American Electric Power has pledged $250,000 to West Virginia University’s College of Engineering and Mineral Resources to support the college’s K-12 outreach and research in advanced electric power systems.

The gift, made to the WVU Foundation, will establish the American Electric Power Engineers of Tomorrow Fund. The fund will primarily support programs designed to encourage K-12 students in Appalachia, particularly women and under-represented minorities, to enter engineering and computer science professions. The fund will also support programs that focus on retention and career placement.

“The WVU College of Engineering and Mineral Resources has seen steady growth in its student body despite a declining high school population in West Virginia,”said Eugene Cilento, dean.”The AEP Engineers of Tomorrow Fund will build on this success and expand our focus to ultimately improve the K-12 pipeline for the region.”

He added,”This generous gift by AEP will also help ensure that the college’s Advanced Electric Power Research Center can continue its important work in developing technologies for the reliable delivery of electricity.”

AEP understands the critical importance of engineering in today’s society, said Susan Tomasky, AEP executive vice president of policy, finance and strategic planning.

“As you look at the 97-year history of our company, AEP has certainly evolved, but one constant has been our continuing need for engineering skills,”Tomasky said.”There are some supremely talented people in the colleges of engineering in this countrytalented faculty members and highly promising students. The only problem is that there aren’t enough of themnot enough to meet our nation’s needs in the decades ahead.”

Some additional areas the AEP fund will support are: Engineering Summer Program . A math enrichment program designed to enhance students’academic performance during their freshman year. The program also focuses on developing sound study and test-taking skills and helping students adjust to college life.

High School for Inspiration of Science and Technology Competition . The FIRST competition is a national annual event challenging teams of technology-minded high school students to build a robot to perform a task. The competition was created to encourage technology and science interest among high school students. The College of Engineering and Mineral Resources faculty and students help sponsor and mentor a high school team each year.

Career Resource Center . The College of Engineering and Mineral Resources recently created a Career Resources Center where students can learn about potential employers by viewing their promotional videos, CDs and DVDs, and register on-line for internships, cooperative education opportunities or permanent employment opportunities.

American Electric Power owns and operates more than 42,000 megawatts of generating capacity in the United States and select international markets and is the largest electricity generator in the country. AEP is also one of the nation’s largest electric utilities, with almost 5 million customers linked to AEP ’s 11-state electricity transmission and distribution grid. The company is based in Columbus, Ohio, and its main West Virginia office is in Charleston.

The WVU Foundation is a private, non-profit corporation that generates and provides support for West Virginia University. The WVU Foundation is nearing the successful completion of its historic Building Greatness Campaign, which has generated more than $300 million in private support for the University.