Shepherd University recently received three grants from the Eastern West Virginia Community Development Foundation that will allow the university to help with workforce development in the region and promote education in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).


Shepherd’s Martinsburg Center received $6,556 from the Berkeley County Industrial Park Development Fund to create a Career Development Station that will include four desktop computers with an internet connection that will be available to students and members of the community.


The grant application states the program will allow students or community members to search for employment opportunities, build their résumé, or participate in other career development functions. Additionally, these computers could be used for online communication with an admissions counselor, submitting an admission application, filing Free Application for the Federal Student Aid, registering for classes, and paying tuition bills.


A second grant, for $2,000, went to Reza Mirdamadi, associate professor of engineering and chair of the Department of Computer Science, Mathematics, and Engineering. It will allow Shepherd to continue working with students in grades 6-12 in Jefferson, Berkeley, and Morgan counties who are interested in robotics.


The money will be used to provide robot kits and training for science classes and clubs at middle and high schools, and to community organizations such as 4-H, the Boy Scouts, and Girl Scouts. The training will prepare them to compete at the annual ShepRobo Fest in March 2016.


The third grant, for $1,000, went to Dr. Jordan Mader, assistant professor of chemistry, and Dr. Sytil Murphy, assistant professor of physics. They will use the money to invite 20 high school students per month to participate throughout the school year in a hands-on STEM workshop conducted by Shepherd faculty or Shepherd student groups with faculty oversight.