Elizabeth Begley watched with pride as her son, Joseph, stepped forward to the podium at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans and confidently signed his name, signaling the next step in his college journey.
Joseph, along with 22 other students, signed letters of intent to study science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) fields at some of the country’s top technical schools, colleges, and universities during New Orleans’ inaugural STEM Signing Day on May 11.
“Thank you…for a wonderful day of networking, recognition and inspiration,” Elizabeth Begley wrote in an email to organizers. “My son…was further inspired to change the world and go forward as a university student with confidence and excitement.”
Boeing has supported STEM Signing Day events beginning in 2017 in Columbia, South Carolina, which honored 50 students. Ninety-three students were honored at this year’s South Carolina STEM Signing Day; students represented all 46 counties in the state, and about 35 percent of them will be the first in their families to attend college.
“Our goal is to recognize the hard work and commitment these future innovators are making, and the more students we can reach, the better,” said Jess Jackson, director of Boeing Global Engagement. “We understand how important the next generation of innovators will be to our business, and we want to help them succeed.”
Dwayne Stukes, 787 aft body operations manager at Boeing South Carolina, got to see his son, Jamir, who is planning to study engineering, honored at STEM Signing Day this year.
“I’m really proud,” Stukes said. “I realized how much he looked up to me.”
Over the last few years, Boeing has expanded its support of STEM Signing Days to events in ten cities, and this year more than 450 students committed to STEM degrees at these events.
At city hall in Los Angeles, Stephanie Brinton, director of national space communications programs, proudly presented STEM signing certificates to a group of 46 students—all young women.
“How awesome is that!” Brinton said. “I’m a female Boeing executive who is looking out at an all-female group of students committing to the STEM field today.”
At Plano’s first STEM Signing Day, each student was matched with a Boeing Global Services (BGS) mentor who can offer guidance to students through their freshman year.
“We thought it was important to offer these students support in a mentor capacity,” said Stephanie Pope, chief financial officer of BGS. “This is a great opportunity to help set these students up for success throughout their college careers.”
The hope is that many of these students, like Joseph Begley and Jamir Stukes, may find their way to Boeing after they graduate. Joseph will be attending Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University to study mechanical engineering.
“It was marvelous to meet with successful Boeing professionals. [Joseph] left your event hoping to do an internship with Boeing and be considered for future employment there!” Elizabeth Begley wrote. “We appreciate you and all you did to make STEM signing such a special afternoon for us.”