I have been working in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields for more than 20 years and achieved several engineering degrees, but I have never fully appreciated the powerful impact that engineers and scientists can have in mentoring young people until I started working at FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology). Not that my career experiences in fiber optics, digital media and venture capital weren’t exciting – I have enjoyed many challenges in those areas over the years. However, the FIRST community has shown me how critical STEM professionals are in developing the next generation of technology leaders and innovators. And, not a moment too soon.
To retain our national competitiveness, the U.S. needs approximately one million more STEM workers over the next decade than we are targeted to produce at our current rate of education and development. Luckily, through partnerships with companies like Novelis and their support of our FIRST teams and competitions, together we are inspiring and developing the next generation of innovative, entrepreneurial thinkers through STEM education. These thinkers will become the professionals who will handle the complex STEM challenges of the future.
I recently saw the wonders of STEM mentoring unfold at our FIRST Championship in St. Louis with Novelis engineer Tim Stranistreet, who mentored and supported FIRST Robotics Competition Team Walton Robotics. Tim describes his experience with FIRST in this video, and ultimately sums it up in three words: “Inspirational, innovative and amazing!”
I am excited that Novelis is such a strong supporter of FIRST and our mission. Together, we can help young people explore their entrepreneurial thinking and leadership potential. I look forward to working with more Novelis volunteers who believe that FIRST is truly an investment in the future.
Don Bossi just celebrated his one-year anniversary as president of FIRST, a not-for-profit organization that inspires young people to be STEM leaders, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build STEM skills, inspire innovation, and foster well-rounded life capabilities.