2015 Westar Energy STEM Innovation Awards

Westar Energy, in partnership with the Kansas Association of School Boards (KASB) and Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE), announces the second round in the Westar Energy STEM Innovation Award. Westar is also expanding the number of $3,000 awards from two to three this year. 

These awards are designed to support K-12 educators and school leaders in their efforts to develop, improve or expand innovative project-based instruction in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).  Three $3,000 awards will be granted this year to support innovative programs that strive to increase student interest and academic achievement in the STEM disciplines as applied to electrical energy. A selection committee, composed of personnel from Westar Energy, KASB and KSDE will select the winning applicants. A list of last year's submissions and winners can be seen here.

Successful applicants will be teachers or administrators in KASB-member districts.
  • This award is intended for resources needed for individual classroom projects, or projects sponsored by school-affiliated, STEM-themed clubs and organizations.  If more than one classroom is undertaking a similar project, only one grant per district may be awarded.
  • Upon completion of the projects, recipients will provide a written summary with samples of class work and photographs to Westar Energy and KASB.  Curriculum and instructional materials will be property of both Westar and KASB.
  • Further, recipients will present their project during a session of the annual KASB conference in Wichita in December 2015. (See below for last year's presentations.)
Successful applications will include projects dealing with science, technology, engineering or mathematics in the context of the generation, transmission or distribution of electrical energy.  Requests that incorporate the following components are of the greatest interest:
  • A focus on electricity, electrical production and conservation in Kansas.
  • Designed to improve, advance and enrich student learning while growing their interest in STEM.
  • Designed to spark interest in STEM disciplines among students from non-traditional or underrepresented groups (i.e. ethnic minority and female students).
  • Provide activities that support student application of classroom STEM knowledge to practical applications.
  • Clearly explain how the items requested for funding are vital to the project’s successful completion.
  • Clearly articulate a plan to complete the projects during the coming academic year. 
What is not supported by this grant:
  • Salaries or compensation for outside speakers, guest presenters or any school personnel.
  • School laboratory supplies or equipment for general school use.
  • Media equipment (computers, cameras, DVD players, white boards).
  • Projects that require multiple academic years for completion.
  • Admissions fees and stipend for conference, workshops or competitions.
  • Transportation, incentives, meals and refreshments.
  • Previously funded projects from past winners.

Westar Energy, the leading electric utility in the Midwest, is dedicated to developing human capital within the communities we serve.  Specifically, we are developing partnerships that allow us to invest in our workforce – both current and future.  As a part of this effort, we have partnered with the Kansas Association of School Boards (KASB) to create the “Westar Energy STEM Innovation Award.” 

2015 Award Timeline

  • April 27, 2015 – RFP issued
  • July 13, 2015– Proposal deadline
  • Aug. 10, 2015– Awards announced (Date changed from July 27)
  • September 1, 2015 – Award checks presented to recipients
  • December 1, 2015 – Preliminary report due to Westar Energy and KASB (includes presentation at annual KASB conference Dec. 2015 in Wichita, Kansas)
  • December 1, 2016 – Summary Report due to Westar and KASB (includes presentation at annual KASB conference in December 2016)

Download the interactive pdf application form below:


2014 Westar STEM Curriculum Innovation Awards were recognized during the KASB 97th Annual Conference the first weekend in December. 

CLICK HERE to see a list of all 2014 award applicants.

Wichita USD 259 | Hannah Kelderman, Science Department Chair | Wichita North High School

Physics for All Students: Building a Bridge into STEM Careers

All students are now required to take biology, chemistry and physics at Wichita North High school. The school plans to use the CPO Science Lab Data Collection Starter Kit as a part of the curriculum to help teach real-world applications to non-traditional physics students. One of the goals is to help guide students into considering STEM careers.

Wichita USD 259 staff member Hannah Kelderman presented a breakout session during the annual conference on the project.

Parsons USD 503 | Bryan Walker, Student; Bruce Rea, Drafting and Design | Parsons High School
HUMVEE - Electric Humvee Charging Port 

This is the next phase in a project started eight years ago. Students designed, engineered and constructed a three-fourths scale Humvee that uses only renewable energy to operate. The idea for a car-port style charger is now ready to go from concept to fully operational using solar panels as the renewable energy source.

The Humvee made for quite a display at the 2014 Conference!