CNS awards STEM grants to Texas schools

  • Posted: Thursday, May 4, 2023, 2:51 pm

Amarillo, Texas. —The sky is the limit for science, technology, engineering, and math educational efforts for five schools in the Texas Panhandle. Through $1,000 grants provided by Consolidated Nuclear Security (CNS), the managing and operating contractor for Pantex, five area schools will soon be advancing STEM education with projects ranging from robotics to drones.

These grants fund STEM activities in the classroom and represent one of the many ways Pantex is investing in development of the future workforce. This year’s grant recipients and projects are as follows:

  • Boys Ranch High School, Becky Gaffney (Teacher 9th-12th grade). Students will use four programmable drone sets to learn piloting, foundations of coding, and how to use the engineering design process to solve real-world challenges. Students will experience the role that technology and automation play in our world, and market themselves and the application of their skills to various career fields.
  • Clarendon High, Timothy Leeper (Teacher 9th-12th grade). These students will also study drones and learn about education opportunities and occupations related to operating and designing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Students will be also be qualified to take the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Unmanned Aircraft Systems Drone Knowledge Test, receiving a 2-year license for UAV operations in a variety of fields.
  • Fort Elliott CISD, Tori Coulter (Elementary Technology). This small, rural school has already implemented robotics and engineering into the curriculum, and will use its grant to increase these programs and advance STEM opportunities for upper elementary students. This grant will help purchase coding design skill cards, coding robot sets, and STEM Bins.
  • Pampa High School, Vanessa Ontiveros (Teacher, 9th-12th grade). This program will instruct students how a computer works and how to repair a Personal Computer. It can be downloaded onto classroom computers, supporting an unlimited number of users. The application will instruct Principles of IT, Computer Maintenance, and Practicum of IT classes, using gamification to apply gaming strategies, improve learning, and create an engaging environment.
  • Rogers Elementary, AISD, Alma Torrez (STEM Teacher, K-5th grade). The purpose of the project is to offer students more opportunities in critical thinking, problem solving, and creativity. They will be tasked to collaborate with their peers, improve social skills, and work together through engineering and coding challenges. Students will gain knowledge of the four pillars of computation thinking: decomposition, pattern recognition, abstraction, and algorithms.

The goal of the grants is to foster advancement of STEM activities in the classroom and to help develop Pantex’s future workforce. This is the second year that Pantex has offered STEM classroom grants to Amarillo and the top 26 counties of the Texas Panhandle.

Dozens of submissions were received and evaluated by a panel of knowledgeable employees at Pantex. The group carefully reviewed all the applications and narrowed the impressive list down in order to recommend the five winners.

“To help increase the number of young men and women entering STEM fields, Pantex has offered region-wide grants for the last couple years,” said Darla Fish, Pantex education outreach specialist. “Often times, these successful students become part of the Pantex workforce as we are continually searching for talented professionals to join us in our ongoing mission of securing the nation.”


Consolidated Nuclear Security, LLC operates the Pantex Plant, located in Amarillo, Texas, and the Y-12 National Security Complex, located in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, under a single contract for the U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration. CNS member companies include Bechtel National, Inc.; Leidos, Inc.; ATK Launch Systems, Inc.; and SOC LLC. Pantex and Y-12 are key facilities in the U.S. Nuclear Security Enterprise, and CNS performs its work with a focus on performance excellence and the imperatives of safety, security, zero defects and delivery as promised.

For more information on each site, visit or Follow Pantex on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. Follow Y-12 on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Steve Myers
Office (806) 573.6032
Cell (806) 236.2826