STEM Programs

Great-LEAP

Aerospace recently created a new STEM program, the Greater Los Angeles Education-Aerospace Partnership (Great-LEAP), which is focused on engaging with local middle and high schools teachers and students in the Los Angeles area. Through the program Aerospace volunteers work proactively with the teachers to demonstrate real-world applications of the math and science course material being presented to the students during the school semester.

Additionally, Aerospace East has partnered with Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia through their Expanding Visions program. Expanding Visions is a program that helps bridge the gap between the classroom and the skills required for technical professions. Aerospace volunteers are continuously seizing opportunities to engage with students from a variety of middle schools in the Virginia, DC, and Maryland areas, by developing and facilitating hands-on activities directly related to technical fields of study. Activities on both the east and west coasts include in-class demonstrations, hands-on demonstrations, tutoring, or other activities as agreed upon by the individual volunteer and partnered teachers.

The Aerospace Corporation also currently participates in several national STEM programs:

US FIRST Robotics

An inspiring way for students to put their math, science, technology, and engineering skills to work. Don’t let the fun fool you. The FIRST Robotics competition is intense. Building a 120-pound, task-specific robot in six weeks is no easy challenge!

Aerospace-sponsored FIRST Robotics teams on both coasts and in Colorado Springs, as well as Botball robotics team on the East Coast, are examples of recent Aerospace employees STEM outreach efforts. These STEM activities have already paid off in handsome near-team dividends, with the Aerospace-sponsored Woodrow Wilson High School team of Washington, D.C., winning the first-place prize in the 2012 FIRST Robotics Competition.

Aerospace is involved in this program by providing volunteers to mentor students at selected schools throughout the year, including:

  • King Drew High School – Los Angeles, CA
  • Crenshaw High School – Los Angeles, CA
  • Orcutt Academy High School – Orcutt, CA
  • Woodrow Wilson High School – Washington, DC

MathCounts

MATHCOUNTS Leadership and employees are involved in the national MathCounts organization to encourage mathematics and technical careers among middle-school students.

A national enrichment club and competition program that promotes middle school mathematics achievement through grassroots involvement in every U.S. state and territory. Aerospace is involved in this program by providing volunteers to mentor students at selected schools throughout the year.

Dr. Manuel De Ponte, senior vice president, National Systems Group, currently serves as a member of the MathCounts Board of Directors.

Change the Equation

The Aerospace Corporation is a member of Change the Equation, an initiative to cultivate widespread literacy in the STEM disciplines. Former astronaut and Aerospace trustee Dr. Sally Ride is one of the founders of the program, and Dr. Wanda Austin, Aerospace president and chief executive officer, was among the first CEOs to commit to the initiative.

Change the Equation is bringing together 100 companies across multiple sectors, all of which are dedicated to preparing students for STEM-related careers as an investment in their business, the economy, and our democracy. Through innovative and effective company-led programs, members will work to encourage capable and enthusiastic STEM-literate graduates.

Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA)

Aerospace volunteers support middle and high school students engaged in the MESA program. One of the country’s most innovative and successful programs, MESA works with thousands of educationally disadvantaged students to encourage them to excel in math and science, and to continue with STEM studies in college.

MESA works closely with industry partners and the University of California, the California State University, the California Community Colleges, the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, and the State Department of Education. MESA is nationally recognized for its innovative academic development program.

Aerospace volunteers assist students with both engineering and writing support.

STARS Field Trip

Aerospace’s state-of-the-art Spacelift Telemetry Acquisition and Reporting System (STARS) laboratory welcomed fourth-grade students from Star View Elementary School in Midway City, CA. STARS staff answered students’ questions on rockets, satellites, and space, while alien inquiries were addressed
by Aerospace in-house extraterrestrial expert Dr. Ed Ruth. Aerospace intends for these field trips to serve as a template on which a capability to visit schools and foster students’ excitement about learning science, mathematics, and engineering can be spearheaded. STARS personnel are working to build a “virtual STARS” capability as a training tool to get students excited about the space program.

Albuquerque STEM Initiative

The Aerospace American-Indian and Alaskan-Native Council and the Aerospace Women’s Committee sponsored an event as part of the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) initiative and outreach objectives. Aerospace employees visited with students at Pueblo of Laguna
Middle School in Albuquerque, NM, and Aerospace volunteers spoke with students about the space and missile industry as well as local career opportunities available to students as they progress through their college curriculum and beyond. More than 120 students listened to discussions and watched videos of the Kodiak Launch Complex Space Test Program’s S-26 mission.