Aerospace Shapes the Future of Students through Online Mentoring

EL SEGUNDO, Calif., Feb. 20, 2019 – Demonstrating an ongoing commitment to innovation in STEM education, employees of The Aerospace Corporation (Aerospace) will provide online mentoring to fifth grade students from Kujawa Elementary School, a Houston, TX school where 89 percent of these students are economically disadvantaged.

TryEngineering Together’s eMentoring program provides a platform for students and Aerospace volunteers to communicate throughout the school year on a variety of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) topics.

“We’re thrilled to serve as STEM mentors to these students,” said Chuck Gustafson, senior vice president for Aerospace’s Engineering and Technology division. “Our focus is to inspire and nurture the next generation of engineers and scientists, some of whom will work in supporting our nation’s space enterprise one day.”

Students and Aerospace volunteers were matched one-on-one in eMentoring relationships to create  powerful STEM learning experiences. Guided by a curriculum designed to be engaging, interactive and thought-provoking, students and their eMentors read short, timely articles related to STEM subjects and discuss related hands-on engineering challenges that students are experiencing in class. Throughout the academic year, students and mentors communicate regularly online through a pen-pal exchange to ask questions, share ideas, investigate new developments and complete projects together.

“Our employees jumped at the opportunity to mentor these fifth grade students,” said Lianne McGinley, associate director of Aerospace’s Corporate Social Responsibility program. “Our volunteers include a diverse group of the nation’s top engineers and scientists in space, each one offering to make a difference in the life of these children.”

The focus on delivering STEM mentorship in third through fifth grades is intentional. Once students reach fourth grade, research shows one-third have lost an interest in science, and by eighth grade nearly 50 percent have lost interest or deemed it irrelevant to their education or career plans. Reaching and inspiring elementary school students is critical to building young people’s confidence and acumen in STEM.

“As the demand for diverse STEM workers continues to outpace supply, forward thinking companies like Aerospace realize that eMentoring will excite and prepare their next-generation workforce,” said Nina Zolt, founder of Cricket Media and co-creator of TryEngineering Together program. “We need to start early if we want to ensure that there is a diverse talent pool of scientists, engineers and technologists to drive the future of innovation. But we can’t do this alone. We need corporate support like Aerospace is providing to reach all of the students who can benefit.”

Aerospace’s Corporate Social Responsibility program aligns with TryEngineering Together program to support the future of innovation and creativity in the STEM fields.  Aerospace volunteers engage with local communities where they live and work to inspire STEM education opportunities for those students who need help the most. To learn more, visit www.aerospace.org/stem and www.tryengineeringtogether.com

About The Aerospace Corporation

The Aerospace Corporation is a national nonprofit corporation that operates a federally funded research and development center and has approximately 4,000 employees. With major locations in El Segundo, Calif., Albuquerque, N.M., Colorado Springs, Colo., and the Washington, D.C., region, Aerospace addresses complex problems across the space enterprise and other areas of national significance through agility, innovation, and objective technical leadership.  For more information, visit www.aerospace.org. Follow us on Twitter: @AerospaceCorp.

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