High Demand for STEM Mentors in the Classroom

September 2, 2016

August 31, 2016

When CEI’s STEM initiative announced the opportunity for Colorado middle schools to apply for a STEM mentorship pilot that begins this fall, they didn’t know what kind of response they would get.

“We had more than 40 schools answer the call,” said CEI’s STEM director Angela Baber. “We’re working on this pilot with the University of Northern Colorado (UNC) to measure the impact and outcomes of industry and school partnerships. We want to put STEM professionals in schools and classrooms that need support to offer quality STEM education programs to kids.”

Boeing Company and Lockheed Martin will donate financial resources for up to five schools, while their employees will donate their time and talent to classrooms.

Boeing knows how important it is to support its communities and advance the world through STEM innovations and design. “This partnership is sure to expand our knowledge base on the importance of STEM mentorship for students and our employees,” said Boeing’s technical lead engineer Dave Eddy. “It will allow us to scale a pilot statewide and beyond. We believe in partnering strategically to accelerate innovations. It’s exciting to have a direct impact on local classrooms and our Colorado workforce.”

Blake Davis, Lockheed’s director of engineering added that encouraging young minds to pursue STEM is an important part of the company’s long-term strategy. “The value and future of our industry will be in the hands and minds of our brightest engineers,” said Davis. “We see the value of our employees contributing their time and talent to excite and engage young learners in STEM in meaningful ways.”

While students benefit from hands-on STEM instruction with industry mentors, the UNC will partner with CEI to study the pilot’s impact and students impacted by STEM industry and school partnerships.

UNC’s Kristin Klopfenstein, executive director of the Education Innovation Institute, says the pilot will help to lay the groundwork to find ways to strengthen connections between employers and teachers around the state.

“We want to create a system that is easy for schools to use,” said Klopfenstein. “Schools don’t really understand employer needs very well, and employers don’t typically understand school needs very well – so we will use data from this pilot to help us create better ways for schools to easily find mentors or industry partners who really match the needs of their students.”

Stay tuned to CEI for when the five pilot schools are announced in October.