KURE BEACH, N.C. – Time Warner Cable’s Connect a Million Minds initiative announced new funding this week to the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher to help develop a new aquarium program called Coastal Champions.

Twelve Wilmington youth ages 14-17 will spend 18 Saturdays this spring semester working with aquarium staff and documenting their experience through blogs and video. Students will gain hands-on experience and learn science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) skills relevant to aquarium operations.

In June, three students will have an opportunity to continue the Coastal Champions program as paid summer interns.

TWC’s Connect a Million Minds is a five-year, $100 million philanthropic initiative addressing America’s declining proficiency in STEM.

Grants to support non-profit organizations that bring stimulating, high-quality and affordable after-school STEM learning to students, such as Coastal Champions, are among program highlights.

National partners include the Coalition for Science After School and FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology).

Follow the students’ stories of their marine experiences online at www.connectamillionminds.com .

The N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher is just south of Kure Beach, near the mouth of the Cape Fear River.

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