The Mercyhurst University Education Department is receiving a half-million dollar grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Education in order to launch the “STEM and Vine” Program in North East.

The program seeks to take advantage of agricultural environments local to the area and teach the youth about STEM concepts.

The first session of the STEM and Vine Program was held in Gibson Park on Saturday and featured various STEM-related activities for children with the help of volunteers.

“We chose to focus on North East because research has indicated that STEM programming is most effective when it’s with the students context. We are planting seeds of innovation in young learners, but also a love for their community,” said Amy Burniston, Chair of Department of Education at Mercyhurst.

This is the third recent community-centered program the Mercyhurst Education Department has created.