March 30, 2012

STEM program fosters interest in science, technology, engineering, and math

Northrop Grumman photograph
Northrop Grumman mentor Danielle Rodriguez assists students from Slauson Middle School with their Lego® STEM Project, from left: Nolen Bertoneau, Peter Gutierrez, Hubert Lam and Savannah Rudder. More than 40 students, separated into eight teams, participated in the engineering design competition aimed at promoting awareness of careers in the engineering and technical fields.

AZUSA, Calif. – Northrop Grumman’s Azusa campus recently hosted the Lego® STEM Project competition, to introduce students to the practical application of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The competition involved more than 40 students from Slauson Middle School in Azusa and is designed to nurture early interest in the STEM fields. Employee mentors representing a wide range of engineering disciplines volunteered in this year’s STEM competition, which featured an environmental theme.

“Tomorrow’s leaders in the STEM fields need to be cultivated at an early age during their academic journey in the educational system,” said Stephen J. Toner, vice president of Northrop Grumman’s Azusa Operations. “The Lego® STEM Project competition is one way to ensure that students are exposed to the sciences in a fun and interactive way.”

Eight teams of four to five students were challenged to design a product with their Lego® kit that would benefit the environment and would allow for it to be powered by solar energy. The teams then presented their designs to a panel of six student judges for scoring to determine the team that best met the criteria of the challenge.

Students were also presented an overview of the different engineering disciplines followed by a panel discussion with Northrop Grumman engineers who relayed their own personal experiences about how they decided to pursue an engineering career.

“Slauson Middle School is extremely fortunate to be able to open our doors and partner with Northrop Grumman,” said principal Ann Somers. “Our students are being exposed to both male and female engineers serving as role models as they work with the students to tap into their creativity. Northrop Grumman allows our students to work collaboratively to solve real-world problems, create presentations and foster public speaking skills. Our students’ eyes are continuously opened to career paths that are possible with Northrop Grumman.”

The Lego® STEM Project was coordinated by Adelante, an all-inclusive Hispanic employee resource group at Northrop Grumman committed to fostering leadership through networking, professional development and community service.

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