• Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences
  • Technology & Science
Accolades & Honors

The STEM Coding Lab was awarded a grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation

Hands on a keyboard

STEM Coding Lab (SCL) has been awarded a $635,000 grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation to expand its work in providing computer science education to under-resourced children in grades K-8 throughout the Pittsburgh region.

This grant will enable SCL to replicate and expand its successful program CS CreatorSpace program to five under-resourced schools. The dedicated classrooms will provide computer science courses to 1,000-plus students during the school day.

"This is a pivotal moment for STEM Coding Lab,” Executive Director Casey Mindlin said. “During a time in which all kids must have access to STEM and computer science instruction, the Richard King Mellon Foundation has yet again proven itself to be a champion for youth throughout Southwestern Pennsylvania. We are deeply grateful for this generous demonstration of support.”

The grant will also fuel the growth of the nonprofit’s Asynchronous Computer Science Education System (ACSES), a virtual platform featuring animated videos and classroom resources developed in collaboration with Carnegie Mellon University to extend SCL’s reach beyond urban school districts.

Additionally, the grant will enhance SCL’s organizational capacity to provide in-school and after-school programs across more than 40 locations to 4,000 children, positioning the organization to continue expanding its footprint in a sustainable fashion.

"We are profoundly grateful for the generous grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation which will enable us to expand our student reach, bridge the digital divide and create enduring pathways to success for all our underserved children,” said Viv Penninti, founder and chairman of STEM Coding Lab. “Our heartfelt thanks to the Richard King Mellon Foundation for their steadfast commitment to SCL and our community's collective future."

SCL’s work has been supported by computer science students and faculty in Pitt’s Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences. Working in areas like programming, research and communication, student interns may spend time in the classroom and support teaching efforts, or elevate the lab’s work through data gathering, social media promotion and other exernal communications.