It’s well established that U.S. students lag behind the rest of the developed world in testing for science, technology, engineering and mathematics, the so-called STEM disciplines. That’s why ExxonMobil is investing in a number of STEM initiatives designed to get students to love math and science and, importantly, to excel at them. Here’s a look at several of them.
1) Be an Engineer
ExxonMobil’s investment in encouraging students to become engineers spans several programs, like the University of Alaska’s ANSEP (Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program) for middle schoolers, the annual Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day, and the Be an Engineer program itself. This initiative showcases to students how engineers are critical to the world and the many ways in which it works, piquing students’ interest in STEM studies in the process. With support from ExxonMobil, Be an Engineer aims to inspire a new generation of engineers by explaining the field and the breadth of exciting opportunities that lie within it.
2) The National Math and Science Initiative
Among ExxonMobil’s most important commitments is to the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI). One of NMSI’s signature programs, the College Readiness Program, has increased the number of U.S. high school students who take and pass AP math, science and English courses. In 2010, it launched the Initiative for Military Families to ensure that students from homes with parents who serve can benefit from quality college and math education. Finally, NMSI’s UTeach program helps college STEM majors at 44 different universities concurrently earn a teaching certificate. Approximately nine out of every 10 UTeach graduates go directly into teaching.
3) Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp
Launched in 2007 in partnership with former NASA astronaut Bernard Harris, the ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp is a two-week, fully funded, STEM-focused sleep-away camp for sixth, seventh and eighth graders. The curriculum is inquiry-based with a student-centered learning experience that includes techniques for bolstering leadership and teamwork.
4) Think It Up
Last September ExxonMobil joined with the Entertainment Industry Foundation and several other corporate and philanthropic partners to launch Think It Up, an initiative geared at shining a light on national education issues and building excitement for education as the pathway for success. Public and charter school students in grades 7–12 are eligible to participate by developing projects that draw on their passions and connect to the futures they want to pursue. Think It Up partners with online fundraising platform DonorsChoose.org to harness donations to support students’ efforts, and will offer Innovation Awards for those who best exemplify deeper learning and real-world problem solving in STEM and other areas.
5) Mickelson ExxonMobil Teachers Academy
In the decade since ExxonMobil joined with professional golfer Phil Mickelson and his wife Amy to found the Mickelson ExxonMobil Teachers Academy, more than 4,500 teachers have participated, impacting more than 300,000 students. Each year about 500 third- through fifth-grade teachers attend one of several five-day sessions designed to provide teachers with the knowledge and skills necessary to inspire students in science and math. Information for this all-expense-paid intensive professional development program can be found at www.sendmyteacher.com.
6) Teach for All
Economic growth around the world relies upon educated and highly skilled individuals, particularly those well-trained in STEM fields. No single classroom factor is more important to improving educational outcomes than the quality of the teacher. That’s why in 2015 ExxonMobil joined up with Teach for All to launch a global STEM initiative to increase the number of science, technology, engineering and math teachers across the organization’s global network and to help strengthen teacher training.
ExxonMobil is also an active supporter of the Southeastern Consortium for Minorities in Engineering (SECME) initiative, which seeks to grow the number of underrepresented and underserved students in post-secondary STEM academic programs. One way it does that is by helping educators develop comprehensive STEM-based curricula. The SECME strategy includes professional development for teachers. The program also works with parents to help them better mentor their school-aged children.