STEM Education: Inspiring and Preparing Chicago-area Girls
Have you ever wanted to ride in a spaceship? Build computers? Discover a new use for ingredients? A career in STEM may be the right thing for you!
Ingredion is proud to sponsor Girls 4 Science (G4S), a nonprofit organization dedicated to introducing Chicago-area girls, ages 10-18, to (STEM) science, technology, engineering and math through experiential learning and professional mentorship programs. The G4S program focuses on developing skills, self-esteem, awareness and relationships to help girls overcome barriers that may prevent them from achieving greater success in STEM fields.
"Ingredion has been at the forefront of supporting and investing in STEM education programs for many years," said Robin L. Brown, vice president, government affairs and external relations and member of the G4S board of directors. "Based on these programs, many young people are developing confidence-building life skills and abilities that help prepare them for rewarding careers in STEM fields."
Ingredion's connection to G4S began in 2007 when the founder and executive director, Jackie Lomax, wrote a letter asking Ilene Gordon, Ingredion's former president and CEO, for help. From there, the relationship grew to include Ingredion hosting events and field trips. G4S participants have visited the Company's Argo plant and Moffett Technical Center many times to learn real-world applications of STEM education in food science, engineering, and manufacturing. Several Ingredion employees have volunteered with G4S by leading classroom discussions, helping to develop curriculum, assisting with fundraising activities and serving on the G4S board of directors.
Ingredion's corporate support of G4S includes a yearly sponsorship to space camp in Huntsville, Alabama, on the grounds of the U.S. Space & Rocket Center museum at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center. Unfortunately, Space Camp closed this year due to COVID-19. However, for the past eight years, three girls have been selected to attend the program each summer. Space Camp provides a six-day, five-night, educational program on themes such as space exploration, aviation and robotics. Space Camp's educational experience illuminates real-world applications of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. After returning from space camp, the girls are invited to a lunch meeting to present poster boards of their Space Camp experience to Ingredion's executive leadership team, including Ingredion's president and CEO Jim Zallie.
"Volunteering and supporting Girls 4 Science for the past few years has been an absolute pleasure," said Natasha Carter, quality control lead at Ingredion's Argo plant. "I love the fact that I can share my knowledge of math and science as well as life stories with these young women. I wish there were more programs like Girls 4 Science when I was growing up."
To learn more about Girls 4 Science, visit their website.