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Corporate Partners contribute funds, expertise to high schoolers

Representatives of 3M holding large check with representatives from the College of Engineering and summer camp students.

Representatives from 3M present a check to the College of Engineering during the second week of the 2015 Engineering High School Summer Camp. From left to right are L-R: Kevin Meyer, controls engineer, 3M; Courtney Leary, process engineer, 3M; Betty Harmon, HR Manager; Amie Rhoads, executive assistant, 3M; Matt Arri.

The Corporate Partners Program offered by the University of Missouri College of Engineering’s Student Services Office is designed to help develop the future workforce by reaching out to K-12 students and providing them with information about STEM-related career opportunities through hands-on exercises with engineering professionals. These outreach programs are funded, in part, by donations received from the Corporate Partners. The partnership also allows Corporate Partners to interact with current and prospective students to share information about what it’s like to work in the engineering industry and about their companies.

“Corporate Partners are companies that recognize the need to develop a STEM-related pipeline of education,” said Matt Arri, Career and Professional Development director.

Two of MU Engineering’s Corporate Partner companies reached out to high school-aged students during the 2015 High School Summer Camp. Representatives from AT&T Inc. and 3M each visited one week of summer camp to present to students and perform a group activity.

AT&T representatives Becky Parson, Kim Rakers, and Ebony Williams visited the first week of summer camp and discussed working for the company. They also talked about internship and other opportunities for college engineering students.

“It helps being able to talk to a younger age group — to educate them about the company,” Rakers said. Parson and Williams also stressed the importance of STEM education and diversity.

“We have a program at AT&T called Aspire mentoring academy, which reaches out to prospective at-risk high school students and introduces them to STEM,” Williams said.

AT&T’s activity grouped the students into teams to build the tallest structure out of tape, strands of spaghetti, and a marshmallow.

During the second week, representatives from 3M presented a check for $5,000 to the college to become a Corporate Partner, funds that will be used to support K-12 outreach initiatives, such as summer camp, Mother-Daughter Engineering Day; college-sponsored events for Scouts and Lego Robotic’s camps. They also made a presentation to students.

3M engineers Courtney Leary and Kevin Meyer talked about the products made in 3M’s Columbia facility and also about the logistics of manufacturing, in this case, how certain products are made only in some locations while others are made in many locations.

Meyer, who also is a 1990 alumnus of Mizzou Engineering, said the outreach at summer camp let the students see what may come of an engineering degree.

“It’s important to get exposed to engineering,” Meyer said. “It’s an opportunity for them to learn about the real-life applications of what they’re learning in camp.”

3M’s sponsored an activity that involved a production line-inspired “brick making” exercise to teach students about the logistics of fulfilling large quantity orders.

“The Corporate Partners get a firsthand look at how their funds are being used in our K-12 student programs,” Arri said. “It also promotes name recognition among prospective college students.”

The College of Engineering has nine total Corporate Partners. Click here for more information about becoming corporate partner.