangible and meaningful way,” said Brooke Blakeley, Culture, People, and Performance Director at Lake Mead Christian Ministries. “This not only enhances our science curriculum but also instills a sense of environmental consciousness and appreciation for God’s creation.”

The Navarro Community Commitment Grant is open to public, private, and charter schools in the counties of Clark, Elko, Esmeralda, Lincoln, Nye, and White Pine in Nevada. For more information on the DOE EM Nevada Program, please visit: Nevada National Security Sites (NNSS) | Department of Energy.    

For more information on Navarro, please visit Navarro Research & Engineering, Inc. (