PAST Foundation Awarded $25,000 Grant to Support Central Ohio STEM Education

August 7, 2017


Lori Trent
614-340-1208 x 1215

Brooke Blew

PAST Foundation Awarded $25,000 Grant to Support Central Ohio STEM Education

Grant from national nonprofit FIRST® will increase access and resources for diverse, underserved students

 Columbus, OH – August 1, 2017 – PAST Foundation today announced it has received a $25,000 grant from FIRST® – the national STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) advocacy nonprofit – to create access to hands-on STEM learning experiences for underrepresented and underserved students in Ohio.

The intention of #GirlsWhoLead Robotics is to stimulate the growth of 21 girls’ robotics teams at every level of FIRST, from FLL Jr. to FRC establishing through strong partnerships methods and processes for organically growing robotics teams that attract girls and provide women mentors. The result is to build interest in STEM careers and develop a pipeline that sees women creating equity in the STEM workforce.  The initial 21 teams are proportioned to reach an equal number of younger girls (up to 95) through FLL Jr. and FLL and FTC and FRC teams (up to 100) with the goal of creating both near peer mentoring and strengthening the pipeline for future teams.  The scope of the FIRST STEM Equity grant empowers the partnership of PAST Foundation/PAST Innovation Lab and Girl Scouts to build a strong base of teams that through focused development can continue to grow and sustain.

FIRST launched its STEM Equity Community Innovation Grants program in 2016 to address equity, inclusion and diversity inequalities in STEM. Evaluation criteria include community need, demographics, increases in diversity, execution strength, track record of reaching targeted students and the value of the activities proposed. Grant Sponsors include Arconic Foundation, Qualcomm, Inc., Caterpillar, GM, GitHub, John Deere and New York City individuals, among others, and PAST Foundation will receive resources and support from FIRST as it develops its programs.

“Receiving this grant will help us further our mission of providing equal access to education particularly for girls in STEM fields,” said President & CEO, Annalies Corbin. “While we understand creating 21 girls’ robotics teams is an aggressive goal, we have the resources and expertise at PAST through CORI (Center of Robotics Innovation, a program of PAST) and our many community partnerships to make this goal become a reality. This grant will accelerate our efforts to provide meaningful STEM opportunities to Ohio students.”

The 2018 FIRST STEM Equity Community Innovation Grant application process will open in the fall of next year, and grants will be awarded to a mix of current and new recipients. More information will become available at

About PAST Foundation

For over 17 years, PAST, a non-profit foundation, has been a leader in designing STEM education across the nation, bringing transdisciplinary problem-based learning to educators and experiential programs to students. Most notably, PAST was recently recognized by the U.S. Department of Education for its Excellence in Innovation in the STEM 2026 vision report. PAST was the only educational entity in Ohio to be included in this publication. Here is the link to the full report:

Other accomplishments include being recognized in 2014, by CGI America and former President Bill Clinton for their outstanding work, and again in 2015 for their achievements in improving education in rural America. Also in 2015, the PAST Innovation Lab was recognized by the White House Summit on High School Design.

In 2015, PAST Foundation launched a $5 million capital campaign to purchase and renovate a 32,000-square foot building, creating the nation’s first, independent, educational R&D prototyping facility. PAST is committed to developing innovative, educational models, where K12, post-secondary, community and industry work together designing learning environments that strengthen the pipelines to post-secondary and workforce. Six months later, the PAST Innovation Lab opened its doors to a variety of school and community programs in collaboration with industry partners. These programs provide a critical springboard for collaboration and innovation in a setting unlike anywhere else in the US.

For more information on PAST Foundation and how you can connect link learning to life, visit or contact Lori Trent at

About FIRST®
Accomplished inventor Dean Kamen founded FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) in 1989 to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people. Based in Manchester, N.H., FIRST designs accessible, innovative programs to build self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills while motivating young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology, and engineering. With support from over 200 of the Fortune 500 companies and more than $50 million in college scholarships, the not-for-profit organization hosts the FIRST® Robotics Competition for students in Grades 9-12;FIRST® Tech Challenge for Grades 7-12; FIRST® LEGO® League for Grades 4-8; and FIRST® LEGO® League Jr. for Grades K-4. Gracious Professionalism® is a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community. To learn more about FIRST, go to