CRESTVIEW, Fla. (WMBB) — The Gulf Power Foundation is spending $210,000 to support STEM education in Crestview.

The money is going to the HSU Educational Foundation’s new HSU Innovation Institute North campus located in Crestview at the Northwest Florida State College campus.

The investment will help the HSU Foundation to expand its Sparks Scholars program, an afterschool, weekend, and summer youth training program reaching out to over 1,400 students to help “spark” their interest in STEM education with an emphasis on robotics, cyber security, energy, aviation and coding.

“The HSU Educational Foundation is committed to developing an inspired talent pipeline to high demand STEM careers, especially in the realm of emerging technologies and innovation,” said Dr. Paul Hsu, founder and chair of the HSU Educational Foundation. “We need strong partners like Gulf Power that know to build a better future, we must invest in our youth today.” 

The money will go to lab equipment and supplies, as well as students’ transportation costs to the facility.

“The HSU Innovation Institute North facility will provide Sparks Scholars participants, at no cost to themselves, with a unique opportunity to explore a wide scope of STEM fields in a program shaped from an industry employer to student perspective,” said Amanda Negron, executive director of the HSU Foundation. “Gulf Power’s visionary leadership is the catalyst to a promising future for our next generation.”

The Gulf Power Foundation contribution is among a number of initiatives by the company to bolster workforce development efforts throughout the region, officials said in a news release. For information about the Sparks Scholars program, please visit

“We are not just an energy provider, but part of the fabric of Northwest Florida,” said Sandy Sims, director of external relations for Gulf Power. “Gulf Power continues to support our communities where we live and work, and grants from the Gulf Power Foundation are just one way we can help with that. Investing today to provide specialized opportunities in the world of science and innovation helps build a brighter future for our children and our communities.”