FedEx opened their doors to five Baden Academy research fellows who journeyed to Neville Island to learn more about the technology behind the accurate and safe delivery of packages. The fascinating and thought provoking tour was part of 5th grade Owen R-K’s fellows project to research and test a new identification system for students to ride the buses from the thirteen different school districts.Our tour, conducted by the mentors on the project (Director of IT Robert Minford and senior project and process analysts Jeffrey Walter and Mark Bracken) included a peek into the software the tracks each package with a complex database and series of barcodes. Owen was joined by fellow programmers who will be helping later in the project. Jacob and Julia serve on the robotics fellows project working with Mindstorms. Rylee and Glorian are on the App Inventors project working with the MIT App Inventor software for android.

The mentors and tour are part of a larger commitment of corporations to get involved in supporting rigorous STEM education. The Dow Chemical Company (NYSE:DOW) announced last week a $1 million commitment with FIRST®(For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) to promote STEM education. Their STEMtheGAP™ initiative aims to build the workforce by supporting teachers, motivating student acievement, developing careers, and collaborating with communities to transform STEM education into a driver for innovation, manufacturing, and economic prosperity.

Andrew N. Liveris, Dow’s chairman and chief executive officer, said of the commitment, “Dow has survived and thrived for more than a century because of the strength of our innovation engine, built on a foundation of STEM talent. Investing in the education of our youth means investing in our shared future and the future of our Company. There is no better way to inspire children to pursue careers in STEM than through the hands-on project based learning experiences thatFIRST provides.”

Corporate sponsors of STEM Education have organized into a national organization, Change the Equation. The organization works at the intersection of business and education to ensure that all students are STEM literate by collaborating with schools, communities, and states to adopt and implement excellent STEM policies and programs. More than 100 U.S. CEOs launched the non-profit, non-partisan coalition in 2010.

CTEq’s first Board of Directors was composed of:

  • Craig Barrett, retired Chairman and CEO, Intel Corporation;
  • Glenn Britt, Chairman and CEO, Time Warner Cable;
  • Ursula Burns, Chairman and CEO, Xerox;
  • Antonio Perez, Chairman and CEO, Eastman Kodak Company;
  • Sally Ride, President and CEO, Sally Ride Science; and
  • Rex Tillerson, Chairman and CEO, ExxonMobil.

They’ve achieve a lot in only 4 years, including the regularly updated Vital Signs reports on the condition of STEM learning in every state, launched the STEMworks database of effective STEM programs and iON Future an online suite of games targeted to middle-high school aged youth enabling STEM career exploration based on individual interests. They have also partnered with Roadtrip Nation to create inspiring interviews of STEM professionals from our coalition of member companies.

Are you a corporation seeking to support STEM Education?  Refer to the CTEq’s Design Principles and Rubrics and partner with Grow a Generation to inspire interest and engagement in STEM and offer hands-on exposure to STEM content.  We are looking for local corporations who can participate in the 2015 STEM Careers Tour.  We will bring 30 students to your campus for a one to two hour visit during the week of July 6-10. Don’t have room for 30 students? We can be split the group into two smaller groups with one group placed in a conference room (or in the parking lot/bus/front lobby) and another on a tour with (possibly) a short hands on activity. The group in the conference room can be led by one of our GrowaGen staff in a review of your corporate history if you only have one staff member to dedicate to the tour.  After 30-45 minutes, switch the groups out for the second tour and we will be on our way. Are you interested in finding out more?  Contact Leah Kennelly at leah.kennelly”at”

Are you interested in mentoring a research fellow? Their projects include engineering identification tags, creating mobile apps, competing in robotics competitions, writing books about a myriad of topics, marketing art and music creations, creating videos for non-profits such as the Humane Society, and becoming IT support within a school. Contact Ellen Cavanaugh at drellen”at” to suggest upcoming projects or volunteer for current ones.

CTEq was founded from a frustration that five different consecutive presidents have called for blue ribbon panels on science and technology education and the consistent recommendations have been largely unheeded.  It was determined that corporate sponsorship of rigorous STEM learning is needed to keep America competitive. How will you take part?