Military, business leaders give $1.7 million for STEM education

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah -- Officials from Hill Air Force Base, the Northrup Grumman Foundation, and the National Math + Science Initiative are partnering on a $1.7 million investment for STEM education in the Davis School District. The presentation will be held at Syracuse High School March 17.

The majority of the investment will fund participation in the NMSI College Readiness Program at Northridge and Syracuse High Schools. The Department of Defense is contributing $1.2 million and Northrup Grumann is donating $250,000.

Hill AFB is also investing an additional $250,000 in a partnership with the State of Utah STEM Action Center to enhance and expand STEM programs in the local area.

“All the technology of today, all the progress we hope to make tomorrow, all those possibilities start with a solid foundation in STEM education,” said Brig. Gen. Steven Bleymaier, commander of Hill’s Ogden Air Logistics Complex. “We are always looking to hire the best and brightest minds that unlock those possibilities. For that to happen, we need to promote and enable STEM education.”

According to NMSI, the CRP has increased the number of students succeeding in advanced coursework in math, science and English across the country. NMSI’s specific mission to support military families began in 2010. Since then, 160 military-connected high schools in 29 states around 75 defense installations of all four armed services have participated.

This is the first time NMSI has funded students in Utah. The schools were selected as grantees based on their large population of military dependents. While STEM education is a focus across the country, the Air Force is especially motivated to inspire the next generation of engineers and scientists, says Alison Sturgeon, Hill’s STEM program manager.

“On average we look to hire more than 200 engineers and computer scientists at Hill AFB every year,” she said. “Anything we can do to further those education opportunities and keep our younger generation moving toward those fields is a big priority for us and we’re excited to bring this grant money to our local community.”

“We are deploying this program not only to enhance measurable academic outcomes for military-connected school systems, but also to serve national, state and regional workforce needs,” said Marcus Lingenfelter, NMSI senior vice president of state and federal programs. “For example, the cyber mission at Hill AFB demands STEM literacy with specific preparation in advanced mathematics and computer science. Our focus on these rigorous academic subjects of priority to DoD also ensures alignment with the region’s critical workforce needs.”

“We recognize the vital role that STEM education plays in our nation,” said Justin McMurray, director, Weapon System Sustainment and Modernization, Northrop Grumman Technology Services. “Northrop Grumman takes an active role in the communities we call home and we are delighted to be associated with programs that demonstrate a commitment to a future workforce.”