Boeing employees inspire students to pursue careers in science at Energy Matters event

"The most personally satisfying teaching I’ve ever done"

July 07, 2016 in Our Community

Vince Villa shared his experiences working at Boeing with students from Evergreen Middle School.

Craig Marais

Many of the 300 Evergreen Middle School students from Everett, Wash. were visibly nervous as they stepped forward to present their Energy Matters science projects. For the first time, their audience wasn’t just other students, but an assembled group of engineers and account managers from Boeing, Snohomish Public Utility District and Fluke Corp, a  manufacturer of electronic test tools and software. The gathered professionals also weren’t sure what to expect.

“This is such a big opportunity for them to meet experts and to get off campus and speak with professionals,” said Meredith Lohr, executive director of Washington Green Schools. “With the support of Boeing and Washington Green Schools the teachers have been able to embed this curriculum into their lesson plans.”

Washington Green Schools is a non-profit organization that collaborates with schools across the state for environmental education and awareness. In June the group partnered with Boeing, Everett Public Schools, the Snohomish Public Utility District (SnoPUD) and Fluke Corp. for an Energy Matters curriculum project hosted at Fluke’s Everett headquarters.

“We wanted to get the kids out of their comfort zone and to feel what it is like to be out of school and in a job,” said Craig Marais, 8th grade teacher at Evergreen Middle School. “This is the most personally satisfying teaching I’ve ever done.”

Boeing energy managers Beth Gilbertson of Renton and Vince Villa of Everett along with professionals from Fluke and the SnoPUD talked about their careers. The students asked about their education, work experiences and what they do now. In turn, the students received career advice and encouragement.

Boeing energy managers were among the professionals giving the students insights into their careers, and encouragement to pursue similar paths. Dean Gallinger, senior manager with SSG’s Environment and Utilities Services, Annie Stilts, Boeing environmental scientist and Brad Telford, Boeing energy conservation specialist, met with small groups of students who each spoke about their science project – developing a model doghouse to keep Fido warm in the winter and cool in the summer. The students’ curriculum also included conducting energy audits of their school’s utilities and a conservation campaign encouraging the school community to conserve energy.

An eighth grader named Ashlee explained her dashboard chart on energy to the Boeing guests. “I’m excited to hear about what you did because it is very much like what we do in regards to charting and tracking our energy use,” Gallinger said after listening to her presentation.

Telford said he appreciated the time students spent on their projects and presentations. “I’ve really enjoyed what you have taught us, in addition to what we have been able to share with you,” he told them.

This is the second year that Boeing has supported the Washington Green Schools’ Energy Matters project. “Energy Matters promotes environmental stewardship, while involving STEM industries and workplace development focusing on real jobs at Boeing, Snohomish PUD and Fluke,” explained Shyla Miller, with Boeing Global Corporate Citizenship. “It is also a great way for students to engage with Boeing employees through a career expo.”

By Mick Boroughs