STEM education could be getting a boost from a videogame that will be developed at N.C. State.

The university has been awarded a $1 million grant by the National Science Foundation to develop a game that will focus on encouraging more middle school students to study science, technology, engineering and math – or STEM.

The ultimate goal is to develop a better educated work force.

“Looking ahead, the United States is facing a significant shortage of people who will be able to fill jobs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields. That shortage is particularly acute for computer science,” said Dr. James Lester, a professor of computer science at NCSU who is the primary investigator for the game. “Forecasts consistently predict that we will have far more computer science jobs than there will be trained personnel to fill them.”

A particular point of emphasis will be on game elements “designed to engage female students,” NCSU said in a statement.

“Our goal is to create a video game that will help middle-school students understand basic computer science concepts and related skills,” Lester says. “We want to encourage students to pursue computer science in high school and beyond, and we want to give them the foundation they’ll need to do so successfully.”

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