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A new $5 million U.S. Department of Education grant awarded to the University of Florida will be used to boost the teaching of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (popularly known as STEM) in 11 Florida counties, including Sarasota and Manatee counties. Through the grant, Nancy Ruzycki, a lecturer and the director of undergraduate laboratories at the University of Florida's Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering’s Department of Materials Science & Engineering, will work with school districts to improve STEM teaching. The program will provide targeted teacher professional development programs that are intended to increase the number of qualified STEM elementary and middle school teachers, with the goal of improving student learning activities and outcomes.