PPL’s Empowering Educators grants are designed to support and encourage teachers to provide hands-on learning experiences in the areas of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).

Teachers Win Big for STEM Education

PPL Foundation awards 25 grants annually to empower educators who spark their students’ imaginations.

The PPL Empowering Educators program is designed to help K-12 teachers provide hands-on learning opportunities to enhance the classroom experience and spark students’ interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

Twenty-five teachers in schools in eastern and central Pennsylvania were selected to receive $1,000 each as recipients of 2017 Empowering Educators grants from PPL Foundation.


The grant application deadline for the 2018-19 school year has passed.
Grant winners will be announced November 1.

2017-2018 Winners

Learn more about the types of grants we support by getting to know our most recent award recipients.

  • Jessica Mauro, Alburtis Elementary School, Alburtis, PA: For supplies to develop inquiry-based projects that create future problem solvers.
  • Kimberly Jacovelli, B.F. Morey Elementary, Stroudsburg, PA: For materials for the school’s MakerSpace, which is used by K-4 students.
  • Lori Cirucci, Broughal Middle School, Bethlehem, PA: For supplies needed for students to design and build roller coasters, lessons that incorporate science concepts, technology, engineering and math.
  • Lindsay Garrett, Columbia High School, Columbia, PA: For mBot robots that will introduce students to robotics and programming.
  • Kathleen Alford, Crossroads Middle School, Lewisberry, PA: For STEM Discovery Boxes to get students excited about science and give them a starting point to continue to research on their own.
  • Jeanne Ladner, Danville Middle School, Danville, PA – For a 3D printer that will teach students about AutoCad and the engineering design process.
  • Cathy Tombasco, Drums Elementary Middle School, Drums, PA: For robotics education kits to introduce students to coding.
  • Lynette Miller, Fermanagh-Mifflintown Elementary, Mifflintown, PA: For “Mirror, Mirror on the Wall; STEM Education is Fun for All!,” which introduces first graders to STEM subjects through the familiar stories in fairy tales.
  • Mark Shellaway, Freemansburg Elementary, Bethlehem, PA: To expand the school’s MakerSpace and create an after-school STEM program.
  • Sara Eastman, Governor Mifflin Intermediate School, Shillington, PA: For a student-led project to transform the school’s patio into an outdoor classroom using the engineering design process.
  • Cait Clark and Yvonne Lessard, Hershey Early Childhood Center, Hershey, PA: To create STEM Bins that can be used as teacher directed lessons or self-directed exploration.
  • Janelle Bingaman, Highland Elementary School, Camp Hill, PA: For Dash and Dot coding robots that teach students computer programming skills.
  • Kayla Hack, Honesdale High School, Honesdale, PA: For “What came first, the chicken or the egg?,” a cross-curricular and cross-grade level life cycle science program.
  • Ken Ehrmann, M.M. Seylar Elementary School, Perkasie, PA: For a 3D printer and Sphero robot that will teach students communication, collaboration, creativity and critical thinking.
  • Christine Harman, Marticville Middle School, Pequea, PA: For building sets that provide hands-on, engaging opportunities for students in designing and building machines to aide in understanding of topics such as force, energy and simple machines.
  • Colleen Beavers, NativityMiguel School of Scranton, Scranton, PA: For “Exploring Local Fresh Water Ecosystems,” in which students will use the scientific method to study the health of local fresh water ecosystems and engage in a STEM design project intended to improve the quality of a local fresh water habitat.
  • Shane Corrigan, Our Lady of Lourdes Regional, Coal Township, PA: For the Rocketry Club, which introduces students to the design and construction of original model rockets.
  • Sean Flueso, Parkland High School, Allentown, PA: For an interactive project that teaches students about electrical engineering.
  • Heather Aulisio, Pocono Mountain East High School, Swiftwater, PA: For a school-wide STEM fair for high school students.
  • Matthew Wagoner, Red Land High School, Lewisberry, PA: To create a STEM lab where students can apply classroom theory to practical use.
  • Samantha McKenna, Saint Columba School, Bloomsburg, PA: To set up a mobile STEM station with activity kits, math tools and materials for use by all students.
  • Brent Kelchner, Southern Columbia Area Middle School, Catawissa, PA: For “Sustainable (Net-Zero Energy) Building Design Project” that will engage students in a real-world scenario where they work as a design team to design sustainable buildings.
  • Jeff Bonsall, Strayer Middle School, Quakertown, PA: For the “Strayer Makers,” a design and engineering club for 7th and 8th grade students.
  • Susan Strada, Wallenpaupack Area South Elementary, Hawley, PA: To launch a MakerSpace with a variety of STEM activities and materials for students in grades 3-5.
  • Theresa Bartholomew, Warrior Run High School, Turbotville, PA: To bring computer science opportunities to our students through discovery and exploration.
  • Career Profile

    Heather Aulisio - Pocono Mountain East High School

    Girls sitting with their colorful poster boards at the STEM fair

    Students showcase stem skills at school-wide fair

    Every teacher probably dreams of having an extra eye to keep watch over her students.

    So it’s no surprise that among the 50 science and technology projects students created for Pocono Mountain East High School’s first STEM Fair, the 3D animatronic working eye was Heather Aulisio’s favorite.

    Read Full Story

  • Career Profile

    Lori Cirucci - Broughal Middle School

    Close of of colorful paper rollercoaster, created by students at Broughal Middle School

    Roller coaster challenge thrills eighth-graders

    The marble zigs and zags, rolling down multiple levels, before coming to a rest on the cardboard track of the “roller coaster” designed by a team of  eighth-graders in Broughal Middle School in Bethlehem.

    While it may seem like fun and games, designing the coaster also served as a hands-on lesson on kinetic energy for nearly 190 students.

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  • Career Profile

    Lynette Miller - Fermanagh-Mifflintown Elementary School

    Dark haired elementary school teacher in red dress with two of her students at desk

    Students learn happily ever after with fairy-tale stem lessons

    The Three Little Pigs, the Three Billy Goats Gruff and Rapunzel aren’t just familiar figures from fairy tales. They’re helping first-graders learn about science and math, too.

    Lynette Miller, a teacher at Fermanagh-Mifflintown Elementary School in Juniata County, is using fairy tale-themed kits that teach basic science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) concepts. Each kit features a problem children have to solve, and teaches them about the design process, creativity, and cause and effect.

    Read Full Story


If you have a project in mind or need more information about PPL’s grants program, please get in touch by email.

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