Full STEM ahead

Science Mill empowers learning with help from a PEC Community Grant

Go to the heart of the Texas Hill Country, and you’ll find the Science Mill — a family destination in Johnson City offering a fun, hands-on learning experience for all ages. In the spring of 2017, the Science Mill received a $5,000 PEC Community Grant that funded an exciting new interactive element at the museum.

The grant was used to purchase 30 tablets to power the Science Mill’s virtual Avatar Experience. The system uses face-morphing technology to let students create a virtual character of themselves that guides them through the exhibits in the museum — allowing them to “see” themselves in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers. About 120,000 visitors have accessed the Avatar Experience since it launched in June 2017.

“These grants help further our mission to create a world where all kids have equitable access to STEM programs and can aspire to STEM careers,” Science Mill Director of Operations Portia Marchman said.

That mission explains how a world-class science museum ended up in the small town of Johnson City. “The Science Mill is deeply committed to bringing opportunities to students who have traditionally been underrepresented in STEM fields — specifically kids living in rural communities, girls, minorities, and underserved and low-income children,” Marchman said.

For PEC, those communities are not just part of our service area, they’re our homes. That’s why we award community grants to organizations that help make them stronger.


Thanks to donations from generous members through our Power of Change program, we awarded $30,000 in PEC Community Grants — the most ever — to these deserving recipients:

Enroll in Power of Change today at