Richard Noll was the first person in his family to attend high school. Following that, he joined the military. “I had to support my family,” he said, “so I couldn’t afford to go to college.”
One of his English teachers encouraged him to learn on his own and pursue his technical interests. That support, he said, has led to an incredible career that he wouldn’t have predicted.
Today, Noll does high tech laser metrology work in Boeing Commercial Airplanes Fabrication. And he shares his own early life experience when he volunteers in STEM outreach classroom activities during Engineers Week and throughout the year.
In order to support STEM employee volunteers like Noll, Boeing Global Engagement has created, FUTURE U, a variety of educational resources to empower employees to share their passion for aerospace with the next generation. FUTURE U resources, developed in partnership between Boeing and Discovery Education, will play a big role in volunteering events this year, including E-Week outreach.
The ready-to-go STEM activities give kids hands-on experiences so they can apply themselves and learn. “When you get them to do hands on,” Noll emphasizes, “the activity of their hands enhances the ability of their brains to absorb things.”
Engineers across the company were an integral part in creating the design challenges which focus on space exploration, aircraft design, satellites and more.
“Our engineers are key to making these challenges successful because they can break down these complex concepts into activities that are easy to understand and fun,” said Reyna Hampton, Boeing Global Engagement FUTURE U program manager. “Inspiring students to pursue STEM careers is so important, and Boeing employees can make a huge impact. We want to get as many employees involved as possible.”
FUTURE U activities, which are available online at BoeingFUTUREU.com, include downloadable STEM activities, Boeing-inspired design challenge kits and other digital resources—and, like Richard Noll, you don’t have to be an engineer to use them to inspire students that they too can do amazing things in STEM.
Peter-Bart Rutten, a structures engineer who often volunteers with Richard, encourages teammates from all Boeing functions to participate. “Kids can really benefit from seeing that these things are achievable, that they have much more potential than they sometimes see themselves. For me as ‘teacher’ it is great to see when that ‘Hey, we can do this’ moment arrives.”
By Will Wilson and Rachel Ayres