Pacific Scientific Energetic Materials Company (PSEMC) has partnered with ASPIRE Academy at Connolly Middle School in Tempe through the UnitED program of Arizona Educational Foundation, and as Principal Gerard Taylor describes, “They had the kids at ‘Boom’!” With expertise in chemical engineering related to explosives, PSEMC has provided a wealth of learning opportunities to ASPIRE students, both sending employees to the school with inert products for demonstrations and learning activities, and hosting teachers on site for professional development and mentoring.
A team of ten, comprised of both ASPIRE and PSEMC staff, meet monthly to develop the yearlong curriculum that aligns with the school’s learning objectives. Topics include Failure Analysis, Transfer of Energy, Precision Measurement and Tolerance. Mary Ladesic, Director of Business Development, explained that what really helped most was meeting with the teachers to understand their needs. “We wanted to know how to add value to their STEM education efforts without creating more work for the teachers.”
John Steagall, PSEMC’s Marketing Manager tells about the employee involvement. “One side benefit that we didn’t fully expect was how excited employees were to participate. And there’s true support for this project all the way up the chain. It is something we believe in.”