Partners with BEST and DoD STEM to Host College and Career Expo at University of the District of Columbia
Washington, DC – May 23, 2017 – Today more than 100 students from three schools in Washington, D.C., had the opportunity to learn more about careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), and get hands-on experience in targeted workshops at the Advancing Tomorrow’s Leaders in STEM (ATLAS) college and career symposium. Taking place at the University of the District of Columbia, ATLAS was hosted by MdBio Foundation, a non-profit that provides STEM education and workforce development to underserved communities, in partnership with Building Engineering & Science Talent (BEST), a public-private partnership dedicated to strengthening U.S. leadership in science and technology, and the Department of Defense (DoD) STEM Development Office, which seeks to attract, inspire and develop exceptional STEM talent across the education continuum to enrich the current and future DoD workforce.
“We are excited to expand our successful ATLAS program into D.C. and hope to pique the interest of students typically underrepresented in STEM, offering them new perspectives on their continued education and preparation for their careers,” said Brian Gaines, CEO of the MdBio Foundation. “We are pleased, too, to join forces for the first time with DoD STEM Development Office. We share similar goals for building a STEM-educated workforce for the future, and look forward to a long relationship of working together to encourage more young people to pursue these types of rewarding careers.”
Kicking off ATLAS was a keynote address from Dr. Justin Rice, a software systems engineer for the Flight Software Systems Branch at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Dr. Rice shared his inspiring personal journey, telling students how education, hard work and discipline led him from humble beginnings in Jackson, Miss., to being appointed to a distinguished leadership position at NASA before the age of 30.
Then the students – who hailed from three D.C. Public Schools: McKinley Technology High School, Columbia Heights Educational Campus, and the Tech Prep High and Collegiate Academy campuses of the Friendship Public Charter School – attended a college and career expo, which included local universities and companies from across the DC area. They toured UDC’s Green Roof, the largest food-producing green roof on the East Coast, featuring more than 40,000 square feet of garden space, and the university’s engineering labs, which showcased 3-D printing, biomedical rehabilitation and nanotechnology. Students also had the chance to participate in one of three hands-on workshops: “BioEngineering: The Application of Engineering Innovations to the Life Sciences,” presented by U.S. Naval Academy STEM Center; “The Making of Materials, Magnets & Atoms,” presented by the Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC), Carderock Division; and “Digitally INclined Web Game Development,” presented by Deloitte Consulting, LLP.
Now its eighth session, MdBio Foundation has hosted past ATLAS events across Maryland in Baltimore City, Montgomery County, Prince George’s County and on the Eastern Shore.
“ATLAS is engaging the community and energizing high school students in D.C. and Maryland about STEM careers through hands-on experiences from our DoD partners, higher education and regional business leaders,” said Karen Harper, vice president of BEST. “We are thrilled with the success of this event and the impact that it has on the future generation of STEM leaders.”