CIESE awarded three-year, $1.2 million National Science Foundation ITEST grant

Innovative underwater robotics projects funded for New Jersey K-12 classrooms

HOBOKEN, N.J. -- The Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education (CIESE) at Stevens Institute of Technology has been awarded a three-year, $1.2 million Information Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST) grant from the National Science Foundation, to implement pre-engineering and information-technology experiences in courses and summer programs with teachers and students from schools throughout New Jersey.

The BUILD IT program utilizes LEGO robotics and programming in an underwater environment as the vehicle to introduce engineering design and problem solving and programming. An interdisciplinary project team, including Principal Investigator and CIESE Director Beth McGrath, Co-Principal Investigators Liesl Hotaling and Victor Lawrence, and Research Associate Professor Rustam Stolkin, will lead the Stevens BUILD IT project.

"The NSF ITEST program is designed to increase student interest and proficiency in IT and to guide more students into advanced IT study and careers," said McGrath. "BUILD IT will extend the work done through previous underwater robotics projects with undergraduates and high school students at Stevens to impact significantly the pool and capabilities of students in New Jersey who will go on to study IT-related fields and pursue careers in a variety of IT-based industries."

The project will impact 72 teachers and 2,625 students from 36 diverse middle and high schools throughout New Jersey with intensive, three-week, in-class IT experiences in the design, construction, and programming of underwater robotic vehicles.

Since 1988, CIESE programs and activities have reached more than 20,000 educators worldwide through grants and contracts totaling more than $25 million. CIESE has received accolades from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the National Science Teachers Association, and others. CIESE's projects were selected as one of only six technology demonstrations in the category "Improving Instruction to Meet High Standards," at the 2001 National Education Summit.

In 1993, CIESE received one of the nation's first grants ($2.9 million from the National Science Foundation Networking Infrastructure in Education Program) to explore Internet use in K-12 science education. This program reached approximately 3,000 teachers from nearly 700 schools in New Jersey. With support from Verizon Communications, CIESE is training 2,000 teachers throughout New Jersey in elementary, middle, and high school engineering and technology education curricula.


For more about CIESE, please visit

About Stevens Institute of Technology

Established in 1870, Stevens offers baccalaureate, masters and doctoral degrees in engineering, science, computer science, management and technology management, as well as a baccalaureate in the humanities and liberal arts, and in business and technology. The university has enrollments of approximately 1,780 undergraduates and 2,700 graduate students, and a current enrollment of 2,250 online-learning students worldwide. Additional information may be obtained from its web page at For the latest news about Stevens, please visit

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 30 Apr 2016
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