Make A Donation

UPMC and Penguins Foundation Fund Equipment to Fill AIU8 STEM Lending Center

UPMC and Penguins Foundation Fund Equipment to Fill AIU8 STEM Lending Center

With the help of UPMC, the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation yet again continues to support its mission of “stressing the value of education” by providing the latest, high-tech educational devices to expose students to STEM learning.

UPMC and the Penguins Foundation have come together to fund the STEM Lending Center of Appalachia Intermediate Unit 8 (AIU8) which will house state-of-the-art products from vendors such as Makey Makey, Sphero, littleBits, Tubelox, Birdbrain Technologies, Magformers and many more. These products are available for teachers of the surrounding counties of Bedford, Blair, Cambria and Somerset to bring into their classroom, enabling students to practice using their skills in STEM learning. STEM refers to education concerning the four disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, which furthers the academic career of students and allows for brighter futures.

“It is amazing that we have UPMC supporting this initiative and allowing these students to be excited about learning and really engaging with the products. The passion and creativity that comes from STEM related concepts fostered by products in this lending center allows for students to understand the importance of these fields. The teachers couldn’t be more excited,” said Dave Soltesz, president of the Penguins Foundation.

Dean Walters, vice president and chief marketing officer of UPMC, is enthusiastic as well, stating that “UPMC regularly partners with many educational and community organizations throughout western Pennsylvania and is proud to support these institutions — such as the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation and their partnership with AIU8. Committed to promoting the advancement of young people, UPMC is changing lives for the better and is dedicated to providing the resources to make a substantial impact for the well-being of the people who live, work, and learn here.”

AIU8 also realizes the importance of education and has been providing a STEM Lending Center for the surrounding counties over the past two years. With the generous contribution of UPMC and the Penguins Foundation, AIU8 is able to grow its center for the third year, providing access to 35 school districts and non-public schools within the Bedford, Blair, Cambria and Somerset counties. This initiative positively impacts nearly 50,000 students which will have access to learn from 450+ of the new STEM related educational products provided by UPMC and the Penguins Foundation. These items will be available for borrow from the STEM Lending Center during the 2018.19 academic year.

Rita Buhite, who serves as the curriculum specialist and coordinates the lending center, said, “Through this generous donation provided by the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation and UPMC, school districts across our four counties will have greater access to STEM equipment and will be able to engage their students in a variety of STEM experiences.” Buhite as well as the teachers of schools supported by AIU8 have been instrumental in requesting the items most needed for the students that fill the lending center and will be ready for use in the coming months.

Janel Vancas, director of mass customized learning & curriculum innovation added,

“This partnership will take STEM education to a new level within our local communities.  We are eager to provide educators with the quality professional learning tools that comprise our lending center and inspire them to exceed their dreams.”

This STEM Lending Center is one of many initiatives aided by the Penguins Foundation that help enrich and educate the young minds of today as we continue to believe that “Kids are the Future.”

Districts interested in borrowing from the IU8 STEM Lending Center should contact Rita Buhite by e-mail at


About the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation

Founded in 2010, the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation is the 501c3 philanthropic hand of the 5X Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins. With the belief that “Kids Are The Future,” the Penguins Foundation focuses its efforts on making an impact on the lives of the littlest fans of the Penguins team and organization. Through programs related to the Penguins Foundation’s pillars of playing, growing, helping and learning, the Foundation has been able to make countless assists to the community in just a few short seasons including an overall contribution of $30 million to charitable causes since 2010. For more information, visit: