SYRACUSE—Computer – science. Computer – science. That was the chant from students during a presentation Friday at Syracuse High School of $1.7 million from Hill Air Force Base and the Northrop Grumman Foundation to fund STEM education.
The majority of the investment will fund participation in the National Math + Science Initiative’s (NMSI) College Readiness Program at Northridge and Syracuse high schools, according to a release. Northrop Grumman is donating $250,000, the Department of Defense is contributing $1.2 million and HAFB is investing an additional $250,000 in partnership with the State of Utah STEM Action Center to expand and enhance STEM programs locally.
“I get to see NMSI come to the state of Utah,” said Alison Sturgeon, Hill’s STEM Program Manager. “You are the first two schools to get this. I hope more will follow.”
Schools were selected as granteesbased on their large population of military dependents, the statement said.
“Why is this happening here?” said NMSI Senior Vice President of State and Federal Programs, Marcus Lingenfelter. “It’s not happening everywhere. You are among the select few to be prepared for the workforce needs of this century. The future of our country’s economy is dependent on computers. The fighting Falcon needs software upgrades. Who will do that? You will. This is your future and we’re all relying upon you.”
Justin McMurray, Director, Weapon System Sustainment and Modernization, Northrop Grumman Technology Services attended high school in Davis County and told the students about the impact STEM education had on his career. “I got a degree in computer science,” he said. “STEM education unlocked incredible opportunities for me. It can do the same for you. Innovation is so critical to everything we do. I look forward to the bright future you’re all going to create for us.”
Each speaker emphasized the abundance of jobs in the STEM fields now and in the future. “We could hire all the engineering graduates in Utah today and still have openings,” said Brig. Gen. Steven Bleymaier, commander of Hill’s Ogden Air Logistics Complex. “The F-35 has 24 million lines of code. It’s a huge computer surrounded by parts of an aircraft. We have a long way to go and we need your help to get there.”
Bleymaier encouraged the students to find a quiet spot, turn off all of their devices and take a blank piece of paper and write down their goals. “If you haven’t done that yet, do it.”
Lingenfelter said NMSI has waited a long time to get to Utah. “You will lead the way. We hope to bring it to all the schools in Davis County.”
He promised those in AP classes that they would receive $100 for every test they scored at least a “3” on.
“This is what we do,” said Lingenfelter. “We’re here with you for a three-year minimum. Be successful and receive your reward.”
“The future looks bright because you look bright,” said Bleymaier. “After you achieve your goals we’ll see you on our team tomorrow.”