UNION COUNTY, NJ - The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders is pleased to announce the award of grants for elementary and middle schools, including Plainfield Academy of Arts and Advance Studies, in 15 school districts through the new Union County STEM Scholars grant program. 

The program launched this year under Freeholder Chairman Granados’ “Moving Union County Forward” Plant-A-Seed initiative with the goal of enabling local school districts to enhance STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) programs for younger students.

“This year we set forth a series of “Moving Union County Forward” initiatives working together with the school districts across Union County, to help our residents excel in educational and career goals,” said Freeholder Chairman Sergio Granados. “The new STEM Scholars program helps open up more opportunities for elementary and middle school students to practice foundational STEM skills like teamwork and leadership, and prepare them to take on the challenging curriculum of high school STEM topics.”

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“Providing STEM lessons in an inclusive and supportive environment helps younger students develop self-confidence, curiosity and innovative thinking,” said Freeholder Chairman Christopher Hudak. “The next generation of STEM leaders is growing up before our eyes, and we want to ensure that every child has an opportunity to explore STEM topics in their schools and communities.”

The inspiration for the grant program comes from the Freeholder Hudak’s mother, Susan L. Hudak. Ms. Hudak was a dedicated member of the educational community of Union County for many years, both as a member of the Linden Board of Education and as a volunteer. Her work included the establishment of a Monthly Friday Family Science Night, a program that ran for 25 years at School No. 6 in Linden for students and their families.

The STEM Scholars program awarded grants in the following areas of concentration:

  • Project Based Learning: Creative, STEM-integrated, educational programming.
  • Afterschool STEM: Projects and programming that focus on extra-curricular learning, including science fairs, STEM clubs, monthly labs and workshop.
  • Out-of-School STEM: Creative STEM experiences out of the classroom, to better prepare students for STEM work in the classroom, and in the workforce.