Science-On-Wheels Encourages STEM Education for Texas Students

Thu Jun 6, 2013 2:55pm EDT

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Science-On-Wheels Encourages STEM Education for Texas Students

3M and the Texas Alliance for Minorities in Engineering launch a new 40-foot trailer aimed to inspire science and engineering careers for Texas youth

To encourage underrepresented minority and female students to pursue careers in engineering and science, the Texas Alliance for Minorities in Engineering (TAME) launched the Trailblazer II—a 40-foot trailer loaded with interactive exhibits aimed at promoting science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education for Texas youth—during a special ceremony today at the 3M Austin Innovation Center.

A 3M volunteer shows students from Four Points Middle School an exhibit in the new Trailblazer II fr ...

A 3M volunteer shows students from Four Points Middle School an exhibit in the new Trailblazer II from Texas Alliance for Minorities in Engineering. The new "science on wheels" exhibit is sponsored in part by 3M. (Photo credit: 3M)

Equipped with five exhibits focused on space, energy, weather, aerodynamics and biotechnology, the Trailblazer II, the second unit to the Trailblazer fleet, provides hands-on activities to third through eighth grade students, encouraging them to explore science and mathematics and to consider STEM careers. The program aims to increase the number of underrepresented minorities and females pursuing STEM careers. Currently, more than half of the U.S. population is female, yet only 12 percent of the nation’s practicing engineers are women. In addition, less than 10 percent of engineering professionals are African American, Hispanic or Native American, while these minority groups represent more than 25 percent of the population.

“Adding a second unit to the Trailblazer program increases TAME’s opportunities to highlight exciting STEM careers to more students across Texas,” said Savita Raj, executive director of TAME. “We are honored to collaborate with generous corporations that also see the value in investing in STEM education.”

Five major corporations and TAME board members teamed up to launch the Trailblazer II, raising more than $250,000 for the initiative. 3M provided additional program funding so that underserved schools in the Austin area can partake in the program.

“At 3M, we believe encouraging youth to consider careers involving STEM is vitally important to the Texas economy and the development of our state’s future leaders,” said Russell Bridges, government and community affairs manager for 3M. “Organizations such as TAME are key to showcasing the different career options available to our youth and developing future employees for our industries.”

During the next decade, the two interactive science-on-wheels units will reach more than 200,000 students and travel more than 300,000 miles visiting schools throughout Texas. The most recent Trailblazer has reached more than 90,000 participants in the past decade, with participation mirroring the demographic makeup of Texas schools.

The Trailblazer and Trailblazer II are the only such science-on-wheels exhibits in Texas. The program was launched in 1976, and offers participants a well-designed, consistent experience that is location independent so that students from remote rural towns have the same access to program materials that students from an urban school would.

The Trailblazer II was made possible through sponsorships from 3M, BASF, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Shell and TAME board members.

In 2012, 3M and the 3M Foundation donated $56.6 million in cash and products to education and nonprofit organizations serving communities throughout the U.S. Of that amount, approximately 34 percent or nearly $19.5 million was donated specifically for programs impacting K-12 education.

For more information about the Trailblazer program and TAME, please visit www.tame.org. To learn more about 3M community giving, please visit www.3Mgiving.com.

About 3M
3M is not only a company that creates; it is a company that cares. 3M Community Giving is helping to improve lives in communities around the world. Celebrating 60 years of formalized giving, 3M and the 3M Foundation have invested more than $1.2 billion in cash and products to education and charitable organizations. These donations were bolstered by thousands of employee and retiree volunteers. In 2012, 3M awarded $56.6 million to non-profit organizations. For more information, visit www.3Mgiving.com.

About Texas Alliance for Minorities in Engineering
Since 1976, the Texas Alliance for Minorities in Engineering (TAME) has sought to engage and encourage minority students to pursue college and careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). More than 25,000 students become aware of careers in STEM through TAME programs every year. Programs include ‘Science Squad,’ a bilingual comic book series, the TAME Trailblazers, an annual Math and Science Competition and scholarships. In addition, TAME chapters across Texas offer locally relevant after-school programs and community-wide activities. More than 250,000 students have been a part of TAME since its inception and many of them continue to be a part of TAME as mentors, donors and volunteers. For more information on the organization, please visit www.tame.org.

Waggener Edstrom for 3M
Erika Gonzalez, 512-527-7039
egonzalez@waggeneredstrom.com

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