By Sean Patrick Murphy
Lockheed Martin has donated $15,000 to the Harrington Middle School to help pay for laptop computers.
The computers will be used for the school’s STEM program. The acronym stands for science, technology, engineering, and math, all of which are integrated in the curriculum.
“The STEM initiative focuses on ocean exploration and allows the students to apply math and science concepts, while also introducing them to a variety of engineering careers,” Lockheed Martin spokeswoman Devon Rosenberry said.
Education is the largest segment of Lockheed Martin’s community outreach initiative.
“Fifty percent of our contributions and volunteer activities are geared toward strengthening math and science education programs in our communities,” Rosenberry said.
This year Lockheed Martin Moorestown started a new Computers for Schools program that will donate $15,000 worth of computers and technologies to a local school’s math or science departments. “We chose Harrington Middle School for this year’s Computers for Schools program because they were in the process of implementing a new STEM education program that will introduce students to a number of STEM concepts and falls into our STEM initiative program,” Rosenberry said.
“Lockheed Martin continually strives to create educational programs that encourage students to get excited about science and math through various hands-on activities,” she added. “We hope this grant will help to improve the quality of STEM education in the classroom, as well as interest students in science and math topics by offering a new and innovative program that demonstrates the practical applications of the concepts they learn.”
Lockheed Martin Moorestown engineers will take part in Mount Laurel’s program by preparing lectures and participating in hands-on activities in the classroom that introduce the students to engineering careers and fundamental skills.
“The engineers have a talent for exciting students and showing them the many interesting applications available with an engineering education,” Rosenberry said. “Whether the students are interested in building submarines or designing video games, our engineers can provide on-the-job insight that the teachers may lack.”
Lockheed Martin donates 50 percent of its charitable contributions and volunteer activities to standard-based STEM education every year.
“We recognize the importance of educating students in the topics of math and science, for the future success of our company,” Rosenberry said. “Our nation’s economy relies on the continued supply of highly trained individuals.”
In 2010, Moorestown employees reached more than 5,550 students in South Jersey through STEM outreach activities.
According to Mount Laurel Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Dr. Sharon Vitella, the district has always had integrated areas of study. But this is the first time it has an actual course identified as STEM.
“The STEM program is a national initiative to encourage students to go into the fields of science and engineering and to provide 21st century skills,” Dr. Vitella said. “Employers are looking for employees who possess the skills which are taught in a STEM program which include creative problem solving, building a product, collaborative team work, and design thinking.”