Murfreesboro's own Discovery Center recently got a ﬁnancial boost with a little help from public power. As part of the Science Alliance of Tennessee, the museum was awarded $10,000 by the Tennessee Valley Authority in an effort to promote science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education.
"TVA is a public power entity, and the public power model is focused on giving back to our communities and our customers, serving them alongside our local power companies like Murfreesboro Electric," said Jimmy Allen, TVA's general manager for customer delivery in the Middle Tennessee region. "So we see this as a partnership with MED to serve the communities in the valley like Murfreesboro."
Discovery Center CEO Tara MacDougall said the TVA money will go toward establishing a new Geeking Out Space (GOS), which will give teens an informal, social and interactive place to engage with user-generated technology and will guide their own learning experience based on their interests. The venue will also be used for community Teen STEM Cafes.
"These events are a free, fun way for Youth Council members, their peers, local scientists, engineers and investors to exchange ideas and even collaborate," MacDougall said.
Chartered in 1986 as the Children's Museum Corporation of Rutherford County, the Discovery Center is dedicated to creating hands-on educational opportunities for the community. The museum is located adjacent to 20 acres of wetlands.
MED General Manager Steve Sax believes the center offers local kids and families unique opportunities for learning and exploration. "Having a place like the Discovery Center where kids can learn about science in a fun and informal way is crucial to preparing our community for increasingly competitive STEM fields," he said. "MED is proud to be able to support them in their mission to better educate our students for the future."
MacDougall also hopes the center's collaboration with MED will provide new opportunities for students to see science in action. "Our partnership with MED is a new opportunity to introduce our guests to the wonder and power of electricity and how engineering and technology improve lives," she said. "It may even connect curiosity to future careers!"