PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 19, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Students' cheers rang through the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University's auditorium as two teachers accepted $500 gift certificates to buy science equipment and materials courtesy of the FMC Corporation. The teachers were randomly selected during FMC's STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) Career Day, which was funded through a $25,000 grant from FMC. (Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20121119/PH16042 )(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20111101/NE97440LOGO ) About 15 FMC scientists traveled to the Academy in Philadelphia to help squealing students hold cockroaches, shoot lasers, and look at colorful collections of insects from around the world. The goal: to excite 1,200 middle school students about science and inspire them to pursue careers in chemistry, biology, agriculture, technology and engineering. In addition to the FMC scientists' experiments, the Academy hosted additional activities and provided teacher chaperones with resources to help integrate math and science into their regular curriculums. With the Philadelphia School District facing a $250 million budget deficit, resources are scarce for hands-on science activities. Research shows that unless students are 'hooked on' math and science by grades 6-8, they may never become interested, according to the Philadelphia Math + Science Coalition. "Educating kids about science and math is important to the future of our city and our nation. Teachers can spark students' interest in fields such as biology or chemistry. We're providing the resources to help inspire future engineers, researchers, and technologists," said Barbara Del Duke, FMC's senior manager of public affairs and community relations. The STEM Career Days grant followed FMC's expansion of its internship program in response to a challenge from the National Association of Manufacturers to engage more college students in career opportunities in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math.