Advances in technology have caused lawmakers and teachers to reinforce science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, also called S.T.E.M. courses, in the classroom. The S.T.E.M. movement is alive on the Gulf Coast, and hits close to home for some educators. Rebecca Whittet, a Teacher Academy instructor at Gulfport High School, says, “My father has worked with Ingalls for 40 years, so I’m excited that I get to put back into Ingalls and get these kids interested in engineering."
Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula knows the importance of S.T.E.M. education, and since cutting edge technology is expensive, they donated over $102,000 to area schools. Roma Flowers, a 6th grade Gifted Education teacher in Ocean Springs, says, "We always encourage thinking outside of the box ideas, and without this grant, my students would not be able to do the S.T.E.M. activities because we just could not afford it."
While it’s always great to give money to local schools, Ingalls Shipbuilding considers this an investment, an investment they’re expecting a return on. Edmond Hughes, Vice President of Human Resources and Administration for Ingalls, says, "By getting them involved in S.T.E.M. related items in elementary school, they will continue to have that interest and when they graduate and go to college, or come straight to us, they will still have that interest in technology."
It’s been said the children are our future, and these grants will allow teachers to give students the tools they will need to achieve their dreams.
Flowers closes, "This grant will allow my students to actually make it a reality by using the S.T.E.M. project and actually inspire my students to become engineers and the future."