STEMville Makes Science Accessible to Rural Students

Novozymes hosts family science nights in Franklin County, NC -- the site of our North American headquarters.

Across the country, small towns and farming communities are facing a challenging reality -- more jobs require advanced science and math but their small schools are too often unprepared to provide that education.

“Rural counties ... don’t have the same access to these kind of science and other sorts of educational programs,” Novozymes Americas President Adam Monroe told the Raleigh News and Observer earlier this year.


To address that problem, Novozymes welcomed more than 1,000 students and their parents to a series of family science nights in Franklin County, NC, over the past year. They are part of a Novozymes initiative known as STEMville (using the acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).

The events were put on with Novozymes funding and volunteers as well as science education expertise from the University of North Carolina's Morehead Planetarium and Science Center.

The events are held at local schools and are always free. The students take part in hands-on table-top activities -- learning about everything from the human health to chemistry to ornithology.


The program has admirers from outside the school system. Last school year, North Carolina State Senator Chad Barefoot visited one of the events at Edward Best Elementary School. Arlan Peters, head of sustainability for Novozymes North America, said that the events are popular with students and parents alike. He said that three more are scheduled for 2015.

"STEM education is critical especially in rural communities where science education resources may be scarce,” Peters said. “We have a strong connection to rural areas and we’re proud to support our communities to meet this need."

Geoffrey Hawthorne, princpal of Edward Best, offered a similar assessment.

"It's something that meets them here," he said.