Watertown Schools Received $20K in Grants from Community Foundation & Local Biotechs

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The following announcement was provided by the Watertown Community Foundation:

The Watertown Community Foundation (WCF) in collaboration with three Watertown-based life science companies, C4 Therapeutics, Enanta Pharmaceuticals, and Kymera Therapeutics has awarded $20,000 in STEM grants for students in Watertown Public Schools (WPS). This additional funding for STEM initiatives will bring WCF Education grant funding to WPS to an annual high of $55,000 for 2023-2024.

Three corporate contributors, C4 Therapeutics, Enanta Pharmaceuticals, and Kymera Therapeutics have contributed $15,000 to the WCF STEM FUND to help bring elementary and high-school students the opportunity to participate in hands-on, science-based learning that expands beyond the classroom experience and the general curriculum. This collective giving program also allows companies, leaders and employees in Watertown’s life-science ecosystem to learn about WPS and forge deeper relationships with the school STEM community. The WCF has committed an additional $5,000 to support this program.

“Watertown Public Schools have created a culture in which educators teach students core academics and encourage them to pursue careers in STEM. We do this and give them tools to steward the environment. From our green, net-zero schools to a robust Farm to School program, increasing climate education in and beyond the classroom are crucial,” said Elizabeth Kaplan, District Math/Science Coordinator, WPS. “We’re also piloting a new program, ‘Change is Simple,’ which brings climate science to life with immersive activities including building functional wind turbines, exploring ecosystems, and even transforming classrooms into ocean food chains. We hope it’s a dynamic learning experience that we can bring to all our elementary students in the future.”

“As a longstanding member of the Watertown community for more than two decades, we deeply value the efforts of the Watertown Community Foundation. We are thrilled collaborate with them to enhance the educational experiences of local students with a passion for STEM,” stated Jay R. Luly, Ph.D., President & CEO of Enanta Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on developing small molecule drugs for virology and immunology indications. “We are committed to fostering the next generation of STEM leaders, and believe it is our responsibility to support and empower students in this field. We eagerly anticipate the positive impact that the sponsored STEM initiatives will have on the education of students within the Watertown Public Schools system.”

Now in its third year, the STEM Fund builds on the WCF’s annual school-based educational grants program, with an aim of igniting curiosity and critical thinking about climate, the environment, and the world around them. These programs will engage every child from kindergarten to grade five, as well as high school biology students. Visiting programs from the Discovery Museum of Acton will bring programs on Forces and Sound to Kindergarten and First Grade students. Second Graders will learn about Habitats and Ecosystems with the Mystic Aquarium. Third Graders will learn about Adaptations with Rainforest Reptiles. Fourth and Fifth Graders will participate in Change is Simple, a pilot program from a sustainability non-profit organization. Fourth Grade students will learn about Renewable Energy and Solar Power and Fifth Grade students will learn about Community Water Systems. High school biology students in grades 9-12 will learn about animal adaptations with Earth Limited from the Southwick Zoo.

“When learning is fun, it reaches kids and they run with it! We are so grateful to our life-science partners for their support of this program. Together, we have been able to ensure consistent, expanded STEM learning experiences that both support and extend our science standards for every K-5 student in the district as well as biology students at the High School,” said Lauren Coughlin Unsworth, Watertown Community Foundation Board Co-President and School Grant co-chair.

About Watertown Community Foundation 

The Watertown Community Foundation works to build and sustain a vibrant, close-knit community in Watertown – now, and for future generations. Since 2003, WCF has awarded more than $3 million in grants to address local needs to make positive change in the lives of people who live and work in Watertown. With financial support from the Watertown community, we partner with non-profits to help end food insecurity, keep people housed, educate kids, lift-up the arts, and break down barriers to bring people together. See our list of grantees here.

WCF Board of Directors

Lauren Coughlin Unsworth and Mary Ann Mulligan, Co-Presidents; Albrik Avanessian; Emily Barclay; Ninos Hanna; Eileen Hsü-Balzer; Heather Leary; Jennifer Nicholson, Anthony Paolillo; Leah Pennino, Lora Sabin; Robert Shay; David Siegel; Felicia Sullivan; and Donna Tuccinardi

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