Tri-Cities grant funds STEM videos with LIGO, schools

By Maegan Murray, WSU Tri-Cities

RICHLAND, Wash. – High school students, scientists and Washington State University Tri-Cities students in many disciplines are teaming up to make video “STEM Flicks” to improve science, technology, engineering and mathematics education and workforce preparation.

Beginning this semester, WSU Tri-Cities will partner with the Pasco School District and the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory ( on a video project that will be used for classroom instruction in Pasco middle and high schools and beyond.

As part of the Mid-Columbia STEM Education Collaboratory (, Battelle awarded WSU Tri-Cities a $6,240 grant to produce two five- to seven-minute videos. The collaboratory is a group of local, like-minded organizations seeking to improve STEM education and increase STEM workforce preparation through active engagement with Washington’s Mid-Columbia community.

Kate McAteer, WSU Tri-Cities assistant vice chancellor for academic affairs, said students in the digital technology and culture (DTC) program at WSU Tri-Cities will write the script and film the videos on location at LIGO, as students from Chiawana High School star in and work with the world-renowned scientists at LIGO to come up with content for the videos.

WSU Tri-Cities masters in teaching students will provide guidance for how these videos could be implemented into the classroom, while engineering and science students will review the information to ensure that it is appropriately bridged to high school and middle school students.

“What’s great about this project is that it brings together students, faculty and professionals with expertise in so many different fields to create a product that will benefit students across the state for years to come,” McAteer said. “By creating these STEM Flicks, students get to really understand the process of science.”

The videos will be added to the collaboratory’s online STEM Flicks offerings. The “Flicks” videos highlight diverse teams of local STEM experts who are intrigued by tough scientific challenges and work as a team with others in STEM fields to find creative solutions to those challenges.

“We want to communicate some of the science of LIGO in the video, but that’s not the main point,” said Dale Ingram, education and outreach coordinator at LIGO. “The main intent is that the video becomes a tool that teachers can use in their classrooms to give students insight into how the processes of science works.”

Ingram said the really attractive part of the project is that Doug Gast, WSU Tri-Cities program director for digital technology and culture, and his DTC students will tell a story through the perspective of students.

“These are going to be stories for students, by students,” he said.

Gast said they look forward to working with the brilliant minds at LIGO and the WSU education faculty and students to create a vehicle that will inspire students to consider a career in a STEM field.

Judy Morrison, WSU Tri-Cities academic director of the College of Education, said the partnership will allow education students to gain an understanding about science curriculum and practice tying standards to classroom practices.

“Our students will be introduced to the science at LIGO, and they will learn how effective science teaching occurs in a wide variety of methods, from video to classroom projects and labs,” she said.


Maegan Murray, WSU Tri-Cities public relations specialist, 509-372-7333,
Kate McAteer, WSU Tri-Cities assistant vice chancellor for academic affairs and clinical assistant professor of biological Sciences, 509-372-7371,
Doug Gast, WSU Tri-Cities program director of digital technology and culture and associate professor of fine arts, 509-372-7185,
Judy Morrison, WSU Tri-Cities academic director of the College of Education, associate professor of science education, 509-372-7176,