Seminole State receives Duke Energy grant to raise interest in STEM careers

Tuesday, July 10, 2018
Written by: Elisa Rohr

Seminole State College of Florida has been awarded an $80,000 grant by Duke Energy Foundation to raise awareness and interest in STEM-based careers as they relate to environmental sustainability.

The grant provides for the establishment of the Duke Energy Foundation Environmental Sustainability Lab, an additional self-contained mobile lab, and lab/classroom space for the newly announced “TEACH” (The Education And Cultivation Homegrown) collaborative effort by Seminole County Public Schools, Seminole State College and University of Central Florida to foster our community’s next generation of STEM K-12 teachers.

Utilizing Duke-branded resources, the Environmental Sustainability Lab will be based at the College’s Robert and Jane Lee Campus in Oviedo, which includes a 120-acre nature preserve ideal for incorporating outdoor course activities.  Participants will address specific environmental concerns and sustainability issues in Central Florida and participate in hands-on activities in an effort to boost interest in STEM career fields.

The mobile science presentation lab will be utilized by faculty and student-led environmental clubs in both science/non-science classes detailing the study of environmental concerns, sustainability challenges and the future need for STEM graduates with knowledge of sustainable science.

“I’m proud to say our ‘K to Career’ grant cycle is the largest investment we make in the state each year,” said Catherine Stempien, Duke Energy Florida president. “It demonstrates our commitment to the future of our communities by preparing students to become leaders and enabling and empowering a skilled workforce to meet the needs in high-demand fields.”

Duke Energy’s grant award further advances the College’s renewed emphasis on the Oviedo location, renamed to honor the late Robert and Jane Lee for their longtime support of Seminole State College and its students. Additional scholarships have been added to help guide students toward STEM career paths.

“Today’s students are motivated to a ‘call to action’ when they see opportunities to address real life challenges, said John Gyllin, vice president of resource and economic development at Seminole State and executive director of the Foundation for Seminole State College. “We are honored to partner with Duke Energy to offer students a path where they can make a worldwide environmental impact by choosing a career option associated with a foundation in STEM.” 

About the Duke Energy Foundation: The Duke Energy Foundation provides philanthropic support to address the needs of communities where its customers live and work. The foundation contributes more than $33 million annually in charitable gifts.

The foundation’s education focus spans kindergarten to career – particularly science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) – as well as early childhood literacy and workforce development. The foundation also supports environmental projects and community impact initiatives, including arts and culture.

Duke Energy employees and retirees actively contribute to their communities as volunteers and leaders with a wide variety of nonprofit organizations. Duke Energy is committed to building on its legacy of community service. For more information, visit

The Duke Energy Foundation is part of Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK).

Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy is one of the largest energy holding companies in the U.S., with approximately 29,000 employees and a generating capacity of 49,500 megawatts. The company is transforming its customers’ experience, modernizing its energy grid, generating cleaner energy and expanding its natural gas infrastructure to create a smarter energy future for the people and communities it serves.

A Fortune 125 company, Duke Energy was named to Fortune’s 2018 “World’s Most Admired Companies” list and Forbes’ 2018 “America’s Best Employers” list.

More information about the company is available at The Duke Energy News Center includes news releases, fact sheets, photos, videos and other materials. Duke Energy’s illumination features stories about people, innovations, community topics and environmental issues. Follow Duke Energy on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook.

About Seminole State College of Florida

Seminole State College of Florida, established in 1965, serves nearly 30,000 students across six sites in Central Florida. A comprehensive college, Seminole State has awarded more than 100,000 credentials, from bachelor's degrees to high school diplomas, and offers more than 200 degrees, certificates and programs designed for success. For more about the college, visit and get social with us

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