STEMpact2020, a citywide effort led by Wichita State University’s College of Engineering, has received a $50,000 grant from the Wichita Community Foundation (WCF) to support recruitment of mentors who work in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
The money comes from the Knight Foundation Fund, which supports projects “that attract, retain and harness talent; that expand opportunity by increasing entrepreneurship and economic mobility; and that support civic infrastructure to accelerate the growth of ideas and bring people from diverse social and economic backgrounds together.”
“This is another strong statement of the commitment of the community to STEM mentoring,” said Lawrence Whitman, associate dean of the College of Engineering. “Key to sustaining a STEM industry in our community is a strong STEM workforce, which is built through STEM education that starts with kids inspired by STEM mentors to believe they can do STEM.”
STEMPact2020 is a coalition of more than 30 community partners including: the City of Wichita, Wichita Public Schools, Schools of the Catholic Diocese of Wichita, major employers like Koch Industries, NetApp, Spirit AeroSystems and Textron Aviation; and leading mentoring organizations such as Big Brothers Big Sisters, TRIO Upward Bound and Real Men, Real Heroes. Industry partners are committed to encouraging employees to act as STEM mentors.
STEMpact2020 will use the grant to recruit, train and connect STEM professionals to mentoring opportunities. The focus will be on youth from groups underrepresented in STEM fields, including females, African-Americans and Hispanics, but all local youth will be served by the program.