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Inspiring a Future in STEM

On a typical Saturday you may find a high school student sleeping in or wandering the mall with their friends, but for some dedicated NMSI students, Saturdays throughout the school year mean something very different, Student Study Sessions. As a part of NMSI’s signature College Readiness Program (CRP), AP students are given the opportunity to attend study sessions where they receive study tools from top-notch AP experts from across the country. During a recent Student Study Session at San Pedro High School in Los Angeles Unified School District, NMSI launched the Scientist & Engineer (S&E) Mentoring Exchange program, which allows students the opportunity to listen to, learn from and engage with STEM professionals.
During the event at San Pedro, Representatives from Northrop Grumman Corporation and Los Angeles Air Force Base visited with AP Computer Science and Physics students. During their visit, they shared real world STEM challenges and the direct application of knowledge and skills students are obtaining in their rigorous AP science courses. Students also learned about the multitude of career opportunities available in the aerospace and national defense industry sectors.
“It was very influential to have the [Northrup] engineers here to talk to us – they make career possibilities seem more within our grasp - it’s realistic that a girl like me going to a regular high school can get further and be successful in the future,” said Azariah Be auburn, a senior at San Pedro High School. “Other schools need to know how much NMSI is helping us, our school and our teachers - we’re more excited for our science, math and English classes than we were before we had NMSI.”
NMSI S&E special guests included Capt. David Altum, Cybersecurity Systems Engineer for Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) at Los Angeles Air Force Base; Candice Matsui, Analog/Digital Chip Designer, Board RDE; and Ami Shah, award-winning Advanced Program Section Manager with Electronics Engineering, Space and Strategic Solutions both at Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems (NGAS). Also joining the students and special guest S&Es were Terry Ball, Los Angeles Unified School District Director, Jeanette Stevens San Pedro High School Principal; and Marcus Lingenfelter, Senior Vice President of State & Federal Programs, National Math & Science Initiative.
“This event is an awesome effort because we are in the era of engineering and automation. Everything around us - what happens, everything in our life is built around engineering, science and math so this kind of event highlights that importance and provides opportunities where students can see and get motivated to pursue careers that will make them successful,” explained Ami Shah. “I wish we had NMSI when I was in high school – I came from a small town in India, a developing city. I was the first woman engineer in my family and community. I’ve been able to reach heights in the aviation industry, and yet I would have been really happy to see something like this when I was in high school.  I’d really like to promote it and encourage as many women and men engineers to join these NMSI STEM student-industry events.”

NMSI recognizes the importance of providing students with career trajectories that will guide them to meaningful post-secondary education experiences and ultimately, a career that advances the STEM workforce needs of the DOD, Northrop Grumman, Boeing and other companies and agencies committed to the NMSI mission.