STEM success charges up local students mentors

first_imgMentors can play a significant role in education by helping many more students succeed in challenging courses and also by supporting teachers. Southwest Washington’s efforts connecting students with professionals in science, technology, engineering and math — collectively known as STEM — were celebrated Thursday night inside an nLight Corp. warehouse packed with educators, students and professionals volunteering as mentors.The STEM mentoring nonprofit organization called nConnect was founded in 2005 by Scott Keeney, chief executive officer of nLIGHT, a leading manufacturer of semiconductor lasers.“My whole life has changed,” said Reem Sabha, a Mountain View High School junior who is being mentored by an nConnect volunteer in her Advanced Placement calculus class. “I love calculus now, and I want to be an engineer.”Sen. Patty Murray was there Thursday night, lauding the program’s success.“We have an education deficit in this country,” Murray said. “Investing in STEM programs is absolutely critical for our future.”In 2005, Murray attended the nConnect kickoff event at the nLight warehouse. In its pilot program year of 2005-2006, there were seven physicist-mentors from nLight, seven high school physics teachers, 36 students and one intern. In contrast, in 2011-2012, there are 232 mentors, 144 mentor businesses, 100 internships and a total of 1,650 students participating in nConnect’s programs. All students — not just the privileged — should have the opportunity to succeed in these rigorous courses. More rigorous courses are needed in high school if U.S. students are to be competitive in the global economy. 2005-06 pilot year:o mentors: 7o mentor businesses: 1o student internships: 1o students: 362011-12 year:o mentors: 232o mentor businesses: 144o student internships: 100o students: 1,650www.nconnectnw.orgCore beliefs:last_img read more