Building STEAM in 2017

PEP Recognizes Winning GCS Teacher-Submitted Projects by Awarding Inaugural Building STEAM Grant

Greenville, S.C. – August 15, 2017 – Public Education Partners (PEP) awarded $10,000 to fund the Building STEAM grant for Greenville County Schools teachers. This was announced at Greenville Senior High.

Presentation of Big Check
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“PEP established the Building STEAM grants to help teachers bring innovation to life in the classroom,” said Dr. Ansel Sanders, PEP’s President and CEO. “The projects this grant will fund integrate science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics, making learning engaging and relevant. Knowing that students today will be competing for the jobs of tomorrow, some of which do not yet exist, we must equip our teachers with the means to prepare students for this unknown.”

The five winning, teacher-submitted projects were each awarded $2,000, and incorporate aspects of science, technology, engineering, arts and/or mathematics (STEAM). These teachers represent elementary, middle and high schools from across Greenville County. The winning submissions are:

  • “Modeling-Based Physics” by Joshua Carroll: 11th and 12th grade Physics and Chemistry, Greenville Senior High, Principal Jason Warren
  • “A Community of Makers” by Malinda Edmonston & Carey Yarem: Media & Computer Lab Specialists, Pelham Road Elementary, Principal Kristy Qualls
  • “Gaining Steam with Goldberg Gadgets” by Pompey Hammontree: 3rd-5th grade Gifted and Talented, Blythe Academy, Principal Sandra Griffin
  • “Build a Zoo Habitat and Toy Factory Enrichment” by Marie Lemon: 6th grade Science, Greenville Early College, Principal Marjon Ford
  • “Igniting Tiny Innovators for S.T.E.A.M.” by Tory Pennington: 1st grade, Taylors Elementary, Principal Rhonda Rhodes

After getting pre-approval from their respective principals, applicants submitted their ideas to PEP’s grant committee, a group comprised of educators and business and community leaders. This committee judged the submissions based on description, goals and implementation, budget, post-project reflection, and the projects’ potential reception by the community at large.

According to Dr. John Kaup, the head of the grant committee and the chair-elect of PEP’s Board of Directors, narrowing down the winners was extremely difficult.

“(PEP’s grant committee) met several times to determine these winners,” said Kaup. “We reviewed dozens of submissions from K-12 teachers in a variety of content areas, all of which were very deserving. It really speaks to the high quality of, and innovative ideas present in Greenville County Schools.”

Now that the inaugural year of the grant selection is completed, PEP is already looking to what the Building STEAM grant’s second year may bring.

“Once word begins to spread about this grant, and other teachers see the program in action, I expect to see even more submissions next year,” said Kaup. “And as educators and the community become more aware of the programs PEP offers, I hope to see the number of grants increase to reward even more innovative teachers and ultimately impact even more students.”

For more information on Building STEAM and other PEP initiatives, or to get involved, please call 864-233-4137, visit, or find us on social media @pepgc.


About Public Education Partners

Public Education Partners (PEP) collaborates with community partners to introduce innovative programming in schools and deepen connections between schools and the community in an effort to strengthen public education and student achievement in Greenville, SC. PEP is Greenville’s only independent non-profit solely dedicated to investing in and improving public education.

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