Kentucky Science Center Proposal to Advance Science Literacy in Southern Indiana

Executive Summary

The Kentucky Science is pleased to present for consideration a request for support in the amount of $114,000 from Impact 100 Southern Indiana to expand science-based activities and enrichment to families and school-age children in Clark, Floyd and Harrison counties. This investment will allow for an expansion of our Community Access Membership program which provides a family membership to households receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) or Women Infants Children (WIC); offer middle and high school students the opportunity to participate in our innovative Pulse of Surgery program which allows students to view in real-time an open heart surgery; and supports our Youth Science Summit in Southern Indiana which allows students to hear directly from STEAM professionals and learn about the various careers that are available to them in science related fields. 

Statement of Need

Kentucky Science Center is committed to inspiring the next generation of scientists and scientific-minded individuals through our programs, exhibits, events, and activities.  According to recent data from the National Science Foundation, only 35% of 8th grade students performed at or above the proficient level on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) science assessments. That number drops to 22% by the 12th grade. Though Indiana students score slightly better than the national averages according to 2019 data from the Nation’s Report Card, there is still great progress to be made in order to ensure a bright future filled with innovative science and young adults who have been given tools to be workforce ready.

Project Goals

Expand inquiry-based science activities in Southern Indiana with a holistic approach that will reach families and middle and high school students. 

Support workforce development by providing students the opportunity to learn first-hand of the variety of STEAM related careers available to them  

Expand and enhance partnerships within Clark, Floyd, and Harrison Counties

Program Elements

As an educational institution, Kentucky Science Center (KSC) recognizes our role within the community to make science education and literacy accessible to all. Funds will be used to support Kentucky Science Center’s new Community Access Membership (CAM) initiative which will underwrite the cost of a family membership. The Community Access Membership was developed to provide family memberships to recipients of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Women Infants and Children (WIC) benefits at no cost to the applicant.

We have allocated $74,000 to support CAM for 2 years. This level of funding would support 740 memberships to families. As an institution we are focused on removing financial barriers to Kentucky Science Center. We never want cost to prevent a family from being able to visit 

Pulse of Surgery

Pulse of Surgery is a one-of-a-kind experience that gives participants an up-close and personal understanding of the scope of careers in medicine, medical technology, and human physiology. Viewers have the chance to ask questions of the OR team during the procedure. 

Pulse of Surgery designed to boost interest in medical careers and promote healthy lifestyles among middle and high school students. Students have a bird’s eye view of each intricate detail of a real-time heart surgery streamed through a live connection between the operation room and Kentucky Science Center. 

This request allocates $10,000 per year for our Pulse of Surgery program this would allow 40 middle and high school classes to participate in the program potentially impacting 1200 students over a two-year period and exposing them to a wide array of careers in the medical field.

Youth Science Summit – Southern Indiana 

From after-school clubs and science celebrations to mentor programs with hands-on activities with STEAM professionals in our Youth Science Summits, KSC knows how important it is for students to be able to meet and interact with STEAM professionals from their region who share advice and personal insight into their education, training, and careers. 

When students attend a Youth Science Summit, they hear first-hand from professionals from organizations ranging from UofL Anthropology, Hanover Engineering, C&I Engineering and Cardiovascular Innovation Institute at UofL.  Funds from Impact 100 SI would underwrite the cost of attendance for Indiana middle and high school students to attend as well as provide funding to bring STEAM professionals to the event either in-person or virtually.  

KSC plans to allocate $10,000 annually to support Youth Science Summits in Southern Indiana. In the last year we have transitioned to a virtually model for this event which has been very success. We do plan to return to in-person in 2022 but we have the flexibility to offer this as both an in-person or virtual event.

About the Kentucky Science Center 

Kentucky Science Center features interactive exhibits and engaging programs for children, families, and adults. Kentucky Science Center is committed to growing a scientifically literate community that investigates, questions, and challenges. In Fiscal Year 2021, in the midst of the global pandemic, we had impact in 90% of Kentucky Counties and 83% of Indiana Counties! Prior to Covid Kentucky Science Center had impact in 100% of Kentucky counties and 93% of Indiana counties.  

Science Matters because we make it personal, fun, participatory, and relevant. We are ambassadors of scientific values.